Wisconsin October 01, 2021
This Adventure-Filled Wisconsin Road Trip Will Take You To 8 Little Known And Unforgettable Destinations
The last glacier that swept over Wisconsin created some remarkable terrain that beckons adventurers – it’s a wild and rugged stretch of land the locals simply call “the Kettle.” The Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive will take you through the heart of this beautiful country, passing glacial lakes, scenic vistas, and a few spots to get your tires off the pavement.
Are you ready to take on the Kettle? Fill up your tank, pull up this
interactive Google Map that will act as your guide on the journey, and read on to see what’s ahead.
This 115-mile driving route was first envisioned in the 1940s by those who recognized the significance of this rugged terrain.
Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr, West Bend, WI, USA
The route travels through six counties and runs through the heart of the 56,000-acre Kettle Moraine State Forest. It will take about five hours to do the drive if you allow some time to do a little exploring on the way (you'll want to).
Start your adventure in Whitewater, Wisconsin. This university town is surrounded by rich farmland, and as you approach the Kettle, you’ll pass some beautiful spots where you can see for miles. The terrain on your drive will change dramatically as you continue north.
Whitewater, WI 53190, USA
While you can do this route in any vehicle, you may want to take something with a little more cargo space. The route passes world-class mountain biking trails, gorgeous picnic areas, and pristine paddling spots – you’ll definitely want to get out of the car on this drive!
Green acorn signs along the roadway will lead you past the scenic Whitewater Lake and along a series of country roads that wind through rolling, heavy forest.
Whitewater Lake, Wisconsin 53190, USA
The Wisconsin Glaciation that lasted from about 100,000 to 10,000 years ago brought huge, colliding sheets of ice to this area. The resulting pressure caused the land to buckle, and as the glacier retreated, it left features like moraines and drumlins – they are the endless hills you'll encounter on this drive.
As you travel north, you’ll encounter a surprising number of historical sites tucked into the forest. In Eagle, an attraction called Old World Wisconsin recreates the life of early pioneers here.
Old World Wisconsin, W372 S9727 WI-67, Eagle, WI 53119, USA
Not far away, you can explore the fascinating ruins of Paradise Springs, an upscale resort operated here in the 1930s. The property is being slowly reclaimed by the forest.
You’re never far from a trailhead on this drive. Near Dousman, you’ll find access to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a gorgeous path that winds 1,000 miles through Wisconsin.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wisconsin, USA
It’s arguably the best hiking trail in Wisconsin, and it’s certainly the longest. The trail is easy to follow and a good excuse to stretch your legs, even if if you only want to hike a mile or two. Just follow the yellow blazes.
The state forest is divided into two segments. Driving north, you’ll exit the southern unit, passing picture-perfect Delafield, a place with a charming and historic downtown.
It’s a good place to fuel up, pick up some food, or just stroll past the shops and enjoy a bit of civilization before heading back into the forest.
If you like to get your tires off the pavement, you’ll find some spots in the northern segment of the Kettle.
With the help of a vehicle with 4x4 capabilities (like the Nissan Frontier pictured here), you can navigate the unpaved stretches just off the route. Those dirt roads will help you explore some less-traveled areas of the forest.
The Greenbush Recreation Area is worth a stop to experience some of the region’s best mountain biking. These challenging trails include some tough single track through the Kettle, and you'll encounter plenty of rocks and a lot of flowing trails.
Greenbush Recreation Area, Campground Rd, Glenbeulah, WI 53023, USA
Conclude your trip on the route at the spectacular Sheboygan County Broughton Marsh Park, a wild, 30-acre park that has a large observation tower. Climb the tower and survey the land you just crossed!
There’s a lot to explore on this route so you may want to plan a return trip to see even more. Learn more about this amazing driving route
here. To plan your trip on the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, you can use this detailed driving map.