Embark on a journey of a lifetime as we take you through the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The trail spans 4,900 miles and takes you through seven states, showcasing some of the most beautiful landscapes and historic sites in America. Starting from Pittsburgh and ending at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, this 31-day itinerary covers significant stops along the way that will leave history buffs in awe. Get ready to explore the cities of Wheeling, Cincinnati, Louisville, Clarksville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux Falls, and Chamberlain, and discover the stories and landmarks that shaped the Lewis and Clark expedition. From museums and national parks to historical sites and natural wonders, this itinerary has it all. So buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable adventure along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail! Here is the ultimate itinerary for the ultimate Lewis and Clark Road trip.
Welcome to the start of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the perfect place to begin your journey now that the eastern expansion has been recognized as part of the trail. a. Begin your journey at the Fort Pitt Museum, which offers exhibits on the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the early history of Pittsburgh. Visit Point State Park, a National Historic Landmark that commemorates the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River, which Lewis and Clark famously explored. Stroll along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which offers scenic views of the city’s skyline and the river. Don’t forget to visit the Andy Warhol Museum, which houses a collection of the artist’s works and artifacts related to his life in Pittsburgh
Make your way to Wheeling, an important site for early American settlers and a key transportation hub in the 19th century. As you continue along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, make a stop in Wheeling, West Virginia, a city steeped in history and natural beauty. Visit the West Virginia Independence Hall Museum, which commemorates the state’s role in the Civil War and the signing of the statehood bill. Explore the Victorian architecture of the city’s downtown, including the Eckhart House, a beautifully preserved example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Take a walk or bike ride along the Ohio River Trail, which offers scenic views of the river and the city skyline. Don’t forget to visit Oglebay Resort, which features a stunning golf course, an animal exhibit, and a zoo, where you can see bison, elk, and other wildlife Lewis and Clark would have encountered on their journey.
As you travel west along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, take a moment to explore Cincinnati, a city that played a significant role in the expedition. Visit the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, which features exhibits on Cincinnati’s history, including its connection to the Lewis and Clark expedition. See the museum’s collection of artifacts related to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, including a compass and a map of their journey. Take a stroll along the Ohio River, which Lewis and Clark explored on their journey westward. Visit the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, a National Historic Landmark that spans the river and was built by the same engineer who later designed the Brooklyn Bridge. Don’t forget to try Cincinnati’s famous chili, a local specialty that has been enjoyed by residents for over 70 years.
You’ll love this vibrant city known for its architecture, arts scene, and riverfront attractions! Explore the city’s beautiful parks and gardens, including Eden Park and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
Continue to Louisville, a historic city on the banks of the Ohio River. Visit the Muhammad Ali Center, which honors the life and legacy of the famous boxer, and the Kentucky Derby Museum, which celebrates the history and culture of horse racing. Take a stroll through the city’s beautiful Waterfront Park, which offers stunning views of the river.
Cross over into Indiana and stop in Clarksville, which was the site of the first of Lewis and Clark’s major campsites on their journey west. Visit the Falls of the Ohio State Park, which features exhibits on the region’s natural history and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Take a walk along the riverfront and enjoy views of the Ohio River.
As you continue west, make your way to St. Louis, which was a key site for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Visit the Gateway Arch, which commemorates St. Louis’ role as the “Gateway to the West,” and the Missouri History Museum, which features exhibits on the state’s history and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Take a stroll through Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country.
As you leave St. Louis, travel west to Kansas City, known for its barbecue, jazz music, and art scene. Visit the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which tells the story of the Great War and its impact on the world. Explore the city’s many art galleries and museums, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Crossing into Iowa, stop in Council Bluffs, where Lewis and Clark held their first council with Native American tribes. Explore the Lewis and Clark Monument and Scenic Overlook, which offers stunning views of the Missouri River Valley. What a relaxing point for the halfway point of your Lewis and Clark road trip!
Continue north to Sioux City, where you can visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which features exhibits on the expedition and the impact it had on Native American tribes. Explore the historic Sergeant Floyd Monument, which commemorates the only member of the expedition to die during the journey.
Travel further west to Yankton, where you can visit the Meridian Bridge, which spans the Missouri River and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Learn about the history of the region at the Dakota Territorial Museum, which features exhibits on Native American culture, early settlement, and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
In Pierre, the state capital of South Dakota, you can visit the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center, which features exhibits on the Lewis and Clark expedition and the impact it had on the state’s history. Explore the Oahe Dam, which was built in the 1950s and created Lake Oahe, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the world.
Travel further west to Bismarck, where you can visit the North Dakota Heritage Center, which features exhibits on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Native American culture, and the state’s history. Explore the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, which was an important military post during the Indian Wars and features restored buildings and interpretive exhibits.
As you enter Montana, stop in Great Falls, where you can visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and explore the Giant Springs State Park, which features one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. Learn about the challenges faced by the expedition as they journeyed through the rugged landscape of Montana.
Continue west to Missoula, where you can visit the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, which features exhibits on Native American art and the history of the region. Explore the University of Montana, which has a rich history dating back to the 19th century and was a significant site for Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Visit the nearby National Bison Range, which is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bison, elk, and pronghorn.
Crossing into Idaho, stop in Lewiston, which was an important site for Lewis and Clark as they made their way west. Visit the Lewis and Clark Discovery Center, which features exhibits on the expedition and the region’s natural history. Explore the Nez Perce National Historical Park, which tells the story of the Nez Perce people and their relationship with the land.
As you near the end of your journey, enjoy Portland, the capital of Oregon, home to a vibrant cultural scene and rich history. Visit the Oregon Historical Society, which features exhibits on the state’s history, including the Lewis and Clark expedition. Explore the city’s parks and gardens, including the International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden, which offer a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s the perfect almost-end to your perfect Lewis and Clark Road Trip!
It’s the final day of your epic journey along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail! Make your way to Astoria, Oregon where Lewis and Clark completed their historic expedition in November 1805. Here, you can immerse yourself in the story of their journey and experience the thrill of their accomplishment. Visit the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which features interpretive exhibits, a replica of Fort Clatsop (where the expedition spent the winter of 1805-1806), and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Take a stroll along the Astoria Riverwalk, which follows the Columbia River and offers views of the city’s historic waterfront and the iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge. Before you leave, make sure to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which features exhibits on the history of the Columbia River and its importance to the region’s economy and culture. Congratulations on completing your journey along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail!
As we come to the end of our Lewis and Clark Road Trip, we hope you have gained a new appreciation for the incredible courage, perseverance, and ingenuity of Lewis and Clark and their team. We have seen firsthand the challenges they faced and the incredible natural beauty and historical significance of the sites they discovered. This 31-day itinerary has been designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, but we have only scratched the surface of what this incredible journey offers. We encourage you to continue exploring and discovering the stories, people, and places that make this trail so special. So, whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking adventure, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail has something for everyone.