Author Topic: Northern Tier, westbound, options for getting from Cut Bank to Saint Mary's  (Read 2054 times)

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Offline jwrushman

I know this topic has been discussed before but I can't find the answer I'm looking for. It seems that there are several options for getting from cutbank to Saint Mary's. The Northern Tier route has one going into Cardston Alberta. Is this route more scenic than the more direct routes that stay in Montana? Or does it have less traffic? I was just curious why that route was selected.

Offline JHamelman

The Marias Alternate is shorter than the main NT route, has an easier climb but is less scenic. Traffic is light to moderate.

The easier climb and shorter distance are both reasons for including it on the map. It's a faster way to go if needing to cut time and distance. Also, it avoids entering Canada. Not everyone wants or is prepared to cross the border.

Jennifer
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer Hamelman
Assistant Director, Routes & Mapping
Cartographer

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 John Nelson

The Marias Alternate is shorter than the main NT route, has an easier climb but is less scenic.

Ah, but the Marias Alternate also avoids Going To The Sun Road. Missing out of Going To The Sun Road is a crime is 37 states. If you really want to get from Cut Bank to St Mary, I recommend taking the Marias Alternate to West Glacier and then ride over GTTSR to St Mary. To continue on, ride back over GTTSR. This way you get to experience GTTSR twice! GTTSR is the best cycling road in the United States.

Offline jwrushman

I am westbound. From Cut Bank, I was considering Rte 2 to Browning and Rte 89 to St. Mary's. We'll take the GTTSR westward and continue on the Northern Tier. Any problem with these routes?

Offline rabbitoh

For what it's worth (it was 28 years ago) when I rode the NT, I did exactly what you are contemplating by taking Rte 2 from Cut Bank to Browning and then Rte 89 from Browning to St Mary. I do remember that there was a fair bit of climbing and that the scenery was magnificent, but in my journal I didn't make any mention regarding traffic.

Of course things may have changed over all that time.

Whatever you do, don't miss riding the Going To The Sun Hwy.

Regards
Good Cycling
Dennis

Offline JHamelman

I am westbound. From Cut Bank, I was considering Rte 2 to Browning and Rte 89 to St. Mary's. We'll take the GTTSR westward and continue on the Northern Tier. Any problem with these routes?

Be aware there is construction on US 89 between Kiowa Junction and Saint Mary. It doesn't say so on the Montana DOT site but a friend just drove it the other day and he says it's pretty horrible with lots of loose gravel. You may not want to ride it.

Jenn
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer Hamelman
Assistant Director, Routes & Mapping
Cartographer

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 Pat Lamb

Missing out of Going To The Sun Road is a crime is 37 states.

It's legal in Alabama.  And probably Wyoming, too.  ;)

Seriously, GTTS is one of the most scenic spots in the U.S.A., and well worth the effort.  Even if you can't or don't want to bike it, go to St. Mary's or Apgar and take the free shuttle.