Lower Wisconsin River Road

Wisconsin’s Scenic Byways

The Wisconsin Act 9 of 1991 directed the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to develop and administer a scenic byways program. WisDOT defines a scenic byway as a numbered state highway system route (not including interstate highways), at least 30 miles long, that offers travelers numerous scenic and historical attributes whose promotion can serve to boost a region’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.

Byways Provide Access to Public Lands

Wisconsin byways provide access to the state’s most spectacular public lands, including 41 state parks, 2 national forests, 8 state forests, 5 national wildlife refuges, and 7 state wildlife areas.


About the National Scenic Byways Program

The National Scenic Byways Program, established by Congress in 1991, recognizes historic, scenic, and culturally important roads, all of which promote economic development and tourism in communities around the U.S. There are more than 1,200 byways in all 50 states.

All scenic byways exhibit one or more of six core intrinsic qualities — scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archaeological, or natural. For a road to be named a national scenic byway, it must first be designated a state, tribal, or federal agency scenic byway. Once achieving that, a road may apply for national scenic byway designation, but its intrinsic quality must be of regional significance. All-American Roads are the very best of the national scenic byways, demonstrating at least two intrinsic qualities of national significance.