IN THE WAKE OF LEWIS AND CLARK:
Traveling the Historic Upper Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers
September 22–28, 2012
Historian Guide: Jon G. James
For two centuries a colorful cavalcade of boatmen, explorers, frontiersmen, fur traders, and trappers sought their fortunes at a thousand points along the Montana frontier of the Big Muddy (Missouri) and la Roche Jaune (Yellowstone). In their wanderings they met, traded, fought, and lived with Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Crow, Flathead, and Lakota people, Indian tribes who called the high plains, mountain ranges, and valleys of this "Big Sky" country home.
In the Wake of Lewis and Clark takes you on an incredible journey through time. Follow the meanders of these two legendary rivers in the company of River Historian Jon G. James and visit river sites and natural features associated with many of the most famous people in the history of the American West. Walk the ground and recount the exciting legends and stories of Corps of Discovery landmarks: Pompey's Pillar and Decision Point at the mouth of the Marias, the historic trading posts of Forts Raymond and Union, the Indian wars posts of Forts Keogh on the Yellowstone and Buford on the Missouri, and the mile-long levee of bustling river town Fort Benton, end of steamboat navigation on the Missouri and the hub of wagon roads leading to the Montana gold fields and the Canadian frontier.
Tour Cost: $2,795 Single Occupancy, $2,495 Double Occupancy
There is a $200 reduction per tour for participants taking both Tracing the Rivers' Source and In the Wake of Lewis & Clark.
Click to request a 2012 printed Travel Guide.
Saturday, September 22
Gather in Billings for a welcome dinner hosted by Jon James and HistoryAmerica TOURS.
Sunday, September 23
Jon sets the stage for early exploration and settlement along the Yellowstone River Valley. Visit Pompey's Pillar of Lewis and Clark fame and Fort Raymond en route to the Tongue River Cantonment, Ft. Keogh, and Milestown. Following dinner at the Range Rider Museum, we overnight in Miles City.
Monday, September 24
We continue along the Yellowstone and Powder Rivers to recount several incidents at this historic meeting place and military supply depot for the Great Sioux War. At the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers is Fort Buford, where Sitting Bull surrendered with remnants of his band in 1881. A tour of Fort Union showcases this great bastion of the American Fur Company. Overnight in Sidney.
Tuesday, September 25
Tracing the Missouri upriver on the Fort Peck Reservation, we learn about the sacred Sleeping Buffalo Rocks and the Little Rockies, hideout for robbers and outlaws. Continue through the Fort Belknap Indian Agency, home of the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre people. Cap the day with a tour of Bear Paw Battlefield, final conflict of the Nez Perce War. Overnight in Havre.
Wednesday, September 26
We visit Fort Assiniboine, largest military citadel on the northern plains of Montana, and then travel south to Coal Banks Landing, steamboat port-of-call for the Northwest Mounted Police. We will hitch a ride on the Virgelle Ferry, and from there travel to the Lewis & Clark Decision Point Overlook, where the Marias, Missouri, and Teton Rivers merge. End the day at the river town of Fort Benton, the "Chicago of the Plains."
Thursday, September 27
Travel to Great Falls and visit the C.M. Russell Museum, Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and several of the falls on the Missouri. The trail leads to Fort Shaw, regimental headquarters for Colonel John Gibbon and the 7th U.S. Infantry in Montana, and then south along the route of the Montana Column during the Sioux War of 1876. Overnight in Helena, site of the Last Chance Gulch gold strike in 1864.
Friday, September 28
Travel to Three Forks today, where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers join to form the Missouri, and hear about the legendary escape of mountain man John Colter from the Blackfeet Indians. Visit the site of Fort Ellis, and then pick up the Yellowstone River as it makes a great bend eastward. Return to Billings for our farewell dinner.
Saturday, September 29
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.