Wisconsin September 29, 2017
The 12 Best Backroads In Wisconsin For A Long Scenic Drive
Wisconsin is pretty country. From the rolling hills of the southwest to the Lake Michigan bluffs and everywhere in between, each area of the state offers different geography and gorgeous views. No matter which back road you get on, you’re sure to get a treat for the eyes. Here are 12 of the very best backroad drives you can take in Wisconsin.
1. Wisconsin's Great River Road
Also known as Hwy 35, this stretch follows the Mississippi from Prescott down to Potosi - and further. Follow the gorgeous bluffs and cliffs and stop every so often for stunning views of the river valley below. There are charming towns and tons of state history along the way as well.
2. Highway 77 from Minong to Hayward
Way up north, this beautiful stretch meanders through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and is extra stunning when the leaves are changing.
3. Barron County Rustic Highway 83
Called "Narrow Gauge Road" locally, it's built on what used to be a lumber rail line. It intersects the Ice Age trail and goes through acre after acre of forest that's truly stunning.
4. Lake Shore Road from Manitowoc to Sheboygan
You can hug the shore of Lake Michigan for nearly the whole ride on quiet country roads that occasionally find a small town but mostly traverse farmland and peeks at Lake Michigan. You'll find yourself dreaming of buying a home up here.
5. Door County Highway 57
There are two main highways up into Door County and this is the one that comes out of Green Bay and heads to Sister Bay. Lake views, forest and more make this a super-interesting drive.
6. Highway 131 from Gays Mills to Tomah
Alternate options include Highway 14 through Viroqua .
Any winding road through the Driftless area is going to be worthwhile, but I chose 131 because it goes through the Kickapoo Valley Reserve State Natural Area and next to Wildcat Mountain State Park. The Driftless area's unique geography makes for a gorgeous drive.
7. Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
This is actually a 115 mile stretch that crosses through 50,000 acres of Southern and Eastern Wisconsin. You can start in Elkhart Lake or at Whitewater Lake and get an expansive view of this part of the state.
8. Highway 2 through Ashland
Highway two comes out of the UP and cuts across the Northern part of the state over to Superior. At Ashland, it follows right along the Lake Superior coast at Chequamegon Bay and it's a really wonderful drive.
9. Lake Drive/Highway 32 in Milwaukee
Starting at Doctors Park up in Fox Point and following the Lake Michigan shoreline to downtown is one of the prettiest and most interesting drives. Not only will you get awesome views of the lake, but you'll meander through some of the oldest and most elaborate homes in Wisconsin.
10. Highway 42 from Manitowoc to Maplewood
The other of Door County's two highways, this one you can pick up down in Manitowoc and take all the way to Gills Rock at the tip.
11. Highway 60 from Prairie du Chien to Lodi
This state highway follows along the Lower Wisconsin River and is a state Scenic Byway. You'll pass through some interesting small towns, including Spring Green.
12. Highway 13 from Ashland to Parkland
This highway edges around the whole Bayfield Peninsula, giving you views of Madeline Island, the Apostle Islands and two different Lake Superior bays. This is arguably the prettiest drive in the entire state.
Looking for more reasons to get out and see Wisconsin? Check out
9 Unforgettable Road Trips To Take In Wisconsin Before You Die.