Lewis & Clark
Explore the Lewis and Clark Trail
Discover all eleven interpretive panels located on the Missouri
River in South Dakota. Explorers Lewis and Clark began their famous
journey in 1804, now you can begin your own journey in their footsteps.
Traveling up the Missouri River in a specially designed keelboat and
two pirogues, the expedition arrived in present-day South Dakota in
late August. It was the beginning of America's Western frontier. The
expedition's arrival on South Dakota's High Plains marked the start of
numerous adventures involving people, places and animals that were
unknown to the intrepid explorers.
At Vermillion, members of the expedition hiked to the top of Spirit
Mound, a hill reportedly inhabited by tiny devils armed with spears.
The captains held their first meeting with the Yankton Sioux near
present-day Yankton. The men discovered prairie dogs and pronghorn
further up the river. At Fort Pierre, the expedition had a crucial
meeting with the Tetons. And, near Mobridge, the expedition met with
the Arikaras for the first time.
Throughout their stay, the captains' journal entries for this region
described lush vegetation and an abundance of wildlife, including
"barking squirrels" (prairie dogs) and buffalo herds numbering in the
Nearly 200 years later, travelers to the Great Lakes Region can
experience this same natural beauty and strong American history along
South Dakota's Lewis and Clark Trail. The trail follows the Missouri
River's path through the state and leads to adventures unknown!