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North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department

Lewis and Clark

lecl Logo NRT Logo


Retrace Lewis and Clark’s travel route through North Dakota with a trip on North Dakota's scenic highways 1804 and 1806. These 300-mile long drives on the east and west sides of the Missouri River take travelers into the past. The trail follows Lewis and Clark's journey west through North Dakota in 1804-1805, and on their return trip in 1806.

Interpretive signs have been placed at different sites along the route to better acquaint visitors with the legacy of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in North Dakota. This National Historic Trail passes through a total of 11 states, stretching from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Corps of Discovery, better known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, spent more time in North Dakota than in any other state on their journey. The expedition entered present-day North Dakota on October 14, 1804. Traveling upstream on the Missouri, Lewis and Clark noted in their journals a great variety and abundance of wildlife including antelope, bears, deer, elk, and buffalo.

In November of 1804, they established a wintering fort near the Knife River Indian Villages, and named it Fort Mandan. At Knife River, the expedition met and hired a French Canadian trader, Toussaint Charbonneau, to act as an interpreter during their journey west. Charbonneau, his wife Sakakawea and young son Jean Baptiste, accompanied the expedition when they left the fort on April 7, 1805.Their return trip in 1806 through North Dakota from the Pacific was a short one. Aided by wind and current, they spent only ten days passing through the state for a second time.

For more information, please visit the National Park Service, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail website, http://www.nps.gov/lecl.

Length 300 miles in North Dakota


located along Highways 1804 and 1806, along the Missouri River

Locator Map