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Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

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Trail Description

Pierre, South Dakota

Lewis and Clark Visitor Centers-South Dakota

Lewis and Clark Lake Visitor Center
PO Box 710
Yankton, SD 57078
Phone: (402) 667-2546

South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center
900 Governor’s Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 773-3458

Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center
St. Joseph’s Indian School
1301 N. Main Street
Chamberlain, SD 57325
Phone: (800) 798-3452

Did You Know?

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Map

Two hundred years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the only physical evidence of the journey is found near Billings, MT. In July 1805, William Clark carved his name into the soft rock of what he called Pompeys Tower. This site is now preserved at Pompeys Pillar National Monument.

Overall Information

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is part of the National Trails System of the United States. In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues, and a dog. They departed from Camp Dubois, located in what was to become the U.S. state of Illinois.

President Thomas Jefferson had long dreamed of what lay to the west of the young United States – the animals, plants, and minerals, and a route for eastern trade. The President had privately requested Congress to fund the expedition shortly before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Lewis and 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 and Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3,700 miles (5,950 km), the trail is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic and National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, Illinois, and passes through portions of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center

The official headquarters for the trail is located at the National Park Service, Mid-West Regional Headquarters, in Omaha, Nebraska. The visitor center features exhibits about the explorers and their historic trip, as well as information about sites along the trail.

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