Jens Jensen’s Winding Road

Gills Rock

Photo Credit: Ever-Curious Photography

Amidst Door County’s breathtaking landscapes lies a hidden gem for nature lovers and photographers alike: the winding road designed by the visionary landscape architect, Jens Jensen. This scenic route has become a beloved spot for photographers, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, serenity, and artistic inspiration.

Jens Jensen, known for his advocacy of the Prairie School of landscape architecture, possessed a profound appreciation for the natural environment. His design philosophy aimed to seamlessly integrate human-made elements with the existing natural landscape. The winding road in Door County embodies this ethos, as it winds its way through lush forests, rolling meadows, and awe-inspiring vistas, without disturbing the harmony of the surroundings. Jensen’s deliberate use of gentle curves and well-placed viewpoints enhances the visual appeal of the road, captivating photographers seeking to capture the beauty of the area.

One of the key factors that draw photographers to the winding road is the ever-changing palette of colors it offers throughout the year. Each season gifts Door County with its unique charm, providing photographers with a plethora of opportunities to capture diverse moods and tones. In spring, the road is adorned with vibrant blossoms and fresh foliage, creating a tapestry of colors. Summer brings lush greenery and warm sunlight filtering through the trees, while autumn sets the landscape ablaze with fiery reds, oranges, and golden hues. Even in winter, the winding road is transformed into a peaceful wonderland, blanketed in snow, offering a serene and ethereal atmosphere that photographers yearn to immortalize.

Jens Jensen’s winding road offers photographers a variety of compositional elements and perspectives to experiment with. The gentle curves and dips in the road create a sense of movement and lead the viewer’s eye through the frame. The road’s meandering path can serve as a visual guide, enhancing the composition and creating a narrative within the photograph. Additionally, the road’s strategic viewpoints allow photographers to capture stunning panoramas, unique vantage points, and intriguing foreground-background relationships.

Beyond its visual appeal, the winding road instills a sense of tranquility and serenity, making it a haven for photographers seeking solace and inspiration in nature. The peaceful ambiance, coupled with the harmonious blend of sights, sounds, and scents, provides an ideal environment for photographers to connect with their surroundings and unleash their creativity. This natural sanctuary serves as a retreat from the fast-paced world, allowing photographers to find solace in the midst of Door County’s enchanting landscapes.

For those with a passion for photography, this remarkable stretch of road is a true gem, beckoning them to capture its timeless beauty and preserve it in their art.


Wisconsin Highway 42 between Gills Rock and Northport

Type of Location


How To Get Here

This winding stretch of road is on Highway 42 halfway between Gills Rock and Northport. Take Highway 42 north through Door County. As it nears the end of the peninsula at Gills Rock, the road veers due east towards the Washington Island Car Ferry. About 1.5 miles past Gills Rock, the winding road appears.

Tips For First Timers

As this is a country road, you'll have to pull off to the side of the road to park. There is a small amount of gravel shoulder to the road right as you come up to it. There are also driveways along this stretch of Highway 42, but we would urge you not to park in or in front of one of these as a courtesy to those living near this spot. The volume of traffic varies, so it's recommended to allow yourself a bit of time to catch your desired shot of the road. The Northport Car Ferry is just beyond this spot, so sometimes you may have to wait for an open shot of this road if the ferry is unloading automobiles.



Best Seasons

Spring, Fall, Winter

Best Time of Day

Morning, Midday, Afternoon

Types of Photography

Architecture, Art, Environmental, Forest, Landscape, Nature, Outdoor, Scenic, Street

Permit Requirements


Recommended Camera Equipment

A longer lens (200-300mm) is best to compress the curves of the road tightly together to give the picture a more dramatic effect.