The Lewis & Clark Trail was traveled only once: by the brave men of the Corps of Discovery (1803-1806) accompanied by a no less courageous woman and her new baby. However Americans - and Lewis & Clark buffs worldwide – rediscovered the adventure during the trail’s Bicentennial commemoration from 2004-2006.
The primary goal of the Lewis & Clark Expedition was to find the Northwest Passage to the Pacific. Not only did they fail to find it, but they may have forged the single most difficult route over the Rockies!
Subsequent explorers – and certainly the emigrants of the Westward Expansion Movement – followed more southern and certainly far easier passages through North America’s western mountain ranges. Wyoming’s South Pass provided a gradual and navigable opening that Lewis & Clark only dreamed of.
Lewis & Clark have been called the “writingest explorers” in the history of the world. It is true that they faithfully kept records of everything they saw and the people that they met, but far more has been written since! And the Bicentennial produced a whole spate of new publications.
We have gathered some of the best of these writings here, and on our sister website Explore the Lewis and Clark Trail.
In response to the increased interest spurred by the Bicentennial Celebration, Shebby Lee Tours developed an interpretive tour program covering the entire trail from St. Louis to the Pacific. The adventure continues today. You too can connect with that sense of adventure and wonder that propelled the men westward on this year’s expedition scheduled for Aug. 1-16, 2014.
The great period of world exploration was essential to the development of road systems, improved waterways, and as yet unimagined modes of transportation which would allow newly-opened regions to grow and prosper. North America, though arriving late on the world stage, was no exception. The Lewis & Clark Expedition and the knowledge it brought back, was a part of this progress - despite proving that the fabled Northwest Passage, on which the United States had pinned all its hopes and dreams, did not exist. Read more
While the men of the Corps of Discovery were the first to explore much of the Louisiana Territory, they were in fact preceded by enterprising fur traders from a number of different countries, and their expedition was actually a response to the profit motive and the increasing market demand for these furs. Yet American school children are taught that Lewis and Clark were the first white men to penetrate the interior and therefore open up the West for the fur trade, and succeeding generations of settlers. This paper examines just why this misconception still prevails. Read more
Travel industry veteran Shebby Lee’s monthly travel blog covers a wide range of topics relating to travel, events, destinations and the history of the Great American West.