Author Topic: Need help negotiating Northern Tier route without going into Canada  (Read 3721 times)

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Offline hirakukibou

Hi all,
My partner and I are going from Boston to Rochester then hooking up with the Northern Tier Route.  However, we don't want to go into Canada.  Is there a way to avoid it?  Would be interested in advice.
"Why walk when you can bike!"


  • Guest
You'd leave the NT for a few miles, staying on the US side of the Niagara River from Lewiston to Buffalo. A NY state road map should suffice, but a more detailed map like the Delorme atlas would be better at avoiding major traffic in Buffalo. The Canada side is a much nicer ride, but this will work.

Then in Section 2 you can take the Marias alternate from Cut Bank to Kalispell, skipping the spectacular Waterton Park.


Offline jcostanz

In short Yes.  Which direction would you be traveling?
I can give turn by turn directions.  The US route keeps you almost all roads in buffalo until it meets up with the ACA route at the Peace Bridge.
I do not recommend crossing Grand Island, as the walkway on the bridges is constantly under work.  Google maps with the bicycle route active can show you most bike paths on in the area.


Offline hirakukibou

We will be traveling West (leaving from Massachusetts, going to Western MA, then to Rochester NY where we join the Northern Tier). 

Would love to have detailed directions!  Thanks so much to both of you for your advice.

-- Pata
"Why walk when you can bike!"


  • Guest
Do you realize that the Northern Tier also goes into Alberta, Canada from Cut Bank, MT?

While you can skip going into that portion of Canada, I would not take Marias Pass instead of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat'l Park. GTS is, IMO, the highlight of the route. If you look closely, you can see the road carved into the side of the mountains:

From Cut Bank, go to Browning and then take Starr School Rd. from N. Browning to U.S. 89 north to St. Mary and you will be back on route. St. Mary is the western end of GTS. You will have some ups and downs on U.S. 89, but it will end with a screaming descent of maybe 6 miles into St. Mary. This is looking down the hill:

Treat yourself to some pie at the Park Cafe in town.

If find yourself inclined to go into Canada from Cut Bank, Waterton Village is a nice place for a day off. There is a nice town camspite situated on the shore of the lake.

And there are some hiking opportunities. The route back into MT over Chief Mountain Highway is as sweet as it is challenging.

Offline jcostanz

Below are the directions to stay in the US from the Lewiston-Queenstion Bridge to the Peace Bridge.

Take the ACA Northern Tier route all the way to you are on Upper Mountain rd.  Just before you would take the ramp to Canada is an intersection with Military RD.  Take a right on Military Rd, towards St Marys hospital.  The road will then end at Lewiston RD(rt 104). Make a left onto Lewiston RD.  you will pass over the New York Power Authority (use caution there is currently road construction.  You will pass Niagara University on the Left.  Stay right at the light after Niagara University.  Just after the Light  on the right will be an entrance to Devil's hole and the Robet Moses parkway.  Turn right and then left into the parking lot.  at the end of the parking lot there is a pedestrian bridge over the parkway.  Take the bridge and then Turn so that the river is your right.  from here you will be on a no car path for several miles.  Take this to the end and then follow the ped detour under the Rainbow Bridge.  You will go past Niagara Falls.  keeping the river on the right as you leave the falls you will pass the water inlet towers for the power project several miles later.  You will next come up to 2 large bridges (I-190) over the niagara river and the path will end at Buffalo Ave.  make a right on Buffalo Ave and take it until you reach a 4 way stop sign (several miles down the road past several lights).  Make a right on to River Road.  After the park on the right with the Seabees memorial a bike path will appear on the right.  Take this bike path till it ends at a bridge, cross the bridge and then take the path on the right.  keep the river on the right and this path will take you to the Peace Bridge, where you will reconnect with the ACA Route.