Lewis & Clark Trail

July 13, 2018 - July 28, 2018
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Since its inception in 2001, the Lewis & Clark Trail has brought to life for its participants the hardships, triumphs, and many discoveries made by the Corps of Discovery along their historic and epic westward journey.

The 16-day itinerary follows the trail from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, and features living history, speakers, special events, authentic meals, Lewis & Clark interpretive centers, numerous historic sites, boat rides on the Missouri River, and much more! From the opening night festivities in St. Louis, to encounters with members of the Corps of Discovery, to an ongoing trivia game onboard the deluxe motorcoach, to the gala farewell dinner in Astoria, participants are immersed in the epic journey from beginning to end. Historians and re-enactors lend insights to the history-making journey that Thomas Jefferson called one of the greatest adventures in American history.

Arrivals: St. Louis, MO

Departures: Portland, OR

Included in fees: 15 nights’ lodging, 14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 evening meals, deluxe motorcoach,  professional tour director/historian, admission fees as noted, living history events and presentations, special speakers and programs, park entrance fees, group photo, baggage handling (1 lg. bag/pax), airport transfers.

Airfare not included.

$call for pricing double occupancy | $call for pricing single occupancy

Tour highlights:

  • Museum of Westward Expansion
  • Historic St. Charles
  • Arrow Rock State park
  • Arabia Steamboat Museum
  • Fort Atkinson
  • Ponca State park
  • Spirit Mound
  • Akta Lakota Museum
  • On-A-Slant Indian Village
  • Dinner Cruise on Missouri River
  • Fort Mandan
  • Knife River Indian Villages
  • Missouri Headwaters State Park
  • Gates of the Mountains boat tour
  • Fort Benton
  • C.M. Russell Museum
  • Lolo Trail
  • Nez Perce National Historic Park
  • Sacajawea State Park
  • Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Fort Clatsop
  • Salt Works
  • Willamette Valley
  • Lewis & Clark Interpretive Centers

Tour Itinerary:

Day # 1 - Arrivals

Upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert Airport passengers will be met and transported to our hotel, to freshen up before a festive welcome dinner at the site of Camp Wood where the Corps prepared for their epic journey during the winter of 1803. Overnight St. Louis, MO (D)

Day # 2 - Missouri History Museum / Historic St. Charles

Our journey retracing the steps of the Corps of Discovery begins with a visit to the Missouri History Museum library for a special behind-the-scenes look at Lewis & Clark artifacts, a special showing of the outstanding National Geographic IMAX film, “Great Journey West”, and then to the Confluence of the rivers where it all began. Next is historic St. Charles, a thriving fur-trading settlement at the time of the Corps’ departure in 1804, and their last sight of “civilization”. We’ll stroll the same cobblestone streets and learn about the expedition’s final departure preparations before heading west to our overnight in Columbia, MO. (B)

Day # 3 - Arrow Rock / Fort Osage

Lewis noted the Arrow Rock bluff and nearby salt licks on the 1804 outbound journey. This morning we’ll visit the charming historic town which grew up around it, and meet the living history reenactors at the replica of Fort Osage, which was built at the suggestion of Williams Clark to protect the growing fur trade in the West.  After lunch we’ll tour the amazing Arabia Steamboat Museum for a look at period lifestyles and trade goods, and visit other historically significant sites in the area.   Overnight in Kansas City, MO. (B, L)

Day # 4 - St. Joseph / Council Bluffs

Two months after departing from St. Louis, the Corps of Discovery was still in present-day Missouri. Fortunately our latter-day journey is measured in days instead of years. Before departing the state we’ll tour the historic sites of St. Joseph with a local expert, including the excellent Remington Nature Center. The river turns northward here as we head for Council Bluffs, named for the Corps’ first encounter with Native Americans. We’ll end the day with a riverside interpretive supper. Overnight in Council Bluffs. (B, D)

Day # 5 - Fort Atkinson / Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

The journey continues with a tour of Fort Atkinson, yet another frontier fort built on the recommendation of Wm. Clark. We’ll also tour the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, pay our respects to Sgt. Floyd (the only casualty of the entire journey), plus a few surprises along the way. Our overnight tonight is in South Sioux City, NE. (B)

Day # 6 - Ponca State Park / Spirit Mound.

This morning we will truly walk where history happened, at Spirit Mound, the unique geological formation (reputed to be the home of 18″ devils) which the Corps climbed on their passage upstream. Gavin’s Point Dam, the site of the first encounter with the Yankton Sioux and an authentic meal served on the banks of the Missouri River top off a perfect day on the Northern Plains. Tonight’s accommodations are at the Cedar Shores Resort, overlooking the Missouri River just north of Chamberlain, SD. (B, D)

Day # 7 - Akta Lakota Museum

This morning we’ll visit world famous St. Joseph Indian School where the outstanding Akta Lakota Museum offers a view of the Native Americans whose lives were so affected by the course of events set in motion by the discoveries of the expedition. We’ll lunch on the banks of the Bad River where the Corps encountered their first “hostile” natives. After a day full of natural wonders, we’ll overnight in Bismarck, ND. (L)

Day # 8 - North Dakota Heritage Center / Lewis & Clark Riverboat

The latterday Fort Abraham Lincoln (Lt. Col G.A. Custer’s last assignment) was built adjacent to an ancient earthlodge village which was already abandoned when Lewis & Clark sailed by. We’ll tour the rebuilt lodges at On-A-Slant Village and visit the outstanding exhibits at the North Dakota Heritage Center before boarding the Lewis & Clark Riverboat for a dinner-cruise on the mighty Missouri which has become a familiar friend over the course of our journey. Overnight again in Bismarck. (B, D)

Day # 9 - Fort Mandan / Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center / Knife River Indian Villages

Today we visit the site where the Corps of Discovery wintered under the watchful eyes of the Mandans and Hidatsas. We’ll visit the Fort Mandan replica and the new Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center which features a complete set of the Bodmer prints. Bodmer produced more than 400 renderings of the Native Americans and natural wonders he encountered on his own western voyage just 30 years after Lewis and Clark blazed the trail. Through his paintings we will see the undisturbed terrain as the first whites saw it almost 200 years ago. This afternoon we’ll travel to the only park in the National Park System which is set aside to commemorate the Plains Indian: Knife River Indian Villages. The outstanding interpretive center and model earth lodge shed light on the people who continually inhabited this site for as long as 500-600 years ago to 1845. We’ll overnight tonight in Williston, ND. (B)

Day # 10 - Fort Union / Pompeys Pillar

Another eventful day begins with a tour of the beautifully restored Fort Union. Established by John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, Fort Union was the most important fur trading post on the Missouri River between 1822 and 1867. Next we’ll visit Pompeys Pillar National Historic Landmark, named for Sacagawea’s infant son. Captain Clark carved his name in the rock on the return trip in 1806, and it remains today one of the few physical evidences left by the Corps along the Lewis & Clark Trail. Overnight tonight in Billings. (B, D)

Day # 11 - Missouri Headwaters / Gates of the Mountains boat tour

On this morning’s agenda is a visit to Missouri River Headwaters State Park where Lewis & Clark discovered (and named) the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. After our picnic lunch, it’s on to the Gates of the Mountains, named by Lewis after towering cliffs appeared to block the way up the Missouri River. As the expedition neared the cliffs and changed directions, the cliffs seemed to pull apart like a huge gate. Our interpretive boat ride will afford us much the same sights that awed Lewis and the men. Overnight tonight in Great Falls. (B, L)

Day # 12 - Fort Benton / C.M. Russell Museum / Lewis & Clark Interpetive Center

Our first stop this morning is to historic Fort Benton, a bustling nineteenth century river port, and the highest point on the river served by steamboats. Montana’s famous cowboy artist, Charlie Russell, wasn’t on the scene when our heroes struggled with the great falls the Indians had warned them of. But he did commemorate the era of westward expansion that the Corps of Discovery opened up. We’ll visit the outstanding C.M. Russell museum. A highlight of our journey is the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, one of the newest and best along the trail. In addition to the marvelous exhibits, we’ll enjoy living history programs and an outdoor dinner. Overnight again in Great Falls. (CB,D)

Day # 13 - Lolo Trail / Nez Perce National Historic Park

Traveling the Lolo Trail will be far more pleasant for us than for the Corps, which suffered greatly from cold and hunger along this extraordinarily beautiful passage. Our local guide will help us to understand the chronology as we travel westward and enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. We’ll visit the canoe camp, where the expedition halted to hollow out logs as the Natives had instructed them. To learn more about these inhabitants who were meeting their first white men, we’ll visit the visitors’ center at the Nez Perce National Historic Park. Overnight: Clarkston, WA (CB, L)

Day # 14 - Sacajawea State Park / Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

At the site of present day Sacajawea State Park (the spelling varies, depending upon what state you are in!) the Corps of Discovery met with local inhabitants, and as they had so many times before, made ceremonial presentations and speeches. We’ll pause where the Snake River joins the Columbia to discuss some of the events which took place here on Oct. 17-18, 1805. The outstanding Columbia Gorge Discovery Center will highlight this afternoon’s agenda. Overnight in Hood River. (B)

Day # 15 - Colmbia River Gorge / Multnomah Falls / Fort Clatsop

Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and Multnomah Falls highlight our morning’s journey. Then it’s on to winter camp at the recreation of Fort Clatsop, the capstone of our Lewis & Clark adventure. A gala farewell dinner rounds out the day and our journey, as we compare notes and recount our own highlights. Overnight: Astoria, OR. (B,D)

Day # 16

Salt Works, Willamette Valley, airport transfers. DEPARTURES after 1:00 pm. (B)

Participant Comments

  • “This was one of the best planned, best delivered, and most fun trips I have ever been on! I learned so much & loved every minute of it.”

    - Carol Walker, Calgary, AB
  • “I devoted two weeks to understanding the Corps of Discovery and was richly rewarded.”

    - Rich Lehmann, Washington, DC
  • “We just wanted to let you know how happy we are to have taken the Lewis and Clark journey. Not only did we learn so much about the Corps of Discovery and see parts of the country we had never seen before, we got to meet a group of very nice, interesting and fun people. All in all we had a wonderful time!”

    - Sherry Fitzpatrick, Burlington, MA
  • “Many, many thanks for a fun, interesting and very informative tour. I enjoyed it immensely. I hope to be able to travel with you again. It has been a most memorable time.”

    - Jerry Ralenkotter, Cold Spring, KY

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Happy Trails!