In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark
From Illinois to the Pacific
July 27 - Aug. 13, 201

1892.. Day 10, August 5 - Billings, MT to Helena, MT 271 = 2163

3 Forks of the Missouri River, named by Lewis and Clark on July 28, 1805

We climb Fort Rock and look one way at the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison Rivers. According to USGS, this is the official beginning of the Missouri River, by name. Geoglogically it begins several hundred miles south of here at a place called Brower's Spring. The corps followed the Jefferson River about half that distance before they crossed the Rockies.


On the other side we find the Gallatin River

We hike about 3/4 of a mile and gather under Lewis' Rock. Lewis climbed this rock to survey the Gallatin River. The task at these three forks was to determine which was the proper river to take. Since the all looked pretty similar, and none big enough to continue to be called the Missouri, gave them three separate names. Madison (Secretary of State), Gallatin (Secretary of Treasury) and "the one we propose to take, after that illustirous personage, Thomas Jefferson, the author of our enterprise."

After lunch we get pictures of the two mouths of the Gallatin River then visit the Madison-Jefferson junction. Tom and our very own Bill Clark perform a little skit about naming the rivers. Once again there is no doubt that we are in their footsteps

1892.. :  Billings, MT to Helena, MT 271 = 2163

Google Route Map, Billings to Helena

static maps from Delorme's Topo North America