Great Divide Wildlands Institute

In the summer of 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition was making it’s way westward up the Missouri River.  This was a crucial time for the Corps of Discovery.  Once they reached the Continental Divide they would leave their canoes behind and carry their equipment by horse.  Their plan was to trade for horses with the Shoshone Indians, but so far not a single Indian had been seen.

On August 7, Sacagawea, the Shoshone wife of the Corp’s French/Indian interpreter, identified “Beaver’s Head Rock”, pointing them towards her people.  Leaving the main party to drag canoes up the river, Lewis and three men proceeded overland searching for Indians and their valuable horses.  They followed a well-defined “road” finding sign of Indian activity but the natives eluded them.  They crossed the Continental Divide into the Salmon River drainage to experience a dramatic first meeting with the Shoshone.   Lewis convinced them that they were friends, setting the stage for an unlikely family reunion and the important overland journey.

 For a more complete appreciation of Lewis and Clark’s journey across the Continental Divide and through the Rocky Mountains, contact us for information on your personal tour. We also offer guided tours of Montana Ghost Towns and scenic historic sites.

Beaverhead Rock to Sacagawea Monument Day Trip

Beaverhead RockTravel the expedition’s route from Beaverhead Rock to the point Lewis first met with the Shoshone. Learn about this meeting and why the Indians were so hard to find. See how and where the Indians lived and what they ate. Overlook the valley as the explorers did. Visit Camp Fortunate, where they cached canoes and supplies and obtained horses so critical to the expedition’s success. Travel through “Shoshone Cove” to Sacagawea Monument on the Continental Divide.

Beaverhead Rock to Traveler’s Rest & Return via the Big Hole

Horseback ride in Montana’s Big Hole valley.Spend two days traveling from Beaverhead River over the Continental Divide. See why the expedition had to cross Lost Trail Pass instead of floating down the Salmon River. Follow the Expedition on to “Traveler’s Rest”. Retrace Clark’s route through the Big Hole with the main party on their return trip to Camp Fortunate in 1806.

Big Hole Valley to Camp Fortunate Horseback Ride

Montana scenic views on the Camp Fortunate horseback ride.Ride horseback along the route Clark and Sacagawea took from their July 7, 1806 campsite on the Big Hole Divide to Camp Fortunate. They traveled over 30 miles that day on their return trip to reach the cache and canoes at Camp Fortunate. We’ll take two days to make this scenic ride. Horses are furnished by Diamond Hitch Outfitters. Enjoy their chuck wagon camp out along the way with the option of an evening visit to Bannack State Park.

Lewis and Clark Trail Overlook

Montana SunsetRide horseback to a high point overlooking the trail the expedition took with the Shoshone in August, 1805 from Camp Fortunate to the Continental Divide and the Columbia River drainage. This one day horseback ride begins on the trail Clark and Sacagawea took from their last encampment back to Camp Fortunate on the return voyage in 1806. Their route is also visible from this overlook.