Lewis and Clark: From St. Louis to Oregon

Study History across the Western U.S.

As you study history in the footsteps of two of the most famous U.S. explorers, keep the roads and parks clean by recycling your trash and picking up any you find polluting these beautiful lands. Consider adding a volunteer day along the way to help with trail maintenance.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Fly into the beautiful city of St. Louis where you will pick up your rented vehicle for the epic road trip that awaits! Make your way to your hotel where you can take some time to ensure that you have everything you need for this 12-day road trip to study history by following the expedition of legendary explorers, Lewis and Clark. 

After you’re settled, fed, and rested, head to Gateway Arch National Park at the shore of the Mississippi River and watch the sunset. Here is where Lewis and Clark picked up their final supplies, received word from fellow frontiersmen, and prepared to depart on their search for the northwest passage. 

Take advantage of some of what St. Louis has to offer, but make sure to get a good night’s rest, because your frontier journey begins tomorrow!

Get an early rise on your second day and drive north to 1 Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford, IL. Here you’ll find a series of interactive exhibits, and information on the two explorers, placed right at their campsite where they departed St. Louis. The location serves as a perfect place to begin your adventure!

After spending some educational time at the start of the Lewis and Clark Trail, you will depart Hartford with your bearings set for Kansas City, Missouri. At just under four hours, your drive will take you through some of the early scenery Lewis and Clark would have encountered on their journey. 

Once you arrive in Kansas City, you will go to Kaw Point Park at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. Here you will find a statue of Lewis and Clark, in memory of the two and their party’s three-day camp at the confluence. Ahead in the distance, you will find a spectacular view of Kansas City, contrasted with the natural trails and grassland of the park.

Once you depart Kaw Point Park, make your way back into the city and find your hotel. Enjoy some time walking around Kansas City, enjoy nearby food, and perhaps see some local music!

Get an early start on your third day of travel to tackle the five-hour drive that awaits you. You will begin by driving just over three hours to Omaha, Nebraska, taking in the prairie sights as you follow the Missouri River north. 

When you reach Omaha, take a break to stretch your legs and eat some lunch. While you’re there, you can check out the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center (601 Riverfront Dr, Omaha, NE 68102) and learn more about Lewis and Clark and the historic trail you’re following.

After your stop in Omaha, continue your drive to Sioux City, Iowa! You will watch your environment continually change, but now and then you will glimpse the Missouri River as a constant, the very river Lewis and Clark used to navigate their journey. 

Once you reach Sioux City, go to Stone State Park, where you can set up camp for the night. Here you can enjoy access to many hiking trails, and a beautiful view of the Iowa – South Dakota border.

Today, you will head out for Bismarck, North Dakota, your longest leg yet. Be careful to leave early for this one, as to afford yourself as much daylight as possible!

A good stop during your long trek northwest toward the Rocky Mountain region is Pierre, South Dakota. Here you can check out the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center while you take a break to stretch your legs and reflect on your journey. 

After your stop in Pierre, you will make your final push to Bismarck, where you can check in to your hotel and enjoy some much-needed rest. 

Once you’ve arrived and settled in, visit On-A-Slant Village. The 500-year-old abandoned Native American village is one documented by Clark in his journal recording their journey.

The next stage of your expedition will take you to the beautiful Rocky Mountain city of Bozeman, Montana. You will depart Bismarck, ND early on the morning of the fifth day, and begin what will be another long, but incredibly stunning drive. 

As you leave the Missouri River behind to follow the mighty Yellowstone River, keep an eye out for the many museums and monuments dedicated to Lewis and Clark’s expedition and the old frontier.

At the end of your drive, you will arrive in Bozeman, Montana, tucked under the eyes of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you choose to camp nearby or stay in a hotel, Bozeman will leave you impressed nonetheless. If you still have time and energy after your long drive, walk around Bozeman and take advantage of the art, entertainment, and educational opportunities the city has to offer.

Wake up under the glow of the Montana sun and gaze up at the state’s massive sky. Today is your day to enjoy the adventurous opportunities Montana has to offer!

If you’re tired of driving, take advantage of one of Bozeman’s many hiking or mountain biking trails and get your legs moving through the beautiful region. Then clean up and explore the town, which boasts plenty of museums and exhibits.

If you’re willing to put in a little bit more driving, there are a few incredible opportunities nearby that await you! Bozeman is merely an hour away from the amazing Yellowstone National Park. Take a quick drive south for an adventure in one of the most stunning pieces of protected American land. You can also take a drive north to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, a gorgeous wild landscape spanning nearly 3,000 square miles!

Want something that will cool you down in the summer heat? Look into rafting the Yellowstone River and enjoy chilling waters and aggressive rapids.

Whatever you choose to do, the opportunities Bozeman and its surroundings have to offer are endless, full of adventures that will make your mind forget the car seat and help make this road trip truly memorable.

Today your road trip will take you from Bozeman, through the beautiful western country to Travelers Rest State Park, located in Lolo, Montana, just south of Missoula. Travelers Rest is the only campsite of Lewis and Clark in the USA that has been confirmed by archaeologists, and is where you will camp for this night of your journey.

Enjoy the fresh Montana air, listen to the bubble of the river, and reflect on the many travelers who have rested in this place as you do.

Your 5-hour journey from Missoula, MT to Kennewick, WA will be one of excitement and beauty. After beginning your drive, you will quickly cross over into the state of Idaho, where you will drive through national forests and see much of the terrain that brought Lewis and Clark hope as they approached the far reaches of the West.

In Idaho, stop at Hell’s Gate State Park before you cross over the border to Washington. Here you can visit the Lewis and Clark Discovery Center, learn more about the adventures of the travelers you are following, and enjoy spectacular views the likes of which they shared.

Following your stop at Hell’s Gate State Park, complete your day’s voyage in Kennewick, Washington. Here you can visit Sacajawea State Park, a beautiful location where Lewis and Clark stayed at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. With over 9,000 miles of shoreline and a highly educational Interpretive Center, this location is a fantastic place to learn about Lewis and Clark, and the many Native Americans who aided them throughout their journey.

The drive from Kennewick, WA to Portland is an easy 3.5 hours. You will enjoy following the Columbia River through the beautiful state of Oregon. Along the way, keep an eye out for any museums or interesting stops you might want to visit, as you have plenty of time. You will also drive through the Mt. Hood National Forest during your drive, a great place to stop and enjoy Oregon’s beautiful woodlands.

Arrive in the eclectic city of Portland, Oregon and check in at your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon taking advantage of all the fun that Portland has to offer. Explore the city, try local food, look out for unique activities and entertainment, and get some well-needed rest.

Leave Portland and make the short drive to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, just north of Cannon Beach where you will be staying the night. Enjoy many of the educational and recreational activities the park has to offer and put yourself in the shoes of the travelers you have followed.

Wonder what it was like for them after their long journey when they finally heard the waves crashing against the Oregon coast.

After your visit to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, make your way a short trip south to Cannon Beach, Oregon, where you will be staying. Here you can enjoy a relaxing time at the beach, iconic views of Haystack Rock, and deep breaths of coastal air.

Wake up relaxed and refreshed after your day in Cannon Beach with plenty of time to make it back to Portland. After the hour-and-a-half drive, you will return your rental vehicle at the Portland airport, and board your flight home.

Study history by following two of the West’s most legendary explorers! Beginning in St. Louis, follow the expedition of Lewis and Clark through 11 states before reaching the shores of the Pacific ocean. The path of these two explorers will take you on educational exploits in museums and memorials, and guide you into the beauty of protected lands. You will camp under the same skies as the frontiersmen and Native guides of Lewis and Clark’s personal journals, and step into their shoes as you follow their search for the northwest passage to the coast of Oregon.


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