motorcycle destinations

Best Motorcycle Roads and Destinations in Wisconsin, United States

Best Motorcycle Roads and Destinations in Wisconsin, United States

Table of Contents

1. Introduction


If you are looking for interesting places to take out your motorcycle, you should try exploring “the Badger State” or Wisconsin. This Midwestern region has a lot of diverse terrain as the landscape is full of sand plains, hardwood forest, rocky cliffs, flat-topped ridges, rivers, and wetlands. There are hundreds of miles of interstates and highways that travel through or over Wisconsin’s topography.

Whether you decide to visit roadside attractions, small towns, or just want to navigate the winding paths, there are plenty of opportunities for fun during a motorcycle trip in Wisconsin.

This article is meant to be your guide on the best motorcycle roads and destinations in Wisconsin along with supplementary information on this state’s motorcycle laws and possible luggage options.

2. Roads and Destinations in Wisconsin

Roads and Destinations in Wisconsin

2.1 Wisconsin 60 Along the Wisconsin River

Distance: 109 miles
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Start: Prairie du Chien
End: Madison

When you start out in Prairie du Chien, you can browse the shelves of the Planted Tree and the Valley Fish & Cheese for souvenirs. If you are looking for a Western-style establishment, you can get food and drink at either the Sawmill Saloon or the Rowdy's Bar & Grill.

As you head out of the town, you will travel alongside the Wisconsin River. If you head far enough, you will find an intersection where the Wisconsin River meets the Mississippi River. Most of your surroundings will be a valley full of foothills and bluffs.

If you visit Madison during the fall, you will have the opportunity to take part in the Madison Ghost Walk at Capitol Square.

2.2 Triple State Mississippi River Run

Distance: 75 miles
Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Start: Brownsville, MN
End: Brownsville, MN

This loop will take you through Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. In Brownsville, you will be able to see the World’s Largest Six Pack, the Dahl Auto Museum, and the Wine Guyz.

As you stay close to the Mississippi River, you will pass through many natural sites that overlook the body of water. These may include the Mount Hosemer Park, Blackhawk Park, Bergen Bluff State Natural Area, and Pettibone Park.

While you are in La Crosse, there are plenty of nearby natural sites to walk through such as the Grandad Bluff, Riverside Park, and Goose Island County Park.

2.3 Zig-Zag Through The Kettle Moraine

Distance: 27 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Start: Greenbush
End: New Fane

When you start in Greenbush, there are summer tours of an old stagecoach inn referred to as the Wade House. You can also check out the carriages used during the Old West at the Wesley Jung Carriage Museum.

As you head southward, you curve around towards Conner Hill and pass through the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Other natural sites that are alongside the road are Long Lake and the Milwaukee River and Swamp State Nature Area.

If you head up to the Parnell Observatory, you will be able to have a panoramic view of almost the entire state of Wisconsin.

2.4 Wisconsin Route 33 - The Little Deals Gap of the Midwest

Distance: 79 miles
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Start: La Crosse
End: Reedsburg

While you are still in La Crosse, you can try paddleboarding out on the lake in Pettibone Park or try your hand at skiing or snowboarding at Mount La Crosse. If you are curious about where interesting events may be taking place, see what is being hosted at the La Crosse Center.

As you head eastward, you will pass through Amish country, catching sight of beautiful farms in the distance. You will pass close by Bunker Hill and pass through the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

Upon arriving in Reedsburg, you can find a bite to eat at the Badger Bar or the Brewster’s Lanes.

2.5 The Highway 107 River Run

Distance: 28 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Start: Merrill
End: Tomahawk

Within close proximity to Merrill, you can drop by the Northwoods Maple Farm, Van Der Geest Dairy Farm, and Helene’s Hilltop Orchard if you wish to experience country life. You can also explore the wilderness in the Council Grounds State Park and Grandfather Falls.

At Tomahawk, you can either head up the Hiawatha Trail or enjoy the tranquility of Washington Park. If you wish to hang out with other riders, you can find company at the Boomba Bar & Grill, Shorthorn’s Bar & Grill, or Mary’s Hangout.

As you run alongside the Wisconsin River, you may catch sight of local wildlife including eagles, deer, or turkeys.

2.6 The Endless Valley Run

Distance: 24 miles
Time: 30 minutes
Start: Barneveld
End: Spring Green

As you leave Barneveld, you will be able to admire the Barneveld Prairie State Natural Area in peace as not many vehicles will be passing through this portion of the journey. Keep your eyes peeled for the Botham Vineyards & Winery if you are interested in whetting your palette.

Spring Green is a quaint community with both homely countryside and beautiful architecture. There are the Taliesin Preservation and the Spring Green Preserve with long fields filled with wildflowers and tall grass. There are also the House on the Rock and the American Players Theatre.

Most of your surroundings for this trip will include rivers, streams, valleys, and ridges while you pass through the open countryside.

2.7 Wisconsin 187 Along The Wolf River

Distance: 27 miles
Time: 35 minutes
Start: Shiocton
End: Shawano

While you are still close to Shiocton, you can spend leisure time at the Shiocton Lake Park or the Mack State Wildlife Area. If you are not too timid to try, you could head to the Shiocton Shooting Range.

At Shawano, you can check out the Twig’s Beverage Museum if you have a preference for sodas. You may also wish to hit up the Old Glory Candy if you wish to buy some sweets.

Most of your surroundings for this trip will include the Wolf River and small farms along with passing through the Navarino State Wildlife Area.

2.8 Kickapoo River Valley

Distance: 34 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Start: Tomah
End: La Farge

When in Tomah, you may be able to see fresh produce at the Cranberry Country Market or take a look at the automobiles at the Tomah Sparta Speedway. If you wish to buy some nifty souvenirs, you should stop by the Humbird Cheese Mart or the Quilted Rooster.

As you ride alongside the Kickapoo River, you will catch sight of plenty of landmarks including the Camel’s Hump, Mount Sally, Mount Wildcat, and Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Much of your surroundings will include dense forests, valleys, quaint farms, and cheese factories.

2.9 Highway 108 - Mindoro Cut

Distance: 21 miles
Time: 30 minutes
Start: West Salem
End: Melrose

When in West Salem, you may be able to feed your love for speed and vehicles if you spend time at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. If you are looking to restock on provisions, you can find fresh produce provided by the Jollivette Family Farm.

As you get to the famous Mindoro Cut, you will pass through bluffs that have been carved into to make a road for you. Much of your surroundings will be valleys and hills with dense forests atop, plus you will be traveling alongside the Mississippi River.

2.10 Baby Face Nelson’s Last Day Ride

Distance: 46 miles
Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Start: Geneva, WI
End: Barrington, IL

This route passes through both Wisconsin and Illinois. Named after the famous American bank robber, you start by skirting the coast of Lake Geneva. During the summer, you can hit the water at either Riviera Beach or Timber Ridge Waterpark. During the evening, you can see the neon lights coming from the Ice Castles.

When you reach Barrington, you will be able to walk around Langendorf Park which was where Baby Face Nelson was captured by the FBI. If you are hoping to get a well-earned meal, you should try the cuisine at the Blue Heron Café or the Yankee Doodle Inn.

As you travel between Geneva and Barrington, you will come across many different natural sites including Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, Winding Creek Conservation Area, and Lippold Park.

2.11 Boulder Junction Beauty

Distance: 50 miles
Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Start: Boulder Junction
End: Boulder Junction

Referred to as the “Musky Capital of the World,” Boulder Junction offers great opportunities for aquatic activities such as fishing, paddling, and swimming due to its close proximity to Boulder Lake.

This loop is blessed with plenty of lakes and forests so that you have access to plenty of natural scenery. For the nearby bodies of water, you get to pass by High, Forest, and White Sand Lakes. For the forested wilderness, you may catch a glimpse of High Lake Spruce-Balsam Forest, Lake Laura Hardwoods, and Lost Canoe State Natural Areas.

There is also no shortage of restaurants along the side of the road including the Stillwaters Bar & Restaurant, Vinshi’s Bar & Pizza, and Gooch’s Bar & Restaurant.

2.12 Route 39 - Driftless Region Scenic Ride

Distance: 31 miles
Time: 37 minutes
Start: New Glarus
End: Mineral Point

Originally, Wisconsin was a region covered with glaciers that shifted and formed the mountains that exist today. However, the Driftless Area remains relatively flat due to there being no glaciers to alter the landscape. This helps keep the roads smooth and easy to traverse. There are plenty of shoulders along the highways which provide you views of the high vistas and low creek bed valleys.

If you start in New Glarus, you will find that this town is rich with wineries and restaurants which you may want to sample before you head out. Treat your taste buds at Primrose Winery or Bailey’s Run Vineyard & Winery just to name a few. If you wish to satisfy your sweet tooth, then stop by the Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus.

If you would like to learn about the culture of Wisconsin, then Mineral Point is perfect for you. You can spend time at the Mineral Point Railroad and Gundry House Museums.

3. Motorcycle Laws in Wisconsin

Motorcycle Laws in Wisconsin

3.1 Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Any motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required by law to wear an approved motorcycle helmet while traveling on Wisconsin’s roads and highways. If you are above the age restriction, you are allowed to ride a motorcycle without having a motorcycle helmet strapped on. However, it is highly recommended that all riders have protective headgear since it will help prevent severe or fatal head injuries.

An approved motorcycle helmet must have been manufactured by the Snell Memorial Foundation. It must also satisfy the safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the state of Wisconsin.

The two types of motorcycle helmets you should choose from are either the three-quarter or full-face helmets. While both of them are designed to encompass your entire head and absorb impacts, they may differ in little ways. Listed below are the requirements and features that your motorcycle helmet must have in Wisconsin:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmet only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 Motorcycle Passenger Laws

There is no minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers in Wisconsin. However, a motorcycle passenger is still responsible for complying with Wisconsin motorcycle laws. Therefore, a motorcycle passenger under the age of 18 must wear an approved motorcycle helmet like yours. He/she must also be tall enough to reach the footrests without issue. Finally, your motorcycle passenger has to be able to listen to directions and follow your movements when performing maneuvers.

If you wish to transport an additional person, your motorcycle must be fitted with a designated passenger seat and footrests. When figuring out where to place the passenger seat, either place it in the back of a large driver’s seat, as a separate saddle towards the rear, or fixed to the side as a sidecar.

3.3 Required Safety Features

Since you may be traveling across many miles and spending hours alone on your motorcycle in Wisconsin, the last thing you want to deal with is mechanical failure. A primary component failing while you are moving at high speeds is not only dangerous for you, but also any other vehicles sharing the road. Thus, rather than tempt the chance of being stranded on the side of a road, take the time to conduct periodic inspections of your motorcycle.

Fixing any minor damage to the machinery or taking your vehicle to a professional mechanic will lessen the chances of an accident. Whenever you can, check over your motorcycle while it is still parked before you set out. Make sure the following features are given maintenance and kept in good working condition:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Brake system
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Taillight
  • Brake light
  • Reflector
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Turn signals

3.4 Lane Splitting Laws

It is illegal for motorcyclists to practice lane splitting in Wisconsin. You cannot ride on top of the dividing lines between lanes, ride in between adjacent rows of vehicles that are stopped, and overtake a vehicle ahead of you in the same lane.

Lane sharing is only allowed if two motorcycles are side-by-side and stay apart at a distance of at least two abreast. Both riders must consent to lane sharing beforehand. So long as they do not disrupt the flow of traffic, motorcyclists can make full use of the space within the lane they are currently in.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for Wisconsin Motorcycle Tour

Motorcycle Luggage for Wisconsin Motorcycle Tour

Before you can head out on your Wisconsin motorcycle trip, you should go over your checklist of supplies to make sure that you have everything you may need. Much like with a motorcycle camping trip, you need to have both tools specific to your motorcycle and items for your adventures on foot. But to be able to carry all the necessities, you must have a reliable form of baggage that can stay attached to the chassis of your motorcycle.

Listed below are examples of motorcycle luggage that are suitable for the conditions on the road as you travel through Wisconsin. Because they all provide ample storage and can be easily mounted, pick the one(s) that fit your motorcycle’s model, stylistic preferences, and preferred utilities:

5. Parting Words

After reading this article, you must be dying to get your motorcycle out to Wisconsin as soon as possible. This is understandable considering that Wisconsin’s scenic byways rarely disappoint. But before you can experience the pleasures of navigating the routes or taking pictures of memorable attractions, you must plan out which direction your Wisconsin motorcycle trip will go. You might prefer going on shorter routes within the same day, spending time visiting as many natural or historical sites as possible. Or you may want to traverse between states, getting to know the hospitality of the different regions surrounding Wisconsin. You do not have to just set your sights on the most notable motorcycle roads and destinations in Wisconsin. If there are any other locations that catch your eye while doing research for your extended motorcycle tour, take the opportunity to visit them. Remember to enjoy the experience and ride safely!

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