Paddle the Wild & Scenic Upper Missouri and uncover the layers of history. Most notably, the cross continental journey of Lewis & Clark. Stephen Ambrose’s book, Undaunted Courage, has inspired many to paddle this section of the Missouri River also known as The White Cliffs. You’ll camp where they camped, see what they saw and learn about their trip from our experienced guides. For any river traveler, this trip offers a very accessible route of discovery: geology, wildlife, Native American culture, early explores and the pioneers that followed. The landscape has changed little since Lewis & Clark passed through the Upper Missouri in the spring of 1805. River travelers today can appreciate the words of Meriwether Lewis when he wrote of the endless “seens of visionary inchantment…”
You will enjoy paddling the gentle and meandering current through breath taking White Cliffs of Eagle sandstone and igneous rock formations. Our camps include Eagle Creek and Slaughter River, both Lewis & Clark campsites. Throughout this trip, you will have plenty of opportunities for on-shore exploration. Some highlights include Native American tepee rings, petroglyphs, narrow slot canyons, Hole-in-the-wall rock formation, plant identification, wildlife viewing and USGS markers for L&C campsites.
Level of difficulty
Canoeing the Missouri appeals to beginner and experienced paddlers alike. The gentle meandering current allows you the solitude to paddle your own tandem canoe a long side our guides. Large canoes may be available with advance notice for larger groups.
We take pride in their camp cuisine. Meals should be something you look forward to and expect more than your average camping fare. We have developed our menus over the last 30 years. Fresh, hearty and creative. You can start your day with a good cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast like pancakes & sausage with fresh fruit & juice, lunch is welcome stop with build your own sandwiches or salads with quality deli meats & cheese, lots of fresh veggies & snacks. Dinner is usually something on the grill, dutch oven roasted potatoes, colorful salad, bread from local bakeries. Beer and wine, in moderation, is provided with appetizers & dinner. Water, sodas and Gaterade is provided. We are happy to accommodate various dietary needs so let us know your requests.
Trip themes and guest speakers
Throughout the season, we offer Missouri River trips with special guests who bring an added element of knowledge to our trips, these trips are always popular, so make sure you reserve early!
Missouri River 3-day Trips
The 3-day itinerary allows you to fully experience White Cliff section of the Missouri and nicely fits into an itinerary for those visiting Montana. If you are looking to continue following the Lewis & Clark Trail, plan a hiking trip on the Lolo Trail, retracing their arduous journey overland across the Bitterroot Mountains. This off the beaten path adventure is for those who seek the remote sections of the trail. Vehicle supported hiking walking or van tours can be catered for all abilities 1-3 days. Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures is the only outfitter licensed and permitted on the Missouri River and Lolo Trail.
Missouri River – 3-Day Trips
Most of our trips feature a guest speaker, but our style is more open discussion vs lectures. They all have a wide breadth of knowledge in natural and human history related to Montana and the Missouri River. Bring your interests and curiousity and we’ll do our best to satisfy!
$825 per person / $725 youth under 14 discount
- June 19-21 – Summer Solstice Trip with guest speaker Mark Albers – retired BLM land manager and American Rivers MT field office director
- July 13-15 – with Morgan Valliant – former LCTA guide and current manager of Missoula County Open Space. Historic Ecosystems and L&C history.
- July 19-21 – with Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs – published author and Lewis & Clark Trail conservationist
- Aug 21-23 – with guest speaker Rich Galli – retired Montana History teacher from Bozeman, MT – the first 3 days of a 6 day trip.
- Sept – is open for custom dates.
- Custom dates may be available with a minimum group size – Let us know your preferred dates and we will do our best to accommodate.
- All guest speakers are potentially subject to change given unforeseen circumstances.
Missouri River 4-day Trips
The 4-day itinerary paddles the same section of river as the 3-day trip. The 4-day itinerary allows extra time for on-shore exploration or discussions depending on the trip theme. We add a nights camp at Hole-in-the-Wall campsite, located on a bend in the river with views of the Hole in the Wall rock formation. We alter the hiking schedule, so that the two major hikes (Neats Coulee at Eagle Creek and Hole-in-the-Wall) are done in the morning vs. in the afternoon or mid-day.
Missouri River – 4-Day
$1050 per person / $900 youth under 14 discount
- June 26-29 – Join Naturalist Elena Ulev with Montana Natural History Center. More info…. Bring your binoculars for optimal wildlife viewing.
- Aug 10-13 – with guest speaker Ralph White – Lewis & Clark aficionado with many trips on the Missouri River and retracing the L & C trail across the US. Ralph is recently retired from public service in the GAO in Washington, DC. Make it a complete Lewis & Clark Experience, optional Lolo Trail hiking trip Aug 15-16 – more details
- Aug 23-26 – with guest speaker Rich Galli – retired Montana History teacher from Bozeman, MT – from Judith Landing to James Kipp – second leg of a 6 day trip.
Missouri River 6-day Trips
For a more extensive trip on the Missouri, extend the journey down the river less traveled, from Judith Landing, where our 3-day trip ends we enter the Badlands of the Upper Missouri. The topography changes from Eagle sandstone and igneous rock formations to the high & grand bluffs of Claggett shale. We continue camping at Lewis & Clark expedition campsites of May 27 & 25, 1805, passing the bluffs near Bullwacker Creek where Lewis first viewed the Rocky Mountains. As we enter the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, wildlife viewing opportunities abound. In this protected area elk graze, bighorn sheep climb precariously in the bluffs and water fowl thrives in the natural riparian environment.
Missouri River – 6-Day
$1600 per person / $1400 youth under 14 discount
- Aug 21 – 26 – with guest speaker Rich Galli – retired Montana History teacher from Bozeman, MT – we’ll paddle through the white cliffs and beyond through the Breaks, explore remote historic homesteads, majestic bluffs and wildlife.
Missouri River Canoe & Lolo Trail hiking Combo trip – More Details
The Missouri River Canoe Trip and the Lolo Trail Hiking Trip are available as separate activities and therefore must be booked as separately. Please let us know any questions. Hope you can join us!
- Aug 10-13 Canoe the Missouri River, Aug 14 is a free travel day, Aug 15-16 hike the Lolo Trail
Missouri River 4-day Canoe Trip $1050 person / $900 youth under 14 discount
Lolo Trail 3-day Hiking Trip $900 per person / $800 youth – under 14 discount
Pre-trip: Our Missouri trips meet in Fort Benton, MT. Fort Benton is a quaint & quiet river town, but packed with history. We suggest spending an extra day there. We have a pre-trip meeting the day prior to your launch date at 6pm outside the Grand Union (Unless you have alternative or custom arrangements) At the pre-trip meeting, we make introductions, go over last minute questions, logistics and hand out dry bags for you to pack your personal gear. If you cannot make the pre-trip meeting, send an email to make alternative arrangements.
Morning of your launch date: We meet at 8:30am. We provide transportation from Fort Benton and begin paddling from Coal Banks Landing, 45 miles downriver from Fort Benton. Your personal vehicle or rental car can be parked at the public parking lot at the Fort Benton boat ramp across from the Fort Interpretive Center, down the street from the Grand Union or other lodging locations.
Travel planning: The closest airport to fly in/out of would be Great Falls, MT. We are happy to help you plan the best itinerary for you based on what areas of the Lewis & Clark Trail you would like to see. Recommended Activities
Feel free to email or call us for suggestions or to help plan a custom itinerary.
Standard Trip Provisions
The gear is designed with your comfort in mind. The following items are provided on our standard trips.
- Guided Canoeing, Hiking and Camping with historical Interpretations
- Camping Equipment to include 4-Person dome tents (2 adults), sleeping pad and Camp Chair
- River equipment to include tandem canoes, Crazy Creek canoe seats, paddles & life jackets
- Dry Bags for personal items, clothing and sleeping bag (you bring own sleeping bag unless renting from LCTA $50)
- All meals starting from first day’s lunch to last day’s lunch – complete outfitter kitchen provided
- Beverages including drinking water, Gatorade or sparkling water and/or soda. Beer & wine in moderation 2 per person.
- Emergency equipment
- Shuttle Transportation based out of Fort Benton
Safari Style Camping
- Camp set up in advance, larger stand-up tents, cots, sit-down dinner with table service
- Additional rates apply based on exact provisions, itinerary and menu
- Custom dates available – entire trip date must be chartered as upgraded safari style – please inquire
Trip Planning Resources:
Need trip insurance? For your convenience, we offer travel protection through Travelex Insurance Services. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.com or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 26-0048.
Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 55Y