Rustic Road (Wisconsin)

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Rustic Roads
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

The Rustic Road system is a system of Wisconsin scenic roads. They differ from the main State Trunk 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]

System description

Rustic Road 26 in autumn
Rustic Road 1, north of Medford

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.[7] 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 STH-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 STH-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 STH-128 in Glenwood Saint Croix Paved
R4 4.0 6.4 CTH-W in Springfield STH-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 0.97 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 STH-164 in Waterford STH-36 in Wind Lake Racine Paved
R6 13.6 21.9 STH-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 STH-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 STH-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 0.32 R12 in Lyons R11 in Lyons Walworth Paved; it is included in R11 mileage and description by WisDOT
R11 Spur B 0.3 0.48 R11 in Lyons Walburg Road in Lyons Walworth Paved; it is included in R11 mileage and description by WisDOT
R12 5.7 9.2 STH-50 in Lyons STH-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
R41 2.3 3.7 70th Street north of CTH-G Eastern end of Clara Lake Drive at CTH-E Polk Paved and gravel sections; the road turns from north–south to east–west just north of the Hunky Dory resort and just south of the Straight River and the south end of Big Round Lake.
R61 3.3 5.3 CTH-M in Hortonville STH-76 near Stepehnsville Outagamie Paved
R81 2.9 4.7 STH-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 Road near Saxeville Waushara Connects with R-48


  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, Wisconsin. 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, Ben; Vukelich, George; Feraca, Jean; Blei, Norbert; Stokes, Bill (1995). Wisconsin's Rustic Roads: A Road Less Travelled. Boulder Junction, Wisconsin: Lost River Press. pp. 101+. ISBN 978-1-883755-02-7.
  4. ^ "Wisconsin Rustic Roads". PBS Wisconsin Documentaries. Green Bay, Wisconsin. January 15, 2010. Wisconsin Public Television. WPNE-TV.
  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. ^ Logan et al. (1995), p. 105

External links