Rustic Road (Wisconsin)

The Rustic Road system is a system of Wisconsin scenic roads. They differ from the main trunkline highway system in that they are not meant to be major through routes, but lightly traveled local access,[1] and are to meet minimum standards for natural features. Rustic roads have lower speed limits than those on other highway systems.[2] Each route is marked by brown and yellow signs, with the route number on a small placard below the sign.[3] The letter "R" prefix is followed by the number designation. Wisconsin is the only state to have a system of rustic roads.[4] Wisconsin has a separate system of scenic byways following the development of a national system in the 1990s.[5]

Rustic Roads
Rustic road.svg
Standard Rustic Road marker
Highway names
InterstatesInterstate X (I-X)
US HighwaysU.S. Highway X (US X)
State(State Trunk) Highway X (STH-X or WIS X)
County Highway:(County Trunk) Highway X (CTH-X)
Rustic Road:Rustic Road X (RX)
System links

System descriptionEdit

The Rustic Road concept was conceived in 1973.[1] The Wisconsin State Legislature established the program to help preserve lightly traveled scenic rural roads. There are a few requirements that a road must have in order to be designated as a rustic road, such as having outstanding natural features or areas that set the road apart from other roads, be a lightly traveled road, not be scheduled for a major improvement which would change its rustic characteristics, and preferably be at least two miles (3.2 km) with a loop, completed closure, or connection to a major highway at both ends of the route.[6] The maximum speed limit established by law is 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), but can be set lower by a local government if desired.[6] Rustic roads may be dirt, gravel, or paved.[6] They can be one- or two-way and can have accommodations for bicycles and hiking adjacent to or incorporated into the road or surrounding area.[2] The designation process is initiated by application for designation by a local government.[1]


The effort to identify rustic roads began in order to help local government and citizens preserve Wisconsin's scenic routes. The Rustic Roads system was established by the 1973 Wisconsin State Legislature.[3] The law created the Wisconsin Rustic Roads Board.[8] The first road was designated in 1975 in Taylor County in the Town of Rib Lake.[1] The application requires the reasons why a road should be designated, photographs, and a resolution of support from the local government.[1] A 10-member volunteer board develops the rules and standards for the roads, and enacts the final approval for each designation.[3] Before approving, two members of the board separately drive and personally assess the proposed route.[1] As of 2014, the system has 115 Rustic Roads for a total length of 665 miles (1,070 km) in 59 of the state's 72 counties.[1] At that time, the roads varied in length from 2 to 37 miles (3.2 to 59.5 km).[1]


Number Length (mi) Length (km) Southern or western terminus Northern or eastern terminus Counties Formed Removed Notes
  R1 5.0 8.0 CTH-D in Rib Lake WIS 102 in Rib Lake Taylor 01975-01-011975 current Gravel, first Rustic Road in Wisconsin
  R2 7.9 12.7 Center and Grove Streets in Burlington WIS 83 in Waterford Racine Paved; three segments with 0.9 mi (1.4 km) of connecting highway
  R3 3.6 5.8 CTH-E in Springfield WIS 128 in Glenwood Saint Croix Paved
  R4 4.0 6.4 CTH-W in Springfield WIS 128 in Glenwood Saint Croix Gravel; gas a spur segment included in R4 Spur for a total mileages of 4.6 mi (7.4 km)
  R4 Spur 0.6 1.0 R4 in Springfield CTH-W in Springfield Saint Croix Gravel; it is included in R4 mileage and description by WisDOT
  R5 3.1 5.0 WIS 164 in Waterford WIS 36 in Wind Lake Racine Paved
  R6 13.6 21.9 WIS 64 in Cleveland CTH-D in Washington Chippewa, Rusk Paved; WisDOT lists the route stopping 0.3 mi (0.48 km) short at the Rusk County line, but it is signed to CTH–D; route is concurrent with CTH-E
  R7 3.5 5.6 CTH-AB in FranklinMontpelier WIS 29 in Montpelier Kewaunee Paved
  R8 3.0 4.8 Loop including CTH-IR, Sunrise Road, Pine Lane, and Westview Road in Suamico Brown Paved; loop route
  R9 6.7 10.8 CTH-T and Brauer Road in SevastopolSturgeon Bay CTH-T and Whitefish Bay Road in Sevastopol Door Paved; route is concurrent with CTH-T
  R10 2.5 4.0 Main Street in Summit CTH-P in Summit Waukesha Paved; part of route is concurrent with CTH-B
  R11 8.9 14.3 WIS 50 in Lyons R11 / S Road in Lyons Walworth Paved; loop route that has two spur segments included in R11 Spur A and R11 Spur B for a total mileage as 10.3 mi (16.6 km)
  R11 Spur A 0.2 0.3 R12 in Lyons R11 in Lyons Walworth Paved; it is included in R11 mileage and description by WisDOT
  R11 Spur B 0.3 0.5 R11 in Lyons Walburg Road in Lyons Walworth Paved; it is included in R11 mileage and description by WisDOT
  R12 5.7 9.2 WIS 50 in Lyons WIS 36 in Lyons Walworth Paved
  R13 3.0 4.8 Baer Drive in Hudson River Road in Saint Joseph Saint Croix Paved
  R14 2.0 3.2 CTH-A in Easton CTH-B in New Chester–Easton Adams Gravel
  R15 5.4 8.7 Fish Lake Road in Grantsburg Hickerson Road in Grantsburg Burnett WisDOT lists portions of the route as gravel, but it appears to be fully paved
  R16 6.0 9.7 CTH-O at city limits of Two Rivers CTH-V in Two Rivers Manitowoc Paved; WisDOT lists the route starting 0.8 mi (1.3 km) late at the city limits of Two Rivers, but it is signed from a point parallel with 25th Street; route is concurrent with CTH-O
  R17 2.7 4.3 CTH-T in Lanark US 10 in Lanark Portage Paved
  R18 6.8 10.9 Loop including 23rd Street, 23-24 1/2 Street, 16 1/4 Avenue, 25th Street, and 17 1/4 Avenue in Stanley and Sumner Barron Paved; two segments with CTH-M as a connecting highway
  R19 2.3 3.7 CTH-B in Dunn Goodland Park Road in Dunn Dane Paved
  R20 2.9 4.7 Dreyson Road in Stoughton Schneider Road in McFarland Dane Paved
  R22 5.5 8.9 White River Road in Neshkoro White River Road in Neshkoro Green Lake Gravel and paved portions
  R23 3.6 5.8 Rural Road in Hartman Creek State Park Rural Road in Rural Waupaca Paved
  R24 2.7 4.3 Emmons Creek Road near Waupaca Emmons Creek Road near Rural Waupaca Paved and gravel portions
  R61 3.3 5.3 CTH-M in Hortonville Wisconsin Highway 76 near Stepehnsville Outagamie Paved
  R81 2.9 4.7 WIS 39 near New Glarus CTH-H near New Glarus Green Paved, known to locals as Marty Road
  R116 2.2 3.5 CTH-A in Boardman 120th St St. Croix Travels along 140th Avenue
  R117 1.8 2.9 CTH-A near Saxeville CTH-W and 26th rd near Saxeville Waushara Connects with R-48

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Woldt, Jennifer K. (October 23, 2014). "Waushara County Road Seeking Rustic Designation". The Post Crescent. Appleton, WI. p. A11.
  2. ^ a b Rustic Roads Board (June 1, 1981). "Chapter Trans-RR 1" (PDF). State of Wisconsin. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Logan et al. (1995), pp. 101+
  4. ^ "Wisconsin Rustic Roads". Green Bay, WI. January 15, 2010. Wisconsin Channel/Wisconsin Public Television. WPNE-TV. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  5. ^ "Designated byways". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Logan et al. (1995), p. 103
  7. ^ "Rustic Road 1". Rustic Roads. Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  8. ^ Logan et al. (1995), p. 105

Works citedEdit

  • Logan, Ben; Vukelich, George; Feraca, Jean; Blei, Norbert; Stokes, Bill (1995). Wisconsin's Rustic Roads: A Road Less Travelled. Boulder Junction, WI: Lost River Press. ISBN 978-1-883755-02-7.

External linksEdit