While Lewis’ scouting party proceeded overland, Clark led the main body of the expedition up the Beaverhead River. It was arduous work, with the group “much fatigued and weakened by being continualy in the water drawing the Canoes over the Sholes.” In response to the men’s complaints of the “emence labour they are obliged to undergo,” Clark drily noted, “I passify them.” On August 13, 1805, Clark ascended “a high Point of Limestone rocks on the Stard Side” in order to survey the route ahead. From here he took compass readings to “Point of the Beaver head hill” (Beaverhead Rock), the “Course of the Wisdom river” (Big Hole River), and the “gap at the place the [Beaverhead] river passes thro’ a mountain.”
Clark’s Lookout is located off Highway 91, just north of the town of Dillon. Established in 1985, Clark’s Lookout State Park is a largely undeveloped 8.2-acre site that encompasses the rocky promontory rising about 75 feet above the Beaverhead River. There is a parking area, interpretive signage, and a nearly quarter-mile trail loop. Visitors can hike to the top of the hill, which features a monument commemorating the compass readings taken by Clark and affords a sweeping view of the Beaverhead Valley.
Lewis and Clark NHT Visitor Centers and Museums
Visitor Centers and Museums along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail