Lewis and Clark Trail
The Lewis and Clark Trail  is a National Historic Trail commemorating the journey of the 1804-1806 Corps of Discovery expedition that explored the U.S.A.'s newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Starting in Illinois, it follows the Missouri River to the headwaters in the Rocky Mountains (United States of America), then over the Continental Divide. From there it follows the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers to the Pacific Ocean near Fort Clatsop Oregon.
North Dakota, like many other states along the Missouri, has designated a "Lewis and Clark Trail" following the river on both sides. Also common to these states is the naming of the state highways running alongside the rivers; 1804 on the east side and 1806 on the west. In North Dakota the 1804/1806 signage can be spotty, but the "Lewis and Clark Trail" signs are always there.
There are other places as well to experience Lewis and Clark's journey. In Billings Montana, Pompey's Pillar Rock is a national monument featuring William Clark's signature on an unusually large rock along the Yellowstone River. A new interpretive center and museum opened in July 2005. Tours and viewing opportunities out of Billings of Pompey's Pillar Rock are available to the public by the Whoopah Ride .
This itinerary discusses two paths: from Mandon to Watford City on highway 1806.
You'll see the Cottonwood forests of the Missouri Valley, and depending on how close you stay to the river, you'll come across plenty of interesting things.
Notable Places along the East Bank
Notable Places along the West Bank
- Cross Ranch State Park near Stanton
- Lake Sakakawea State Park near the Garrison Dam
River crossings are located at
- Buford, on State Highway 58.
- Williston, on US 85 southwest of town.
- New Town, on State Highway 23 west of town.
- Garrison Dam, on State Highway 200.
- Washburn, on State Highway 200A.
- and of course Bismarck/Mandan.
Amtrak's Empire Builder follows part of the route in North Dakota and Montana. The National Park Service seasonally provides interpreters aboard the Empire Builder who explain Lewis and Clark's trip. The Portland branch of the Empire Builder follows their route on the Columbia River for several hundred more miles.
It is possible to retrace most of the route the same way Lewis and Clark did--by boat--on the Missouri and Columbia Rivers.