The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail follows the original route of the Corps of Discovery, an expedition masterminded in 1803 by President Thomas Jefferson and led by Captains Merriweather Lewis and William Clark.
Their path forges upstream along the Missouri River, across the vast Rocky Mountains and down the mighty Columbia River to the Pacific coast – a roundtrip journey of more than 4,000 miles.
This was the first expedition of its kind by citizens of the United States, and had many objectives: geographic, scientific, diplomatic, commercial and more. Along the way, animal and plant life was documented and the party mapped every mile of the geography and made contact with many Native American tribes along the way.
The expedition was joined by the celebrated young Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman who had married a French-Canadian fur trader. By most accounts she saved the expedition through her knowledge of the route and her tribal contacts along the way. This includes her help in procuring horses for the perilous passage across the snow-covered Rockies.
Today, many segments of this route are accessible by boat, car, on foot or on horseback. The Lewis and Clark Trail is one of the best managed historic routes in the United States.