|Northern Tier Route Summary:
|The information below is provided by Adventure Cycle who publishes the maps for the NorthernTier. They run the trip from west to east so this reads a little backward from what I will be doing.|
CROSSING THE NATION NEAR THE U.S.-CANADA BORDER
The Northern Tier comprises three smaller route segments, described below.
Anacortes, Washington, to Fargo, North Dakota
This section, beginning at sea level, offers large expanses of mountains, the Great Plains, and some beautiful farmland areas in between. It can be ridden from late spring to late fall. Due to snow, State Highway 20 east of North Cascades National Park in Washington is only open through certain dates. The same is true for Going-to-the-Sun Highway in Glacier National Park in Montana, which is usually closed until early June. Even in the height of summer in July, cyclists must be prepared for cold nights and occasional snow in the higher elevations during storms. Due to changing local conditions, it is difficult to predict any major wind patterns.
Fargo, North Dakota, to Muscatine, Iowa
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa stand out as some of the greenest and lushest of all the states along the Northern Tier Route. From either direction, this greenery proves to be a relief from the giant plains to the west and acres of farmland to the east. You’ll learn a lot about the history of the Mississippi River as you follow it southward.
Muscatine, Iowa, to Bar Harbor, Maine
The Iowa to Maine section stretches from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. In between it touches two of the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls — which is one of the scenic wonders of North America — and follows a transportation corridor that opened the country west of the original colonies. It passes through cities that were once the backbone of American industrialism and are now remaking themselves into the modern idiom, through hamlets, villages, and towns that define the region with a notable story to tell, and through places that played pivotal roles in the history of the United States.