Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail


In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. President Jefferson had long dreamed of what lay to the west of the young United States? What animals, plants, minerals, what route for eastern trade would his expedition reveal? The President had privately requested Congress to fund the expedition shortly before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Lewis & Clark were ordered to write accounts of all they did, each species encountered, details of cultures they met, maps of the land - everything. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, IL & passes through portions of MO, KS, IA, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, OR, & WA. Many people follow the trail by auto; others find adventure in the sections that encourage boating, biking, or hiking. You can still see the White Cliffs in Montana as Lewis & Clark did. You may stand where they stood looking over the rolling plains at Spirit Mound in South Dakota. You might meet the descendants of the people who hosted Lewis & Clark all along the trail. It remains for your discovery.


Seasonality / Weather

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail extends over 3,700 miles and through 11 states, from Illinois to the Pacific Coast. Operating hours and seasons vary from site to site. Some sites along the Trail may require advance reservations.



Motor routes that approximately follow the route of the historic expedition were marked by state agencies in the 1960's.

To visit the visitor center in Omaha, from Interstate 480: Take the 14th Street exit toward Old Market District/Eppley Airfield. Turn right onto N 14th Street. Turn left onto Douglas St./US-6 E. Keep right at the fork to go on Douglas Street. Turn left onto S 8th Street. Turn right onto Dodge Street. Continue for approximately 0.1 mile to arrive at the headquarters of the Lewis and Clark NHT (also the Midwest Regional Office).