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Essay on Earlier Explorations
Essay on American Indians
Essay on Preparing for the Journey
Essay on the Journey
Essay on Scientific Encounters
Essay on the Trail Today
List of Sites
Chronological List of Sites
Begin the Tour


The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, in conjunction with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invite you to discover the historic places of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This expedition, which took place between 1804 and 1806, has been described as the greatest camping trip of all time, a voyage of high adventure, an exercise in manifest destiny which carried the American flag overland to the Pacific. It was all of this and more. This travel itinerary highlights 41 historic places listed in the National Register of Historic Places and associated with Lewis and Clark. Many of these places are also part of the National Park Service's Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Lewis and Clark traveled more than 8,000 miles in less than two and one-half years, losing only one member of their party, at a total cost to the American taxpayer of $40,000. The significance of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was far reaching. It strengthened the United State's position in the struggle for control of North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Lewis and Clark's trek also inspired explorers, trappers, traders, hunters, adventurers, prospectors, homesteaders, ranchers, soldiers, businessman and missionaries to move westward--spurring a century of rapid settlement which peopled the West with European-Americans and disrupted the cultures and lifestyles of countless American Indians. Lewis and Clark contributed to geographical knowledge by determining the true course of the Upper Missouri River and its major tributaries while William Clark produced maps of tremendous value to later explorers. They forever destroyed the dream of a Northwest Passage (a water route across the continent), but proved the success of overland travel to the Pacific. They made the first attempt at a systematic record of the meteorology of the West, and less successfully attempted to determine the latitude and longitude of significant geographical points. Through the Expedition's peaceful cooperation with the American Indian tribes they met, they compiled the first general survey of life and material culture of the tribes of the Missouri, Rocky Mountains and the Northwest coast. Lewis and Clark also made significant additions to the zoological and botanical knowledge of the continent, describing at least 120 mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, as well as almost 200 plant specimens. By any measure of scientific exploration, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was phenomenally successful in terms of accomplishing its stated goals, expanding human knowledge and spurring further curiosity and wonder about the vast American West.

The expedition began on May 21, 1804, when the Corps of Discovery departed from St. Charles, Missouri, an event now commemorated by the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The party crossed the Mississippi River, and headed up the Missouri. The Corps tried to maintain a pace of 14 to 20 miles a day, resting at places such as Fort Atkinson and Spirit Mound. They reached what is now North Dakota by October of 1804, and set up a winter camp, Fort Mandan, amidst the Knife River Indian Villages. It was here that a young Shoshone woman named Sacagawea, who proved to be an invaluable interpreter for the explorers, joined the Expedition with her husband and infant son. In the spring, the Corps of Discovery pushed westward through Montana country until they encountered the Great Falls of the Missouri, where they had to carry their boats over land for almost 20 miles. By mid-September, they were climbing the arduous Lolo Trail through the Bitterroot Mountains to Weippe Prairie, where they arrived exhausted, starving and much in need of the assistance offered by the friendly Nez Perce Indians. The Corps continued onward down the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia rivers and finally reached the Pacific Ocean in mid-November 1805. At the mouth of the Columbia, they built Fort Clatsop, and settled into winter quarters. They began the return trip March 23, 1806, and stayed again with the Nez Perce waiting for the winter snows to melt on the Lolo Trail. After stopping at Traveler's Rest, Lewis and Clark split the men into two groups in order to explore more of the territory. Lewis and three of the men headed north to explore the Marias River, during which the expedition suffered its only hostile encounter with American Indians at Two Medicine Fight Site. Clark's group generally retraced the outbound route to the Three Forks of the Missouri and then overland to the Yellowstone River, which they followed to its juncture with the Missouri River, where both groups reunited on August 12th. The explorers finally returned to St. Charles on September 23, 1806, and were greeted with much fanfare.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition offers several ways to discover the places that tell the story of the Corps of Discovery. Each highlighted site features a brief description of the place's historic significance, color photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to six essays that explain more about Earlier Explorations, Preparing for the Journey, The Journey, American Indians, Scientific Encounters and The Trail Today. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with information regarding special activities and cultural events taking place during the bicentennial celebration of the Expedition, as well as lodging and dining possibilities. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit any of the places in this Lewis and Clark travel itinerary in person.

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and NCSHPO, the Lewis and Clark Expedition is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. The Lewis and Clark Expedition is the 26th National Register travel itinerary successfully created through such partnerships. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

A Special Note about the Journal Citations:
Excerpts from the original journals of Lewis and Clark are included throughout the text of this itinerary. Sources for these journal excerpts are noted in parantheses directly after the citations. The full citation for these sources are found in the Bibliography on our Learn More page. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located near the places featured in this itinerary.

Earlier Explorations

Lewis and Clark followed in the spirit, if not the footsteps, of earlier European explorers. The expeditions of Coronado, La Salle, Lewis and Clark, and John C. Frémont brought back invaluable knowledge of North America's geographic features, flora and fauna, and inhabitants--the American Indians who were the continent's first discoverers and explorers. The Coronado and De Soto expeditions of the Spanish and the French explorations under La Salle, as well as the voyages and expeditions of other European explorers across North America, set the precedent for Lewis and Clark.

First Discoverers: The American Indians were the first discoverers and explorers of the North American continent. Although the most recent evidence points to an American Indian presence more than 13,000 years ago, the date of their initial exploration of North America remains unknown. Crossing a land bridge, which linked Alaska to Siberia during the Ice Age, they spread out from northern Alaska, settled across the North American landmass, and eventually made their way to the furthermost tip of South America. The original inhabitants of North America were familiar with the great rivers and trade routes later used by the European colonists. Often acting as guides to the European explorers, the American Indians taught the newcomers how to cultivate native crops, find hunting grounds and water sources, and explore lands beyond the European colonial horizon. Spain, following Columbus's 1492 discoveries in the Caribbean, was the first European nation to establish permanent colonies in North America. The journeys of Juan Ponce de Leon, the first Spaniard to reach the shores of Florida in 1513 and again in 1521, and the disastrous 1528 Florida expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, were important in expanding Spanish knowledge of the North American continent above Mexico. It was the discoveries of the Coronado and De Soto expeditions, however, which first mapped most of the present southwestern and southeastern United States.

The Coronado Expedition: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (1510-1554) remains the most famous Spanish explorer of the American Southwest. Born in Salamanca, Spain, the second son of an aristocrat, Coronado arrived in Mexico in 1535 seeking his fortune. By 1538 he was appointed governor of the frontier province of Nuevo Galicia. On orders from the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico City, Coronado outfitted an elaborate expedition. Coronado's force consisted of 225 mounted cavaliers, 62 foot soldiers, 800 American Indian allies and 1,000 African and American Indian slaves. Their goal was to find the rumored riches of the "Seven Cities of Cíbola". Fray Marcos, a Spanish friar, had visited just south of the pueblo region in 1539 and declared that Cíbola was "a land rich in gold, silver and other wealth." On February 23, 1540, the Coronado party left Compostela in western Mexico and moved north, roughly following the Pacific Coast before exploring the modern day Mexican regions of Sinaloa and Sonora. Part of Coronado's expedition, under Hernando de Alarcón, ascended the Gulf of California in three ships and explored the regions of the lower Colorado River, reaching the modern-day border of southern California and Arizona.

Twenty-one miles south of Sierra Vista, in the San Pedro Valley, historians believe Coronado entered the present United States, where the Coronado National Memorial, administered by the National Park Service, stands today. Entering the Zuni territory of western Arizona and eastern New Mexico, Coronado's party entered the fabled country of Cíbola on July 7, 1540. The pueblos, while impressive, were not the golden cities of Friar Marcos's account.

Coronado occupied the pueblo of Háwiku, making it his headquarters until November 1540, from which he sent out smaller exploring parties. He sent Don Pedro de Tovar to northeastern Arizona, to explore the Hopi villages. In August 1540, García López de Cárdenes, Coronado's right hand man, was sent to investigate reports of a river in the West. Cárdenes and 25 Spanish horsemen arrived after 80 days at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, becoming the first Europeans to view one of the most spectacular scenes of natural beauty in the American West. Cárdenes and his company were also the first Europeans to attempt to descend the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River, but they were unsuccessful.

American Indian visitors from the pueblo of Cicuye (Pecos Pueblo in Eastern New Mexico) presented Coronado with hides of a strange "humpbacked cow," which were buffalo hides from the plains. Coronado in turn sent Hernando de Alvarado with 20 men to explore the new region about Cicuye and the upper Río Grande. Near the modern town of Pecos, Texas, at the American Indian settlement of Cicúique, Alvarado's party was presented with two captive American Indians. One, whom the Spanish named "the Turk," convinced the explorers to turn northeast towards a region named Quivira, which he claimed was rich in gold and silver. On April 23, 1541, Coronado left Tiguex on the Río Grande with a force totaling 1,500, including Indian allies and servants. Reaching the plains, they encountered great herds of buffalo and made peaceful contact with the Apache nation. Crossing the Canadian River west of the modern New Mexico-Texas line, the party traversed the Texas Panhandle.

On June 29, 1541, they found the Quivira country, occupied by a native people--probably Wichita Indians. The Quivira villages were composed of scattered round grass lodges, and were not the golden cities the Spanish came searching for. The explorers became exasperated, and in a Quivira village in the vicinity of modern day Lyons, Kansas, the Turk was ordered hung. Although Kansas, abundant in wildlife, reminded the men of Spain, the disappointed Spanish turned back, returning by a new route through the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles.

The majority of his men desired to return to Mexico and in 1542 the Coronado expedition headed home. Coronado returned to Mexico City with about a hundred men of his mostly disbanded expedition. Coronado and his party were the first Europeans and Africans to observe the Zuni and Hopi pueblos, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, and the Gila River. This expedition was also the first to establish a winter camp on the banks of the Río Grande, hunt buffalo on the plains, and explore the North American interior as far as modern day Kansas.

The De Soto Expedition: Hernando De Soto (1500-1542) was a captain under Francisco Pizarro, and made a fortune during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. De Soto's expedition into the Southeastern United States began from Cuba. The site of De Soto's landing in Florida in May 1539 is disputed between Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and San Carlos Bay. De Soto, leading 600 men, marched north up the Florida peninsula, finding winter quarters at the American Indian town of Apalache, near the modern city of Tallahassee, Florida. In March 1540 De Soto headed north across Georgia, before going up the Savannah River. Here De Soto encountered the Cherokees, visiting their town Xualla in the region of the North Carolina-South Carolina border before crossing the mountains into eastern Tennessee. Turning south into Alabama, by October 1540, De Soto reached Mavila (today Mobile, Alabama), where the ancestors of the Creek Nation resisted the Spanish. In the encounter De Soto's force took the town of Mavila, but the Spanish lost 18 men and 12 horses, while 150 of the Spanish force received wounds, among them De Soto himself. Hearing of riches, on November 17 he turned north, and set up winter quarters at a Chickasaw settlement in northern Mississippi. By March, the Chickasaw were at war with De Soto's party, and destroyed most of the expedition's supplies.

In April 1541, on the move again, De Soto and his company stood on the east bank of the Mississippi, becoming the first Europeans to encounter the great river. It was in June when he and his men crossed the Mississippi and passed through central and south Arkansas, searching for gold. They reached as far north as the village of Coluca, in northeastern Arkansas, before traveling to the mouth of the Arkansas River. From there, the Spanish followed the Arkansas River upstream until they reached near modern-day Little Rock. De Soto and his party next journeyed west to Tula, near Caddo Gap, before finding winter quarters on the Ouachita River in southern Arkansas. The next spring, resolving to go to the Gulf of Mexico and send for reinforcements, De Soto's party headed south, now with about 300 efficient fighting men. Near the mouth of the Red River in Louisiana, on May 21, 1542, De Soto died from a fever and was buried in the Mississippi River. The remainder of the expedition returned to Mexico.

Today the National Park Service maintains the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida, which commemorates the 1539 De Soto expedition. The legacy of the Coronado and De Soto expeditions, according to the historian Herbert Bolton in Coronado, Knight of Pueblos and Plain, "made known to the world in broad outline nearly a third of the area now contained in the United States, and in several important respects had changed current ideas regarding the entire land mass of North America and its geographical relation to the rest of the globe."

French Explorations: The French entered the race for the Americas in 1534 when King Francis I sent Jacques Cartier on a voyage of discovery across the Atlantic Ocean. Cartier first explored Newfoundland before sailing up the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The following year he continued exploring the St. Lawrence as far as present-day Montreal. For the next half-century French fishermen arrived in such numbers around the waters of Newfoundland that they secured French claims to modern-day eastern Canada. It was the fur trade and the wealth it generated that caused King Henry IV, who reigned from 1589 to 1610, to secure the area for France. Samuel de Champlain traversed much of the new territory, establishing Quebec in 1608 and exploring the waterways and paths around Lake Champlain, Lake Huron and the eastern end of Lake Ontario from 1609-15. In 1663 The French King Louis XIV created a royal province out of New France and sent as its administrator Jean Talon, a man of great ability. Talon sent Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet (1645-1700), a native-born Canadian fur trader, to explore the Mississippi River, which they entered on June 17, 1673. Marquette and Jolliet reached as far as the mouth of the Arkansas River before turning back.

When they returned to Quebec in 1674 René Robert Cavelier, also known as Sieur de La Salle, listened to the tales of their adventures with great attention. La Salle envisioned creating a series of trading forts down the Mississippi that would prevent the Atlantic English colonies from expanding westward. In February 1682, La Salle and his party entered the Mississippi from the Illinois River, and by April they entered the Gulf of Mexico, having successfully navigated the great river. Returning to France, he received permission to establish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi, and with four ships he embarked across the Atlantic, but landed instead at Matagorda Bay, in Texas. It was in eastern Texas where mutinous followers murdered him in 1687. La Salle's vision became a reality when New Orleans was established in 1718, and the French forts along the Mississippi River basin were created to secure the alliances of the local inhabitants.

Other Explorations: Vitus Bering, a Danish navigator sailing in the service of Russia, set out on a great expedition in 1741, and with Aleksei Chirikov, successfully mapped the western coast of Alaska, claiming the land for the Czars. Later the Russians would reach as far as northern California, when, in 1812, Russian fur traders established Fort Ross on Bodega Bay, to the north of San Francisco. England's exploration of North America began when Genovese navigator John Cabot explored the seas around Newfoundland in 1497. The successful English colonization of North America started with the founding of Jamestown in 1607. The Dutch and the Swedes competed with England for control of the Hudson and Delaware River valleys, with the Dutch exploring much of modern New York State from the 1620s until the English conquered their North American holdings in 1664. The Dutch had earlier seized the Swedish possessions.

The English exploration of the North American interior was slow and cautious. Captain Abraham Wood, in 1650, explored the forks of the Roanoke River in Virginia. James Neeham and Gabriel Arthur reached the Yadkin River and found a pass through the Carolina Blue Ridge in 1673. It was the English fur traders who pushed west into the Shenandoah Valley in the 1680s. By the following decade they were on the banks of the Ohio River, in disputed territory claimed by France. After the American Revolution, British and British Canadian explorers continued to map the North American continent. Captain George Vancouver was an English explorer whose ships reached the Strait of Juan de Fuca in May 1792. He explored the region about modern-day Seattle, naming Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, Whidbey Island, and the Hood Canal. David Thompson explored western North America from 1797 to 1812, including much of the western United States (including the Columbia River) and Canada, and mapped the region.


Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1996.

Billington, Ray Allen, with James Blaine Hedges. Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949.

Lamar, Howard R. (editor). The New Encyclopedia of the American West. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. (Especially helpful were the articles by Richard A. Bartlett on Coronado and De Soto, Homer E. Socolofsky's article on Colonial Wars, Odie B. Faulk's article on Texas, John L. Loos' article on the Lewis and Clark Expedition).

Milner II, Clyde A., Carol A. O'Connor, Martha A. Sandweiss (editors). The Oxford History of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press. 1994.

National Park Service. Coronado National Memorial Arizona. (pamphlet) Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1974.

Seibert, Erika K. Martin (compiler and editor). The Earliest Americans Theme Study for the Eastern United States (draft). Washington, D.C.: National Historic Landmarks Survey, NRHE, National Park Service, 2002.

Slaughter, Thomas P. Exploring Lewis and Clark: Reflections on Men and Wilderness. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Preparing for the Journey

Before his inauguration on March 4, 1801, President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis, a 29-year-old career officer in the U.S. Army, to join him in the White House as his personal secretary. Jefferson knew Lewis and Lewis's family, as they were neighbors of his Monticello, Virginia, estate. Lewis, a staunch Jeffersonian Democrat, tested the loyalty of top Army officers to the President and reported back to Jefferson. Lewis was sent with sensitive messages to the ministers of foreign powers, and generally assisted the President. But most of all Lewis listened. Lewis absorbed Jefferson's ideas on geography, science, politics, American Indians, and diplomacy. It seems that Lewis was being groomed to lead Jefferson's expedition into the West.

On January 18, 1803, President Jefferson sent a special message to Congress about the proposed expedition. He noted with concern the fact that the British were carrying on a lucrative fur trade with American Indians along the northern border of the United States and into the West. He approached Congress with the idea that "an intelligent officer with 10 or 12 chosen men, fit for the enterprise and willing to undertake it, taken from our posts, where they may be spared without inconvenience, might explore the whole line, even to the Western ocean ..." (Jackson 10-13). In this message, Jefferson portrayed the major goal of the projected expedition as a diplomatic one, in which the explorers "could have conferences with the natives" about commerce, and gain admission for American traders among the various Indian tribes. The other major goal of the expedition, barely stated by Jefferson on January 18, was a scientific one--to not only explore but map and chronicle everything of interest, as he put it, along "the only line of easy communication across the continent." Jefferson took great care to describe the project as a cheap one which would not cost the taxpayers much money. "Their arms & accouterments, some instruments of observation, & light & cheap presents for the Indians would be all the apparatus they could carry, and with an expectation of a soldier's portion of land on their return would constitute the whole expense." Jefferson knew that diplomacy, especially with the goal of increased commerce, could be sold to Congress; scientific discovery and description could not. One seemed practical, the other less so. Thus Jefferson asked for $2,500 to fund the expedition (based on Lewis's initial estimates). (Jackson 8-9 and 13)

On about March 15, 1803, Lewis arrived in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (today's West Virginia), to obtain rifles and other equipment for the expedition, including an iron boat frame. The construction of the boat detained him longer than he had expected, and he stayed in Harpers Ferry for about a month. The boat was made in two sections, each weighing 22 pounds, which could be fitted together to form the skeleton of a boat of 40 feet in length, and would be covered with animal hides and sealed together with pitch. This special boat could be used high in the mountains if they were unable to make dugout canoes.

Besides procuring equipment, Lewis was also expected to take crash courses in several disciplines to round out his training as leader of the expedition. With only the precedent of the voyages of James Cook, Lewis was instructed to compile scientific data on every aspect of the terrain through which he would pass. He was prepared for this by Jefferson during the period he served as the President's personal secretary, and during the Spring of 1803 by astronomer Andrew Ellicott, botanist Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, surveyor and mathematician Robert Patterson, physician Dr. Benjamin Rush, and anatomist Dr. Caspar Wistar (Rush and Wistar were both members of the American Philosophical Society). Lewis also spent his time in Philadelphia procuring supplies, such items as "portable soup," medicine, special uniforms made of drab cloth, tents, tools, kettles, tobacco, corn mills, wine, gunpowder in lead canisters, medical and surgical supplies, and presents. In addition to all of these activities, Lewis most certainly visited the famous museum of Charles Willson Peale, then located on the second floor of Independence Hall.

Lewis left Philadelphia on June 1 and traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Jefferson and make final arrangements for his journey to the Pacific. These included writing a long letter on June 19 to an old friend, William Clark, asking him to be a co-leader of the expedition and to recruit men in his area. Lewis told Clark the real destination of their mission (the Pacific Coast), but told him to use a cover story that the mission was to go up the Mississippi River to its source for his recruitment. Lewis also hinted at secret news just received by President Jefferson: the French had offered the entire territory of Louisiana to the United States for $15 million. On July 3, 1803, official news arrived in the nation's capital--Robert Livingston and James Monroe had purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon's France.

Lewis left Washington on July 5 for Harpers Ferry, where he picked up the more than 3,500 pounds of supplies and equipment he had amassed to take overland to the Pittsburgh area. The Harpers Ferry-made items probably included 15 rifles, 24 pipe tomahawks, 36 tomahawks for American Indian presents, 24 large knives, 15 powder horns and pouches, 15 pairs of bullet molds, 15 wipers or gun worms, 15 ball screws, 15 gun slings, extra parts of locks and tools for replacing arms, 40 fish giggs such as the Indians use with a single barb point, 1 small grindstone and the collapsible iron frame for a canoe. Lewis left Harpers Ferry for the West on July 8. He hired a man named William Linnard with a Conestoga Wagon to haul the supplies to Pittsburgh. The items were so heavy that Linnard had to obtain another wagon. At Elizabeth, Pennsylvania (south of Pittsburgh on the Monongehela River), Lewis was held up for more than a month waiting for his 55-foot keelboat to be built. During this time, Lewis received word from William Clark that he would join the expedition.

On August 31, the keelboat was completed and Lewis began his journey down the Ohio. It is believed that Lewis also purchased what later became known as the "Red Pirogue" at this time, a single-masted boat rowed with seven oars. Lewis investigated ancient Indian mounds on his way down the river at what is now Creek Mounds State Historic Site near Kent, West Virginia. The next day Lewis first mentioned his Newfoundland dog, Seaman, in the journals. The water in the Ohio was low, causing long portages at various points. Lewis reached Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 28, 1803, where he talked with Dr. William Goforth, a local physician who was excavating the fossil remains of a mastodon at the Big Bone Lick in Kentucky. Lewis traveled to Big Bone Lick himself by October 4, and sent a box of specimens back to President Jefferson, along with an extremely detailed letter describing the finds of Goforth--the lengthiest surviving letter written by Lewis.

On October 14, the keelboat arrived at Clarksville, Indiana, where Lewis finally joined William Clark, his slave York, and the "young men from Kentucky" including Joseph and Reubin Field, recruited by Clark on August 1, and Charles Floyd and George Gibson. John Colter officially enlisted on October 15, George Shannon and John Shields on the 19th, Nathaniel Hale Pryor and William Bratton on the 20th. These so-called "nine young men from Kentucky" formed the backbone of the expedition's crew. Whatever inexperience they may have suffered from in October 1803 was rectified quickly at Camp Wood and along the trail in 1804-06. We don't know if these men met Lewis's initial criteria, but they certainly grew into the role as time went on, and hindsight shows that Clark could not have chosen better.

The expedition got under way once more on October 27, moving down the Ohio to Fort Massac, Illinois, by November 11. Today a replica of the American fort as it looked when Lewis and Clark visited in 1803 stands on the site. Lewis hired interpreter George Drouillard and gained volunteers from the U.S. military at Fort Massac: John Newman and Joseph Whitehouse of Daniel Bissell's 1st Infantry Regiment. These were the first active-duty military personnel added to the Corps of Discovery. The most important addition at Massac was Drouillard, or "Drewyer" as his name is most often spelled in the journals. Born north of present-day Detroit, Michigan, Drouillard was half French and half Shawnee Indian. Drouillard possessed skils that members of the expedition lacked to this point--he was a real frontiersman in the mold of Daniel Boone or Simon Kenton, by far the best hunter and woodsman of the entire expedition.

On November 13 the Corps left Fort Massac, arriving in the vicinity of modern Cairo, Illinois, on the 14th. Here Lewis and Clark worked jointly on their first scientific research and description; to study the geography at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. On November 16, they began the diplomatic phase of their journey when they visited the Wilson City area of Mississippi County, Missouri, and met with Delaware and Shawnee Indian chiefs. They ended their surveys at Cairo on November 19, and proceeded up the Mississippi River, now working against the current.

Lewis and Clark stopped to describe and climb Tower Rock on November 25, and arrived at Fort Kaskaskia, Illinois, on the 29th. In 1803, Kaskaskia was the U.S. Army post furthest north and furthest west. Kaskaskia was a town of 467 people when Lewis and Clark visited in 1803. Six soldiers enlisted at Kaskaskia from Russell Bissell's Company, 1st U.S. Infantry Regiment: Sgt. John Ordway and privates Peter M. Weiser, Richard Windsor, Patrick Gass, John Boley, and John Collins. In addition, John Dame, John Robertson, Ebeneezer Tuttle, Issac White, and Alexander Hamilton Willard of Capt. Amos Stoddard's company, U.S. Corps of Artillery, also enlisted for the journey. This was a very important crop of men who added immeasurably to the success of the expedition. Francois Labiche, another half-Indian half-Frenchman, enlisted with the expedition on November 30. Another boat, the "White Pirogue," may have been acquired at Kaskaskia. Clark and the men of the Corps departed Kaskaskia on December 3, and camped just below Ste. Genevieve. Lewis remained at Kaskaskia, probably meeting with locals and taking care of the military and paperwork sides of the expedition. On December 4, Clark and the men moved further up the river, passing Ste. Genevieve on the left side, a very prosperous town of about 1,000 residents--equal in size to St. Louis in 1803. Clark and the men next viewed the remains of Fort De Chartres, abandoned for over 30 years, on the right side. On December 6, Lewis left Kaskaskia and traveled to Cahokia along the Illinois roads. Both Lewis and Clark arrived in Cahokia on December 7.

For more information please see Preparing for Trip West, from which this is excerpted, on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery website. See also Donald Jackson, Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with Related Documents, 1783-1854. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962.

The Journey

In December 1803, William Clark established "Camp River Dubois" on the Wood River at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, north of St. Louis, Missouri, and across the river in Illinois. While at the camp it was Clark's responsibility to train the many different men who had volunteered to go to the Pacific on the expedition and turn them into an efficient team. By and large, most of the members of the Corps of Discovery were strangers to one another. The youngest man, George Shannon, was 17 years old, the oldest, John Shields, was 35. The average age of all the men was 27. Clark had the men build a fort and cabins out of logs. He drilled the men, teaching them how to march in formation, use their weapons as a team and shoot effectively at targets. Most of all, he tried to get the men to respect military authority and learn how to follow orders. When they would later face danger on the frontier, there would be no time for the men to question the officers.

During the winter, Meriwether Lewis spent a lot of time in the little town of St. Louis. Lewis had to gather more supplies and equipment for his journey, because there were so many volunteers that there were over twice as many men set to go on the expedition as he had originally planned for! Lewis also talked with fur traders who had been up the Missouri River, and obtained maps made by earlier explorers. On March 9, 1804, Meriwether Lewis attended a special ceremony in St. Louis, during which the Upper Louisiana Territory was transferred to the United States. Two months later, on May 14, the expedition was ready to begin. William Clark and the Corps of Discovery left Camp River Dubois, and were joined by Meriwether Lewis in St. Charles, Missouri, a week later. The party numbered more than 45, mostly young, unmarried soldiers. The civilians who made the journey were primarily the guides and interpreters. Among the more well-known were Sacagawea, her husband Toussaint Charbonneau, their newborn son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau ("Little Pompey"), William Clark's black slave York, and an interpreter named George Drouillard (pronounced Drewyer). An additional group of men, engagés (hired boatmen), would travel only to the Mandan country for the first winter, and these included six soldiers and several French boatmen.

Travel up the Missouri River in 1804 was difficult and exhausting due to heat, injuries and insects as well as the troublesome river itself, with its strong current and many snags. The expedition used Lewis's 55-foot long keelboat and two smaller boats called pirogues to carry their supplies and equipment. The boats used sails to move along, but in going upriver against a strong current, oars and long poles were used to push the boats. Sometimes the boats had to be pulled upriver with ropes by men walking along the shoreline. They averaged 10-15 miles per day.

Although there were some initial disciplinary problems, the men began to work together as a team, and to like one another. One man they especially liked was Charles Floyd, one of the three sergeants. Suddenly, on August 20, 1804, Sgt. Floyd got sick and died. It is believed that he died of a burst appendix. Floyd was laid to rest on top of a large hill by the river, in modern-day Sioux City, Iowa, where today there is a large monument to mark the spot. Sgt. Floyd was the only person to die on the two and one-half year journey, even though great danger lay ahead.

By October the Corps of Discovery reached the villages of the Mandan Indian tribe, where they built Fort Mandan (near present-day Stanton, North Dakota), and spent the winter of 1804-1805. The Mandan people lived in earth lodges along the Missouri River. Their neighbors the Hidatsa lived along the Knife River close by. The villages of the Mandan and Hidatsa people were the center of a huge trade network in the West. Lewis and Clark were not the first European-Americans to visit this part of the country. During the winter Lewis and Clark recruited a Frenchman who had lived with the Hidatsa (sometimes referred to as the Minnetari) Indians for many years. His name was Toussaint Charbonneau, and the captains wanted him to act as an interpreter. They got a real bargain, because along with Charbonneau would come his 16-year-old Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea, and her newborn baby boy. Sacagawea had been captured by a raiding party of Hidatsa warriors five years earlier, and was taken from her homeland in the Rocky Mountains to the Knife River village where she met her husband. Lewis and Clark knew that they would probably meet Sacagawea's people in the Rocky Mountains, and that they might have to ask for horses if they could not find a nearby stream which led down to the Columbia River. So Sacagawea would be invaluable because she could speak to her people directly for the explorers.

On April 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark sent the keelboat back to St. Louis with an extensive collection of zoological, botanical, and ethnological specimens as well as letters, reports, dispatches, and maps. Members of the expedition who had caused problems were sent back as well. As the keelboat headed south, the expedition, now numbering 33, resumed their journey westward in the two pirogues and six dugout canoes. The Corps of Discovery now traveled into regions which had been explored and seen only by American Indians.

The men pulled and sailed their boats up the Missouri River through what is now Montana. By early June they reached a place where two rivers met. Lewis and Clark knew they needed to find the correct fork of the river. If they didn't, they might not get to the Pacific Ocean in time for the winter. The only clue they had was that the Indians had told them that the Missouri had a huge waterfall on it. They led small groups of soldiers up each river, Lewis going up the right fork and Clark up the left, both looking for the waterfall. When they returned, both Lewis and Clark had decided that the left fork was the right river, even though neither party saw a waterfall. Although the rest of the party disagreed, they followed the two captains up the left fork, calling it the Missouri and naming the right fork the Marias River after a cousin of Meriwether Lewis.

Sacagawea fell very sick, and the expedition moved slowly against the strong current of the river. Lewis became impatient, and led a small party of men overland to see if he could find the waterfall--otherwise, they would have to turn back and follow the other fork of the river. On June 13, he spotted a mist rising above the hills in front of him. After a few minutes of walking, Lewis looked down into a deep ravine, and saw a beautiful, huge waterfall. He knew they were on the right river. Lewis scouted ahead and found that there was not just one waterfall but five, and that they stretched for many miles along the river--an area now known as Great Falls. The canoes could not be paddled upstream against such a current. They would have to be portaged (taken out of the water and carried) around these waterfalls. Sacagawea was well again after drinking water from a mineral spring. The pirogues were left behind by this point, so Lewis tried to put his special collapsible, iron-framed boat from Harpers Ferry together. He was very disappointed when the boat did not work, but Clark was ready to help by having two more dugout canoes made.

They set out westward once more, paddling upstream. Soon they entered the Rocky Mountains and saw incredibly beautiful scenery with tall evergreen trees. By August 17 they reached the Three Forks of the Missouri, which marked the navigable limits of that river. At this spot the Missouri was fed by three rivers, which they named the Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison after government officials in Washington. They turned up the river named for President Jefferson and finally reached its headwaters, where the once mighty Missouri could be easily straddled by a man. Now that they had reached the crest of the Rocky Mountains, it was hoped that the headwaters of the Columbia would be nearby, and that the men could float and paddle their way downstream to the Pacific Ocean. However, they found nothing but more mountains stretching off as far as they could see. Lewis knew then, as he crossed the Continental Divide through Lemhi Pass, that there was no easy water route to the West Coast.

This mountainous area was the homeland of Sacagawea's people, the Shoshone. Lewis, who needed horses to get his expedition over the mountains, was finally able to contact the elusive Shoshone, who had never seen a white man before. When Sacagawea came along the trail with her baby son on her back, she suddenly recognized the chief of the Shoshone, the man for whom she was supposed to interpret--and he was her brother! Although she got to see old friends and her family, Sacagawea did not decide to stay with the Shoshone. She continued with Lewis and Clark, her husband and baby, as the captains looked westward and hoped to find a way to the Pacific Ocean before the harsh winter weather set in.

The explorers traveled overland on horseback, north to Lolo Pass, where they crossed the Bitterroot Range on the Lolo Trail; this was the most difficult part of the journey. The men almost starved on the trail, and were lucky to stumble into the camps of the Nez Perce Indians. They treated the explorers with kindness, feeding and helping them, pointing the way to the Pacific. Lewis and Clark left their horses for safekeeping with the honest Nez Perce, and finished making dugout canoes. They floated down the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia rivers, portaging dangerous waterfalls and trading with friendly Indians along the way. They reached the Pacific Ocean by mid-November 1805. They had fulfilled the goals set for them by President Jefferson. Now they had to make it through another winter and return with their information.

Once in sight of the ocean, the expedition was lashed by harsh winds and cold rain as they huddled together on the north side of the Columbia River. It was decided to stay on the south side of the river, inland where the winds and rain would be less harsh and there would be more elk to hunt for food and clothing. In December the explorers built Fort Clatsop (near present-day Astoria, Oregon), and settled in for the winter. Lewis and Clark accomplished considerable scientific work, and gathered and recorded information regarding the country and its inhabitants. The men spent most of the winter making clothing and moccasins out of elk hides, and trying to hunt for food in an area which seemed to have very little game. No contact was made with any trading ships, and Lewis and Clark knew that all the men would have to return to the United States by an overland route.

On March 23, 1806, the return trip began. After a tough journey up the Columbia River against strong currents and many waterfalls, the party retrieved their horses from their friends the Nez Perce, and waited in the Indian villages for the deep mountain snows to melt. It wasn't until June that they could get over the mountains and back to the Missouri River basin. After crossing the Bitterroots, Lewis and Clark decided to split their party at Lolo Pass in order to add to the knowledge they could gather. They wanted to be certain that there was not an easier way to cross the continent to the Pacific, and that they had not missed an important potential route or pass. Confident of their survival, Lewis went north along the Missouri River while Clark went south along the Yellowstone River. They planned to rendezvous where the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers come together in western North Dakota. Clark took the larger group with him, including Sacagawea, her husband and son, and York. Lewis took along the best hunters and outdoorsmen, including George Drouillard and the Field brothers.

While on the Marias River in Montana, Lewis's small group had a fight with a party of Blackfeet Indians, and was forced to kill two of them who tried to steal their guns and horses at a place now know as Two Medicine Fight Site. This was the only violent incident of the entire journey. While out hunting one day, Lewis was accidentally shot by Cruzatte, a nearsighted member of his own crew. The painful wound in Lewis's backside kept him from being able to sit down or continue his journal writing. Soon after this near-disaster, the Corps of Discovery was reunited in North Dakota. They returned to the Mandan villages where they left Charbonneau, Sacagawea and the baby behind. Clark promised to take care of the baby, who he nicknamed "Pomp." Three years later, Charbonneau and Sacagawea brought Pomp down to St. Louis, where William Clark saw to his schooling.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806. When people in the settled portions of the United States heard that Lewis and Clark had returned from the West, they could barely believe it. Most people had given them up for dead. If wild animals, hunger, harsh weather or Indians hadn't killed them, perhaps they had gotten lost, they thought. Of course, none of those things happened. Lewis, Clark and nearly all their men returned to St. Louis as heroes. The Corps of Discovery disbanded in St. Louis and their detailed descriptions of the journey, maps and the numerous specimens they had collected were sent to Philadelphia to be housed in part at the American Philosophical Society and later at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Lewis and Clark made their way east, pausing for three weeks at Locust Grove, home of Clark's sister, and finally arriving in Washington, D.C., where they told President Jefferson in person about the wonders they had seen in the West. Both Lewis and Clark were rewarded for their success. Clark was appointed Indian agent at St. Louis after his marriage in 1808. Five years later, he became Governor of the Missouri Territory. In 1822, President Monroe appointed him Superintendent of Indian Affairs to establish and secure treaties with the western tribes. He died in St. Louis in 1838 and is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery. Lewis was appointed to the governorship of the Louisiana Territory, a challenging position in which he struggled to appease many divided factions. Lewis failed at many aspects of the governorship, however, most notably in the public perception of how he spent official government funds. Lewis was traveling to Washington, D.C., in 1809 to explain his actions and clear his name, when he died of two gunshot wounds, one to his head, the other to his heart on October 11th. Most historians believe that Lewis committed suicide due to depression and problems in his life and career, while a popular belief continues that he was murdered, perhaps by representatives of his political enemies. The explorer was buried not far from where he died, and today a memorial along the Natchez Trace Parkway pays tribute to the man who led the Voyage of Discovery to the Pacific Ocean.

For more information please see The Journey and Others Who Made the Journey from which this is excerpted, on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery website.

Scientific Encounters

It has been described as "the greatest camping trip of all time," a voyage of high adventure, an exercise in manifest destiny which carried the American flag overland to the Pacific. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was all of this and more. Between 1804 and 1806, Lewis and Clark made the first systematic reports, based on scientific measurement and observations, of the Missouri River--not only its course, but its flora and fauna, depth and current, tributaries and inhabitants. They continued onward to document their observations in the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. Lewis and Clark described for science at least 120 mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, as well as at least 182 plant species. They made the first attempt at a systematic record of the meteorology of the West, and less successfully attempted to determine the latitude and longitude of significant geographical points. These facts set them apart from other contemporary expeditions, most notably those of Zebulon Pike, which made no new scientific discoveries.

As the expedition began to move up the Missouri River, Lewis focused on the details--the animals, the type of rocks, the trees and grasses--along the route. How fast was the current? How high the cliffs? Was that bird or plant different from one known in the East? Lewis went on to describe some of the animals, including the eastern wood rat--the first animal new to science encountered on the voyage--in what is today Osage County, Missouri. The explorers encountered fierce grizzly bears which attacked them. The bears were so tough that even several rifle shots wouldn't kill them. The grizzly bears were truly the kings of the western plains. Lewis and Clark were fascinated with the little prairie dogs that built huge underground villages. They saw so many buffalo that at one point they recorded that they had to "club them out of the way." Other new species that the Corps of Discovery encountered included pronghorn antelopes, bighorn sheep, black tailed deer (or mule deer), mountain beaver, white weasel, mountain goat, coyote and various species of rabbit, squirel, fox and wolf. In addition to their descriptions, Lewis and Clark sent back a large number of zoological specimens, including a few live ones, as well as skins, bones, skeletons, teeth, talons and horns. Among the five live animals Lewis sent Jefferson in 1805 was a "barking squirrel," or black-tailed prairie dog, which lived out the rest of its life at the White House.

The geographical findings were in themselves of outstanding significance. Lewis and Clark determined the true course of the Upper Missouri and its major tributaries. They discovered that a long, instead of short, portage separated it from the Columbia River, which proved to be a majestic stream rivaling the Missouri itself rather than a short coastal river. Neither the Missouri nor the Columbia was found to be navigable to its source, as many had believed. The explorers also learned that, instead of a narrow and easily traversed mountain range, two broad north-south systems, the Rockies and the Cascades, represented major barriers. Passing for the most part through country that no European-Americans had seen, the two captains dotted their map with names of streams and natural features.

Clark made his scientific mark primarily in the field of cartography, for which his training consisted mainly of some experience in practical surveying and a limited amount of Army mapping. Yet his relatively crude maps, prepared under field conditions, enriched geographical knowledge and stimulated cartographical advances. Of particular importance were the three progressively improved maps Clark drew between 1804 and 1810 of the Western United States and lower Canada. These were mainly based on the observations of the two captians, data provided by the Indians, earlier maps of the West, and the journals of preceding explorers. According to historical cartographer Carl I. Wheat, the last of the three (c.1809) was of "towering signficance" and was "one of the most influential ever drawn" of the United States.

Lewis and Clark also made significant additions to the botanical knowledge of the continent. Jefferson believed that the voyages of discovery would add to the world's supply of food crops and plants beneficial to human kind. Lewis and Clark were directed to pay special attention to "the soil & face of the country, it's growth & vegetable productions, especially those not of the U.S." Lewis and Clark collected hundreds of plant specimens and recorded information on their habitats, growth, and uses by American Indians. Lewis showed a talent for observation, exemplified in his description of camas, sometimes known as quamash, an important food plant for the Nez Perce. In a beautifully crafted essay for his journal record, Lewis carefully described the plant's natural environment, its physical structure, the ways Nez Perce women harvested and prepared camas, and its role in the Indian diet. The explorers discovered about 80 species new to science, including future state flowers for Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, as well as the state grass of Montana. Their collections formed the basis for the first major scientific publication that described and illustrated the plants west of the Mississippi River. Lewis and Clark sent back numerous botanical specimens during the expedition, orignially held in two collections, one in Britain and another at the American Philisophical Society in Philadelphia. In the latter half of the 19th century, the two collections were brought together in their permanent Phildelphia home of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

More than a mere stunt to see if the continent could be crossed and conquered, more than a diplomatic mission to Indian peoples, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was a scientific foray. It is this aspect of the expedition, fulfilled in every sense, which sets the Lewis and Clark Expedition apart and plays a major role in its resonance 200 years later.

For more information please see The Science of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Lewis and Clark Website, portions of which were excerpted for this piece. Additional information for this essay was taken from: Ferris, Robert G. and Roy E. Appleman, eds. Lewis and Clark: Historic Places Associated With Their Transcontinental Exploration (1804-06). Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1975.

American Indians

The Lewis and Clark Expedition set out with several goals when it left the St. Louis area in 1804. One of these was to conduct diplomacy with and gather information about the various nations of American Indians they would encounter on their journey. During the course of the expedition, contact was made with at least 55 different native cultural groups. Other groups, such as the Crow (Absaroke), almost certainly saw the explorers without the explorers ever seeing them. Some groups were encountered only through individual members, while others were met with in formal councils. Still other American Indians participated in the expedition by literally saving expedition members from starving and losing their way as they crossed the continent. Some, like the Lakota and Blackfeet, had hostile encounters with the Corps, while others, like the Mandan, Hidatsa and Nez Perce, forged friendships and alliances whose written descriptions in the journals still resonate with good will after 200 years. Lastly, the expedition itself was staffed with at least six people who were all or part American Indian. George Droulliard, one of the most essential members of the Corps, was half Shawnee, while Pierre Cruzatte and Francois Labiche were half Omaha. Although little is known of Jean Baptiste Lepage, he was also almost certainly part American Indian, as were most of the French engages who helped pole and haul the boats up the Missouri in 1804. Lastly, Sacagawea and her baby boy Jean Baptiste, Lemhi Shoshone by birth and Hidatsa by adoption and clan, added important insights into American Indian cultures that the expedition members might never have understood otherwise.

At least 300 distinct languages existed in North America in pre-Columbian times. Sign language was highly developed among the Plains Indians as a method of communicating between different tribes. In addition to language differences, cultures varied in size, wealth and economic systems. The Great Plains Indians and the Northwest Indians are two diverse groups that Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey. (Milner 1994, 15)

The history of the Great Plains Indians can be traced back at least 13,000 years and possibly even millenia. During the last stages of the Ice Age, small bands of people migrated in search of megafauna, or game, such as mastodons and mammoths. As game became extinct, their cultural organization became more complex, shifting to bison hunting and living in earth-lodge dwellings. However, European contact brought much change. Prior to this contact, tribes of the plains lived by agriculture or gathering. The introduction of horses by the Spanish in the late 16th century provided Indians with a more efficient method of hunting buffalo. Many groups--the Kiowa, Cheyenne, Sioux, Comanche and others--shifted to a nomadic culture. Portable tipis, immense value placed on horses, and the accumulation of herds were common patterns among these groups. Others such as the Mandans, Arikara, Hidatsas, Pawnee, Wichita and Omaha remained horticultural societies, establishing permanent settlements in the river valleys of the plains.

Little is known of the early history of the Northwest Coast Indians, though anthropologists believe these groups represent the most elaborate nonagricultural culture in the world. These Indian groups established permanent settlements with clearly defined territories. The economy was based almost entirely on salmon and other marine life and required large amounts of seasonal labor.

The cultural influences of American Indians on the United States and the world go very deep. The American Indians gave Europeans the cultivation of corn, the potato, the sweet potato, tobacco, pumpkins, the tomato and, philosophically, conceptions of democracy radically different from the ancient Greek city-states. The Six Nations, an alliance of the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Tuscarora nations, practiced a participatory democracy from which Ben Franklin drew inspiration when uniting the English colonies during the Albany Conference. Within the present day United States, the Acoma and Hopi pueblos, settled around A.D. 600-1000 stand as possibly the oldest occupied communities in the continental United States, discovered and settled long before the Europeans came.

In order to negotiate intelligently with the American Indian tribes and their leaders along the route, Lewis received a "crash course" in diplomacy and about the known Indian cultural groups from Dr. Benjamin Rush and others in Philadelphia. Lewis also knew that gift giving and trade were important parts of most known Indian cultures, and that he would have to have trade goods for diplomacy and for acquiring needed goods and food along the route. Lewis also brought along peace medals produced by the U.S. Government in silver for presentation to American Indian chiefs. Peace medals are a fascinating yet little-known aspect of American history. They were an integral part of the government's relations with American Indians in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the time, these medals represented a covenant between nations, and were valued equally by tribal people who had had contact with European-Americans and by the governments of Britain, Spain, France and the United States, each of which issued them. Lewis and Clark took along three large medals with an image of President Jefferson on them, 13 middle-sized Jefferson medals, 16 small Jefferson medals, and 55 of the "season medals" struck during the presidency of George Washington. All but one of these medals were given out during the expedition. The obverse (front) of the Jefferson medals had a formal bust of President Jefferson in low relief, along with his name and the date he entered office. The reverse showed clasped hands and bore the motto "Peace and Friendship." This design depicted Indian nations as coequals of the United States.

Although the men of the expedition did not know what to expect on their trek, they were prepared to meet the various Indian tribal groups and curious about what they would be like. Previously, almost nothing had been known of the American Indians westward from the Mandan villages, in present North Dakota, to the Upper Columbia River. Lewis and Clark and their men left behind various accounts of different tribal groups and their interactions with them. Although the information is often inaccurate, and not every tribe is handled equally or in some cases discussed at all, today these descriptions provide insight into what the expedition members experienced during their journey.

Whether Lewis and Clark knew it or not, they were the "spearpoints" of an invasion of American Indian homelands in the West. Whether or not their actions were deliberate, they touched off an invasion which displaced entire peoples and tribal groups with European descended settlers, backed by the U.S. Army and English land law. It is for this reason and others that many native peoples see no reason to be happy about the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, and why this event should be looked upon by all as a "commemoration" rather than a "celebration."

For more information please see Native Peoples on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery website, portions of which were excerpted for this piece.

Milner, Clyde, Carol O'Connor and Martha Sandweiss. The Oxford History of the American West. New York: Oxford U Press, 1994.

Lamar, Howard R. The New Encyclopedia of the American West. New Haven: Yale U Press, 1998.

The Trail Today

Two hundred years later, what can be found on the Lewis and Clark Trail today? The pathway taken by these explorers has been greatly altered over the past two centuries. Highways cross the continent where once only American Indian trails and rivers were used for travel and communication. Towns and cities founded by American pioneers moving westward have altered the landscape, and the courses of rivers--such as the Missouri--have been altered by dams, in some instances forever covering campsites once used by the Corps of Discovery. There are however large areas such as Nez Perce National Historical Park that remain relatively unspoiled. Historian Dayton Duncan notes that "Without a doubt, the most unchanged section of the entire Lewis and Clark route is the White Cliffs section of the Missouri River in north-central Montana--a stretch of the river, now protected by Congress, that is only accessible by boat (usually canoe). This is the place, with its eerie sandstone formations, that Lewis described as 'scenes of visionary enchantment' ." The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail traces the route of the explorers as closely as possible given these changes over the years. Today you can follow in the approximate footsteps of Lewis and Clark, by boat, canoe, or kayak, by car or bus, on foot or bicycle, or by train, exploring the route they traveled and reliving the adventure of the Corps of Discovery.

On July 3, 2002, President Bush was joined by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and other cabinet members in the East Room of the White House to usher in the Bicentennial of Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery. Across the nation events commemorating the bicentennial of the expedition have begun and will continue through 2006. President Bush remarked that "American history is filled with remarkable examples of heroism and adventure, and the voyage of Lewis and Clark is one of the most remarkable of them all."

The National Park Service's unique contribution to the bicentennial--the Corps of Discovery II: 200 Years to the Future--is a traveling education center that will recreate the epic journey and be the unifying component for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial observance. Over the next four years it will make stops in large urban areas, American Indian reservations and small towns along the original Corps of Discovery's route, and later travel to areas off the original trail from Florida to Texas, Minnesota to California. The traveling exhibit includes two interpretive tents with displays and a performance tent-- the Tent of Many Voices--with space for demonstrations, lectures, cultural presentations and audiovisual shows. Performances will be provided in partnership with American Indian tribes, State governments, local agencies, the private sector and other Federal agencies. The nation's commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition began with the debut of the Corps of Discovery II at Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, on January 14, 2003.

Time magazine estimates that approximately 25 million travelers will traverse the route of Lewis and Clark from 2004 to 2006. Communities around the country are planning local events to commemorate their place in the history of the expedition. Fifteen communities from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Astoria, Oregon, have been selected by the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial as sites for national heritage signature events. Each community was chosen for its place in the expedition's chronology, its historical relevance, cultural diversity, tribal involvement, geographic location and sponsoring organizations' capacity. Information about these signature events, as well as news and announcements about the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, can be found at www.lewisandclark200.org. Examples include:

  • The Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, will host a 13-day signature event from October 14-26, 2003, which will open with the reenactment of Lewis's arrival in Louisville and meeting with William Clark on October 14, 1803. It will close with the reenactment of the Corps' departure from Clarksville on October 26.
  • On March 12-14, 2004, in St. Louis, Missouri, the National Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Committee and the National Park Service will host an international ceremony observing the 200th anniversary of the transfer of the Louisiana Territory from Spain to France to the United States. Activities at sites surrounding the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site will feature the cultures of the Louisiana Territory-French, Spanish, Anglo-American and American Indians through interactive displays relating the legacies of these cultures in America and highlighting the roles of each in today's world. Information about this event can be found at http://louisianapurchase.umsl.edu.
  • On May 14, 2004, the communities of Hartford and Wood River, Illinois, will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery's final departure from its winter encampment at Camp River DuBois. Discovery Expedition reenactors will trace the steps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, leaving the Camp River DuBois winter quarters to launch their boats from the eastern bank of the Mississippi into the mouth of the Missouri River to begin their journey into the West. By this date a new Lewis and Clark Visitor Center and Camp River DuBois fort replica in Hartford will be complete. To find out more about this three-day event go to www.lewisandclarkillinois.org
  • From November 24-27, 2005, there will be a symbolic walk across the four-mile bridge to Astoria, Oregon, from the Fort Clatsop National Memorial. The walk is one of several events cosponsored by the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark and Fort Clatsop honoring the Corps of Discovery's historic arrival at the Pacific Ocean at Station Camp and the winter encampment at Ft. Clatsop.
  • An event on August 17-20, 2006, in New Town, North Dakota will mark the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery's return to the Knife River Indian Villages. This event offering American Indian perspectives will contrast the hopes and dreams of President Thomas Jefferson with those of tribal leaders who met Lewis and Clark and focus on the contributions of Sacagawea. For those seeking further information, please go to www.mhanation.com.
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially ended September 23, 1806, when the explorers arrived in St. Louis, Missouri. A flotilla of watercraft will travel to various historic sites on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in commemoration of this bicentennial event. These historic sites will present exhibits and conduct programs during the commemorative weekend. See the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site for more information.

In addition to the 15 signature events, many States and communities are also hosting events commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Missouri, the starting point for Lewis and Clark into the largely uncharted West, offers a number of venues to explore the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. Missouri's events can be found at www.lewisandclark.state.mo.us/ or www.mohistory.org. The Missouri History Museum at Forest Park hosts Lewis & Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition, from January 20 through September 6, 2004. This is the opening venue of the national exhibition organized by the Missouri Historical Society. Events commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Iowa and Nebraska can be found at www.lewisandclarkne-ia.com. These include the annual Sgt. Floyd Re-enactment Days every August in Sioux City, Iowa. The South Dakota State Historical Society and the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society will host an online exhibition tour combining photos and Lewis and Clark journal entries with modern visual images and historic renderings.

Information on North Dakota events during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial can be found at www.ndlewisandclark.com. Montana will host a Lewis and Clark Festival from June 25-29, 2003, to highlight events of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during their stay in Great Falls in 1805, and Clark Day on July 26-27, 2006, at Pompey's Pillar. An entire list of statewide events can be found online at Lewis and Clark in Montana. In Oregon, a play about Sacagawea was performed in January 2003 by the Oregon Children's Theatre (OCT). The play, written by nationally recognized playwright Eric Coble, tells how Sacagawea joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In June 2004, People of the River will debut--an exhibit focusing on the American Indians who lived on the rivers from the mouth of the Snake to the Pacific Ocean. The result of a collaborative effort between the Portland Art Museum and the National Museum of American Indians (part of the Smithsonian Institution), this 100-year-old collection of exclusively American Indian artifacts has never been on exhibit or published in journals. This and other events hosted throughout the Northwest can be found on the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in Oregon or Washington State Historical Society websites.

If you are interested in participating in the Lewis and Clark commemoration and traveling the trail yourself, you will find helpful links to websites that list events in each State and nationally on our Learn More page.


List of Sites

Preparing for the Journey
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
American Philosophical Society Hall
Big Bone Lick State Park
Old Clarksville Site
Fort Massac Site
The Expedition
Old Cahokia Courthouse


Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site
St. Charles Historic District
Tavern Cave
Rocheport Historic District
Arrow Rock
Fort Osage
Leary Site
Fort Atkinson
Sergeant Floyd Monument
Spirit Mound
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Big Hidatsa Village Site
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Lewis and Clark Camp at Slaughter River
Great Falls Portage
Tower Rock
Three Forks of the Missouri
Beaverhead Rock-Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lemhi Pass (also in Idaho)
Clark's Lookout, August 13, 1805
Traveler's Rest
Lolo Trail (also in Idaho)
Nez Perce National Historical Park (also in Idaho)
Pompey's Pillar (return trip)
Camp Disappointment (return trip)
Two Medicine Fight Site (return trip)


Lemhi Pass (also in Montana)
Lolo Trail (also in Montana)
Weippe Prairie
Nez Perce National Historical Park (also in Montana)
Rock Fort Campsite
Fort Clatsop National Memorial (winter of 1806)
Cape Disappointment Historic District
Chinook Point
Lewis & Clark Trail--Travois Road
After The Expedition
Locust Grove
Natchez Trace Parkway

Sites are listed geographically and chronologically as they were encountered,
except where noted in italics. You can also explore them with a strictly chronological list.

Chrnological List of Sites

Preparing for the Journey  
Monticello VA
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park WV
American Philosophical Society Hall PA
Big Bone Lick State Park KY
Old Clarksville Site KY
Fort Massac Site IL
The Expedition  
Old Cahokia Courthouse IL
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site MO
St. Charles Historic District MO
Tavern Cave MO
Rocheport Historic District MO
Arrow Rock MO
Fort Osage MO
Leary Site NE
Fort Atkinson NE
Sergeant Floyd Monument IA
Spirit Mound SD
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (winter of 1805) ND
Big Hidatsa Village Site ND
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site ND
Lewis and Clark Camp at Slaughter River MT
Great Falls Portage MT
Tower Rock MT
Three Forks of the Missouri MT
Beaverhead Rock-Lewis and Clark Expedition MT
Lemhi Pass ID & MT
Clark's Lookout, August 13, 1805 MT
Traveler's Rest MT
Lolo Trail ID & MT
Weippe Prairie ID
Rock Fort Campsite OR
Cape Disappointment Historic District WA
Chinook Point WA
Fort Clatsop National Memorial (winter of 1806) OR
Lewis & Clark Trail--Travois Road (return trip) WA
Nez Perce National Historical Park ID & MT
Pompey's Pillar (return trip) MT
Camp Disappointment (return trip) MT
Two Medicine Fight Site (return trip) MT
After The Expedition  
Locust Grove KY
Natchez Trace Parkway KY & MS

Sites are listed chronologically. You can also explore them geographically.

Old Cahokia Courthouse

From December 1803 until the spring of 1804, Lewis and Clark used the Old Cahokia Courthouse as a headquarters for collecting information, meeting with territorial leaders, gathering supplies and corresponding with President Thomas Jefferson while the party camped at nearby Camp River Dubois. The courthouse, built as a dwelling in the 1730s, is a unique remnant of the French presence in Illinois. The building became a courthouse in 1793, and for 20 years it served as a center of political activity in the Old Northwest Territory. The building was dismantled in 1901, re-erected twice, and reconstructed on its original site in 1939. It is an excellent example of early French log construction known as poteaux-sur-solle (post-on-sill foundation). The upright hewn logs are seated on a horizontal log sill; the spaces between logs are filled with stone and mortar chinking. The courthouse rests on its original foundation of stone nearly two feet thick. Walnut beams extend the cantilever roof over the porch. Inside are four rooms that originally functioned as a courtroom, a schoolroom, and offices for attorneys and clerks.

Shortly after his arrival in Cahokia, Lewis drafted a letter to Thomas Jefferson describing his experiences and future plans:

Cahokia, December 19th 1803

Dear Sir,

On my arrival at Kaskaskias, I made a selection of a sufficient number of men from the troops of that place to complete my party, and made requisition on the Contractor to cause immediately an adequate deposit of provisions to be made at Cahokia subject to further orders or other destination should circumstances render it necessary. This done, it became important to learn as early as possible the ultimate decision of Colo. Charles Deheau de Lassuse (the Governor of Upper Louisiana) relative to my ascending the Missouri.I determined to loose no time in making this application; with a view therefore of greater expedition, I thought it best to travel by land to St. Louis (the residence of the Govr.).I arrived at Cahokia on the 7th and immediately took occasion to make myself acquainted with Mr. John Hay (the Post Master of this place) and a Mr. Jarrot, in whom from previous information I had every confidence; both these Gentleman are well acquainted with the English & French Languages, a necessary qualification to enable them to serviceable on the present occasion as the Spanish Commandant cannot speak the English Language, and I am unfortunately equally ignorant of that of the French - these gentlemen readily consented to accompany me, and on the next day (the 8th) I set out in company with them to visit Colo. Lasuse.he was sensible the objects of the Government of the U. States as well as my own were no other than those stated in my Passports or expressed by myself; that these in their execution, would not be injurious to his royal master, the King of Spain, nor would they in his opinion be detrimental to his Majesty's subjects with whose interests he was at the moment particularly charged, that as an individual he viewed it as a hazardous enterprize, but wished it every success.he would if permitted by me take a transcript of my Passports, and send them immediately by an express to New Orleans to the Govr. Genl. of the Province, and that he would with cheerfulness give the aid of his influence with that officer, to promote my wishes; and finally as a friend advised my remaining at Cahokia untill the next spring, alledging that by that time he had no doubt the Govrs. consent would be obtained.Thus defeated in my application, tho' not much disappointed nor at all diverted from my future views, I spent the evening with the Commandant and returned the next day to join Capt. Clark who had just arrived at Cahokia. On the evening of the 10th Inst. we left Cahokia, and continued our route up the Mississippi four miles, opposite St. Louis where we remained for the night. Early the next morning Capt. Clark continuted his route with the party to the river Dubois (distant from St. Louis 18 miles) in order to erect cabins for our winter residence.I passed over to St. Louis with a view to obtain from the inhabitants such information as I might consider usefull to the Government, or such as might be usefull to me in my further prosecution of my voyage. I have the honor to be with much respect Your Obt. Servt.

Meriwether Lewis Capt.
1st U.S. Regt. Infty.
(Jackson 1962, 145-147)

During the months of their encampment near Cahokia, the Corps of Discovery was able to comprehensively plan the expedition. Extensive geographic information was compiled, gifts were packaged and organized based on intelligence gathered of the American Indian tribes they would meet, important items were evenly distributed and food was prepared and packaged. Lewis and Clark also made many trips to St. Louis, including March 9, 1804, when Lewis was present at a special ceremony, during which the Upper Louisiana Territory was transferred to the United States. Finally in May 1804, the Corps of Discovery broke camp and proceeded to St. Louis and then on to St. Charles to begin their westward journey.

The Old Cahokia Courthouse is located at 107 Elm St. in Cahokia, Illinois. Tours are conducted Tuesday-Saturday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Please call 888-666-8624 or visit the website for further information.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri, commemorates President Thomas Jefferson's vision of the continental destiny of the United States, evidenced by his sponsorship of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. President Jefferson's final instructions to Lewis and Clark were:

. . .the object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal streams of it, as, by its course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce . . . (DeVoto 1997, 5)

In December 1803, Clark established "Camp River Dubois" on the Wood River at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, north of St. Louis, Missouri. While at the camp it was Clark's responsibility to train the many different men who had volunteered to go on the expedition and turn them into an efficient team. Meanwhile, Lewis spent the winter in St. Louis, then a Spanish controlled town of 900 inhabitants, gathering supplies and equipment for the journey. On March 9, 1804, Lewis attended a special ceremony in St. Louis, during which the Upper Louisiana Territory was transferred to the United States. All the land from the Mississippi River to the tops of the Rocky Mountains now officially belonged to the United States. Two months later the expedition was ready to begin. Clark and the men went to St. Charles, Missouri, where Lewis joined them a week later.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is comprised of the Gateway Arch (a National Historic Landmark), the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis' Old Courthouse. Architect Eero Saarinen's design for a 630-foot stainless steel catenary arch was selected in a 1947 design competition as the ideal monument to the spirit of the western pioneers. However, construction on the Gateway Arch did not begin until the 1960s. The Arch, the tallest monument in the United States, cost less than $15 million and was built to withstand high winds and earthquakes. Below the Gateway Arch lies the Museum of Westward Expansion, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts and an overview of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The nearby Old Courthouse, built in 1839, is one of the oldest existing buildings in St.Louis.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located in the heart of downtown St. Louis on the Mississippi River. The Gateway Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion are open daily from 8:00am to 10:00pm Memorial Day-Labor Day and 9:00am to 6:00pm the remainder of the year. The Old Courthouse is open daily from 8:00am to 4:30pm. Admission is free. All are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's day. Separate fees are charged for tickets to see films and for the tram ride to the top of the Arch on a per-event basis. Please call 314-655-1700, or visit the park's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Gateway Arch National Historic Landmark nomination.

The Old Courthouse, part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

St. Charles Historic District

St. Charles, Missouri, served as the final embarkation point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. At noon on May 14, 1804, Clark and approximately 42 men docked at St. Charles, an outpost for traders dating from about 1769. St. Charles, the first permanent European settlement on the Missouri River and one of the first in the state of Missouri, was described as being "about 100 houses, the most of them small and indefferent and about 450 inhabitents Chiefly French, those people appear Pore, polite and harmonious" (DeVoto 1997, 4). Here Clark met with two more members of the expedition, Pierre Cruzatte and Francois Labiche, who served as boatmen and interpreters. While awaiting Lewis's arrival the men entertained the townspeople on the boats, danced at balls and attended a Mass conducted by a local priest. Some members of the crew celebrated too much, resulting in court-martials and punishments. John Collins received 50 lashes for being absent without leave (AWOL), misbehaving at a ball and using disrespectful language to Clark. William Werner and Hugh Hall were also found guilty of being AWOL and received sentences of 25 lashes each. Lewis arrived at 6:30pm on May 20 and the entire crew set out on their journey to the Pacific Ocean on May 21, 1804, to the sound of "three cheers" from the audience lining the riverbank. Clark noted in his journal that day:

. . . All the forepart of the day arranging our party and procureing the different articles necessary for them at this place. Dined with Mr. Ducett and set out at half passed three oClock under three cheers from the gentlemen on the bank and proceeded on . . . We camped in a bend at the Mo. of a small creek. Soon after we came too the Indians arrived with 4 deer as a present, for which we gave them two qt. of whiskey . . . (Jones 2000, 2)

After reaching the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark retraced their journey and returned safely to the St. Charles riverfront on September 26, 1806. The St. Charles Historic District includes numerous 19th-century residential and commercial buildings, and is the home of the first Missouri State Capitol building (1821-1826).

To reach the St. Charles Historic District take Hwy. I-70 west from downtown St. Louis for approximately 15 miles, go across the Missouri River Bridge and take the first St. Charles exit. Turn right and follow the signs to the historic section of St. Charles. Please call the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-366-2427, or visit www.historicstcharles.com for further information.

Tavern Cave

On May 23, 1804, two days after leaving St. Charles, the Lewis and Clark Expedition visited Tavern Cave, located at the south bank of the Missouri River at the base of a huge sandstone bluff called Tavern Rock. This landmark, well known to the Indians, rench and Spanish trappers and traders, was first described by Lewis and Clark as:

. . . a large cave called by the French the Tavern - about 120 feet wide 40 feet deep & 20 feet high. Many different immages are painted on the rock. At this place the Ind. & French pay omage. Many names are wrote on the rock. Stoped about one mile above for Capt. Lewis who had assended the clifts which is at the said cave 300 fee[t] high, hanging over the waters..Capt. Lewis near falling from the pinecles of rocks 300 feet. He caught at 20 foot. Saved himself by the assistance of his knife . . . (Jones 2000, 2-3)

On September 21, 1806, the explorers once again passed Tavern Cave on their journey home. Today, Tavern Cave sits approximately 250 feet from the edge of the Missouri River and is 20 feet smaller in width than when Lewis and Clark visited here.

Tavern Cave is located two miles northeast of St. Albans, Missouri, along the track of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. There is no public access to the cave but an interpretive sign and marker are located in the village of St. Albans.

Rocheport Historic District

On June 7, 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area of modern day Rocheport, Missouri. Clark noted this area in his journal:

. . . a Short distance above the mouth of [a] Creek, is Several Courious paintings and carving on the projecting rock of Limestone inlade with white red & blue flint, of a verry good quallity, the Indians have taken of this flint great quantities. We landed at this Inscription and found it a Den of Rattle Snakes, we had not landed 3 Minites before three verry large Snakes was observed on the Crevises of the rocks & killed . . .(DeVoto 1997, 7)

Near the mouth of Moniteau Creek Clark also observed "uncouth paintings of animals," known as manitous--a French version of an Algonquian word for spirit--which he sketched in his journal before continuing on. These petroglyphs are no longer visible.

After completing their journey to the Pacific Ocean, the explorers retraced their steps and passed through Rocheport again on September 19, 1806. The Rocheport Historic District, with its significant collection of 19th-century frame and brick buildings, is an example of a Missouri river town whose growth paralleled the fortunes of steamboat transportation on the river.

The Rocheport Historic District is located 12 miles west of Columbia and two miles north of Hwy I-70. Visit www.rocheport.com for further information.

Arrow Rock

Arrow Rock was notable in the trail breaking journeys that opened the West, beginning with the Lewis and Clark Expedition on June 9, 1804. Clark noted Arrow Rock Bluff and the party's experience in his journal:

. . . we got fast on a Snag Soon after we Set out which detained us a Short time passed the upper Point of the Island, Several Small Chanels running out of the River below a Bluff & Prairie (Called the Prairie of Arrows) where the river is confined within the width of 300 yds. opposit the Lower point of the 2d Island on the S. S. we had like to have Stove our boat, in going round a Snag her Stern Strucj a log under water & She Swung round on the snag, with her broad Side to the Current expd. to the Drifting timber, by the active exertions of our party we got her off in a fiew Mints. without engerey (injury) and Crossed to the Island where we Campd. Seeing them and the banks too uncertain to Send her over . . . (DeVoto 1997, 7)

Clark passed by Arrow Rock again in 1807 with his Dragoons on the way to build Fort Osage. He commented that the area was an excellent location for a fort and a town. George Sibley established a trading post at Arrow Rock and waited there during the War of 1812 when Fort Osage became too dangerous. A permanent ferry was established in 1817, and the town of Arrow Rock was later founded in 1829.

Arrow Rock, a National Historic Landmark, is 13 miles north of I-70 on Hwy. 41 in Saline County, Missouri. Arrow Rock State Historic Site is open from 7:00am to 10:00pm daily. The Visitor Center is open June-August from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily; March-May and September-November from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily; and December-February open Friday-Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and on holiday Mondays. Please call 660-837-3330, or visit www.mostateparks.com/arrowrock.htm for further information. Walking tours are also offered by the Friends of Arrow Rock daily during the summer, and on weekends in the spring and fall. There is a fee for the tours; please visit the Friends' website for tour times and further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Arrow Rock National Historic Landmark nomination.

Fort Osage

Lewis and Clark passed through the area of Fort Osage in June 1804 on their journey west to the Pacific Ocean. Clark considered this spot to be a good place for a fort with its "high commanding position, more than 70 feet above high-water mark, and overlooking the river, which is here but of little depth." Upon their return in 1806, Meriwether Lewis was named governor and William Clark was given the post of commander of the militia and Indian agent of the Louisiana Territory. Clark established Fort Osage, one of the first military outposts in the Louisiana Purchase, in 1808 to protect and promote trade with the Osage Indians. The fort was built by the men of the 1st Regiment, U.S. Infantry, who traveled in six keelboats up the Missouri River under the command of Captain Eli Clemon and the St. Charles Dragoons who marched overland under Clark's command. Fort Osage quickly became one of the most successful of the 28 government supervised trading posts that functioned from 1795 to 1822. These operated under a "factory" system intended to prevent exploitation of American Indians by individual traders. Fort Osage also became the point from which distances were measured on the Santa Fe Trail in 1825.

Fort Osage, a National Historic Landmark, is located at Sibley, Missouri, on the Missouri River, 14 miles northeast of Independence. From Kansas City take 24 Hwy. east to Buckner, Missouri. Turn north at Sibley St. (BB Hwy.) and travel 2-3 miles, watching carefully for directional signs. Drive through Sibley following the signs to Fort Osage. Please call 816-650-5737 for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Fort Osage National Historic Landmark nomination.

Leary Site

William Clark was the first recorded visitor to Leary Site; on July 12, 1804, he noted in his journal:

. . . after going to Several Small Mounds in a leavel plain, I ascended a hill on the Lower Side, on this hill, Several Artificial Mounds were raised; from the top of the highest of those Mounds I had an extensive view of the serounding Plains, which afforded one of the most pleasing prospects I ever beheld, under me a Butifill River of Clear water of about 80 yards wide Meandering thro a level and extensive Meadow, as far as I could See, the [view of the] prospect Much enlivened by the fine Trees & Shrubs which [was] is bordering the bank of the river, and the Creeks & runs falling into it,- . . . I observed artificial mounds (or as I may more justly term Graves) which to me is a strong indications of this Country being once Thickly Settled. (The Indians of the Missouris Still Keep up the Custom of Burying their dead on high ground.) (Moulton 1986, 2: 369-370)

Clark correctly conjectured that these mounds were constructed for human burial. The mounds are a component of one of the largest and richest prehistoric villages of the Oneota culture.

A court martial also convened on July 12. Alexander Willard was charged with lying down and sleeping while on guard duty. The court found him guilty and "being a breach of the rules and articles of war (as well as tending to the probable destruction of the party)" he was sentenced to "one hundred lashes, on his bear back, at four diferent times in equal proportion" (Jones 2000, 3). The Corps of Discovery set out at sunrise on July 13 to continue their westward trek.

Leary Site, located near Rulo, Nebraska, is a National Historic Landmark. It is an archeological site that is not open to the public. However, a collection of artifacts from the Leary Site can be viewed online.

Fort Atkinson

Lewis and Clark set up camp on July 30, 1804, at this site which later became known as Fort Atkinson, and during their stay here hosted their first Indian council. William Clark celebrated his 34th birthday on August 1 while awaiting the arrival of the Indians. To mark the occasion he "order'd a Saddle of fat Vennison, an Elk fleece & a Bevertail to be cooked and a Desert of Cheries, Plumbs, Rasberries, Currents and grapes of a Supr. quality" (Ambrose 1996, 152). At sunset on August 2, a party of Otoe and a few Missouris and a trader known as "Mr. Fairfong" arrived at the camp, named Council Bluff by Lewis and Clark. The first official council between United States representatives and western Indians began just after breakfast on August 3. This council established the routine for all subsequent councils on the expedition--Lewis, Clark and the Indian chiefs would give speeches; smoke a pipe; award peace medals to the Indians; exchange gifts; parade the men and display technology such as the air gun, magnet, spyglass, compass and watch. Upon conclusion of the council, the explorers continued their journey up the river.

The Yellowstone Expedition of 1819 established Fort Atkinson, named after Col. Henry Atkinson, commander of the Yellowstone Expedition, as the first U.S. military post west of the Missouri River after the recommendation of William Clark that the site was an excellent location for a fort. Between 1820 and 1827, the years of the fort's existence, Fort Atkinson was home to the first school and library in Nebraska, served as a gateway to the fur regions of the Upper Missouri and the Rocky Mountains and served as the starting point for several early expeditions to the Mexican settlements of Taos and Santa Fe. Based on more than 10 seasons of archeological fieldwork, most of the fort has been reconstructed and an interpretive center established.

Fort Atkinson, a National Historic Landmark, is located one mile east of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. The Fort Atkinson State Historical Park is open year-round and the Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Nebraska State Parks require an entry permit for which there is a fee. Please call 402-468-5611 or visit the park's website for further information.

Sergeant Floyd Monument

The Sergeant Floyd Monument commemorates Sergeant Charles Floyd, Jr., the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die on the journey. Writing in his diary on July 31st, Floyd noted, "I am verry sick and has ben for Sometime but have Recovered my helth again." However, this quick recovery was followed by a turn for the worse. The night before his death, Clark remarked, "Serjeant Floyd is taken verry bad all at once with a Biliose Chorlick we attempt to relieve him without success as yet, hr gets worst and we are much allarmed at his Situation, all attention to him" (DeVoto 1997, 21). On August 20, 1804, Floyd passed away, most likely from peritonitis, caused by the inflammation or rupture of his appendix. He died from an illness that even the best doctors of the day could not have cured. Clark wrote:

. . . Serj. Floyd died with a great deal of composure. Before his death he said to me, "I am going away. I want you to write me a letter." We buried him on the top of the bluff ½ mile below a small river to which we gave his name. He was buried with the Honors of War much lamented. A seeder post with the (I) Name Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of August 1804 was fixed at his grave. This man at all times gave us proofs of his firmness and determined resolution to doe service to his countrey and honor to himself . . . (Jones 2000, 9)

Today, part of a 23-acre park, a 100-foot obelisk of heavy Kettle River sandstone marks the final resting place of Sergeant Charles Floyd, Jr.

The Sergeant Floyd Monument, a National Historic Landmark, in Sioux City, Iowa, is located at 1000 Larsen Park Rd., northeast of Exit 143 on I-29. It is open daily, year-round. Please call 712-279-0198, or visit www.sioux-city.org/museum for further information.

Spirit Mound

On August 25, 1804, Lewis and Clark, along with several of their men and Lewis's dog Seaman, walked nine miles to Spirit Mound from their camp on the south bank of the Missouri River near the mouth of White Stone Creek in South Dakota. The explorers were determined to see the mound that was so feared by the Indians of the area. In his journal Clark explained the legend of Spirit Mound:

. . . and by the different nations of Indians in this quarter is Suppose to be the residence of Deavels. That they are in human form with remarkable large heads, and about 18 inches high, that they are very watchful and are arm'd with Sharp arrows with which they Can Kill at a great distance; they are Said to kill all persons who are So hardy as to attempt to approach the hill; they state that tradition informs them that many Indians have Suffered by these little people.So much do the Maha [Omaha], Soues [Sioux], Ottoes [Otoes] and other neighboring nations believe this fable, that no Consideration is Sufficient to induce them to approach the hill. One evidence which the Inds give for believing this place to be the residence of some unusial Spirits is that they frequently discover a large assemblage of Birds about this mound . . . (DeVoto 1997, 22)

The intense heat fatigued everyone, especially Seaman who was sent back to the river to rest. Finally, Lewis and Clark reached the top of Spirit Mound where they "beheld a most beautiful landscape; Numerous herds of buffalo were seen feeding in various direction; the Plain to the North N.W. and N.E. extends without interruption as far as can be seen" (DeVoto 1997, 24).

Today, Spirit Mound is one of the few remaining physical features on the Upper Missouri River that is readily identifiable as a place Lewis and Clark visited and recorded.

Spirit Mound is located approximately six miles north of Vermillion, South Dakota on Hwy. 19. A state park, Spirit Mound Historic Prairie, was recently established, and the landscape is being restored. An interpretive sign is located at the I-29 Information Center near Junction City, and a small parking lot and day use area will be established by 2004 at the NW corner of the intersection of State Hwy. 19 and 312th St. For more information, visit the Spirit Mound Historic Prairie website or call 605-987-2263.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

The 1,758-acre Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site preserves historic and archeological remnants of the culture and agricultural lifestyle of the Northern Plains Indians and indicates a possible 8,000-year span of inhabitation. The Lewis and Clark Expedition entered the Knife River vicinity in October 1804, camping at nearby Fort Mandan for the winter. On October 29, three days after their arrival, the explorers, wanting to establish good relations with the Indians, staged the most impressive council yet. Lewis and Clark used this friendly relationship to gain much information from the Indians. The Minitaris, or Hidatsas, had great knowledge of the terrain and inhabitants of the Upper Missouri all the way to Three Forks and a good understanding of the area beyond to the Bitterroot Mountains. In addition to providing information on the people and lands out west, the Indians told the explorers much of their own history, some of which Clark recounted in his journal:

. . . The interpreter says that the Mandan nation as they (old men) Say came out of a Small lake (subterraneous Villages & a lake) where they had Gardins, maney years ago they lived in Several Villages on the Missourie low down, the Small pox destroyed the greater part of the nation and reduced them to one large village and Some Small ones, all the nations before this maladey was affrd. of them, after they were reduced the Seaux [Sioux] and other Indians waged war, and killed a great maney, and they moved up the Missourie. those Indians Still continued to wage war, and they moved Still higher, until got in the Countrey of the Panias, whith this Ntn they lived in friendship maney years, inhabiting the Same neighbourhood untill that people waged war, they moved up near the Watersoons & Winataras where they now live in peace with those nations.they can raise about 350 men the Winataries about 80 and the Big bellies about 600 or 650 men . . . The Ravin Indians have 400 Lodges & about 1200 men, & follow the Buffalow, or hunt for their Subsistance in the plains & on the Court Noi & Rock Mountains, & are at war with the Siaux [and] Snake Indians . . . The Big bellies & Watersoons are at war with the Snake Indians & Seauex and were at war with the Ricares untill we made peace a fiew days passd. The Mandans are at war with all who make war only, and wish to be at peace with all nations, Seldom the ogressors . . . (DeVoto 1997, 64-65)

During their stay here, the Corps of Discovery had also gained the services of Charbonneau, a French-Canadian who had been living and trading with the Indians for five years, his wife Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian and their newborn son Jean Baptiste. By April 7, 1805, the Expedition was prepared to proceed west to the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is one-half mile north of Stanton, North Dakota on County Rd. 37. The Visitors Center is open from 7:30am to 6:00pm during the summer and from 8:00am to 4:30pm during the winter. Please call 701-745-3309, or visit the park's website for further information.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is also a focus of the online-lesson plan Knife River: Early Village Life on the Plains, produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on places listed in the Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Big Hidatsa Village Site

The Big Hidatsa Village Site, today part of the more than 1,700-acre Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, was first established around 1740. Occupied from about 1740 to 1850, Big Hidatsa, comprised of approximately 120 circular earthlodges, is the largest of three Hidatsa communities near the mouth of the Knife River. Housing 20 to 30 individuals each, the lodges were set close together, allowing for communal interaction among the inhabitants. Having previous interaction with numerous foreign visitors interested in developing trade networks with Plains nations, the Mandan and Hidatsa were receptive when approached by the Corps of Discovery in the winter of 1804. Anxious to find shelter from the fast-approaching winter season, the American pioneers quickly set to constructing a suitable lodge of what little material that they could find. Consisting of "two rows of huts or sheds, forming an angle where they joined each other; each row containing four rooms, of 14 feet square and 7 feet high," (DeVoto 1997, 66).

Fort Mandan was erected approximately 2 miles south of the Big Hidatsa Village. Over the following months, the Corps entertained visitors, hunted whenever necessary and traded when advantageous. Another major undertaking was the preparation of a shipment to dispatch to President Jefferson, some of which the President sent to the American Philosophical Society. Cages contained a live prairie dog, a sharp-tailed grouse and four magpies; boxes and trunks held pelts, horns and skeletons of various animals, dried plant, soil, mineral and insect specimens. Mandan and Hidatsa artifacts were also packed; and letters, reports, dispatches and maps were addressed to President Jefferson and Secretary of War Henry Dearborn. Lewis and Clark enlisted several new members to the crew, replacing those who were sent back down the Missouri as safeguards of the information and artifacts collected. Most notable among the new additions, Charbonneau and his Shoshone wife Sacagawea joined the Expedition in the spring of 1805. Valuable interpreters, they both would play integral roles in the future success of the mission. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, departing from Big Hidatsa Village on April 7, 1805, truely set out for the first time into lands unknown to European or Americans. Unexplored and uncharted, the land to the west was a mystery, a source of a number of challenges to come for the Corps of Discovery.

The Big Hidatsa Village Site, a National Historic Landmark administered by the National Park Service, is part of the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. It is located one-half mile north of Stanton, North Dakota on County Rd. 37. The Visitor Center is open from 7:30am to 6:00pm during the summer and from 8:00am to 4:30pm during the winter. Please call 701-745-3309, or visit the park's website for further information.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is also a focus of the online-lesson plan Knife River: Early Village Life on the Plains, produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on places listed in the Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

The Corps of Discovery arrived at a "long wished for spot" (DeVoto 1997, 101) in the area of Fort Union, near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, in late April 1805. The men set up camp and "spent the evening with much hilarity, singing & dancing, and seemed as perfectly to forget their past toils, as they appeared regardless of those to come" (101). Exploration of the area on April 25 revealed:

. . . the whol face of the country was covered with herds of Buffaloe, Elk & Antelopes; deer are also abundant, but keep themselves more concealed in the woodland. the buffaloe Elk and Antelope are so gentle that we pass near them while feeding, without appearing to excite any alarm among them, and when we attract their attention, they frequently approach us more nearly to discover what we are . . . (DeVoto 1997, 99)

This area was also home to animals never before seen by an American citizen--the "white bear" and the bighorn, or Rocky Mountain, sheep. On April 14 Clark saw his first "white bear," a creature so dreaded by the Indians that they would only hunt them in groups of eight or 10 men. According to Lewis, before a hunting party set out in quest of a grizzly, the Indians performed "all those superstitious rights commonly observed when they are about to make war uppon a neighboring nation" (Jones 2000, 35). Even still the hunting parties often returned having lost one or more men.

On the return journey in 1806, Lewis and Clark split up and led divisions of the Corps on separate explorations of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. The confluence of the rivers was the meeting point for the two groups; however, Clark arrived first and moved downriver to escape the mosquitoes. While hunting nearby, Pierre Cruzatte, who apparently mistook his commanding officer for an elk, accidentally shot Lewis in the buttocks. Lewis spent much of the next few weeks traveling in a canoe, lying on his stomach.

John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company built Fort Union Trading Post in 1828. It became the headquarters for trading bison hides, beaver and other furs with the Assiniboian, Crow, Blackfeet, Cree, Ojibwa, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark, is administered by the National Park Service and located just off North Dakota State Hwy. 1804, 25 miles southwest of Williston, North Dakota and 24 miles northeast of Sidney Montana. The site is open from 8:00am to 8:00pm daily Memorial Day through Labor Day and from 9:00am to 5:30pm Labor Day through Memorial Day. Please call 701-572-9083, or visit the park's website for further information.

The Lewis and Clark Camp at Slaughter River

The Lewis and Clark Camp at Slaughter River was one of the few sites used by the explorers on both their outgoing and return trips. The party first camped here on May 29, 1805. Here they discovered the remains of over 100 buffalo, which the explorers assumed were killed at a buffalo jump. Indians in the high Plains used jumps to kill buffalo before the advent of steel-tipped arrows, lances and rifle-muskets. The Indians would entice a herd near the edge of a butte, eroded cliff or river gorge and then instigate a stampede that forced the buffalo over the edge. Lewis explained:

. . . for this purpose one of the most active and fleet young men is scelected and disguised in a robe of buffaloe skin, having also the skin of the buffaloe's head with the years and horns fastened on his head in form of a cap, thus caparisoned he places himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffaloe and a precipice proper for the purpose.the other indians now surround the herd on the back and flanks and at a signal agreed on all shew themselves at the same time moving forward towards the buffaloe; the disguised indian or decoy has taken care to place himself sufficiently nigh the buffaloe to be noticed by them when they take flight and runing before them they follow him in full speede to the precipice.the decoy in the mean time has taken care to secure himself in some cranney or crivice of the clift which he had previously prepared for that purpose. the part of the decoy I am informed is extreamely dangerous, if they are not fleet runers the buffaloe tread them under foot and crush them to death, and sometimes drive them over the precipice also, where they perish in common with the buffaloe . . . (DeVoto 1997, 121)

The explorers wrongly attributed this jump to some Blackfeet Indians, whose two-week-old campsite was found earlier in the day. The buffalo had simply drowned in the river and piled up on the bank when the ice broke. The presence of these buffalo was the inspiration for naming the nearby creek Slaughter River (now Arrow Creek). The party arrived again at Slaughter River on July 29, 1806, just two days after Lewis's struggle with the Piegans, a Blackfoot tribe, at Two Medicine Fight Site. While at this campsite the explorers killed a wolf, an elk, two beavers and nine Audubon bighorn sheep.

The Lewis and Clark Camp at Slaughter River is located in Montana 40 miles south of Big Sandy on the north bank of the Missouri River approximately ¾ of a mile upstream from the mouth of Arrow Creek. For information on river trips that include this campsite, visit www.trailadventures.com or the Boston Museum of Science Travel Program at www.mos.org/learn_more/travel-lc.html.

Great Falls Portage

The Great Falls Portage presented Lewis and Clark with one of the most challenging ordeals of the expedition. On June 13, 1805, Lewis and a small advance party witnessed "the grandest sight" (DeVoto 1997, 137) when they became the first white men to see the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Lewis commented that "from the reflection of the sun on the sprey or mist which arrises from these falls is a beautifull rainbow produced which adds not little to the beauty of this majestically grand senery" (138). Despite their splendor the Great Falls presented much danger and hardship for the explorers. In one afternoon Lewis's path converged with a bear, a mountain cat or wolverine and three buffalo bulls; to Lewis it seemed that "all the beasts of the neighbourhood had made a league to distroy me, or that some fortune was disposed to amuse herself at my expence" (140). Many members of the expedition were ill, including Sacagawea who had been suffering for more than a week from an unknown sickness. Clark, Charbonneau, Sacagawea and her baby nearly drowned in a violent storm of torrential rain and huge hailstones. Grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and mosquitoes were a constant worry, even to the dog, Seaman, who Clark noted was "in a constant state of alarm with these bear and keeps barking all night" (151). Finally, all equipment and supplies, including canoes, had to be carried by hand or in makeshift wagons overland for approximately 18 miles in order to bypass the 21-mile stretch of falls and rapids. Progress was very slow--the crude wagons required constant repair as the men dragged them across the rough terrain, the heat was intense, and the prickly pear cactus tore through the men's moccasins. In his journal Lewis described his men's condition:

. . . They are obliged to halt and rest frequently for a few minute. At every halt these poor fellow tumble down and are so much fortiegued that many of them are asleep in an instant. In short their fatiegues are incredible; some are limping from the soreness of their feet, others faint and unable to stand for a few minutes, with heat and fatiegue, yet no one complains. All go with cheerfulness . . . (Jones 2000, 69)

Further misfortune followed when Lewis's "Experiment," an iron-framed boat manufactured in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia and carried from Pittsburgh, failed to work. Consequently, 10 men under Clark's supervision spent five days creating two dugout canoes out of huge cottonwood trees. Nevertheless, the Great Falls area did provide plentiful game, allowing the explorers to stock up on food and leather clothing and to merrily celebrate Independence Day:

. . . This evening, we gave the men a drink of sperits, it being the last of our stock, and some of them appeared a little sensible of it's effects. The fiddle was plyed and they danced very merrily until 9 in the evening when a heavy shower of rain put and end to that part of the amusement tho' they continued their mirth with songs and festive jokes and were extreemly merry untill late at night. We had a very comfortable dinner, of bacon, beans, suit dumplings & buffaloe beef &c. In short we had no just cause to covet the sumptuous feasts of our countrymen on this day . . . (Jones 2000, 72)

Finally on July 15, after a month of portaging around the Great Falls, the explorers set out upstream, eager to locate the Shoshone Indians. Only a short time remained to cross the Rocky Mountains before winter and there were many great obstacles ahead.

The Great Falls Portage, a National Historic Landmark, in Great Falls, Montana is primarily privately owned and is not open to the public. The U.S. Forest Service operates a Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Giant Springs Heritage State Park in Great Falls, Montana. The Interpretive Center is open Memorial Day weekend through September 30 from 9:00am to 6:00pm daily and October 1 through Memorial Day weekend from 9:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday-Saturday and 12:00pm to 5pm on Sundays. There is a fee for admission. Please call 406-727-8733, or visit the U.S. Forest Service's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Great Falls Portage National Historic Landmark nomination.

Tower Rock

Tower Rock marked the end of the first phase of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the beginning of the next--the transition from the familiarity of the Great Plains to the unknown terrain of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. Having just completed the Great Falls Portage the previous day, Lewis, Drouillard, John Potts and Jean Baptiste LePage set out on July 16, 1805, to explore the area where the Missouri River enters the Big Belt Canyon in the Adel range of the Rocky Mountains. Up to this point in their journey, they had been crossing territory that, though unexplored by Americans, was a familiar landscape--the animals, plants and rolling dry hills were similar to those they left in North Dakota.

In his journal Lewis noted the steep black "clifts" that bordered the Missouri River and the presence of an aboriginal trail on the west side of the river. He also was the first to describe Lone Pine Rapids (renamed Half-Breed Rapids). The group arrived at Tower Rock, which Lewis described as a:

. . . a large rock of 400 feet high wich stands immediately in the gap which the missouri makes on it's passage from the mountains by a handsome little plain which surrounds it base on 3 sides and the Missouri washes it's base on the other, leaving it on the Lard. as it descends. this rock I called the tower. it may be ascended with some difficulty nearly to its summit, and from there is a most pleasing view of the country we are now about to leave. from it I saw this evening immense herds of buffaloe in the plains below. (Moulton 1987, 4: 387)

Until this point, while traveling through lands unexplored by Americans, the Corps of Discovery had some knowledge of the territory based on maps, descriptions and information gathered from Indians. Tower Rock marked the transition into the unfamiliar, as on either side of this landform, the explorers encountered a vastly different landscape.

Tower Rock is located on the west side of the Missouri River, approximately eight miles south of Cascade, Montana at Interstate 15 Interchange # 247.

Three Forks of the Missouri

The Corps of Discovery reached the Three Forks of the Missouri on July 25, 1805. More than 2,500 miles from their starting point on the Mississippi River, the expedition had once again come to a critical juncture, the confluence of three previously uncharted rivers. Lewis and Clark first set about finding suitable names for these Missouri tributaries, naming them in honor of the President and two of his cabinet members, Madison and Gallatin. The next challenge involved choosing the correct river to follow. Should they choose wrongly and be forced to backtrack, they faced the likelihood of getting caught in the Rocky Mountains at the onset of winter.

In an effort to ascertain the best future course and to avoid making an unwise decision, a small group marched ahead and scouted the surrounding areas while the rest of the camp nursed injuries for a few days. Looking out over the lands, Lewis noted in his journal that "the mountains are extreemly bare of timber and our rout lay through the steep valleys exposed to the heat of the sun without shade and scarcely a breath of air" (DeVoto 1997, 174). In essence, the land before them looked rough and unforgiving, foreshadowing the physically daunting terrain of the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

Three Forks had previously served as a campground for the Shoshone tribe, Sacagawea's people. It was at Three Forks that Sacagawea had originally been captured and carried away to live with the Mandan tribe of North Dakota. Upon hearing Sacagawea's account of the area, the Americans realized that they had successfully penetrated Shoshone land. Anxious to encounter the indigenous people, Lewis and Clark hoped to acquire much-needed assistance and information about the regions that lay ahead of them on their westward path. So on July 30, 1805, with unforgiving lands lying ahead, the Corps opted for the southwest flowing tributary and pushed onward, down the rough and shallow waters of the Jefferson River.

Three Forks of the Missouri, a National Historic Landmark, is a part of the Missouri Headwaters State Park, located four miles northeast of Three Forks, off of Hwy. 205, then onto Hwy. 286. Please call 406-994-4042, or visit the park's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Three Forks of the Missouri National Historic Landmark nomination.

Beaverhead Rock-Lewis and Clark Expedition

Sacagawea created much excitement on August 8, 1805, when she recognized Beaverhead Rock in the distance as the area in which her people, the Shoshones, had been when she was kidnapped as a child several years earlier. Lewis remembered in his journal:

. . . The Indian woman recognized the point of a high plain to our right which she informed us was not very distant from the summer retreat of her nation on a river beyond the mountains which runs to the west. this hill she says her nation calls the beaver's head from a conceived re[se]mblance of it's figure to the head of that animal. she assures us that we shall either find her people on this river or on the river immediately west of it's source; which from it's present size cannot be distant. as it is now all important with us to meet with those people as soon as possible I determined to proceed tomorrow with a small party to the source of the principal stream of this river and pass the mountains to the Columbia; and down that river untill I found the Indians; in short it is my resolution to find them or some others, who have horses if it should cause me a trip of one month. for without horses we shall be obliged to leave a great part of our stores, of which, it appears to me that we have a stock already sufficiently small for the length of the voyage before us . . . (DeVoto 1997, 181-182)

With Beaverhead Rock as their landmark, the explorers were confident they would soon find the Shoshone Indians. Lewis, Drouillard, John Shields and Hugh McNeal set out for Beaverhead Rock over land on August 9, 1805, to find the Shoshones while Clark and the rest of the men continued down the river. Contact between the Americans and Shoshone Indians was made three days later when Lewis stumbled upon an old Shoshone woman and two teenage girls. They were soon met by a party of 60 warriors on horseback led by Chief Cameahwait. After exchanging trinkets and signs of peace, the explorers set up camp with the Indians on the banks of the Lemhi River to await Clark and his companions. Throughout the next few days, Lewis learned much from Chief Cameahwait, most importantly that "he had understood from the persed nosed [Nez Perce] Indians who inhabit this river below the rocky mountains that it ran a great way toward the setting sun and finally lost itself in a great lake of water which was illy taisted" (DeVoto 1997, 211). Historian Stephen Ambrose explained the significance of this information: "For the first time, a white man had a map, however imperfect and imprecise, to connect the great rivers of the western empire."

Clark and his party arrived shortly after on August 17, 1805, after days of difficult navigation down the river; it was during this time that Clark stopped to make observations on the outcropping now known as Clark's Lookout. The arrival of Clark and the others was filled with excitement as Sacagawea suddenly recognized Chief Cameahwait as her brother and "instantly jummped up, and ran and embraced him, throwing over him her blanket and weeping profusely" (DeVoto 1997, 203). Chief Cameahwait and the Shoshone Indians traded with the explorers, supplying them with the horses necessary to continue. Sacagawea's ability to recognize Beaverhead Rock and direct the explorers to her people proved to be immensely helpful in the journey to the Pacific Ocean.

Beaverhead Rock is 14 miles northeast of Dillon, Montana. The Beaverhead Rock State Park is open to the public year-round, free of charge. The site itself can be viewed and photographed from a distance, but is not directly accessible. Please call 406-834-3413, or visit the park's website for further information.

Lemhi Pass

In mid-August 1805, Lewis and three other members of the Corps of Discovery had left the main group behind in search of native inhabitants of the area, heading toward Beaverhead Rock. On August 12, this small group came to Lemhi Pass, a two-mile span stretching across the present-day border between Montana and Idaho. Nestled among these mountains and bridging the gap between the ranges of the Rockies, Lemhi Pass maintains its unobtrusive, yet momentous, place in our nation's history. As they ventured westward, the party came across some of the most imposing landscapes that they had ever encountered--peaks upon jagged peaks as far as the eye could see. The crossing of this pass--the Continental Divide, a ridge extending North and South along the Rocky Mountains' Beaverhead Range--would prove one of the greatest achievements of Lewis and Clark's expedition to the West Coast. The first Americans to do so, the crew officially left United States territory, journeyed into disputed lands claimed by various European powers and reaffirmed their desire to reach the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and his men also came to the westernmost reaches of the now less than mighty Missouri River. Writing in his journal that day, Lewis recorded the significance of the area and the event:

. . . the road took us to the most distant fountain of the waters of the Mighty Missouri in surch of which we have spent so many toilsome days and wristless nights. thus far I had accomplished one of those great objects on which my mind has been unalterably fixed for many years, judge then of the pleasure I felt in all[a]ying my thirst with this pure and ice-cold water . here I halted a few minutes and rested myself. two miles below McNeal had exultingly stood with a foot on each side of this rivulet and thanked his god that he had lived to bestride the mighty & heretofore deemed endless Missouri. after refreshing ourselves we proceeded on to the top of the dividing ridge from which I discovered immence ranges of high mountains still to the West of us with their tops partially covered with snow . . . here I first tasted the water of the great Columbia river . . . (DeVoto 1997, 188-189)

The two groups of explorers reunited shortly after, camping briefly at Traveler's Rest before continuing on their westward journey.

Lemhi Pass, a National Historic Landmark, is located 12 miles east of Tendoy off ID 28, in Beaverhead and Salmon National Forests, and marks the boundary between Idaho and Montana. The Forest Service has signs at Lemhi Pass during the summer months, to help tell the story of the pass. Please call 406-683-3900 or 208-768-2500, or visit the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Lemhi Pass National Historic Landmark nomination.

Lemhi Pass is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Clark's Lookout, August 13, 1805

While Lewis and three other members of the Corps of Discovery were headed to Beaverhead Rock overland, Clark and the rest of the explorers headed there by river. On August 13, 1805, Clark ascended a rocky limestone outcropping, now known as Clark's Lookout, where he viewed the region through a telescope, made a number of compass readings and sketched a map of the area. Five days earlier on August 8, 1805, Sacagawea had identified Beaverhead Rock, the point of a high plain, as the place where her people, the Shoshones, had been when she was kidnapped. Lewis, understanding the importance of finding the Shoshone Indians and obtaining horses and aid from them before winter, went ahead with a small party. Clark and the remainder of the group continued up the river. After days of difficult navigation, Clark and his companions stumbled upon the limestone outcropping and a nearby stream named McNeal's Creek (now Blacktail Deer Creek) after Hugh McNeal, a member of the party.

That night, after travelling 16 miles by water and five miles by land, the explorers camped a few miles southwest of present-day Dillon, Montana. From here they traveled upriver, crossed the Continental Divide and rejoined Lewis on the banks of the Lemhi River. The explorers soon received critical aid from the Shoshone Indians, led by Sacagawea's brother Chief Cameahwait, to continue their journey.

Clark's Lookout is located one mile north of Dillon, Montana on Old State Hwy. 91. Clark's Lookout State Park is open to the public year-round, free of charge. Call 406-834-3413, or visit the park's website for further information.

Traveler's Rest

Traveler's Rest, Montana, an undisturbed area of meadows along a branch of the Bitterroot River, was a pivotal site of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. After being unable to find a water route from the Shoshone village to the Pacific, the Corps of Discovery paused here for two days, before beginning the most arduous part of their journey over the Lolo Trail. On September 9, 1805, Lewis wrote:

. . .we continued our rout down the W. side of the [Bitterroot] river about 5 miles further and encamped on a large creek which falls in on the West. as our guide inform[ed] me that we should leave the river at this place and the weather appearing settled and fair I determined to halt the next day rest our horses and take some scelestial observations. we called this Creek Traveler's rest. (DeVoto 1997, 236)

Lewis estimated Traveler's Rest to be 20 yards wide. The expedition also camped at Traveler's Rest on their return trip from June 30 to July 3, 1806, to allow the men and horses to recuperate from the trek back over the Lolo Trail. Clark described the company's arrival at the site:

. . . a little before Sunset we arrived at our old encampment on the S. side of the Creek a little above its entrance into Clarks river. here we Encamped with a view to remain 2 days in order to rest ourselves and horses and make our final arrangements for Separation . . . (DeVoto 1997, 414)

At this point, Lewis and Clark began their separate journeys of exploration in Montana after which they reunited near Sanish, North Dakota and continued down the river to St. Louis. Lewis set out on his journey with a small party to the Great Falls of the Missouri River, after which he explored a portion of the Marias River. Clark and his men ascended the Bitterroot River to recover the cache and boats on the Beaverhead River at Camp Fortunate, Montana. After raising their boats the party descended the Beaverhead and Jefferson to Three Forks. At that point, Clark's party split, one group descending the Missouri to rejoin Lewis and his men near the mouth of the Marias. Clark and several other men crossed overland to the Yellowstone and descended that stream to the Missouri where they rejoined Lewis and his party.

Traveler's Rest, a National Historic Landmark, is located off U.S. Rte. 93 one mile south of Lolo, Montana, near the western border of Montana and the Continental Divide, where Lolo Creek enters the Bitterroot River. The area is now Travelers' Rest State Park, open seven days a week May-September; Monday-Friday from October-May. Park tours start on the hour from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Please call 406-273-4253, or visit the Travelers' Rest State Park website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Traveler's Rest National Historic Landmark nomination.

Lolo Trail

In mid-September 1805, after crossing the Continental Divide at the Lemhi Pass and spending a couple of nights at Traveler's Rest, the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the historic Lolo Trail. Knowing Lolo Trail would provide the members of the Corps with a truly physical challenge and fearing that they would not be able to survive the perilous peaks ahead without assistance, the Corps of Discovery was quick to acquire as many horses as possible and enlist the help of a few guides, familiar with the route that lay ahead. Under the guidance of a member of the Shoshone nation known as Old Toby, the Lewis and Clark crew turned northward and began their ascent into the daunting Bitterroot Mountains. To get through this more than 200-mile stretch of unforgiving mountain terrain, the pioneers followed the Lolo Trail for 11 harrowing days. Suffering from frostbite, malnutrition and dehydration, the Americans recorded their woes in the pages of their journals. Losing a bit of the energy that had carried him thus far, Clark noted, "I have been wet and as cold in every part as I ever was in my life, indeed I was at one time fearfull my feet would freeze in the thin Mockirsons which I wore" (DeVoto 1997, 240). Nevertheless, the crew pushed on, each day drawing closer to the end of Lolo Trail and the successful completion of the Bitterroot crossing. Capturing the moment, Lewis wrote:

. . . the pleasure I now felt in having tryumphed over the rockey Mountains and decending once more to a level and fertile country where there was every rational hope of finding a comfortable subsistence for myself and party can be more readily conceived than expressed, nor was the flattering prospect of the final success of the expedition less pleasing . . . (Moulton 1988, 5: 229)

The Expedition had traveled for days through an area of high mountains, high hills, heavy timber and little game. Exhausted and starving, the men stumbled out of the Bitterroot Mountains and encountered the Nez Perce Indians at Weippe Prairie. On their return trip, the Corps of Discovery again traversed the Lolo Trail starting up on June 15th and reaching Traveler's Rest 15 days later.

The Lolo Trail, a National Historic Landmark administered by the National Park Service, is part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park. The 200-mile-long trail extends from Lolo, Montana, to Weippe Prairie, Idaho. There are two main Visitor Centers, one at Park Headquarters in Spalding, Idaho, 11 miles east of Lewiston and the other at Big Hole National Battlefield, 10 miles west of Wisdom, Montana. The Visitor Center at Spalding, Idaho is open in the winter months from 8:00am to 4:30pm and until 5:30pm in the summer. The Visitor Center at Big Hole National Battlefield near Wisdom, Montana is open in the winter from 9:00am to 5:00pm and in the summer from 8:30am to 6:00pm. Please call 208-843-2261, or visit the park's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Lolo Trail National Historic Landmark nomination.

Lolo Trail is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Weippe Praire

Stumbling down from the Bitterroots, the Corps of Discovery reached the western terminus of Lolo Trail by late September 1805 and ventured out onto Weippe Prairie. Clark and seven of the men had pressed ahead arriving September 20th, shortly ahead of the rest of the group that made it to the prairie by the 22nd. Spanning several thousand acres, the open flatland was a welcome sight after the crew's brutal trek through the Rockies. Even more welcome were the friendly faces of the local Indian nation, the Nez Perce. On September 20 Clark wrote:

. . . Proceeded on through a butifull countrey for three miles to a small plain in which I found main Indian lodges. Those people gave us a small piece of buffalow meat, some dried salmon berries & roots . . . They also gave us the bread made of this root, all of ehich we eate hartily . . . They call themselves Cho pun-nish or Pierced noses. I find myself very unwell all the evening from eateing the fish & roots too freely . . . (Jones 2000, 113)

Establishing contact with this group for the first time, Lewis and Clark communicated via sign language with one of the Nez Perce leaders, Chief Twisted Hair. Over the following two and a half weeks, the Corps stayed with the Nez Perce, specifically within their two villages located at the southern end of Weippe Prairie. There, the Americans rested, recuperated, and learned much from the Nez Perce, namely the existence of a navigable water route to the West Coast. Furthermore, they learned why the Nez Perce chose to reside in the shadow of the Bitterroots. Unbeknownst to the pioneers, Weippe Prairie, also known as the "Quawmash flats," was an area rich in the camas plant/root, providing the Nez Perce with a consistent and healthy food source. Aside from giving the expedition their fill of camas, the Nez Perce provided for the pioneers in other ways. Twisted Hair accompanied the Corps to a canoe camp, where the expedition members immediately set to constructing canoes in preparation for their journey down Clearwater River and beyond. The explorers were finally ready to set out for the Pacific by mid-October 1805, by way of the Columbia River.

On their return journey in the spring of 1806, the Corps again stayed with the hospitable Nez Perce of the Weippe Praire. Waiting until the snow melted and Lolo Trail again became passable, the pioneers resided on the "Quawmash flats" for over a month. There they built a temporary structure, of which there are no present-day remains. The crew developed considerable respect for the Nez Perce during their stay, both for the genteel nature of the Indians and the quality of their horses, the Nez Perce-bred Appaloosa.

Weippe Prairie, a National Historic Landmark administered by the National Park Service, is part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park. There are two main Visitor Centers, one at Park Headquarters in Spalding, Idaho, 11 miles east of Lewiston and the other at Big Hole National Battlefield, 10 miles west of Wisdom, Montana. The Visitor Center at Spalding, Idaho is open in the winter months from 8:00am to 4:30pm and until 5:30pm in the summer. The Visitor Center at Big Hole National Battlefield near Wisdom, Montana is open in the winter from 9:00am to 5:00pm and in the summer from 8:30am to 6:00pm. Please call 208-843-2261, or visit the park's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Weippe Prairie National Historic Landmark nomination.

Rock Fort Campsite

After passing through the mountain ranges of Montana and Idaho, the Corps of Discovery spent six months--nearly a quarter of the two-year mission--on the Columbia River now dividing the states of Washington and Oregon. On October 25, 1805, after having negotiated two extensive rapids on the Columbia, the expedition made camp in the bowl of a fort-like outcropping just downstream from the mouth of Mill Creek at present-day The Dalles. Clark described the campsite, called Rock Fort, that day:

. . .we proceeded on down the water fine, rocks in every derection for a fiew miles when the river widens and becoms a butifull jentle Stream of about half a mile wide, Great numbers of the Sea Orter [or Seals] about those narrows and both below and above. we Came too, under a high point of rocks on the Lard. Side below a crrek of 20 yards wide and much water, as it was necessary to make Some Selestial observations we formed our Camp on the top of a high point of rocks, which forms a king of [artif] fortification in the Point between the river & Creek, with a boat guard, . . . our Situation well Calculated to defend [us] our Selves from any designs of the natives, Should They be enclined to attack us. (Moulton 1988, 5: 339)

The expedition spent two days and three nights at this spot, taking advantage of fair weather to take celestial observations, caulk battered canoes and dry river-soaked supplies. Hunting parties followed Mill Creek (which Lewis and Clark named "Quenett" after local American Indian usage) into the foothills of the Cascade Range to the southwest and found the first game to vary the expedition's diet since entering Oregon. On October 26, the expedition was visited by chiefs of the Chinookan tribes from the Washington shore of the Columbia. The chiefs were given medals and assorted other presents by the co-commanders as a customary gesture of good will.

The expedition camped three nights at Rock Fort again on the home-bound journey from April 15 to 17, 1806. They were once again visited by people from Chinookan villages at the Great Narrows, which came to be called "Les Grandes Dalles" by voyagers who arrived on the Columbia after Lewis and Clark.

Rock Fort Campsite is located on a wedge-shaped parcel bordered by the Columbia River, Bargeway Rd., Bridge and Garrison sts. in The Dalles, Oregon. A riverfront trail leads to Rock Fort where interpretive signage marks the campsite. Please call 541-296-2231 for further information. The nearby Columbia Gorge Discovery Center includes displays on the Lewis and Clark Expedition; visit their website or call 541-296-8600 for further information.

Cape Disappointment Historic District

Cape Disappointment is a large headland forming the northern portion of the mouth of the Columbia River, as it opens to the Pacific Ocean. Most members of the Corps of Discovery arrived in this area where they were first able to glimpse the ocean on November 15, 1805, and set up a base camp near Chinook Point. However, Lewis and a small party of men had set out ahead of the rest of the group the day before and began scouting for a favorable site for a winter encampment. On November 17th, Lewis and his party returned from the area of Cape Disappointment and located Clark's base camp. Lewis was followed by several Chinook Indians with "roots mats &c. to Sell" and "the principal chief of the Chinnooks & his family came up to See us this evening" (DeVoto 1997, 286). Clark then "directed all the men who wished to see more of the main Ocian to prepare themselves to Set out with me early on tomorrow morning" (286). This second group proceeded to Cape Disappointment where Clark, seeing Lewis's name carved in a tree, carved his own name and the date into the same trunk. Clark wrote in this journal that his group proceeded:

To the iner extremity of Cape Disapointment passing a nitch in which there is a Small rock island, a Small Stream falls into this nitch from a pond which is imediately on the Sea coast passing through a low isthmus. this Cape is an ellivated circlier [cir-] cular] point covered with thick timber on the iner Side and open grassey exposure next to the Sea and rises with a Steep assent to hight of about 150 or 160 feet above the leavel of the water this cape as also the Shore both on the Bay & Sea coast is a dark brown rock. I crossed the neck of Land low and ½ of a mile wide to the main Ocian, at the foot of a high open hill projecting into the ocian, and about one mile in Si[r]cumfrance. I assended this hill which is covered with high corse grass. descended to the N. of it and camped. [walked] 19 Miles [to-day]." (DeVoto 1997, 287)

The hill he climbed was undoubtedly the present McKenzie Head. Clark and his party of men returned to the base camp on November 20th. A few days later, the Corps of Discovery decided to investigate the south side of the Columbia River, and eventually established Fort Clatsop there as their winter encampment. Today, Cape Disappointment is also known as an important early landmark in the navigation of the Pacific Coast, the site of two well known lighthouses, and the oldest coastal defense installation in the state of Washington.

The Cape Disappointment Historic District is located two miles south of Ilwaco, Washington, just north of the Washingon/Oregon border. From Astoria, Oregon, take Hwy. 101 north across the Columbia River until you pass Ilwaco and head south. From Washington, take Hwy. 101 until it meets Hwy. 100 south of Seaview; go south to Ilwaco and beyond. Cape Disappointment State Park is located on the cape, and includes a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The park is open year-round for camping and day use from 6:30am to 10:pm during the summer, and 6:30am to 4:00pm in the winter. Call 360-642-3078 or visit the park's website for more information.

Chinook Point

On November 15, 1805, after months of journeying west, the Corps of Discovery finally viewed the Pacific Ocean near Chinook Point. There had been "great joy in camp" (DeVoto 1997, 279) earlier on November 7 when at Pillar Rock they mistook the open-horizoned estuary of the Columbia River for the "great Pacific Octean which we been so long anxious to See" (279). Intense thunderstorms that had been raging for days finally stopped on the 15th, which allowed the men to move four miles westward and set up camp on a beautiful sandy beach a half mile from Chinook Point where "the Ocian is imedeately in front and gives us an extensive view" (DeVoto 1997, 285). Boards from a temporarily deserted Chinook Indian village nearby were used to erect shelters for the party. For the next 10 days the men used this as a base camp to explore the surrounding area in an attempt to locate a favorable site for a winter encampment. Lewis and Clark made separate exploratory trips around Cape Disappointment. Clark and his group of 11 men stopped at Chinook Point, which Clark described in his journal as "a point of rocks about 40 feet high, from the top of which hill Side is open and assend[s] with a Steep assent to the tops of the mountains, a Deep nitch and two Small Streams [are] above the Point." (Thwaites 1904, 223-250)

Unfortunately, the explorers could not locate a suitable campsite because game in the area was scarce. Discussions with the Chinook revealed that game, particularly elk, and edible roots were more plentiful on the south bank of the Columbia River. A second alternative was to return upstream some distance on the Columbia; however, salt was scarce in that area and the climate was colder. Lewis and Clark decided to let the entire party, including York and Sacagawea, vote on the location of the winter camp. Most African Americans and women could not vote in the United States in 1805, but the decision would affect everyone and, therefore, Lewis and Clark felt York and Sacagawea also deserved a vote. The Corps decided to investigate the south side of the river and, if the game was plentiful, camp there. Clark gave an account of the vote in his journal for November 24, 1805:

. . . we have every reason to believe that the nativs have not provisions Suffient for our Consumption, and if they had, their price's are So high that it would take ten times as much to purchase their roots & Dried fish as we have in our possession, ... They generaly agree that the most Elk is on the opposit Shore, and that the greatest numbers of Deer is up the river at some distance above. added to-, a convenient Situation to the Sea coast where we Could make Salt, and a probibility of vessels Comeing into the mouth of columbia ("which the Indians inform us would return to trade with them in 3 months["]) from whome we might precure a fresh Supply of Indian trinkets to purchase provisions on our return home: together with the Solicitations of every individual, except one of our party induced us Conclude to Cross the river and examine the opposit Side.the Climate which must be from every appearance [must be] much milder than that above the 1st range of Mountains, The Indians are Slightly Clothed and give an account of but little Snow, and the weather which we have experienced Since we arrived in the neighbourhood of the Sea coast has been verry warm, and maney of the fiew days past disagreeably So. if this Should be the Case it will most Certainly be the best Situation of our naked party dressed as they are altogether in leather. (Moulton 1990, 6: 85-88)

On November 25, 1805, the Corps of Discovery left their base camp near Chinook Point and traveled to the more favorable location of Fort Clatsop.

Chinook Point, a National Historic Landmark, is in the Fort Columbia State Park, located two miles west of the Astoria Bridge on Hwy. 101 in Chinook, Washington. The park is open from 6:30am to 9:30pm in the summer and from 8:00am to 5:00pm in the winter. Please visit the park's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Chinook Point National Historic Landmark nomination.

Fort Clatsop

Having reached the Pacific Ocean over a year and a half after departing from Camp Wood, the Corps of Discovery realized that the rough and miserable winter of 1805 to 1806 would have to be spent thousands of miles from the warmth and comfort of their homes back east. Resigned to this reality, the crew quickly set to building a suitable shelter that would provide protection for the upcoming months. The result of their efforts was the creation of Fort Clatsop, a reconstruction of which is found at its original site, located in Astoria, Oregon. The expedition's presence in this area strengthened the United States's claim to the Northwest, and paved the way for the first American settlement--the Pacific Fur Company Post, established at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1811 by John Jacob Astor.

When complete, Fort Clatsop consisted of two parallel rows of huts, separated by a 20 foot by 48 foot parade ground. Due to the complement of firepits and bunkbeds, it is thought that the three huts on the south side of the fort housed all of the enlisted men. In contrast, on the north side of the complex, lay a series of four rooms, only two of which actually opened onto the central promenade. The room to the farthest right was most likely used for meat storage, while the other three huts served as interconnected private rooms for the leaders of the expedition and possibly for the family of Sacagawea as well. In furnishing the reconstructed fort, historians have made sure to handcraft all items using the same types of tools originally used by the expedition. Adding to the interpretive quality of the site, special displays are showcased during the summer months. From animal skins to dried plants to bullet-making equipment, each room provides a tangible way to interact with the history of the Corps of Discovery.

Not inclined to waste away their time, the Lewis and Clark pioneers remained busy throughout the winter season. Whether they were distilling salt at the nearby cairn, compiling scientific observations or trading and communicating with neighboring indigenous groups such as the Clatsop or Chinook, the members of the Corps of Discovery did not lose sight of the exploratory nature of their mission. Nevertheless, the expedition was more than ready to begin the return trip home on March 23, 1806, setting out at the first sign of spring.

Fort Clatsop National Memorial, administered by the National Park Service, is located four and one half miles southwest of Astoria, Oregon. The Visitor Center is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm during the summer, 8:00am to 5:00pm the remainder of the year. Please call 503-861-2471 ext. 214, or visit the park's website for further information.

Fort Clatsop National Memorial is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Lewis & Clark Trail-Travois Road

On their return from the Pacific Ocean in May of 1806, the Corps of Discovery entered the foothills of the Blue Mountains, a region of moderately steep rolling hills, cut by creek valleys, near an ancient American Indian trail. This road, sometimes referred to as the Nez Perce Trail, once extended from the mouth of the Walla Walla River in what is now South Central Washington to the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers in present-day Idaho. Many Plateau Indian groups, particularly the Nez Perce, Walla Wallas and Cayuse, used this road extensively. In late spring and early summer the trail provided access to salmon fishing spots on the rivers; in early fall it became a route to the highlands for deer and elk hunting. A frequent mode of transportation on this road was a travois, built with two long trailng poles, one on either side of a dog or horse, and attached in front with a makeshift collar. The poles were held together behind the animal with hides supported by short cross poles, forming a hammock or pocket on which possessions were carried. These devices were dragged over the trail, causing deep, parallel tracks to mark the earth. This accounts for the ruts visible on some of the eastern portions of the Travois Road today.

On May 3rd, the explorers set up camp for the night in a grove of cottonwood trees on Pataha Creek at the spot where the ancient Indian trail left the valley and went up the ridge to the higher plains. Earlier that day, at some considerable distance west of the campsite, Lewis and Clark were agreeably surprised when they met 11 Nez Perce men led by We-ark-koomt, known as Big Horn Chief, whom Clark wrote received that name "from the circumstance of his always wearing a horn of that animal suspended by a cord to his left arm." (DeVoto 1997, 370) Both Lewis and Clark specifically mention the surviving trail and campsite in their journals. Clark, for instance, wrote:

after meeting this Chief we Continued Still up the Creek bottoms N.75° E. 2 m. to the place at which the roade leaves the Creek and assends the hill up to the high plains: here we Encamped in a Small grove of Cotton trees which in some measure broke the violence of the wind. . .it rained, hailed, Snowed & blowed with Great Violence the greater portion of the day. . .the air was very cold. we divided the last of our dried meat at dinner when it was Consumed as well as the ballance of our Dogs nearly we made but a Scant Supper, and had not any thing for tomorrow. (Moulton 1991, 7: 204)

On the following day, May 4, Lewis stated: "Collected out horses and set out early; the morning was cold and disagreeable. we ascended through a high level plain to a ravine which forms the source of a small creek, thence down this creek to it's entrance into Lewis's river 71/2 ms. Below the entrance of the Kooskooske [Clearwater]." (DeVoto 1997, 371) In the years after Lewis and Clark, the Travois Road was used by fur trappers, traders, and other European Americans as well as being continually used by American Indians.

The Lewis and Clark Trail--Travois Road crosses U.S. Rte. 12 at Pataha Creek, 5 miles east of Pomeroy and 15 miles south of the Snake River. Because of farming along most of the trail, this quarter mile section is one of the last surviving portions of the entire trail.

The Nez Perce National Historical Park

The Nez Perce National Historical Park contains 38 sites, mostly in Idaho, encompassing the valleys, prairies, mountains and plateaus of the inland northwest that have been home to the Nez Perce people for thousands of years. Lewis and Clark established extremely friendly relations with the Nez Perce Indians beginning in September 1805 on their westward journey. The Nez Perce, superior horse breeders who are credited with developing the Appaloosa breed of horses, had never seen a white man until the explorers, near starvation, stumbled out of the Bitterroot Mountains and camped with the Indians at Weippe Prairie. The Nez Perce graciously welcomed the Corps of Discovery, giving them supplies and information about the river route to the Pacific Ocean. Refreshed and prepared to continue onward, the explorers entrusted their horses to the Nez Perce until their return.

In early May 1806, the Corps of Discovery reunited with the friendly Nez Perce Indians. The explorers had hurried from the Pacific coast in the hopes of crossing the Bitterroot Mountains over the Lolo Trail early. Lewis and Clark were disappointed to learn that the snow was too deep in the mountains and they would not be able to proceed on for at least three or four weeks. On May 14, the Corps set up camp nearly opposite the present-day town of Kamiah, Idaho. This camp has become known by many names: Long Camp, due to the almost one month stay; Camp Chopunnish, a name Lewis and Clark used for the Nez Perce; and Camp Kamiah, based on the camp's location. During their stay Clark became the Nez Perce's "favorite phisician" and spent much of his time tending patients. He treated chiefs, braves, women and children for ulcers, rheumatism, sore eyes and weak limbs and Clark dressed wounds, drained abscesses and distributed salves, laxatives and eyewash. The Corps also participated in much revelry with the Indians. Clark recounted this merriment in his journal, "in the evening several foot races were run by the men of our party and the Indians; after which our party devided and played at prisoners base untill night. after dark the fiddle was played and the party amused themselves in dancing" (DeVoto 1997, 400). The rest and relaxation ended on June 10 when the Corps of Discovery broke camp to continue on. The Corps:

. . . rose early this morning and had all the horses collected except one of Whitehouses horses which could not be found, an Indian promised to find the horse and bring him on to us at the quawmash fields at which place we intend to delay a fiew days for the laying in some meat by which time we calculate that the Snows will have melted more off the mountains and the grass raised to a sufficient hight for our horses to live. we packed up and Set out at 11 A M we set out with the party each man being well mounted and a light load on a 2d horse, besides which we have several supernumary horses in case of accident or the want of provisions, we therefore feel ourselves perfectly equiped for the Mountains . . . (DeVoto 1997, 401)

The explorers traveled approximately eight miles northeastward to the southern portion of the Weippe Prairie, near the spot where they first met the Nez Perce a year earlier. Finally, on June 15, the Corps set out over the Lolo Trail on their journey home.

The Nez Perce National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service, has two main Visitor Centers, one at Park Headquarters in Spalding, Idaho, 11 miles east of Lewiston and the other at Big Hole National Battlefield, 10 miles west of Wisdom, Montana. The Visitor Center at Spalding, Idaho is open in the winter months from 8:00am to 4:30pm and until 5:30pm in the summer. The Visitor Center at Big Hole National Battlefield near Wisdom, Montana is open in the winter from 9:00am to 5:00pm and in the summer from 8:30am to 6:00pm. Please call 208-843-2261, or visit the park's website for further information.

Pompey's Pillar

The Corps of Discovery reached Pompey's Pillar on July 25, 1806. Having already reached the majestic Pacific, disproved the myth of the Northwest Passage, and established sound relations with the indigenous peoples of the American West, the explorers were ready to return home with a wealth of stories and information. On the way back, the American pioneers continued to explore the surrounding areas and make new discoveries.

Pausing at Traveler's Rest from June 30 to July 3, 1806, Lewis and Clark decided that it would be best to divide the group into separate parties, maximizing their exploratory range. Clark and his party traversed Bozeman Pass, set out down the Yellowstone River, and headed for the caches at Beaverhead. Along the way, the crew came across a prominent rock formation, located on the south bank of the river in present-day Nibbe, Montana. Naming the anomalous natural formation after Sacagawea's child Jean Baptiste Charbonneau or 'Pomp', Clark wrote of the discovery in his journal that evening:

. . . At 4PM [I] arrived at the remarkable rock situated in an extensive bottom.This rock I ascended and from it's top had a most extensive view in every direction. This rock which I shall call Pompy's Tower is 200 feet high and 400 paces in secumpherance and only axcessible on one side which is from the N.E. the other parts of it being a perpendicular clift of lightish coloured gritty rock.The Indians have made 2 piles of stone on the top of this tower. The nativs have ingraved on the face of this rock the figures of animals &c.(Jones 2000, 185-186)

Clark, too, left his mark at Pompey's Pillar, engraving his name and the date into the stone; still visible, his mark is probably the only extant on-site evidence of the entire expedition.

Pompey's Pillar National Monument, a National Historic Landmark, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior. The Pillar overlooks the Yellowstone River about 25 miles east of Billings, Montana. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day the National Monument is open to drive-in visitation from 8:00am to 8:00pm; after Labor Day through the remainder of September the hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm; from October to the Memorial Day weekend, vehicle gates are closed, but the Monument is open to walk-in visitors although no services are available. Please call 406-875-2233, or visit the monument's website for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Pompey's Pillar National Historic Landmark nomination.

Camp Disappointment

Lewis and three companions, George Drouillard and the Field brothers, Joseph and Reubin, spent July 22 to July 26, 1806, at Camp Disappointment, the northernmost campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lewis hoped to determine how far north the Marias River extended. President Jefferson desired proof of a tributary of the Missouri River that extended to 50°-north latitude, giving the United States a claim to a more northern boundary. Had this been the case, the natural boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase would have been extended. Unfortunately, Lewis "lost all hope of the waters of this river ever extending to N. Latitude 50 °" (DeVoto 1997, 431). Lewis's plan of finding an easy portage route between the Marias and Saskatchewan rivers that would allow America to divert Canadian fur trade into American territory at the Missouri River was also thwarted. Therefore, on Saturday, July 26, the men broke camp and continued down river. Lewis wrote:

. . .The mor[n]ing was cloudy and continued to rain as usual, tho' the cloud seemed somewhat thiner I therefore postponed seting out untill 9 A.M. in the hope that it would clear off but finding the contrary result I had the horses caught and we set out biding a last adieu to this place I now call camp disappointment . . . (DeVoto 1997, 433)

As the men journeyed onward, they met a group of Piegan Indians who made camp with them. The following morning the first and only conflict of the expedition occurred at Two Medicine Fight Site.

Camp Disappointment, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the Blackfeet Reservation near Browning, Montana. The campground is open to the public. Please call 406-338-7737 or visit www.blackfeetnation.com for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Camp Disappointment National Historic Landmark nomination.

Two Medicine Fight Site

Two Medicine Fight Site was the scene of the only violence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. On July 26, 1806, Meriwether Lewis, George Drouillard and the Field brothers, Joseph and Reubin, left Camp Disappointment and traveled down the Marias River. There they encountered eight members of a Blackfeet tribe known as the Piegans and made camp for the night. Lewis asked the Piegans about trade in the area and discovered that a British post was six days away. There one could "obtain arm[s] amunition speritous liquor blankets &c in exchange for wolves and some beaver skins" (DeVoto 1997, 436). Unworried by news of an established British trade post, Lewis told the Indians of the advantages of having the Americans on the plains. He also explained that he had mediated peace between warring Indian nations on either side of the mountains. This was upsetting news to the Blackfeet Indians. Lewis had just informed them that not only did he organize the worst enemies of the Blackfeet--the Nez Perce, the Shoshones and others--he intended to supply them with weapons. The Blackfeet monopoly on guns would end if the explorers succeeded. Lewis and his men, unaware of the Piegans fear of their plans, settled down to sleep.

The next morning Lewis awoke to the shouts of his men. The Piegans were stealing their weapons. Drouillard and Lewis quickly chased the Indians and recovered their guns, but Reubin Field, in his struggle, stabbed and killed one of the Piegans. The Indians then tried to take the explorers' horses. This struggle also ended in the death of a Piegan at the hands of Lewis, who was almost shot. He commented, "being bearheaded I felt the wind of his bullet very distinctly" (DeVoto 1997, 439). The Piegans fled and the explorers broke camp and hurriedly continued down the river.

This struggle on July 27, 1806, was the only violent conflict between the Corps of Discovery and American Indians and resulted in the only two Indian casualties of the Expedition. Furthermore, it marks the first meeting and conflict between any representative of the American government and the Blackfeet Indians.

Two Medicine Fight Site is just south of Cut Bank, Montana, approximately 19 miles southeast of Camp Disappointment. The site is not open to the public.


Other Places Listed in the National Register Associated with Lewis and Clark


Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson, is today a National Historic Landmark reflecting the versatility and genius of its creator. Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Goochland (now Albermarle) County, Virginia, in 1743 and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1762. Ten years later Jefferson married Martha (Wayles) Skelton, the widow of Bathurst Skelton, with whom he had six children although only two lived to adulthood. Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1769 to 1775, the Virginia House of Delegates from 1776 to 1779, was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775-1776 and the chief author of the Declaration of Independence. Elected Governor of Virginia in 1779, he served until 1781. Jefferson was Minister of France from 1785 to 1789, the first Secretary of State of the United States from 1790 to 1793, Vice President to John Adams, and the third President of the United States, elected in 1800 and reelected in 1804. In 1814 Jefferson drafted the bill which resulted in the establishment of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1819. Jefferson played a key role in developing that institution and designed the plans for many of its buildings.

Jefferson began building Monticello, his "Little Mountain," from his own design in 1770 and by 1775 had completed the western part, including a two-tiered portico. Between 1796 and 1809 Jefferson enlarged Monticello, making it an example of classical design adapted to its environment. Jefferson's careful symmetry had a far-reaching influence in developing the Federal style of architecture. Monticello, as it finally took shape during the second building campaign (1793-1809), clearly reflects Jefferson's years in France. The low horizontal appearance of a single story, interlocked in the center by the spherical mass of the dome, is strongly reminiscent of the river front of the Hôtel de Salm in Paris. Jefferson, influenced by the great buildings he had observed in Europe, both modern and ancient, retained the original main room with its octagonal end and portico, and the flanking rooms with their octagonal bays. He eliminated the entrance hall and stairs, and extended the outer walls of the old hall to more then twice their original length. Ultimately, with other additions, the whole house was deepened by more than twice its original area.

The interior of Monticello is distinguished by beautiful woodwork and holds many examples of Jefferson's ingenuity. Jefferson designed dumbwaiters, disappearing beds, a duplicate-writing machine, the forerunner of the one-arm lunch chair, folding doors and other apparatuses, which are still evident at Monticello today. A classical example of American architecture, Monticello contains 35 rooms, including 12 in the basement. The west façade, most familiar to the public, looks out upon a large lawn bordered by a flower garden. Except for absences necessitated by his public service, Jefferson remained here until his death on July 4, 1826.

It was from Monticello, on January 18, 1803, that President Jefferson sent a confidential letter to Congress, asking for $2,500 to finance a trek to the American West--up the Missouri River and beyond to the Pacific Ocean--a journey of discovery that would become the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Meriweather Lewis was a familiar presence in Jefferson's home, being a near neighbor and later the secretary to the President. In 1792, as a teenager, Lewis heard about Jefferson's proposal to the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia to outfit an adventurer to explore the American continent, and he volunteered but was deterred by Jefferson. Ultimately Jefferson chose André Michaux, a French botanist, for the mission, which ran into diplomatic entanglements and was called off. Jefferson recalled that the young Lewis "warmly solicited me to obtain for him the execution of that object." A decade later Jefferson did choose Lewis to lead his expedition.

At Monticello Jefferson created a double-story Entrance Hall in which he planned to display some of Lewis and Clark's exhibits sent back from their journey. This hall held maps of the world, European sculptures and paintings, and examples of items found in the New World. Lewis and Clark sent several boxes and barrels back east in the summer of 1805 containing animal skins, bones, and horns, as well as American Indian objects. These arrived in Washington D.C. in August, while Jefferson was at Monticello were he wrote to Etienne Lemaire on August 17, 1805:

The barrel, boxes, & cases from Baltimore mentioned in your letter contain skins, furs, horns, bones, seeds, vases & some other articles. Being apprehensive that the skins & furs may be suffering I would wish you to take them out, have them well dried & brushed, and then done up close in strong linen to keep the worm-fly out. As I do not know in what packages they ate, it will be necessary for you to open them all & take out the skins & furs, leaving everything else in their cases . . .

Unfortunately, the fate of Jefferson's collection of American Indian objects, which disappeared after his death, remains unknown. Many of Lewis and Clark's items found on their expedition ended up at the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. Because of Jefferson's pivotal role and personal interest in the expedition, Monticello was chosen to host the first signature event of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial in January 2003.

Monticello, a National Historic Landmark, is located in the Virginia Piedmont about two miles southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia, off of State Rte. 53. Open daily 8:00am to 5:00pm March-October, 9:00am to 4:30pm November-February, closed Christmas Day. Tours of the house and gardens available March-October. House tours offered daily; seasonal outdoor tours offered March-October. There is a fee for admission. Call 434-984-9822 or visit the website for further information. Monticello is also a designated World Heritage Site. You can also download (in pdf) the Monticello National Historic Landmark nomination.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at the scenic confluence of the Sheanandoah and Potomac rivers in the Blue Ridge Mountains. George Washington visited Harpers Ferry in August 1785 and was impressed by the water power potential of the site. Ten years later, as President, he personally selected this site for a proposed Federal musket producing factory or armory. Construction of a dam, musket factory and power canal along the Potomac began in 1798. Today, the preserved 19th-century commercial and residential buildings of Harpers Ferry reflect its importance as a manufacturing and commercial center from 1800 to the Civil War. It was here that John Hall pioneered the successful development of interchangeable parts in manufacturing. In 1859 the town was the scene of the John Brown's raid, an event of major importance in bringing the nation closer to the Civil War. Strategically important, Harpers Ferry changed hands from Union to Confederate forces several times during the War. Its capture, together with 12,693 Union soldiers defending the town, by "Stonewall" Jackson in 1862 was a dramatic prelude to the great battle at Antietam Creek that ended the first southern invasion of the North. The buildings of former Storer College are also part of Harpers Ferry, and illustrate the efforts by the Freedman's Bureau and private philanthropy to aid and educate African Americans after the Civil War.

It was at Harpers Ferry that the Lewis and Clark Expedition was outfitted with weapons for their western journey. Meriwether Lewis relied on the U.S. Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry for guns and hardware that would meet the unique requirements of his transcontinental expedition. On March 16, 1803, Lewis arrived in Harpers Ferry with a letter from Secretary of War Henry Dearborn addressed to Armory superintendent Joseph Perkins:

Sir: You will be pleased to make such arms & Iron work, as requested by the Bearer Captain Meriwether Lewis and to have them completed with the least possible delay.

In addition to procuring rifles, powder horns, bullet molds, ball screws, extra rifle and musket locks, gunsmith's repair tools, several dozen tomahawks and large knives, Lewis also attended to the construction of a collapsible iron boat frame of his own design. The strange craft was comprised of an iron frame, which came apart in sections, over which was stretched a covering of hide. This special boat could be used high in the mountains if they were unable to make dugout canoes. The Armory mechanics assigned to the project, however, had considerable difficulty assembling the iron frame, and Lewis was forced to prolong his Harpers Ferry stay from the week he had planned to more than a month. On April 20, 1803, Lewis wrote President Jefferson:

My detention at Harper's Ferry was unavoidable for one month, a period much greater than could reasonably have been calculated on; my greatest difficulty was the frame of the canoe, which could not be completed without my personal attention to such portions of it as would enable the workmen to understand the design perfectly. -My Rifles, Tomahawks & knives are already in a state of forwardness that leaves me little doubt of their being in readiness in due time. (Jackson 1962, 38-39)

Lewis and the Armory mechanics finally finished the iron frame, and Lewis conducted a "full experiment" on the unusual canoe. To his satisfaction, he found the craft could carry a load of 1,770 pounds. Better yet, since the collapsible frame weighed just 99 pounds, he could transport the disassembled boat with relative ease. On April 18, 1803, Lewis finally departed Harpers Ferry to attend to other pressing matters in Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eleven weeks later, on July 7, Lewis returned to Harpers Ferry. The following day he wrote President Jefferson: "Yesterday, I shot my guns and examined the several articles which had been manufactured for me at this place; they appear to be well executed." Securing a driver, team and wagon to haul his large supply of weapons and articles to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lewis departed Harpers Ferry for the last time on July 8, 1803. Although there would only be one skirmish at Two Medicine Fight Site in which weapons were used against American Indians, the arms procured at Harpers Ferry kept Lewis and his men fed for 28 months. The following is the list of inventory acquired by Lewis at Harpers Ferry: 15 Rifles, 24 Pipe tomahawks, 36 Pipe tomahawks for "Indian Presents," 24 Large knives, 15 Powderhorns and pouches, 15 Pairs of bullet molds, 15 Wipers or gun worms, 15 Ball screws, 15 Gun slings, extra parts of locks and tools for repairing arms, 40 Fish giggs, a collapsible iron boat frame and 1 small grindstone.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service, stands at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the states of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, 65 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., and 20 miles southwest of Frederick, Maryland, via U.S. Rte. 340. The Visitor Center is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Hours of operation are from 8:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. There is a fee. Please call 304-535-6298 or visit the park's website for further information.

American Philosophical Society

Since 1789, this two-story, late Georgian brick building has been the home of one of America's oldest and most honorable learned and scientific societies. The American Philosophical Society traces its origins back to 1743, when Benjamin Franklin publicly urged the creation of a society to stimulate interest in learning. In addition to providing a central meeting place for its members, the American Philosophical Society Hall served many purposes in its early years. Portions of it were leased to the University of Pennsylvania and to artist Thomas Sully for his portrait studio, and the basement was used as a wine cellar for an import business. Most notably, the Hall became the first home of Charles Willson Peale's famous natural history museum (before it was moved to Independece Hall) which included specimens of all kinds of plants and animals, including the giant bones of an extinct mastodon. The Society's journal, Transactions, continues as the country's oldest scholarly periodical. Over the years the Society has counted America's intellectual elite among its members. President Thomas Jefferson was one, and 10 years before the Corps of Discovery, Jefferson proposed that the American Philosophical Society outfit an adventurer to explore the American continent. A teenage Meriweather Lewis volunteered to lead this expedition but was deterred by Jefferson. Jefferson ultimately chose André Michaux, a French botanist, to lead this exploration. Although the Michaux expedition was called off, the Society became entertwined with the exploration of the American west. During Lewis's stay in Philadelphia during the Spring of 1803, he took crash courses in a variety of disciplines that he and Jefferson thought would be necessary as leader of the expedition. Among those he consulted were physician Dr. Benjamin Rush and anatomist Dr. Caspar Wistar, both members of the Society.

After the Corps of Discovery disbanded in 1806, many of Lewis and Clark's journals were deposited in the collections of the American Philosophical Society at Jefferson's urging. Some editors of the journals argued that the excellent condition of these journals indicates that they were fair copies made after the end of the expedition in September of 1806, and prior to Jefferson's receiving them at the end of the year. Others, however, suggest that the story is more complex. The American Philosophical Society collection consists of 18 small notebooks, approximately 4 by 6 inches, of the type commonly used by surveyors in field work. Thirteen of these are bound in red morocco leather, four in boards covered in marbled-paper, and one in plain brown leather, and there are a number of loose pages and rough notes as well. The available evidence suggests that Lewis and Clark carried their notebooks sealed in tin boxes that were intended to protect the relatively fragile journals from the elements. If nothing else, with Jefferson's advising, the journals were considered invaluable as the only reliable record of data gathered on the expedition. It seems likely, therefore, that great care would be taken in their preservation. From a close examination of the journals and sets of loose notes, noted Lewis and Clark historian Gary Moulton, among others, has concluded that Lewis and Clark often worked from rough notes compiled daily, then periodically transcribed these into more polished form in the bound volumes, however in most cases, the time between taking the notes and transcribing them must have been very brief. On many occasions, the explorers clearly wrote directly into the bound volumes. The journals contain huge volumes of data, going beyond geographical notes and records of temperature and weather. Both men made meticulous observations on the geology and biology of the region and enlivened their journals with images of animals and plants, American Indian artifacts, canoes and clothing. Today, the journals remain an invaluable record of the journey. The Hall recently opened its doors to the public for the first time since the early 19th century. On view are exhibitions that explore the intersections of history, art and science, with a focus on the early days of Philadelphia and the nation.

The American Philosophical Society Hall, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 104 South Fifth St., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is part of Independence National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service. The Hall is open year round from 12:00pm to 5:00pm; from April-September it is open Wednessday-Sunday; October-March is is open Thursday-Sunday. The Library, located across Fifth St., is open to researchers 9:00am to 4:45pm, Monday-Friday, except holidays. Please notify the Library at least 24 hours in advance of any visit by calling 215-440-3400. Visit the American Philosophical Society online at www.amphilsoc.org.

Big Bone Lick State Park

During the Pleistocene age, which occurred during the last great Ice Age, enormous herds of herbivorous animals existed in the vicinity of what is today Big Bone Lick State Park. The area is recognized as the key to understanding the life of the Ice Age on the North American continent over 10,000 years ago. The mammoth and the mastodon were among the animals to visit the Lick. Ancestors of the sloth, bison and horse also frequented the area, which had vegetation and salty earth around the springs that the animals used to supplement their diet. The land was soft and marshy and many of the animals became mired in the bogs and died.

The area was widely known to the American Indians, such as the Delaware and Shawnee, who inhabited the Ohio Valley and relied on these centrally located springs for much of their salt and a large amount of their game. The Europeans learned of the existence of Big Bone Lick from these American Indians and the first European to visit this site was a French Canadian, de Longueil, in 1739. A map of Louisiana, dated 1744, marks the lick as the "place where they found the elephant bones in 1739." The first removal of fossil bones from the lick by American Indian trader Robert Smith was also recorded in 1744. In 1773, a survey party reported using the enormous ribs of the mammoth and mastodon for tent poles and the vertebrae as stools or seats. Explorers noted that the large bones lay scattered throughout the valley. The first map of Kentucky, prepared by John Filson in 1784, bore on the legend: "Big Bone Lick; Salt and Medical Spring. Large bones are found there."

Meriwether Lewis traveled to Big Bone Lick in October 1803 on his way west to join William Clark and the men assembling in Louisville for the Corps of Discovery. Lewis sent a box of specimens back to President Jefferson, along with an extremely detailed letter describing the finds of Goforth--the lengthiest surviving letter written by Lewis. President Jefferson devoted much time to the study of Big Bone Lick and believed that some of the large animals might still be living in the western regions of the country. In 1807, after the Corps of Discovery disbanded, Jefferson sent Clark to Big Bone Lick for the first organized vertebra paleontology expedition in the United States. Clark employed laborers and collected bones, enough, in three weeks' time, to ship three huge boxes to the President. Jefferson had a room in the White House for the display of the Big Bone collection. The collection was divided and various sections of it went to the National Institute of France in Paris, to Philadelphia and to Jefferson's personal collection, which was unfortunately ground into fertilizer by a careless servant. Between 1756 and 1812, while excavations were continuing, the salt industry developed in the area. The salt works required 500 or 600 gallons of water to make a bushel of salt. Two furnaces were created to speed the process of evaporating the water from the salt, but the operation proved too expensive to be profitable, and the business was halted in 1812. From 1831 to 1848, various paleontologists and geologists visited Big Bone Lick, and the lick was included in indexes of all the principle geological, paleontological and scientific journals in the United States, England, Germany, and France. Besides salt, the springs were known for their medicinal qualities and by 1821 Big Bone Lick was one of the most celebrated resorts in that part of the Ohio Valley. A large hotel was erected and named Clay House, in honor of Henry Clay, the famous statesmen from Lexington, Kentucky.

Big Bone Lick State Park is located at 3380 Beaver Rd. in Union, Kentucky. The park is located 22 miles southwest of Covington on State Hwy. 338, off Hwy. 42/127 and I-71/I-75. The park, including a 7.5 acre lake, is open dawn to dusk and is home to a buffalo herd. Camping is available year-round. The outdoor museum is generally open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, except during the winter when it is only open weekends, or by calling the main office. There is a fee for admission. Please call 859-384-3522 for more information, or visit the park's website.

Old Clarksville Site

In June of 1778, George Rogers Clark, older brother of William Clark, led a military expedition from the Falls of the Ohio to attack British garrisons in the Old Northwest. In a series of bold strikes, Clark's forces captured Kaskaskia, in Illinois, some smaller forts near there, and Fort Sackville at Vincennes (Indiana). Because of the American presence in the Old Northwest at the end of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin, during peace negotiations with the British, could assert boundaries for the new country stretching west to the Mississippi and north to the Great Lakes.

Even before leaving on this expedition Clark was familiar with the Kentucky and Ohio Valley having traveled, surveyed and claimed land there since 1775. It was in the area around the Falls of the Ohio that Clark was to spend his life after the American Revolution. He divided his time between trying to press his claims for payment of debts he had incurred during his march and administrating the land that has come to be known as Clark's Grant.

On January 2, 1781, the general assembly of Virginia passed a resolution that not more than 150,000 acres of land northwest of the Ohio River be granted to officers and men in Clark's force. This land, known as the Illinois Grant, was selected at a meeting of the officers on February 1, 1783, at Louisville. Probably chosen on Clark's recommendation, it ran from below the Falls of the Ohio to a spot up the river at a distance as would make the width not exceed the breadth. At an early meeting the commission chosen to distribute and administer this land set aside 1000 acres for a town that came to be known as Clarksville. George Roger Clark preferred Clarksville to all others as a place of business and residence. In 1803, Clark grew tired of living with his sister and brother-in-law at Locust Grove across the river in Kentucky and moved to his cabin on a rocky point above Clarksville. Clarksville failed to thrive and Clark moved back to Locust Grove in 1809.

William Clark was living in Clarksville while gathering recruits to form the Corps of Discovery. In October 14, 1803, George Rogers Clark hosted Lewis when he arrived in Clarksville and the two explorers made final preparations for their historic journey. On October 26, Lewis and Clark left Clarksville with their chosen men, heading down the Ohio River for their westward journey. Today, the Old Clarksville Site includes the site of George Rogers Clark's two-room cabin which he occupied from 1803 until 1809, the site of a mill that he built on Mill Run, and the sites of the cabins that once composed Clarksville--the first American town in what was to become the Northwest territory. The best description of Clarksville as a town is provided by several travelers and observers who visited early in the 19th century. In 1805 Josiah Espy wrote in his journal, which was later quoted in Ross F. Lockridge's 1927 book, George Rogers Clark, that "At the lower end of the falls is the deserted village of Clarksburg (Clarksville) in which General Clark himself resides. I had the pleasure of seeing this celebrated warrior at his lonely cottage seated on Clark's Point. This point is situated at the upper end of the falls, particularly the lower rapid, commanding a full and delightful view of the falls particularly the zigzag channel which is only navigable at high water. The general has not taken much pains to improve this commanding and beautiful spot, having only raised a small cabin but it is capable of being made one of the handsomest seats in the world."

The Old Clarksville Site is located in Clarksville, Indiana. The site is not accessible to the public. For information on visiting the nearby Falls of the Ohio State Park, location of one the Lewis and Clark Bicenninal signature events, visit the park's website.

Fort Massac

In 1757, in order to protect their communication lines and supply routes to forts on the upper Ohio, the French ordered a party to scout the area adjacent to the mouth of the Tennessee River and to build a suitable fortification. Under the authority of Captain Charles Phillipe Aubry the French erected a fort and named it Fort Ascension. The fort was strengthened in 1759 and renamed Fort Massiac in honor of a minister of the French Marine. The French held the fort until 1765 when it was surrendered to the British under the terms of the treaty of 1763. While the British had plans to occupy the fort this was not carried out, and on June 28, 1778, George Rogers Clark, the older brother of William Clark, came with a command of 160 men, and landed at the mouth of Massac Creek a few hundred yards east of the fort. Clark and his men were on their way to capture the British garrison at Vincennes.

In 1794 President George Washington ordered General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to fortify and rebuild Fort Massiac. A detail of men under Captain Thomas Doyle arrived at Fort Massiac on June 12, 1794, and by October 20, 1794, they had erected a fort, which was named Massac, an anglicized version of Massiac. By 1797 Fort Massac became a major port of entry for settlers coming down the Ohio and entering the Illinois country. Fort Massac was placed under direct control of Alexander Hamilton in 1799. Plans to garrison 1,000 men at the fort as a response to a French threat were abandoned in favor of a new fort down river at Grand Chain. In 1802 a garrison was established under the command of Captain Daniel Bissell. In 1804, a detachment of troops from Fort Massac occupied New Madrid in present-day Missouri.

On July 2nd the Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn wrote to Meriwether Lewis: "You will call on the Commanding Officers at Massac and Kaskaskais for such Non-commissioned Officers & privates as will be necessary to accompany you on your tour to the Westward," (Jackson 1962, 102). On November 11, 1803, Lewis and Clark arrived at Fort Massac. Lewis hoped to find eight soldiers who had volunteered for the Corps of Discovery at South West Point, Tennessee, but they were not present. Lewis hired a local woodsman named George Drouillard, the son of a French father and Shawnee mother, to find the soldiers and report with them near St. Louis at the east bank of the Mississippi for the expedition west. Only two volunteers from Fort Massac met Captain Lewis's standards, and became members of the expedition. On November 13th, the Corps of Discovery left Fort Massac.

In 1805 Aaron Burr came to Fort Massac for a meeting with General Wilkinson. It is believed that Burr tried unsuccessfully to enlist Wilkinson's participation in a scheme to establish a nation west of the Alleghenies. In 1811, the New Madrid earthquake caused severe damage at the fort, but the damage was repaired and the fort became headquarters for the 24th Infantry. The fort was evacuated in 1814 and its garrison was moved to St. Louis. Nearby settlers stripped the fort of its wood and bricks.

In 1903, the Daughters of the American Revolution purchased 24 acres surrounding the site and on November 5, 1908, it was officially dedicated as Illinois' first state park. The present site of the fort was excavated in 1939 by a team of archeologists directed by Paul Maynard under the sponsorship of the State of Illinois, Division of Parks and Memorials. World War II interrupted the work and at that time Maynard reconstructed the ditch. In the early 1970s a replica of an American fort at Fort Massac was reconstructed off the original site of the French and American forts. This replica, based on the 1794 American Fort, was brought down in the fall of 2002. A replica of an 1802 American fort is currently under construction, to be complete by August 2003. The original site, where all the forts were built, has the archeological outline of the original 1757 French Fort. Geographically, the Fort Massac Site overlooks the Ohio River and is situated on a rise of ground about 50 feet above the water level. The site commands a view of about three miles upstream and downstream.

Fort Massac Site is located at 1308 E. 5th Street, Metropolis, Illinois. Metropolis is on the Illinois side of the Ohio River, looking across to Kentucky, some miles down river from Paducah, Kentucky on the opposite bank. Take Exit 37 off I-24 through Metropolis. Follow Hwy. 45 through Metropolis and follow the signs to the fort. For more information visit Fort Massac State Park's website or call 618-524-4712.

Locust Grove

Built around 1790, Locust Grove was the residence of its builder and owner, Major William Croghan and his wife, Lucy Clark Croghan. Lucy was the sister of Revolutionary War General George Rogers Clark (1752-1818) and William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame. Locust Grove, located in Louisville, Kentucky, was visited by a number of national figures including James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, John James Audubon, and Aaron Burr. In 1841, Locust Grove was the scene of a duel between the fiery Kentucky statesman Cassius Marcellus Clay and Robert Wickliffe. Architecturally, Locust Grove is a fine example of the frontier's adaptation of Georgian styling. Each floor of the two and one-half story brick residence contains four rooms divided by an axis hallway. A kitchen, servants quarters, well, dairy and log cabin have been rebuilt on excavated foundations.

On November 9, 1806, Lewis and Clark stopped at Locust Grove, as they were making their way back east after the Corps of Discovery had disbanded. The citizens of Louisville threw a banquet ball for the explorers and bonfires were lit in their honor. On November 13, 1806, Lewis and Clark parted company for the time, as Lewis went to Monticello to see President Jefferson and Clark went to Fincastle, Virginia. General George Rogers Clark lived here from 1809 to 1818, after leaving the Old Clarksville Site. Today, Locust Grove and its surrounding 55 acres are owned by Jefferson County, Kentucky, and operated by Historic Locust Grove, Inc.

Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 561 Blankenbaker Ln. in Louisville, Kentucky. From I-65 take I-71 North. Continue on I-71, passing the I-64 split, and exit at Zorn Ave. Turn left onto Zorn, right onto River Rd., right onto Blankenbaker Ln. and proceed gradually uphill away from the river where you will find the entrance to the Locust Grove parking lot on your left. Locust Grove is open Monday-Saturday, 10:00am to 4:30pm, with the final tour at 3:30pm. There is a fee. The museum is closed New Year's Eve and Day, Easter, Derby Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Please call 502-897- 9845 or visit www.locustgrove.org for further information.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The importance of the Old Natchez Trace as a road of national significance cannot be overestimated. The existence of the trail, and its subsequent use by travelers during America's history, brought about the opening of the Western frontier. The Trace's use was a major factor contributing to the development of the nation's interior. The vast network of trails, which we now know as the Natchez Trace, was used by American Indians in prehistoric times, and later as a road of commerce between many American Indian nations. The Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and his expedition force are believed to be the first Europeans to have used part of the Trace on their 1540 journey across the southeastern United States.

The French, traveling from their settlements in the St. Lawrence Valley, also used the Trace. Among the Frenchmen known to have traveled through Tennessee, probably via the Trace, were Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliett (1673), Robert Cavelier de la Salle (1682), Martin Chartier (1692) and Jean Couture (1696). The arrival of the English in the region strained relations with the French, and during the Revolutionary War both Loyalists and Rebels moved into eastern Tennessee. For the new United States, the Old Southwest, stretching from the Mississippi River on the west to present Georgia on the east to the present Kentucky-Tennessee border on the north, was faced with communication and transportation difficulties. The capital of the southern territory was Natchez and it was removed from the nearest outpost, Nashville, by 600 miles of American Indian territory.

Winthrop Sargent, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and the first governor of the Natchez District, attempted to solve the problem of insufficient communications between settlements by encouraging the use of the Trace for travel to Natchez. Communicating with Washington D.C., more than 1200 miles from Natchez, required a long and dangerous journey over the Trace to Nashville where the trail connected with the Wilderness Road. Those traveling southward from Nashville had the choice of riding or walking over the Trace or guiding wooden flatboats and barges over the waterways, but the return trip north always required following the Trace. Boatmen, itinerant preachers, slave traders, land speculators, gamblers and merchants all followed the trail, as did men who would later gain renown: Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, John J. Audubon, Andrew Jackson, Meriwether Lewis and Aaron Burr. The trail was designated the official U.S. mail route in 1800 and postriders were allowed two weeks to make the trip from Nashville to Natchez. Postriders continued to use the Trace for mail until almost 1830, in spite of competition from the steamboats introduced in 1820. Between 1801 and 1803 the Trace was cleared by Federal troops, and in the War of 1812 the Americans used the Trace returning from the defense of New Orleans in 1815. The Natchez Trace ceased to be the main highway leading to the riverport cities of Natchez and New Orleans after the introduction of the steamboat in 1820, when river travel replaced the use of the Old Natchez Trace.

Meriwether Lewis traveled the Natchez Trace during his final trip in 1809, when he was governor of the Louisiana Territory. Lewis opted against taking a sea route, for British ships were pressing Americans into the British Navy against their will to fight in the Napoleonic Wars--a course of action that led to the War of 1812. Packing the journals, which he did not want to fall into British hands, Lewis traveled the Natchez Trace, then the most heavily traveled road of the region. The party, consisting of Lewis, Major James Neelly, John Pernier, and Neelly's servant, reached the Chickasaw Agency, some six miles north of the present location of Houston, Mississippi, where Lewis asked Neelly, in the event that anything fatal were to occur to him, that the trunks with the expedition journals would be sent to "the President." Stephen Ambrose records in Undaunted Courage that "Neelly assumed Lewis meant Jefferson, not Madison," then the current President. On October 11, at Grinder's Inn, 72 miles short of Nashville, most historians believe that Lewis, suffering from depression and anxiety, shot himself in the head and died the following morning. Thomas Jefferson had much earlier noted Lewis's depressions, when he served as the President's secretary, and believed that they ran in the Lewis family. The Meriwether Lewis Monument and grave in Lewis County, Tennessee, are located about 100 yards from the site of Grinder's Inn. The Inn was located on the Old Trace, near the crossing of Little Swan Creek, and was said to border American Indian territory.

The Natchez Trace Parkway, administered by the National Park Service, follows an historic Indian trace, or trail, between Nashville, Tennessee and Natchez, Mississippi. Of the 444 miles of Parkway, 423 are completed. Meriwether Lewis's grave is in Meriwether Lewis Park, near where old Natchez Trace crosses Tenessee State Hwy. 20, on an upland ridge between the Tennessee and Duck rivers. For more information on travel, camping, lodging, activities, fees and permits visit the Natchez Trace Parkway website.

Learn More

By clicking on one of these links, you can go directly to a particular section:
Links to Lewis & Clark Tourism and Commemoration Websites
Links to Websites of Places Featured in the Lewis & Clark Itinerary
Selected Bibliography for Lewis & Clark

Children's Literature

Links to Lewis & Clark Tourism and Commemoration Websites

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, National Park Service
This 3,700 mile-long trail follows the expedition's route as closely as possible given the changes over the years. The trail has worked with the Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) Lewis and Clark Project in developing the Corps of Discovery II, a traveling exhibit that will be following the Lewis and Clark Trail during the bicentennial commemoration.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site, National Park Service, and Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery
The Memorial's Museum of Westward Expansion presents an overview of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, as does their excellent website.

National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial
In cooperation with State, Federal, and Tribal governments, the mission of the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial is to commemorate the journey, re-kindle its spirit of discovery, and acclaim the contributions and goodwill of the native peoples.

Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation
For more than 30 years, the Foundation has been the pre-eminent nonprofit organization coordinating efforts to promote the heritage of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

This website is a partnership among 32 Federal agencies and organizations aimed at providing a single, easy-to-use web portal with information about various Lewis and Clark historic places.

PBS Online: Lewis and Clark
PBS explores the Lewis and Clark Expedition, offering biographies on the members of the Corps of Discovery, information about the Indian tribes, journal entries, a timeline and a living history.

Discovering Lewis and Clark
A multimedia rich site about the visions and values inherent in the Northwest as Lewis and Clark saw it, and the way it is seen today.

The Journals of Lewis and Clark
Presented by the American Studies department of the University of Virginia, this site offers excerpts from the journals of Lewis and Clark.

Lewis and Clark on the Information Superhighway
A comprehensive list of web sites that are related in some manner to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

World Heritage Sites
Monticello, one of the sites highlighted in this itinerary, is also a desingated World Heritage Site.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Learn about the programs of and membership in the oldest national nonprofit preservation organization. In 2003, the Trust is offereing two National Trust Study Tours which follow the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Historic Hotels of America
A feature of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Heritage Traveler program that provides information on historic hotels and package tours in the vicinity of this itinerary.

National Park Service Office of Sustainable Tourism
National Parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest days. This website highlights the ways in which the National Park Service promotes and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.

National Scenic Byways Program
This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on state and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Beartooth Highway website for more ideas.

State Websites:

Links to Websites of Places Featured in the Lewis & Clark Travel Itinerary

Selected Bibliography for Lewis & Clark

Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Bergon, Frank, ed. The Journals of Lewis and Clark. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.

Betts, Robert B. In Search of York: The Slave Who Went to the Pacific With Lewis and Clark. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2000.

Billington, Ray Allen and James Blaine Hedges. Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949.

Clarke, Charles G. The Men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Biographical Roster of the Fifty-one Members and a Composite Diary of Their Activities from all the Known Sources. Glendale, California: A. H. Clark Co., 1970.

DeVoto, Bernard, ed. The Journals of Lewis and Clark. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.

Duncan, Dayton. Lewis & Clark: An Illustrated History. New York: Knopf, 1997.

Fanselow, Julie. Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press, 2003.

Ferris, Robert G. and Roy E. Appleman, eds. Lewis and Clark: Historic Places Associated With Their Transcontinental Exploration (1804-06). Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1975.

Fifer, Barbara and Vicky Soderberg. Along the Trail with Lewis and Clark. Helena, Montana: Farcountry Press, 2002.

Furtwangler, Albert. Acts of Discovery: Visions of America in the Lewis and Clark Journals. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Hunsaker, Joyce Badgley. Sacagawea: Beyond the Shining Mountains With Lewis and Clark. Boise: Tamarack Books, 2000.

Jackson, Donald, ed. Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition With Related Documents 1783-1854. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962.

Jones, Landon Y., ed. The Essential Lewis and Clark. New York: Ecco Press, 2000.

Lamar, Howard, ed. The New Encyclopedia of the American West. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Lavender, David. The Way to the Western Sea: Lewis and Clark Across the Continent. New York: Anchor Books, 1990.

Mansfield, Leslie. The Lewis & Clark Cookbook: Historic Recipes from the Corps of Discovery & Jefferson's America. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2002.

Moulton, Gary E., ed. The Journals of Lewis and Clark, Volumes 1-13. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001.

National Park Service. Coronado National Memorial. Arizona. (pamphlet) Washington, D.C.: government Printing Office, 1974.

Rodger, Tod. Bicycle Guide to the Lewis & Clark Trail. Harvard, MA: Deerfoot Publications, 2000.

Schmidt, Thomas. National Geographic Guide to the Lewis & Clark Trail. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2002.

Seibert, Erika K. Martin, comp. The Earliest Americans Theme Study for the Eastern United States (draft). Washington, D.C.: National Historic Landmarks Survey, NRHE, National Park Service, 2002.

Slaughter, Thomas P. Exploring Lewis and Clark: Reflections on Men and Wilderness. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Thwaites, Rueben Gold, ed. The Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Atlas. 1904. Reprint, Scituate, Massachussets: Digital Scanning, 2001.

Children's Literature

Adler, David. A Picture Book of Sacagawea. New York: Holiday House, 2000.

Bergen, Lara. The Travels of Lewis & Clark. Austin, Texas: Steadwell Books, 2000.

Bowen, Andy Russell. The Back of Beyond: A Story About Lewis and Clark. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1997.

Christian, Mary Blount. Who'd Believe John Colter? New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1993.

Faber, Harold. Lewis and Clark. New York: Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, 2001.

Myers, Laurie. Lewis and Clark and Me. New York: Scholastic, Inc, 2002.

Scheuerman, Richard and Arthur Ellis, eds. The Expeditions of Lewis & Clark and Zebulon Pike: North American Journeys of Discovery Travelogue. Madison, Wisconsin: Demco, 2001.

National Geographic's Lewis and Clark web site features children's activities


Lewis and Clark Expedition was produced by the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, in conjunction with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). It was created under the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick Andrus, Heritage Tourism Manager, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Managing Editor. Lewis and Clark Expedition is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections. These materials are kept at 1201 Eye St., NW, Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday (although the collection is currently closed, click here for more information).

Bob Moore from the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and Laurie Heupel from the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail provided invaluable photographic and editorial assistance. National Register web production team members included Jeff Joeckel, who designed the itinerary, Rustin Quaide, and Shannon Bell (all of NCSHPO). Property descriptions were written by Kristin Sanders, (National Council for Preservation Education intern), Mike Chin (also from NCPE) and Rustin Quaide. Essays entitled Early Explorations and The Trail Today were written by Rustin Quaide; the other four essays were excerpted by Shannon Bell from material written by Bob Moore for the Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery portion of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial website. Special thanks to the following for their photographic contributions: American Philosophical Society, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Discovering Lewis and Clark (www.lewis-clark.org), Friends of Arrow Rock, Friends of Fort Atkinson, Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency, Larry Grantham of the Missouri Department of Historic Resources, Missouri Historical Society, Nebraska State Historical Society, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Tourism Commission, Pebble Publishing (www.rocheport.com), Sioux City Public Museum, State Historical Society of North Dakota, Travel Montana, Traveler's Rest Preservation and Heritage Association, and artists Ron Backer and Gary Lucy.

Images used in the design of the Lewis and Clark Expedition homepage are courtesy of Discovering Lewis and Clark (www.lewis-clark.org) [boat image: Researched and built by Richard C. Boss for Fort Clatsop National Memorial; now on loan to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Great Falls, Montana], Ed Hamilton [Portrait of York: Photo by Ed Hamilton of clay study for 8 foot bronze York Memorial to be installed in the spring of 2003 on the Belvedere Plaza in downtown Louisville overlooking the Ohio River commissioned by the City of Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor David Armstrong 2002], and Scott Christensen [St. Louis Arch].


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