The Rustic Roads program was created about 40 years ago and allows hikers, bikers, and motorists to enjoy the less traveled, scenic back roads of Wisconsin regardless of the season. These routes help to enhance the beauty and serenity that the state has to offer. There are approximately 119 individual routes that travel through 59 counties and when added up equal about 722 miles.
It is important to point out that these routes do not connect to each other and some are quite a distance apart from each other. Also, markings are limited and usually only one-way and regardless of what the website says, most of these routes don't end near a major city or road with limited GPS signals. Be sure to print out the map from the website and take with you to help navigate you along the way.
Take a drive to Brown County and enjoy three Rustic Roads which are Routes 46, 40 and 8. First to see is Route 46.
Route 46 should not be a Rustic Road it should be called where the wealthy live. There is no countryside at all along this route but there are plenty of large, mansion-style homes, with lush trees and yards that line this entire paved, little over one-mile route. These homes are gorgeous and some even have a Southern Plantation feel to them.
The road is narrow and does have a few large trees that hang heavy over the road but the houses are the main show stopper here.
The route then opens up and in front of you lies a community of more homes, but don't turn off, the Rustic Road continues through this community and I highly recommend it because there are more beautiful homes that are along the way. If your interested, I did see a few lots that still had for sale signs on them.
This route starts and ends at Highway 32 which assists in the easiness of the drive.
Next is Route 40 which was supposed to start off of N Overland Road and Trout Creek Road but there was a local event going on which had that route blocked. Once again, I had to old-school it, well, sort of. I had a signal here since I was near a major town so when I got back to the main road I was able to Google myself back to the other side of the route and join up with Trout Creek Road off of Hillcrest Road.
Route 40 is paved and almost 5 miles long and is divided into two sections.
This route is also very, badly marked and so are the roads that you need to turn on because they are hidden by overgrown trees. The route begins in a residential area, busy and next to a golf course, the first turn happens at N. Pine Tree Road. If buildings back off and you see a beautiful, country setting you've missed your turn. It is the last right turn that can be taken past the golf course.
This route is heavily populated with homes and a few trees with easy curves. It has a few hills and easy curves and a few times homes back away to allow the trees to shine through but it is short lived before they once again crowd the road. To continue on the second part of Route 40, before turning onto Highway 29 there will be a road on the right called Forest Road, turn there, and follow it back to Hillcrest Road.
Lastly, is Rustic Road 8. This route wasn't easily found after leaving Route 40. I recommend putting in New Zoo & Adventure Park into your GPS and have it take you to the Rustic Road. Upon arrival, there are only two signs that mark the route. The first one is off of School Lane and the other is on Restoration Road and that is all.
Neither of these markers tell you, you're on Route 40 either, again bring the map. Route 8 is all residential and forms a box square by taking Restoration, Sunrise, Pine and Westview Road which ends at Restoration Road. This entire route is paved, with thick trees, homes, and businesses.
The one bright spot is the Equestrian Trailhead which is located on Sunrise Road. It is a walking trail that is also a horse trail and a favorite of black bears. Make a lot of noise and you'll have nothing to worry about. Aria and I took a break from the road to enjoy a few minutes on this trail which was more wooded and beautiful than the Route 8. I highly recommend it, there are few people on it, and it is quiet, relaxing and peaceful.
Back on the road and at Restoration Road, turn right to head back out to School Lane which leads back to US141 and 41 which will take you to any major town you prefer, the closest one is Green Bay which is less than 20 miles.
These scenic drives are broken down by county as most of them are not connected.
Videos are also available on YouTube.