Photo Credit: J.H. Arnold
The Rustic Roads program was created over 40 years ago to provide hikers, bicyclists and motorists an opportunity to leisurely travel through the state's scenic countryside. Today, there are 123 designated
Rustic Roads spanning almost 743 miles through 61 counties. They are beautiful in every season.
What is a Rustic Road?
Every Rustic Road is unique, but all:
- have outstanding natural features along its borders such as rugged terrain, native vegetation, native wildlife or include open areas with agricultural vistas.
- are lightly traveled local access roads, serving the adjacent property owners and those wishing to travel by auto, bicycle, or hiking for purposes of recreational enjoyment.
- are not scheduled nor anticipated for major improvements which would change their rustic characteristics.
- are at least two miles long and often provide a completed closure or loop, or connect to major highways at both ends of the route.
A Rustic Road may be dirt, gravel or paved road. It may be one-way or two-way. It also may have bicycle or hiking paths adjacent to or incorporated in the roadway area.
The maximum speed limit on a Rustic Road has been established by law at 45 mph. A speed limit as low as 30 mph may be established by the local governing authority.
How do you know if it's a Rustic Road?
Unique brown and yellow signs mark the routes of all officially-designated Rustic Roads. A small placard beneath the Rustic Roads sign identifies each Rustic Road by its numerical designation within the total statewide system.
Each Rustic Road is identified by a 1- to 3-digit number assigned by the Rustic Roads Board. To avoid confusion with the State Trunk Highway numbering, a letter "R" prefix is used such as R-50 or R-120. WisDOT pays the cost of furnishing and installing Rustic Roads marking signs.
Wisconsin Scenic Byways
Travelers also may be interested in Wisconsin's Scenic Byways. The state currently has five scenic byways, which are state highway routes (other than interstate highways), at least 30 miles long, with numerous scenic and/or historical features.
Rustic Roads Coordinator