On the Trail of Lewis and Clark

Photo: Donnie Sexton

Photo: Donnie Sexton

On the Trail of Lewis and Clark

Central Montana’s Upper Missouri River proved to be one of the most challenging and inspiring parts of the Corps of Discovery’s 1804-1806 expedition across America. Lewis and Clark’s 33-person team had it tough on the Upper Missouri, hauling six dugout canoes and two behemoth 35-foot pirogues upstream to Fort Benton. Despite the adversity, the explorers were awed by “scenes of visionary enchantment”—stark badlands, 1,000-foot-deep canyons and striking yellow sandstone features like Hole in the Wall, Citadel Rock and the Eye of the Needle. —CM

Redux Route: You’ll experience the same riverside campsites of Lewis and Clark, but skip the hardships by floating the full 149 miles of Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri downstream from Fort Benson to Kipp Recreation Area. The current pulls steadily through a wilderness mosaic of golden eagles, bighorn sheep, ponderosa pine and big prairie skies. Be sure to stop at Lewis and Clark’s “Decision Point” campsite at the junction of the Marias River. It was here the expedition laid over 10 days debating which waterway was the true Missouri. (Info and guided trips: uppermissouri.com)

The Voyageur’s Highway   The Singing Wilderness

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