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.
Today I'm touring Clark County which has two Rustic Roads and these two are pretty easy to find and navigate even without the signs point the way. The first route is 76, all gravel and nine miles long, located outside of Humbird. Humbird is an extremely small town that can be missed if you blink as well as the County Road you need to take to get here so be cautious as you come into this town. Located off of County Road B, this road has it's rough spots but going slow helps you avoid them all. It is lined with thick trees and brush with an occasional house hidden in the background.
There are a few hills but for the most part it is a straight drive, follow the route to Fisher Ave which if you continue on ends the Rustic Road in the middle of nowhere. To avoid that or a not-so-easy turn around, take the turn on to Middle Road and enjoy the rest of the route all the way to the end which will be at Highway 10. But before the end there is a bridge cross over, look off to your right and see a railroad bridge, which is a personal love of mine. There is even a small pullover next to the bridge for you to get out and take pictures. End at Highway 10 and choose your direction. Either way will bring you back to a major town and another major highway.
The second route is Rustic Road 73, located outside of Atwood, 2.5 miles long and gravel the entire way. It starts off of County Road P and is an open, endless view of the fields, crops and farms that call that area their home. The road is smooth and easy with no hills or curves. Sit back and enjoy the scenery, a few feet of thick trees before it opens up again and comes to an end at Robin Ave.
Turn left to continue but before you do, you'll see on the left, as your coming up to the stop sign, a bridge your going to cross. Please be aware that this is a one-lane only bridge and as you approach the bridge you can not see over it to the other side to see if there are cars coming. However, from the stop sign, you can. So take a few moments to look beyond the bridge to the road after it to see if there are any cars coming before making the turn to cross over.
As you cross over the bridge enjoy the endless view of the double tracked railway that is underneath you. I actually pulled over and walked back to the bridge to take a few shots. It was a Sunday with no one around so I was able to get a few shots. It is one of the main things photographers like to shoot, Fall is the first. Continue on where the road widens again, offers views of homes and farms and once again becomes lined with thick trees before ending at County Road N. Turn left on N then right on P which will eventually lead you to Highway 29 which will lead you back to the Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire area.
These scenic drives are broken down by county as most of them are not connected.
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