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Lewis and Clark in South Dakota

Lewis and ClarkPresident Thomas Jefferson became the principal author of one of history's most famous adventures when he sent a hardy crew, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, up the Missouri River to explore America's newest frontier.

The Mission

The expedition's goals were ambitious, a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean, trade with American Indians and scientific discovery. Captains Lewis and Clark assembled their crew, and the Corps of Discovery began its more than 8,000 mile trek on May 14, 1804, at the mouth of the Missouri River near St. Louis.

Re-trace the Journey... Re-live the Adventure

Lewis and ClarkLewis and Clark spent the late-summer and early fall of 1804 exploring present-day South Dakota. Their return trip, in 1806, led them back through the area. The captains' journal entries for this region described lush vegetation and wildlife, not to mention unusual sights like barking squirrels, burning bluffs and immense herds of buffalo.

The journals also tell of first-ever councils with Sioux and Arikara tribes. Follow in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery along the Missouri River. Walk where they walked, see what they saw and feel what they felt as the sometimes wild and isolated trail is revealed. Now, 200 years later, you too, can experience the same rugged adventure along South Dakota's Lewis and Clark Trail.


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