Author Topic: Northern Tier Parking  (Read 642 times)

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Offline elgatof

Northern Tier Parking
« on: May 22, 2020, 10:49:54 am »

This will be my first time doing an unsupported tour. My GF and I are training and we have the equipment (inherited from Backpacking) I live in Spokane, WA and I would like to do some riding in the Northern Tier. I was thinking of going to Whitefish, MT. and then ride east, maybe to Glacier. Or wherever or however we feel. I thought about taking Amtrak to Whitefish, but the trains only take like 6 bikes per train unless you box them. The I realize I am only 4 hours away by car. The question is: are there safe spots to park longterm in Whitefish? For those who have done the route, opinions?

Offline John Nettles

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 10:57:08 am »
Hi and welcome to the ACA Forums!

Most bikers call various places and ask permission.  The easiest is typically a hotel (assuming you are staying there).  Other places are churches, large shopping centers, schools, library, etc.  If on public property, i.e. a school, call the local police department and ask for permission if the place is closed, i.e. school closed for summer. You do this so your car is not towed away plus a lot of times, the police will keep an eye on it.

Wherever you park, be considerate.  Do not park in the closest spot to the door but toward the back so you are not impeding on the customers.

Frequently, smaller towns (around 1000 people) are good bets compared to bigger towns as frequently they have restrictive policies.

I would strongly advise you though to ensure your car has nothing of value showing in the windows.

Hope you have enjoyable rides. Tailwinds, John

Offline elgatof

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 05:25:20 pm »

Thanks, I booked a hotel stay and they told me they have an "extended" parking area that they charge $30 for. The lady said that there isn't a whole lot of parking in Whitefish. So that's settled.

Now, Does anyone about camping in the Northern Tier route after Whitefish? We are planning to the Marias pass route, as Glacier is closed right now and in addition, that route seems less steep.

Appreciate the help!

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2020, 11:28:02 am »
There are a couple of private campgrounds around the west entrance of the park. Definitely take the official ACA route from Columbia Falls to avoid the shoulderless stretch of U.S. at Hungry Horse. A few miles of dirt, but it's a good surface.

IIRC, there are a couple of Forest Service campgrounds between West and E. Glacier. There is also a private campground. Stopped there in 2009 to bum some water during a monster day from St. Mary to Glacier. Search Goolge maps for their exact locations. Sears motel in E. Glacier allowed camping back then. Don't try its website. It leads to a hook up page with semi-nude photos.

Why not simply check the maps? They show camping. And how are you planning on getting back to Whitefish? Reversing course?

BTW...Marias may be less steep, but the scenery is nothing to write home about, especially compared to Gong to the Sun. You will also have some truck traffic, and it's a long slog to the top.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2020, 12:26:18 am »
We are planning to the Marias pass route, as Glacier is closed right now
I’d wait until it opens. Going To The Sun Road is that spectacular.

Offline canalligators

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2020, 08:46:09 am »
On Google Maps search box, enter "lodging".  It will show campgrounds, motels, hostels, B&Bs, everything.

I had to take Marias Pass due to a scheduling error.  I consider that a serious shortfall, and will be going back to ride Going to Sun.

Offline elgatof

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 06:29:49 pm »
Marias is a "plan B" in case Glacier doesn't open. Yes, I have all the ACA maps but there is nothing on GTS unless the park is open. On Marias there are a few rustic hotels and campgrounds. I just wanted to do a tour, nothing is really critical. And I live in Spokane so Whitefish is a good starting point on the ACA Northern Tier. I want to do an out-and-back doing 30+miles a day. I was thinking two days of riding, rest, two days back. Any ideas? How about going to Eureka, what is there? It would be a nice relaxed 2-day trip and it is on the Northern Tier
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 06:34:20 pm by elgatof »

Offline John Nettles

Re: Northern Tier Parking
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 06:51:29 pm »
If you are not opposed to gravel, can I assume you have already ridden the great trail you have in Spokane to the Route of the Hiawatha?  You could do that, then circle back or continue on the St. Joe river road (one of my favorite roads east of Avery). There are multiple campgrounds along the route.

You could ride south toward Lewiston in the gorgeous Palouse region.  There are some campgrounds in Cheney and Rosalia I think.

Your area has lots of great places to ride.