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.
Are you ready to visit the border? The Michigan border that is. Welcome to Iron County and the one and only Rustic Road here which is Route 100 located outside of Mercer. This is a paved route of 13.5 miles straight North and ends at the Wisconsin/Michigan Border.
Not only is this a long route it is also slow moving. The road has a lot of rough patches along the way with an occassional sharp turn thrown in to it. It is also highly populated in the beginning but the further North you go the more secluded and narrower the road becomes.
Color was faded and dull during October when I visited but the occassional lake that pops out from behind them did offer a few colors. Because of the seclusion that is obvious along this road the few residents who live here make themselves at home on the road. Again, go slow because some of these curves can be tricky and it'll be at this time you'll come across a couple walking down the middle of the road. There are also a lot of wildlife here, as in, wild turkeys and they really like to make this route there home and will stand in the middle of the road debating about which side to go to. Then continue to debate it even when you pull up. Sometimes a horn honk helps but most times it does not.
There are plenty of side roads along the route but don't worry about getting lost, most of them are dead ends or really long driveways. End the route at County Road O, also known as the border. Continue North and in about 12 miles you'll officially be in Michigan in a small town called Wakefield. Connect with US Highway 2 at the only stop light in town and head West to return to Wisconsin. Once back in Wisconsin Highway 2 connects with other major Highways to take you anywhere you want to go. I highly recommend continuing West and visiting Ashland, its a pleasant coastal town that offers some great views of Lake Superior.
As you enter the city there is park called Bayview Park which has beautiful walking trails that take you down to the waters, is pet friendly, seating areas and a great place to take a break from the road and stretch your legs. Aria and I enjoyed the short walk immensely and so will you.
These scenic drives are broken down by county as most of them are not connected.
Videos are also available on YouTube.