If you’re a bicyclist or motorcyclist and have not heard of Wisconsin’s Rustic Road system, then get in the know right now so you can experience these roads-less-traveled during the autumn season. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation calls its Rustic Road system “a positive step backward,” which we love. To qualify a road must have outstanding natural features and vistas along its borders, be lightly traveled, and not be scheduled for major improvements. Maximum speed limit is 45 mph. You can order a free copy of the Rustic Roads travel guide online.
To pique your interest in seeing peek colors from top to bottom of the state, we offer these recommendations: Catch the earliest colors by heading to Brown County in northeast Wisconsin where there are three Rustic Roads – 8, 40 and 46. Spend the night at Sabamba Alpaca Ranch in De Pere, a remodeled 1890 farmhouse where children are welcome. Pick up some of their cozy alpaca clothing while you’re there. In central Wisconsin, there’s Ellison’s Gray Lion Inn in Princeton, which is in Green Lake County and home to Rustic Roads 27, 81, 90 and 94. Insider tip: The famous Princeton Flea Market runs through mid-October. Then in far southwest Wisconsin, there’s Wisconsin House, built in 1846 as a stagecoach stop and located in Hazel Green in Grant County, where Rustic Roads 70 and 99 are your designated paths.
Ellison’s Gray Lion Inn, Princeton (left); Sabamba Alpaca Ranch, De Pere (center); Wisconsin House, Hazel Green (right).