Lewis and Clark Trail

It was in the year 1804 that the Lewis and Clark Expedition set off to map the mostly undocumented western United States. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark brought along with them 45 men, a dog, and a boat. The Lewis and Clark Expedition left from Camp Wood in what is now the state of Illinois. The history of Lewis and Clark and their trek westward is well documented in museums across the United States, but their ending place in Oregon makes this a special destination for anyone interested in the Lewis and Clark Trail.

As is widely known, the Lewis and Clark Expedition owes much of its success to the Native American wife of a French trapper named Sacagawea. Sacagawea not only led the explorers along a safe route now known as the Lewis and Clark Trail, but also helped the group to survive by protecting them from area Native American tribes. Sacagawea also provided translation services to explorers and Native Americans along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

In the state of Oregon, Lewis and Clark made stops at many locations, and some of these are still interesting attractions for tourists today. The Cascades-Bonneville Dam is one of the eastern most stops in Oregon. Although there was no dam in place when Lewis and Clark passed through, there was an enormous waterfall. Today, the dam is open for tours seven days a week, during the day.

The full route of the Lewis and Clark begins in Hartford, Illinois at Camp Wood and goes through Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The official headquarters for the trail is in Omaha, Nebraska, where there is a large museum dedicated to the history of Lewis and Clark. The trail is just over 3,700 miles long, and is one of the longest historic trails in the nation. Among the 23 national Scenic and Historic Trails, the Lewis and Clark Trail is the second longest.

The history of Lewis and Clark is also noted in museums throughout the United States, with two in Oregon. Near The Dalles Oregon, one of the campsites used by Lewis and Clark during their expedition has been preserved and is open for public viewing. Fort Clatsop, found at the end of the Columbia River, was the final camp and fort of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. A replica of the original fort can be viewed at the spot on the grounds of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park. This is often the final spot for travelers on a Lewis and Clark guided tour. The park offers excellent views of the ocean and surrounding area, and is open during daylight hours, seven days a week throughout the year. Check out the Lewis and Clark Trail map.

A Lewis and Clark guided tour is one way to see many of the sites along the trail. Hotels built specifically to house travelers making their way along a Lewis and Clark guided tour are found in Idaho, Oregon, and all along the trail from its starting point in Illinois. For history lovers and anyone interested in learning more about the expedition, this can be a great way to combine information-gathering with cross-country travel. Although guided group tours can be booked, some travelers simply pick up a map and organize their own tour of the trail and the states it passes through.

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