You are hereHeadwaters Missouri River

Headwaters Missouri River

By coolsen - Posted on 12 January 2018

Check in at this site

  • Site # 18
  • GPS Coordinates: N44.97095 W113.44376
  • Elevation: 7440 feet
  • Benchmark Page: 49
  • Benchmark Coordinates: F9 Idaho
  • Ride Difficulty: 2


In mid-August 1805, Lewis and three other members of the Corps of Discovery had left the main group behind in search of native inhabitants of the area, heading toward Beaverhead Rock.  On August 12, this small group came to Lemhi Pass, a two-mile span stretching across the present-day border between Montana and Idaho. Nestled among these mountains and bridging the gap between the ranges of the Rockies, Lemhi Pass maintains its unobtrusive, yet momentous, place in our nation's history.  As they ventured westward, the party came across some of the most imposing landscapes that they had ever encountered—peaks upon jagged peaks as far as the eye could see.  The crossing of this pass--the Continental Divide, a ridge extending north and south along the Rocky Mountains' Beaverhead Range—would prove one of the greatest achievements of Lewis and Clark's expedition to the West Coast. The first Americans to do so, the crew officially left United States territory, journeyed into disputed lands claimed by various European powers and reaffirmed their desire to reach the Pacific Ocean.  Lewis and his men also came to the westernmost reaches of the now less than mighty Missouri River.  Writing in his journal that day, Lewis recorded the significance of the area and the event:

“. . . the road took us to the most distant fountain of the waters of the Mighty Missouri in surch of which we have spent so many toilsome days and wristless nights. thus far I had accomplished one of those great objects on which my mind has been unalterably fixed for many years, judge then of the pleasure I felt in all[a]ying my thirst with this pure and ice-cold water . here I halted a few minutes and rested myself. two miles below McNeal had exultingly stood with a foot on each side of this rivulet and thanked his god that he had lived to bestride the mighty & heretofore deemed endless Missouri. after refreshing ourselves we proceeded on to the top of the dividing ridge from which I discovered immence ranges of high mountains still to the West of us with their tops partially covered with snow . . . here I first tasted the water of the great Columbia river . . .”

Sacajawea Memorial Camp is located at Mile 0.02 of the Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway, in Montana.

Related Posts

Check-Ins for this Challenge Point

silverspurs at head waters of Missouri with Gaylon Holdaway... we came via the Leadore/Dillon road... wow! what a beautiful ride!!

Posted by silverspurs on 2018-07-16 22:23

 Been here many times, fantastic ride up from the Montana side

Posted by shutterman on 2018-08-19 09:09

Photo taken August 14 on a multiday ride.  Been here several times before.  It is very beautiful and informative.

Posted by coolsen on 2018-08-21 11:32

 Headwaters of Missouri.

Posted by AGHill on 2018-11-27 12:34