Frequently Asked Questions

Sunset on the Pacific

Q: What is the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail?
A: The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is approximately 4,900 miles long, extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the mouth of the Columbia River, near present day Astoria, Oregon.

It follows the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the preparatory section from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois.

The Trail connects 16 states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon) and many tribal lands. It is administered by the National Park Service.

The 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act extended the Trail an additional 1,200 miles along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois.

Q. How long does it take to travel the trail?
A. It varies depending on your mode of travel and the number of sites you hope to see along the Trail. To see the entire Lewis and Clark NHT, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the Pacific Ocean would require at least 3-4 weeks. Learn more about sites along the trail from our maps page or the Plan Your Visit section.

Q: What is the purpose of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail?
A: The purpose of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is to commemorate the 1803 to 1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition through the identification; protection; interpretation; public use and enjoyment; and preservation of historic, cultural, and natural resources associated with the expedition and its place in U.S. and tribal history.

Q: Why was this new section of trail added to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail?
A: While the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is often told in history books as starting near St. Louis,the preparations for the journey started much earlier.

Q: How will this change the administration of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail?
A: The National Park Service will administer the extended Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail through formal and informal partnerships with governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private landowners for resource protection, visitor experience, and education.

The Trail extension will increase opportunities for interpretation and education, particularly the activities that happened in preparation for the expedition. Additionally, the trail extension will highlight recreational opportunities along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and will engage partners and stakeholders in trail management and related activities.

Q: What does success look like for the extended Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail?
A: Partnerships are key. National Park Service Trail staff, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, are excited to engage new partners as we work to commemorate and protect the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Q: What happens now?
A: We happily welcome the five new states to the Trail. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail functions through partnerships with a variety of entities and the National Park Service will work with those sites along the eastern extension.

As a national historic trail, we differ from a traditional national scenic trail (i.e. the Appalachian Trail) in that we are not a surface trail. There are no plans to acquire land along the trail corridor. Our primary job is to manage relationships and work with those who want to collaborate instead of managing land.

The national historic trail protects the historic corridor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and encourages people to connect with the story through a variety of interpretive, recreational and transportation means.

Q: What sites are included in the extension?
A: The extension adds five states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Q: Will the extension come with more funding for the NPS?
A: The 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act did not authorize any additional funds. We will incorporate the new extension gradually, following a strategic plan.

Q: Will the National Park Service own land along the Trail? Will there be a change in land ownership?
A: There are no plans to acquire land along the trail corridor. Our primary job is to manage relationships and work with those who want to collaborate instead of managing land.

Q: Will there be an increase in funding for Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail?
A: A budget increase was not authorized with the Act. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will continue to operate with the existing budget.

 
 
river confluence

State by State Guide

A state by state guide to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Last updated: May 9, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

601 Riverfront Dr.
Omaha, NE 68102

Phone:

(402) 661-1804

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