Author Topic: Lewis and Clark Trail  (Read 11626 times)

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Offline DariusW

Lewis and Clark Trail
« on: October 19, 2003, 02:37:38 pm »
I'm looking for information on Lewis and Cark trail conditions. Mainly I want to know opinions of other people who traveled that trail partially or in full.
Need answeres to questions like:
What's the trail like trafficwise?
which are the interesting parts of trail?
Which are the boring or high traffic low scenery parts of trail ?

I'm thinking of riding it next summer but I can't find any sites with biker opinions, experiences and fotos from that trail. Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance !
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  • Guest
Lewis and Clark Trail
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2003, 02:02:33 pm »
Hi Darius. I did a van-supported 12-day loop from Great Falls - Helena - Salmon - Hamilton - Missoula - Great Falls in late June 2003, 90% on the ACA route. Only 3 of the days were real mountain riding, the rest in valleys with views of the mountains. Can't blame the Captains for taking the rivers where they could, I guess!

The highlights for me were Lemhi Pass and Gibbons Pass. Both are unpaved but were fine in dry weather on a touring bike with 28mm tires. Gibbons Pass is a worthwhile alternate to US-93 near Sula MT--less steep, much better views, and NO traffic. We rode it downhill, met one Forest Service pickup in 17 miles, and didn't pedal at all for 2 hours at a casual pace with many photo stops. Toward the bottom we joked about the surprising finding that those footrests on the bikes could move. The next day we returned to Lost Trail pass and did Gibbons again--it was that good.

Some photos are in two albums, Best of Lewis and Clark and More Lewis and Clark, at
< >.

Traffic on the valley routes was moderate on the through state highways, but shoulders were adequate except for 5 miles north of Helena, which was being rebuilt as we passed. Traffic was light where the route found local roads. All in all, about what one would expect.

None of our loop was boring. I love the open spaces as well as the mountains. The L & C Interpretive Center in Great Falls is worth a stop even if, like me, you are not much of a museum-goer. There are interesting diversions almost every day along the way. And be sure to look in at the ACA headquarters in Missoula to meet the folks who make all this possible, check your email, and see some neat biking stuff.

Do it!


Offline B

Lewis and Clark Trail
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2003, 02:46:07 am »
Hello Darius:
My two cents worth concerning the Lewis & Clark Trail: I started near St. Louis (actually St. Charles) and bicycled to Williston, ND.  This is the first long tour I've taken since crossing the U.S. via Bikecentennial in 1976.  Traffic did not seem to be too bad along the route.  It was heavier near the big cities, as expected, but never really a big bother.  I was surprised to find a little more traffic in the Dakotas than I expected.  Surely not heavy or a particular bother but a fair number of fisherman pulling boats, especially on weekends as the Missouri River is a hot fishing attraction.
Scenic areas:
-The Katy Trail in Missouri, especially near Easley and Rocheport.  Keep a sharp eye to the left of the trail (when traveling west and very shortly after crossing a bridge) near Easley for "Boat Henge".  A cabin owner has "planted" his old, retired boats into the ground in a vertical fashion and created a unique outdoor sculpture.
-Arrow Rock is a cool little town.  A tourist town with many old and interesting buildings.  Weekends are probably pretty busy, but when I was there during the week it was quite quiet and the State Park is right next to the town.
-Weston is another interesting town similar in style to Arrow Rock.
-Definitely stop at the Lewis & Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa if you get the chance and especially so if you have an interest in Lewis & Clark.  "Wild Bill" a heavy-set chap with a bushy beard volunteers his time there.  He's there virtually every day during the summer months and he's a walking, talking fountain of information on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  He'll gladly share his knowledge and he's a great guy to boot.  The park has three replica boats of the Lewis and Clark expedition docked on an oxbow of the Missouri.  You can board these boats at your leisure and get a great insight into a part of the expedition spent on the river.
-Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD.  A landmark visited by Lewis and Clark.  It is located about seven miles off the route, but I took a rest day in Vermillion and explored it that day.  Worked out good for me.
-I enjoyed the wonderful countryside near Fort Thompson, SD, Mobridge, SD, the area between Yankton, SD and Marty, SD, and the area from New Town, ND to Williston, ND.
-Again if you're into Lewis & Clark, Sioux City, Iowa and Washburn, ND have very good visitor centers.
-Knife River Indian Villages Historic Site just outside of Stanton, ND is a fun stop.  They have a replica of a Hidatsa earth lodge.
A few other places I found interesting (places to stay or eating establishments):
-Ellis Bakery in Boonville, Missouri.  An old brick building with a fantastic tin ceiling.
(I like old buildings)
-Apple Tree Lane Bed and Breakfast near Excelsior Springs, Missouri (1 mile off route).  A great place to stay if you like these sort of things.  The home cooked meals are fabulous!  Because they are located out in the country they also include dinner with their rate.  Dinner, room, breakfast, Wow!  Ask for the Northwoods Room.
-Smithville, Missouri has a great old building called the "Brickhouse Café and Pub".  Good food, attentive, friendly staff and a good place to mellow out especially if you like blues music (this they play non-stop).
-The city park in Falls City, NB (Stanton Lake) is a nice, quiet little park for camping.  Cheap and they have  a shower.
-Bike Plus, a bicycle shop in Vermillion, SD.  Rich Ross the owner is a very nice guy, has a well stocked shop and will gladly provide information on the area.
-Griffin Park in downtown Pierre, SD is a very good place to pitch a tent.  Camping is free, but they do not have showers.
-Pollack, SD has a really cool B & B.  It’s the old town train depot, built around the turn of the century.  Completely restored the whole second floor is available for rent.  They only charge $50.00 per group.  I was going solo, so they let me have it for $25.00.  The owners are very friendly too.
-"Sweet Violet's" in Stanton, ND.  They have great buffalo burgers and ice cream.  'Nuff said.
-Ginger's Café in Williston, ND.  Very, very good food at reasonable prices.  One half block off route in downtown Williston.

I sure enjoyed the journey and will travel the western half of the route in 2005.