Visit Great Falls' Lewis and Clark center and explore the Upper Missouri River and its headwaters, with a possible side trip to Pompeys Pillar.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center(406/727-8733) offers the West’s best overview of the expedition.The annual Lewis & Clark Festival (Jun 23-27; 406/452-5661)features reenactments, float trips, hikes, and other fun. For GreatFalls lodging and dining information click here.
UPPER MISSOURI RIVER
Guided canoe trips run $200-$325 a day for three to five days.Outfitters include River Odysseys West (800/451-6034) and Missouri River Canoe Company (800/426-2926). For a fulllist, contact the Bureau of Land Management in Fort Benton, Montana(406/622-3839).
This sandstone rise, which William Clark named for Sacagawea’sson, Pomp, holds one of the few physical remnants of theexpedition: Clark’s signature, visible behind protective glass. Atexit 23 of I-94, 23 miles east of Billings; (406) 896-5235.
The listings below follow the Lewisand Clark trail through Central Montana.
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Campsitesinclude Kipp Recreation Area (34 developed sites with water andrest rooms $6; Apr-Nov). www.mt.blm.gov/ldo/rec.htmlor (406) 538-7461.
Virgelle Merc. Rustic rooms in a historic store;headquarters for the Missouri River Canoe Co. 6 cabins from $40 perperson, 4 rooms from $95. 7485 Virgelle Ferry Rd. N.; www.paddlemontana.com or (800) 426-2926.
FORT BENTON, MT
Grand Union Hotel. This restored 1882 riverside hotel may bethe best place to stay anywhere along the trail. The Union Grille($$$; dinner only Wed-Sun) offers sophisticated food. 26 rooms from$79. 1 Grand Union Square; www.grandunionhotel.comor (406) 622-1882.
Bob’s Riverfront Restaurant. Good food, including fineblackberry cobbler. $$. 1414 Front St.; (406) 622-3443.
GREAT FALLS, MT
Best Western Heritage Inn. Large motel complex. 235 roomsfrom $79. 1700 Fox Farm Rd.; (800) 548-8256.
Bert & Ernie’s Restaurant & Brewpub. Good forburgers and microbrew beer. $$; closed Sun. 300 First Ave. S.;(406) 453-0601.
Dante’s Creative Cuisine. Salads, steaks, pasta in arestored ironworks. $$$. 1325 Eighth Ave. N.; www.dantesgf.com or (406)453-9599.
THREE FORKS, MT
Sacajawea Hotel. This restored railroad inn is charming;good restaurant too ($$$). 31 rooms from $89. 5 N. Main St.; www.sacajaweahotel.comor (888) 722-2529.
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. 40 tent and RV sitesfrom $15, 3 cabins from $39; cavern tours (May-Sep) $10. 19 mileswest of Three Forks off State 2; (406) 287-3541.― Peter Fish and Abigail Peterson