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ADV Rides5 Reasons to Put the Lewis and Clark Trail on Your Bucket List

5 Reasons to Put the Lewis and Clark Trail on Your Bucket List

There's still plenty of adventure to be had 200 years after the historic journey.

Published on 06.22.2016

Lehmi Pass on the Lewis and Clark TrailCourtesy Phil Freeman

While your weekend escapades may be more adventurous than anything your colleagues back at the office will do in a lifetime, they’re nothing compared to the adventures of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. When the Corp of Discovery set off in 1804, it was the first American expedition to ever cross what is now the western United States.

President Jefferson had just made the deal of the century when he doubled the size of the United States in a $14 million land purchase from France. The expedition’s goal was to to see what resources the newly acquired Louisiana Territory had to offer and to find a practical trade route to the Pacific Ocean. For those early American explorers on the journey, it was the equivalent of being the first people to set foot on the Moon.


No doubt, you’ve heard the stories about Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacajawea, and their two and one-half year journey across a pristine America filled with strange beasts and fierce natives. Amazingly 200 years later, you can still make the same trek of discovery following in the footsteps of that historical odyssey. And there’s still plenty of adventure to be had! Below you’ll find 5 reasons why you should consider putting the Lewis and Clark Trail on your Bucket List.

1. Incredible Natural Beauty

Lewis and Clark Trail Upper Missouri River Breaks  National MonumentCourtesy Bureau of Land Management

The Lewis and Clark Trail takes you through some of the best scenic landscapes the western United States has to offer. You’ll see everything from the plains and big skies of Montana, to the thick forests of the Cascade Mountains. Roads meander gently along the majestic Missouri, Columbia and Cascade rivers and in many places, the terrain looks just like the Wild West of 200 years ago.

2. Connecting With History in a Deeper Way

William Clark's signature and Pompey's PillarCourtesy Bureau of Land Management

The story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition perfectly illustrates the indomitable human spirit and our willingness to risk it all on a mission of discovery. Reading about their inspiring tales, then seeing the historic sites first hand, provides a deeper appreciation for the gritty determination of those early explorers. To see the vast distances traveled and ponder their incredible challenge adds a new dimension to your own journey that makes it all the more stimulating.

3. A Chance to Relax and Recharge

Lewis and Clark Trail Columbia River GorgeCourtesy Phil Freeman

Adventure Rides can take us to remote regions where the terrain can push our bikes and bodies to the limit. Sometimes we come home feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation! Maybe it’s time to mix it up with a trip that is a bit more relaxing and leisurely. The Lewis and Clark Trail is a trip for a more casual pace, a chance to experience the land and its history, to get off the bike to check out the towns, the people, historic sites and museums along the way.

4. Endless Miles of Curves

Rowena Crest at Columbia River Gorge OregonCourtesy Maciek Lulko

The wild rivers and rugged mountain passes along the Lewis and Clark Trail ensure the journey is never going in a straight line for too long. Days of riding are filled with endless curves on some of the best motorcycle roads Montana, Washington, Idaho and Oregon have to offer. And with gorgeous vistas around nearly every turn, the experience is priceless!

5. Visit Stonehenge

Maryhill Stonehenge on the Lewis and Clark TrailCourtesy Shawn Stilwell

Always wanted to visit Stonehenge? There’s nothing quite like the Neolithic site in England, or is there? How about a full-scale replica of the iconic structure, in its intact form before it fell apart? Such a place exists in Maryhill, Washington. It was built in 1929 as a World War I memorial and you can find it right along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

Planning Your Trip

The Lewis and Clark Trail offers the perfect mix of history and great riding that is sure to captivate your imagination and quench your thirst for adventure. If you would like to navigate on your own, you can start planning your ride by checking out the National Park Service maps of the historic trail or take a look at the tour offered by MotoQuest.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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Eric A.
Eric A.
June 22, 2016 3:13 pm

Didn’t know about this trail. Definitely a bucket list ride!

Bruce Phegley
Bruce Phegley
May 29, 2019 4:57 am

I have travelled the Lolo Motorway, part of the Lewis & Clark trail in Idaho and I can tell you this is something to put on your bucket list.


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