Many of the United States’ best rambling routes are well explored, yet some receive a lot less attention than others. One such is the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which the NPS lists as perhaps the most historically intriguing of the lot.
A sixteen-state, 4,900 mile marathon, it encapsulates much of what the Northern USA has to offer, and should be embarked on enthusiastically, albeit with a little caution. Interest in the trail has picked up internationally, with the trip recently featured by the UK’s Telegraph, so it’s a good time to get out there before the crowds arrive.
Many parts of the Lewis and Clark are easy enough to take by car, and indeed, the official website of the trail provides a list of suggested drives and their durations. However, given the wide range of environments and landscapes you’ll be traveling across, from The Badlands to other near barren prairies, it’s important to keep up to date, as motor vehicle accidents can and will happen. Take out cover, put together a maintenance kit, and look for legal help when in town, if necessary.
Much of the Lewis and Clark Trail derives its value from the astonishing history along the way. You will essentially put yourself in the boots of two of the USA’s most important and explorers, walking their steps as they went across the country and mapped out the modern places we all call home. The trail is an opportunity to drink in that history – instead of just enjoying the sights, you have the chance to enjoy a bit of American history too.
According to TripSavvy, there are a few stops that must be seen. Historically speaking, you have the Knife River Indian Village in North Dakota. Montana brings in the unique Three Forks of Missouri, where three rivers meet. Finally, but perhaps misleadingly, is Cape Disappointment, an amazing view of several different ecosystems out in Ilwaco, Washington. The sights must be seen to be believed, and are a fantastic cap on what will have been an amazing road trip.
A lesser-hiked path – at least knowingly – the Lewis and Clark encompasses a huge swathe of territory once thought wild to Americans. Explored and possibly conquered, it now provides a perfect trail for those who live for history and natural sights. Earmark it for your next trip out west.