Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Americas > Canada
Reload this Page >

Walking Across the US-Canada Border: Comparisons and Considerations

Walking Across the US-Canada Border: Comparisons and Considerations

Old Feb 18, 2021, 6:07 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Programs: AC SE
Posts: 1,530
Walking Across the US-Canada Border: Comparisons and Considerations

With the difference in rules and procedures between crossing from the US to Canada at a land crossing versus an airport, I expect many people are considering walking across. To that end, it might be helpful to discuss which land crossings are best for pedestrians and also to share experiences in walking across them. (Considerations: ease of access to the American side of the bridge; ease of access for getting picked up or meeting a cab at the Canada side of the bridge; walking distance across the bridge; safety factors; etc.)

Let's not let this turn into another discussion of one-way car rentals, since that's already been discussed at length in other threads. Instead, let's keep it to walking across.

Personally, I'm interested in knowing which of the Niagara-area bridges is best, especially for those flying into the Buffalo airport.

(Personal info: Much of my family is in the US and some are elderly, so I maintain a kind of emergency plan in case I need to get there and back in a hurry.)
TheCanuckian is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 6:18 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by TheCanuckian
With the difference in rules and procedures between crossing from the US to Canada at a land crossing versus an airport, I expect many people are considering walking across. To that end, it might be helpful to discuss which land crossings are best for pedestrians and also to share experiences in walking across them. (Considerations: ease of access to the American side of the bridge; ease of access for getting picked up or meeting a cab at the Canada side of the bridge; walking distance across the bridge; safety factors; etc.)

Let's not let this turn into another discussion of one-way car rentals, since that's already been discussed at length in other threads. Instead, let's keep it to walking across.

Personally, I'm interested in knowing which of the Niagara-area bridges is best, especially for those flying into the Buffalo airport.

(Personal info: Much of my family is in the US and some are elderly, so I maintain a kind of emergency plan in case I need to get there and back in a hurry.)
Niagara Falls is best for Southern Ontario. Queenston/Lewiston is a bit of a long walk if the taxi driver doesn’t have his passport with him and want to have to reenter the US as is the Peace Bridge.

Last edited by tcook052; Feb 18, 2021 at 8:26 am Reason: Off topic
sydneyracquelle is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 8:09 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Programs: AC SE
Posts: 1,530
Originally Posted by sydneyracquelle
Niagara Falls is best for Southern Ontario. Queenston/Lewiston is a bit of a long walk if the taxi driver doesn’t have his passport with him and want to have to reenter the US as is the Peace Bridge.
For Niagara, do you mean Rainbow Bridge or Whirlpool Bridge?

Last edited by tcook052; Feb 18, 2021 at 8:26 am Reason: Edit quote
TheCanuckian is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 8:27 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by TheCanuckian
For Niagara, do you mean Rainbow Bridge or Whirlpool Bridge?
Whirlpool is only for NEXUS holders I believe at least pre-covid.
TheCanuckian likes this.
sydneyracquelle is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 9:04 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Programs: Westjet Platinum, Fairmont Platinum RIP, Accor Gold, Marriott Lifetime Silver, HH Diamond
Posts: 1,296
Indeed Rainbow Bridge would be the shortest walk across. Whirlpool Bridge continues to be NEXUS only.
TheCanuckian likes this.
Arthurrs is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 11:50 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,344
I did this a few years ago at the Peace Arch betwean SEA and YVR, and I do not recommend it. Having done the crossing at TIJ countless times, I expected a reasonably similar experience here. I was quite surprised to learn that absolutely no one actually crosses on foot here. We actually ended up walking on the road at the crossing, after getting yelled at for unknowingly crossing an unmarked border in the park beside the checkpoint while trying to find a sidewalk/passageway. We were allowed in CA, and it was another long hike to catch the bus to the train into Vancouver. It was a daytrip, and our rental was not authorized to enter CA. I don't remember anything about the return crossing later that night, so it must have been slightly less eventful.
downinit is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 11:55 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by TheCanuckian
For Niagara, do you mean Rainbow Bridge or Whirlpool Bridge?
I drove across Queenston/Lewiston twice the other day (day trip back and forth). Its quite a trek if you are walking and possibly carrying luggage. And it was snowing at the time. Fort Erie Peace Bridge is also quite lengthy.
sydneyracquelle is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 12:15 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: YVR, HNL
Programs: AS 75k, UA peon, BA Bronze, AC E50k, Marriott Plat, HH Diamond, Fairmont Plat (RIP)
Posts: 7,850
Originally Posted by downinit
I did this a few years ago at the Peace Arch betwean SEA and YVR, and I do not recommend it. Having done the crossing at TIJ countless times, I expected a reasonably similar experience here. I was quite surprised to learn that absolutely no one actually crosses on foot here. We actually ended up walking on the road at the crossing, after getting yelled at for unknowingly crossing an unmarked border in the park beside the checkpoint while trying to find a sidewalk/passageway. We were allowed in CA, and it was another long hike to catch the bus to the train into Vancouver. It was a daytrip, and our rental was not authorized to enter CA. I don't remember anything about the return crossing later that night, so it must have been slightly less eventful.
The Lynden/Aldergrove crossing is easy. Small crossing with easy walking access. I have heard the Huntingdon/Sumas crossing is also good.
Finkface is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 12:44 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,344
Originally Posted by Finkface
The Lynden/Aldergrove crossing is easy. Small crossing with easy walking access. I have heard the Huntingdon/Sumas crossing is also good.
There was an easy transit connection linking the checkpoint with the city, so we assumed it must be a viable option. The Lynden crossing seems like it is quite a distance from town and no transit connections are coming up on Google. Seaplane is definitely my preferred method of crossing that border.
downinit is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 12:49 pm
  #10  
Moderator, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges, and Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold; Flying Blue Life Platinum; LH Sen.; Hilton Diamond; Kemal Kebabs Prized Customer
Posts: 64,477
Originally Posted by Arthurrs
Indeed Rainbow Bridge would be the shortest walk across. Whirlpool Bridge continues to be NEXUS only.
Aha, I have an excuse to show off my Rainbow Bridge photos. These were taken in December 2018. so pre-pandemic. I was actually working in Buffalo NY, but I had Sunday off, so I took the local bus to Niagara Falls State Park for a few dollars, then walked over Rainbow Bridge for a few hours in Canada. Hint: don't think Canadians can't do tackiness, they certainly can. For the walk across you need to bear in mind the path - and entry area - is on the left side of the bridge facing civilisation Canada, but the entry area is a bit disguised, as you can see. It's just some one way gates and you're on the bridge, that's it. I imagine the cameras are watching, but there is no one obviously controlling the US departure area. If you are in the State Park on that side of the bridge and head to the structure you will find it ok. The State Park is wonderfully restful place just to walk around, incidentally.



On the bridge itself you are clearly aware of the international significance. Here the USA flag is at half mast, marking the decease of President George H.W. Bush a few days previously.



You need to keep an eye out for the actual border, but one may be distracted by the incredible backdrop.



NB: for any Aliens who are not Canadians but have Global Entry and are starting from the USA, try and get the CBP to stamp your passport upon your initial entry into the USA. Both Canada and USA checkpoints are looking for that stamp, and whereas the Canada Border Services Agency ON are likely to believe you if you say CBP don't stamp Global Entry members, the CBP at Niagara Falls NY (on the return trip) find that a bit unlikely.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Feb 18, 2021 at 12:56 pm
corporate-wage-slave is online now  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 1:55 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Toronto, ON but someday (hopefully) OGG or ACK
Programs: DL, AA, US, AC, Marriott Platinum, HHhonors Silver (Woo Hoo!)
Posts: 263
Originally Posted by sydneyracquelle
Whirlpool is only for NEXUS holders I believe at least pre-covid.
Not only that, but the Whirlpool Bridge is closed to all pedestrians, even those who are NEXUS holders.

Rainbow Bridge is your best bet. I have walked across several times (usually by being dropped off in Niagara Falls ON by either GO Transit or a casino bus, walking over, going through customs, then having family pick me up at the state park parking lot (or on the street during the summer season). During the season you can take the Niagara Tourism shuttle for free if your destination is along the river in Niagara County, NY (mine is so of course I would find it convenient - but it is not convenient for everyone).

I did the other direction too where I walked to a Go Transit stop (or took Uber - pre pandemic when I wan't as squeamish about ride hailing services).
closecover is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 3:23 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Bracebridge, ON
Posts: 341
The obvious issue here is what the border agent would say relative to your quarantine plan as walking across you probably dont count as an essential worker. You can’t be picked up in Canada by family as that would not be isolated. You also shouldn’t be using taxis, Uber or public transit. Therefore after you cross a car rental agency in close proximity it’s is a must. I would be worried about getting sent to a quarantine facility.
rstruthe is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 3:26 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by rstruthe
The obvious issue here is what the border agent would say relative to your quarantine plan as walking across you probably dont count as an essential worker. You cant be picked up in Canada by family as that would not be isolated. You also shouldnt be using taxis, Uber or public transit. Therefore after you cross a car rental agency in close proximity its is a must. I would be worried about getting sent to a quarantine facility.
Tons of people have gotten picked up by friends/family at their home Cdn airport since last March. Per other thread you have to even take a ride with other people to the quarantine hotel as of 2/22.
LETTERBOY likes this.
sydneyracquelle is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 3:50 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: YVR, HNL
Programs: AS 75k, UA peon, BA Bronze, AC E50k, Marriott Plat, HH Diamond, Fairmont Plat (RIP)
Posts: 7,850
Originally Posted by rstruthe
The obvious issue here is what the border agent would say relative to your quarantine plan as walking across you probably dont count as an essential worker. You cant be picked up in Canada by family as that would not be isolated. You also shouldnt be using taxis, Uber or public transit. Therefore after you cross a car rental agency in close proximity its is a must. I would be worried about getting sent to a quarantine facility.
There is no rule against using any form of transportation to get to your place of quarantine. Public transit, taxi, picked up by a friend or family; all allowed. Heck, you can even go to the drive-thru.

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-heal...ion-sheet.html

Your 14-day quarantine starts on the day you arrive

  • Go directly to your place of quarantine without delay and stay there for the duration of your quarantine.
  • Practise physical distancing at all times.
  • Avoid stops and contact with others while in transit to quarantine:
    • Use a private vehicle if possible
    • Remain in the vehicle as much as possible
    • Pay at the pump for gas and use drive through when you need food
    • Wear a suitable non-medical mask at all times unless you are alone in a private vehicle
LETTERBOY and jackmaninov like this.
Finkface is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2021, 5:50 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: YUL
Posts: 1,009
Originally Posted by rstruthe
The obvious issue here is what the border agent would say relative to your quarantine plan as walking across you probably dont count as an essential worker. You can’t be picked up in Canada by family as that would not be isolated. You also shouldn’t be using taxis, Uber or public transit. Therefore after you cross a car rental agency in close proximity it’s is a must. I would be worried about getting sent to a quarantine facility.

Not true, I know first hand that parents have been dropping students off at the border to walk across, then to be picked up on the other side by Uber/taxi or a friend. It has never been an issue, just another reason why it is all a little bonkers.
Bogwoppit is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.