Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail In South Dakota

Here is everything you need to know about the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: South Dakota
  • Length: 30 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Trail Committee
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Info not available.

The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail holds great historical significance as it commemorates the famous expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark from 1804 to 1806. This trail follows the approximate route taken by the Corps of Discovery as they explored the western portion of the United States. The expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson with the primary objective of finding a practical route to the Pacific Ocean and establishing American presence in the newly acquired Louisiana Territory.

The journey began in May 1804, as the Corps of Discovery departed from St. Louis, Missouri. They navigated the Missouri River, encountering various Native American tribes and documenting the flora, fauna, and geography of the region. The expedition faced numerous challenges, including treacherous terrain, harsh weather conditions, and unfamiliar territories. However, they persevered and reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, establishing Fort Clatsop near present-day Astoria, Oregon.

The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail serves as a testament to the courage, determination, and scientific curiosity of the Corps of Discovery. It allows modern-day travelers to retrace the steps of these explorers and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they faced. Along the trail, visitors can explore historical sites, interpretive centers, and museums that provide insights into the expedition’s encounters with Native American tribes, their interactions with the environment, and the impact of their discoveries on the westward expansion of the United States. The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail stands as a lasting tribute to this remarkable expedition and its significant contributions to American history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Camp Dubois – This is the starting point of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail, located in Wood River, Illinois. It is where the Corps of Discovery camped before embarking on their expedition.

2. Alton – Located in Alton, Illinois, this access point offers a scenic view of the Mississippi River and is a popular spot for birdwatching.

3. Hartford – This access point is situated in Hartford, Illinois, and provides access to the Confluence Tower, where the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers meet.

4. Grafton – Located in Grafton, Illinois, this access point offers stunning views of the Mississippi River and is a great spot for boating and fishing.

5. Pere Marquette State Park – Situated in Grafton, Illinois, this access point is within the largest state park in Illinois and offers various recreational activities such as hiking, camping, and horseback riding.

6. Clarksville – Located in Clarksville, Missouri, this access point provides access to the Clarksville Riverfront Park and offers beautiful views of the Mississippi River.

7. Louisiana – Situated in Louisiana, Missouri, this access point offers access to the historic downtown area and the Clarksville Lock and Dam.

8. Hannibal – Located in Hannibal, Missouri, this access point is famous for being the hometown of Mark Twain and offers various attractions related to the author’s life, including the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum.

9. Canton – Situated in Canton, Missouri, this access point offers access to the Lewis and Clark State Park, which provides camping, fishing, and boating opportunities.

10. Quincy – Located in Quincy, Illinois, this access point offers access to the Quincy Riverfront and various historic sites, including the John Wood Mansion and the Villa Kathrine.

11. Nauvoo – Situated in Nauvoo, Illinois, this access point offers access to the historic Nauvoo Temple and other significant sites related to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

12. Keokuk – Located in Keokuk, Iowa, this access point offers access to the Lock and Dam No. 19 and the George M. Verity Riverboat Museum.

These are just a few of the major access points or trailheads along the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail. There may be additional access points or trailheads along the trail that are not listed here.

Transportation Available

1. Metro Transit – Public bus service covering the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail area.
2. Yellow Cab – Taxi service available for transportation needs in the vicinity of the trail.
3. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service for convenient short-distance travel.
4. Uber – Ride-hailing service providing on-demand transportation options in the area.
5. Lyft – Another ride-hailing service offering convenient transportation solutions near the trail.
6. Spokane International Airport – Nearby airport providing air travel options for longer distances.
7. Amtrak – Train service connecting various locations near the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail.
8. Spokane Transit Authority – Public transportation agency offering bus services in the region.
9. Spokane Valley Shuttle – Shuttle service catering to transportation needs in the Spokane Valley area.
10. Spokane Valley Taxi – Local taxi service available for transportation requirements around the trail.


The amenities available at the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail may vary depending on the specific location or section of the trail. However, here are some common amenities that can be found along the trail:

1. Restrooms: Some sections of the trail may have restroom facilities available for public use. These restrooms can be either permanent structures or portable toilets.

2. Parking: There are usually designated parking areas or lots near the trailheads or access points. These parking spaces allow visitors to park their vehicles while using the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the trail may have designated camping areas or campgrounds nearby. These sites may offer facilities such as tent pads, fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: Along the trail, there may be designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills. These areas provide a place for visitors to relax, have a meal, or enjoy the surrounding scenery.

5. Water Stations: In certain locations, there may be water stations or fountains available for visitors to refill their water bottles or hydration packs.

6. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailheads or access points, there may be information kiosks, maps, and signage providing details about the trail, its history, and any specific rules or regulations.

7. Benches and Seating: Along the trail, you may find benches or seating areas where visitors can take a break, rest, or simply enjoy the views.

8. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the trail, there may be interpretive signs or panels that provide information about the Lewis & Clark expedition, the local flora and fauna, or other points of interest.

It is recommended to check with local authorities, visitor centers, or trail management organizations for specific information about the amenities available at different sections of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lewis & Clark Trail Resort – Lakeside lodging with RV sites and cabins.
2. The Lewis & Clark Hotel – Historic hotel offering comfortable rooms and a restaurant.
3. Clarkston Quality Inn & Suites – Convenient hotel with amenities and complimentary breakfast.
4. Lewiston Elks Lodge – Lodge offering affordable accommodations and a bar.
5. The Quay Restaurant & Bar – Casual dining spot with American fare and a full bar.
6. The Mystic Cafe – Cozy cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and coffee.
7. Rosauers Supermarket – Grocery store with a deli, bakery, and pharmacy.
8. St. Joseph Regional Medical Center – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care.
9. Lewiston Police Department – Local law enforcement agency.
10. Lewiston Fire Department – Emergency fire and rescue services.

Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail Difficulty Notes

The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it accessible to a wide range of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans over 3,700 miles, crossing through diverse terrains and landscapes, including mountains, forests, and rivers. While some sections may present more challenging terrain, such as steep inclines or rocky paths, the majority of the trail is well-maintained and suitable for hikers of various skill levels. With proper preparation and navigation, adventurers can enjoy the historical significance and natural beauty of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail while still experiencing a satisfying level of physical exertion.

Features And Attractions

The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail is a historic trail that follows the route taken by the famous explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, during their expedition from 1804 to 1806. Along this trail, you can find numerous scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable ones:

1. Gateway Arch National Park (St. Louis, Missouri) – The starting point of the Lewis & Clark expedition, where you can visit the iconic Gateway Arch and learn about the explorers’ journey.

2. Lewis and Clark State Historic Site (Hartford, Illinois) – This site features a reconstructed 1804 camp and exhibits that provide insights into the expedition’s preparations.

3. Great River Road (Illinois, Iowa, Missouri) – This scenic drive follows the Mississippi River and offers beautiful views of the river and surrounding landscapes.

4. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (Stanton, North Dakota) – This site preserves the remnants of the Native American villages encountered by Lewis and Clark during their journey.

5. Pompeys Pillar National Monument (Montana) – A sandstone butte that bears the only physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark expedition, with William Clark’s signature carved into the rock.

6. Travelers’ Rest State Park (Lolo, Montana) – A historic site where Lewis and Clark camped during their return journey, offering interpretive exhibits and walking trails.

7. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (Oregon, Washington) – A stunning natural landmark with breathtaking views, waterfalls, and hiking trails along the Columbia River.

8. Fort Clatsop National Memorial (Astoria, Oregon) – A replica of the fort where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-1806, providing insights into their daily lives.

9. Cape Disappointment State Park (Washington) – A coastal park with scenic viewpoints, historic lighthouses, and trails that offer panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

10. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (Washington, Oregon) – This park encompasses several sites related to the expedition, including Fort Clatsop, Cape Disappointment, and other significant locations.

These are just a few examples of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
5. No camping or overnight stays are permitted.
6. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
7. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
8. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
9. Do not litter and help keep the trail clean.
10. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail is a historic route that follows the path of the famous expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the early 1800s. This trail offers visitors a chance to retrace the steps of these explorers and experience the stunning landscapes and cultural heritage of the American West. When planning a visit to the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to visit and any seasonal closures that may affect your trip.

One of the best times to visit the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and blossoming trees, creating a picturesque backdrop for your journey. The temperatures during this time are generally mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and camping. Fall is equally beautiful, with the changing colors of the foliage adding a touch of magic to the landscape. The cooler temperatures also make it a pleasant time to explore the trail without the summer crowds.

It is important to note that some sections of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail may have seasonal closures. These closures are typically due to weather conditions or maintenance work. For example, certain parts of the trail may be inaccessible during the winter months due to heavy snowfall or icy conditions. It is advisable to check with local authorities or visitor centers before planning your trip to ensure that the trail is open and accessible during your desired time of visit. Additionally, some facilities along the trail, such as visitor centers or campgrounds, may have limited operating hours or be closed during certain seasons, so it is always a good idea to plan ahead and make necessary arrangements.

Overall, the best times to visit the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant and the landscapes are at their most beautiful. However, it is important to be aware of any seasonal closures or limitations that may affect your trip. By planning ahead and staying informed, you can make the most of your visit to this historic trail and immerse yourself in the rich history and natural wonders it has to offer.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trailhead: The trail offers a designated accessible trailhead with accessible parking, ramps, and pathways for wheelchair users.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways that are smooth and suitable for wheelchair users, ensuring easy navigation.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available along the trail, equipped with features like grab bars, wider doorways, and accessible sinks.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: The trail provides rest areas with benches at regular intervals, allowing wheelchair users to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, providing accessible tables and seating options.
6. Braille and Tactile Signage: The trail incorporates Braille and tactile signage at key locations, ensuring accessibility for visually impaired individuals.
7. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail are designed to be accessible, featuring large print, audio descriptions, and tactile elements.
8. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints and overlooks along the trail are made accessible with ramps or platforms, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy the vistas.
9. Accessible Camping Facilities: The trail offers accessible camping facilities with designated accessible campsites, accessible pathways, and accessible restroom facilities.
10. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of assistance animals, such as service dogs, to support individuals with disabilities during their visit.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or disturbing the natural environment.
2. Carry a map and compass: Be prepared with navigation tools in case of any unexpected circumstances.
3. Inform someone of your plans: Let a trusted person know your itinerary and expected return time for safety purposes.
4. Pack essential supplies: Bring enough water, food, and appropriate clothing for the duration of your hike.
5. Check weather conditions: Stay updated on the weather forecast to avoid hazardous situations.
6. Be aware of wildlife: Respect the natural habitat and keep a safe distance from any wild animals you encounter.
7. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects that may carry diseases.
8. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, especially during hot weather.
9. Watch your step: Be cautious of uneven terrain, loose rocks, or slippery surfaces to avoid accidents.
10. Be mindful of river crossings: Assess the water depth and current before attempting to cross any rivers or streams.
11. Carry a first aid kit: Have basic medical supplies on hand to treat minor injuries or emergencies.
12. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it, respecting the environment and other hikers.
13. Be cautious of poison ivy and other plants: Learn to identify and avoid contact with poisonous plants along the trail.
14. Stay updated on trail conditions: Check for any trail closures, maintenance, or other updates before embarking on your journey.
15. Hike with a buddy: It’s safer to hike with a companion, especially in remote areas.
16. Respect private property: Stay on public land and respect the boundaries of private property along the trail.
17. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a whistle, flashlight, and other emergency supplies in case you need to signal for help.
18. Follow all rules and regulations: Abide by any posted signs or regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
19. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings: Be mindful of other hikers, bikers, or vehicles that may be sharing the trail.
20. Trust your instincts: If something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your gut and make the necessary adjustments to ensure your safety.

Conservation Notes

The Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail, also known as the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, holds a significant conservation status due to its historical and cultural importance. Designated as a National Historic Trail in 1978, it spans approximately 4,900 miles across 11 states, following the route taken by the famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their expedition from 1804 to 1806.

Conservation efforts for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail focus on preserving and protecting the natural and cultural resources along its path. The trail passes through diverse landscapes, including prairies, forests, rivers, and mountains, providing habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. Conservation initiatives aim to maintain the integrity of these ecosystems, ensuring the survival of native flora and fauna.

Additionally, the trail holds immense historical significance, as it retraces the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery. Conservation efforts focus on preserving and interpreting the numerous historical sites, landmarks, and artifacts associated with the expedition. This includes protecting archaeological sites, maintaining interpretive centers, and promoting educational programs to raise awareness about the historical and cultural importance of the trail.

Overall, the conservation status of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail is of utmost importance to ensure the preservation of its natural and cultural resources. Through collaborative efforts between federal agencies, state governments, local communities, and various stakeholders, the trail continues to be protected, allowing future generations to experience and appreciate the historical and environmental significance of this iconic route.

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