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Lewis and Clark Trail ~From Sea to Shining Sea ~ Suggested Itinerary
Departure City - Destination City Miles Field Notes
Williston, North Dakota - Great Falls, Montana 421 miles You are here

Text Box: 1805
Via 1805 Route


Near Popular, Montana: May 5, 1805 – Captain Clark & George Drouillard killed a brown bear. Captain Lewis writes: “ he measured 8. Feet 7 ˝ inches from the nose to the extremety of the hind feet, 5 F 10 ˝ Ins. Arround the breast, his tallons which were five in number on each foot were 4 3/8 Inches in length.”

Milk River- Largest northern tributary of the Missouri. On May 8, 1805, Lewis and Clark named this river (as it is known today). Captain Lewis writes: “ we nooned it just above the entrance of a large river… the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixiture of a tablespoonfull of milk. From the colour of it’s water we called it Milk River.”

Near Fork Peck, Montana -May 9, 1805.   Captain Lewis documents that the buffalo are in such great numbers that the men “ throw sticks and stones at them in order to drive them out of the way.” Lewis also describes one of his favorite dishes “Boudin Blanc” made from a buffalo’s guts & intestines.

Fort Peck, Montana- Fort Peck Dam & Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. The World Almanac lists Fort Peck Dam as the largest embankment dam in the United States with the fifth largest man-made reservoir. Fort Peck Dam was completed in 1937 and contains 1.25 billion cubic yards of earth, and extends four miles. Tours are offered from June – September.  
Of Special interest:
Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was discovered at Fort Peck. 
CMR is a 1.1 million acre refuge
that contains native prairies, forested coulees, river bottoms, badlands and the 250,000 acre Fort Peck Reservoir, as well as the Missouri Breaks wilderness region. Refuge wildlife include mule and white-tailed deer, elk, bighorn sheep, antelope, coyote, bobcat, beaver, sharp-tailed grouse, numerous other species

Fort Benton, Montana- Home of Montana's Lewis & Clark Memorial.  The heroic sized statue is located on Fort Benton's steamboat levee, next to the Missouri River; Bob Scriver Sculptor. This is the Gateway to the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River.

Field Notes- The Corps arrived at the great falls of the Missouri on June 13, 1805.   The Captains anticipated the portage time around the single falls of the Missouri at approximately 2-days, in reality they found a succession of rapids, cascades, and five falls covering over twenty miles plus an incline of 500 feet!

Portage Map (PDF)                       Timeline >>   

Great Falls, Montana – Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. Very impressive, a must see.

Great Falls, Montana - Giant Springs Heritage Park. Features one of the largest fresh water springs in the world & Roe River - the shortest river in the world!

Great Falls, Montana -C.M. Russell Museum Complex.   Russell's permanent residence (built in 1900); Charlie's original log cabin studio (built in 1903); 46,000 sq. ft. Museum structure.

Great Falls, Montana - Overlook Park.  A bronze statue by the late Bob Scriver featuring Lewis, Clark, York, and Seaman, the dog.

Ulm, Montana - Ulm Pishkun Buffalo Jump State Park. Is possibly the largest buffalo jump in the world, was used as a jump site between 900 and 1500 A.D. Below the cliffs that stretch more than a mile, the soil reveals compacted bison bones nearly 13 feet deep.

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