Author Topic: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada  (Read 1539 times)

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Offline mikeedgar

Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« on: April 17, 2011, 04:37:01 pm »
I hope to ride the Northern Tier (West to East) this summer, but would like to avoid the hassle and expense of updating my passport. Is there a good alternative to going into Canada when I get to Buffalo? I know I'll miss some nice riding, but this would be the most expensive 27 miles of the ride.

Offline jimbo

Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 09:57:59 pm »
Mike..if u follow the ACA "NT" route as it is described you would not go into Canada. When you get to Buffalo you will be on a north-northeast route from Ohio/Erie PA area. From Buffalo you will go east along the Erie Canal Towpath. 
Jim

sackcycle

  • Guest
Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 02:23:54 am »
Mike, you can get a Passport Card for $55.00 instead of paying $135.00 for the Book.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 02:27:39 am by sackcycle »

Offline JMilyko

Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 08:25:39 am »
Mike..if u follow the ACA "NT" route as it is described you would not go into Canada. When you get to Buffalo you will be on a north-northeast route from Ohio/Erie PA area. From Buffalo you will go east along the Erie Canal Towpath. 
Jim

Actually, the Northern Tier route DOES go into Canada from Buffalo.

I would see about getting the Greater Buffalo / Niagara Area Bicycle Route Guide map on this page for routing to stay in the U.S.: https://www.nysdot.gov/portal/page/portal/divisions/operating/opdm/local-programs-bureau/biking There seems to be a problem with the link at the time I clicked on it. Contact the regional bike/pedestrian coordinator for Niagara County to find out how to get the map: Greg Szewczyk, 100 Seneca Street, Buffalo NY, 14203, gszewczyk@dot.state.ny.us, 716-847-3614

Have a great trip!

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline geegee

Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 09:23:23 am »
Just follow the Erie Canal trail from Buffalo to Lockport. You'll miss out on Niagara Falls, though, if you haven't been there before.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011, 09:32:06 am »
And unless things have changed, the NT also goes into Canada at the Chief Mountain border crossing, where you can take a short detour to Waterton Village.  Although the ride from St. Mary, MT to Waterton is no piece of cake terrain-wise once you turn off U.S. 89 and onto Chief Mountain Highway, it's very scenic.  Waterton Village is a great place for a day off.  The village campsite along the shores of the lake is quite nice.  And there are some nice hikes you can do.  You then go back out of the park and head east to McGrath, which is home to at least one Hutterite colony.  From there, you turn south and cross back into the U.S. at Del Bonito and then onto Cut Bank.  McGrath to Cut Bank is a lonely ride.  If I recall, it's something like 70 miles.  The only service was a small store just before the Del Bonito border crossing.

Niagara Falls is also an interesting visit if you have never been there.

Offline jimbo

Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011, 06:01:39 pm »
I was WRONG as noted that the NT does not cross into Canada at Buffalo...It does. The Canadian side is quite nice if you want to invest the time and $$ to get your passport/card.

BUT you "don't have to do that" if you don't want to.

As noted you can pick up the "Erie Canal Towpath" from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo and stay in the US the entire time. ( not well marked at the onset but with a bit of study you can get through the initial confusion. I have the Buffalo to Tonawanda route info if you need it)

And in Montana at Glacier NP there is a non-Canada option "Marias Alternate". My 2008 copy of the NT shows that option. You can avoid Canada if you desire and still be following NT maps.

Sorry for adding to your confusion. I used the ACA Erie Connector route through Michigan and Canada to the Peace Bridge and then was back on ACA NT for NY. Many ways to do it as you will learn from the ACA folks.

Jim K

Offline indyfabz

Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2011, 10:49:00 am »
And in Montana at Glacier NP there is a non-Canada option "Marias Alternate". My 2008 copy of the NT shows that option. You can avoid Canada if you desire and still be following NT maps.

IMO, that's like going to Brooklyn Heights and not taking a walk on the promenade.  In '09 we were forced to ride Marias east to west because Logan Pass was still closed.  West to east is a long slog up to Marias.  The shoulder leaves something to be desired and there can be some traffic.  It's not particularly scenic in its own right, and certainly nothing compared to Going to the Sun Road.  There are also very few services between W. Glacier & E. Glacier.  Aside from the Isaak Walton Inn, I remeber passing only one or two restaurants and one campground.  The manager at the later was nice enough to let us bum some water.

If you are dead set on skipping Alberta, I highly recommend at least doing Going to the Sun to St. Mary.  From there, there are a couple of ways to get to Cut Bank wihout going into Candada.  In '09, we took U.S. 89 south from St. Mary to MT 49 (Looking Glass Hill Rd.) to East Glacier, where there is a hostel, a motel, camping and food.  There, you can pick up U.S. 2 east through Browning.  This route gives you the option of a side trip into the Two Medicine part of Glacier N.P.  And the views, especially from Looking Glass, are pretty amazing.  It’s my understanding that Starr School Rd. from U.S. 89 to Browning is easier but not nearly as scenic.  Finally, you could just stay on U.S. 89 south from St. Mary to Browning.  You can see all this on Google Maps.

Here are some photos from our ’09 trip to/from Whitefish into B.C. and AB:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/sets/72157620763740044/

The final 26 are from the west side of Going to the Sun up to Logan Pass.  The 7 before them are from between St. Mary and E. Glacier.  The grazing deer to the general store are from Waterton Village to St. Mary via Chief Mountain.

This may all be an academic exercise depending on when you get to W. Glacier.  They just had another big snowfall the other day.  Plowing of Going to the Sun is going very slowly.  I would be surprised if the road opens by the middle of June.  You may be forced to go over Marias.

While it was some time ago, I did the entire NT (’99) and the portion from Anacortes (actually started in Seattle) to Glacier the following year.  Send me a private message if you have any specific questions I may be able to help you with.