Lewis and Clark National Trail

Key information: Lewis and Clark National Trail

  • 3,700 mile route across the central and northwestern USA from Camp Dubois, Illinois to the mouth of the Columbia river in Oregon.

  • Follows the route taken by explorers Lewis and Clark in their famous expedition of 1804-6.

  • The plains sections are relatively dull, but the mountains have potential for glorious - as well as historically fascinating - walking. 


Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating84
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest5
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating84

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 3,700 miles
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.



This trail, which stretches for 3,700 miles across the central and northwestern United States, follows in the footsteps of the great explorers Merriwether Lewis and William Clark as they journeyed into the unknown in 1804 at the request of President Thomas Jefferson. The original expedition set out from Camp Dubois on 14th May 1804 with 45 men. Remarkably they returned a little over two years later having travelled over 8,000 miles and with only one man having died - of appendicitis. The expedition followed the Missouri upstream by boat before trading with Indians for horses as they got further into the mountains.

The trail itself crosses the plains of the American Midwest before heading up into the Rocky Mountains and down again to the mouth of the Columbia River on the west coast. At the moment the trail seems to be in development (indeed somewhat aspirational) with some sections better for walking - in a practical sense - than others. The plains sections are relatively dull, but the mountains have potential for glorious - as well as historically fascinating - walking. SUGGESTIONS WELCOME! 

A rather good map of the trail can be found here: http://imgis.nps.gov/DSC/Viewer/?Viewer=LECL

From Tom Farmer: (Thanks Tom!)

"Lewis & Clark's adventures (1804-06) pushed through from Missouri to Oregon and the Pacific and changed the white perspective on the continent, despite George Vancouver's puttering around here by sea in the 1790s. Part of Lewis & Clark's remit from President Jefferson was to verify that dinosaurs still dominated out here. Sadly they came up empty. But they did set the stage for the shameful decimation of various Native American nations, making the continent seem conquerable and triggering the whole (retrospectively flimsy) "Manifest Destiny" rationale. 


There are many hiking opportunities along bits of the trail. At approx. 2,000 miles, few of your readers will attempt the entire thing. 



http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/photos/classic-american-hiking-trails/lewis-and-clark-national "

Have a look at TripAdvisor - there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on this walk and areas it passes.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!


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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.


Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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