Frequently Asked Questions

1) What type of vehicle can make the Lewis and Clark Trail route?
Passenger car: Probably 70 percent of the Lewis and Clark Trail can be made in a typical passenger car or truck.
Pickup Truck (2-wheel Drive): The high clearance of a 2-wheel drive pickup could probably travel 85% to 90% of the Trail.
Pickup Truck (4-wheel Drive): Should be able to make 95% of the of the Trail.
RV (30 foot or less): Probably 70 % of the Trail, but a larger RV might require a number of short hikes to access the campsites.
Fifth-wheel and greater than 30 foot RV's: Very limited to probably typical primary paved roads. (5th Wheels not recommended).
Motorcycle – Dual Sport and Dirt Bikes 250cc - 650cc and less: 95% to 100% of the Trail.
Motorcycle – Dual Sport 1000cc+: probably 80% depending on riding skill.
Cruiser and street motorcycles – 70% to 80% of the Trail roads, depending on skill level.
Disclaimer: There are at least 20 to 30 campsites along the trail that vehicles of
any type are either not allowed or could not travel the terrain, and require 1 to 2
mile hikes. Such sites are normally walking trails through a forest or access
roads beside a farmers crop or raw land.

2) How accurate are the campsite GPS coordinates? 
River erosion has changed the course of the Missouri and other rivers. Some places in Nebraska and Iowa may have known to have changed 14 miles.
Construction of lakes, dams and cities have also changed the rivers or buried campsites  under water. We are confident that most if not all the GPS coordinates will be within visual  distance of the Journals description of the campsite locations.

3) How many miles should I plan for a day? 
This varies depending on time spent in museums, sightseeing, etc. We typically shoot for 300 miles a day when we are taking in the sights. Places like the Lolo Trail dictate about 150 miles a day.

4) Are any public campsites for travelers like me listed in the GPS coordinates?
No, but we have provided a link to an excellent campsite app and most GPS systems provide campsites under points-of-interest.

5) How much of the trail can one expect to travel in a week? 
This greatly depends on how much time you take to see the local attractions. 
I average 300 to 350 miles each day while we travel the Trail but have traveled only  150 miles in the more interesting areas and when visiting museums. To travel the entire  trail one-way would realistically take a month.

6) Best time of year to undertake the Trail?
One could do many sections of the Trail throughout the year. Higher altitudes in Idaho  and Montana expect snowfall in late September through March. I have always tried to travel in the Spring (April through July) and the Fall (late August through September), due to heat in western states.

7) Are historical museums part of the route? 
Yes. the majority of the major Lewis and Clark Interpretive and better State and Local Museums are included in the GPS coordinates.

8) Can I travel west to east?
Very definitely. On the westward route all members were mostly together all the time on the same route. On the return (east) route Lewis traveled through northern Montana and Clark traveled through the southern part of Montana and followed the Yellowstone River  to meet back up with Lewis in North Dakota. The dates of the campsites on the GPS way-points let you see which camp was west or east. Camps with dates of 1804 and 1805 were west, and dates of 1806
were the east (return) route.

9) Do you tell me what happened at each campsite?
Each GPS coordinate includes the date and a brief description of what events occurred at the campsite.

10) Do I need or have to use a GPS? 
No, there are free or minimal cost apps that can be used on a smartphone if you don't have a GPS device. 

11)How many way-points are in the GPS file? 
850+ and we are adding additional waypoints all the time.

12)Any suggestions on clothing, rain gear, etc.? 
To truly get the most out of the trail routes you have to walk 100 yards and a few times  a couple of miles if you want to see the really good sites. Depending on weather and season it can be cold in Idaho and Montana, and it seems to rain often in Oregon and Washington along the Columbia River.

13)Do I need to pack food and water? 
If you are doing the 100 yard and several mile hikes I'd recommend you be prepared with adequate snack food and water.

14) Is there any areas that are more hazardous than other?
The Bitterroot Mountain Range (the Lolo Motoring Highway) is by far the most remote, but not really dangerous. It is known to have an occasional bear, moose, elk, deer, badger, and an occasional harmless snake. I've encountered wildlife on the Lolo Trail and they tend to be more skittish of me than I am of them. The biggest hazard of all is probably a flat tire in a remote area. 
Any vehicle, especially motorcycle riders, should be prepared for a flat tire in remote areas.

15) Are motels readily available along the Trail? And how do you handle where to be at the end of the day?
Motels are most definitely readily available within 20 to 30 miles of
most places along Trail. What I do is at 2:00 or 3:00 PM I check my GPS points-of-interest and look for a list of motels or campsites nearby and phone the hotel to check on availability of reservations.

16)Are campgrounds readily available from the Trail?
Yes, we provide you an excellent smart phone and Ipad app that provides a list of campgrounds available (both charged and maintained and free campgrounds.) Most Federal and some State land is available for free camping but many have no utilities (water and outhouses) There are many campgrounds available for $10 to $20 with water, outhouse and electrical facilities but you may have to search for them on the internet through Google or special Apps.

17)Any other equipment needed?
Not needed, but recommended. I carry my Ipad (or netbook/laptop) on my travels. It is a great advantage when you want to look up lengthy text about a campsite you are standing on. I keep a full copy of the Lewis and Clark Journals on my Ipad (or PC/netbook). A good safety backup in a Spot Tracking unit.

18) Do GPS coordinates have only campsites? 
No, there were 573 campsites documents in the Journals. The coordinates have an additional 300+ coordinates of sites mentioned in the Journals, such as mountains, rivers, and rock formations they discovered or named. (Sites like Pompey's Pillar, Beacon Rock, location Lewis and Fields killed two Blackfoot Indians, location on Lemhi Pass where Lewis witnessed the Shoshoni poor eating uncooked, raw deer meat, River of No Return, in Idaho..)

19)What about availability of fuel? 
I've never encountered any area more than 100 miles without access to gasoline. The only area I would be cautious of is some areas of Montana and Idaho mountainous area, and the roads along the shores of the Columbia River may have 50 miles between gas stations.