"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, June 24, 2019

Discovering the Headwaters of the Mighty Missouri

Dillon, Montana
Clark Canyon Reservoir BLM

We are in search of the headwaters of the Mighty Missouri River as we drive up Lemhi Pass.
But first we drive along some lonely dirt roads winding up into the mountains.

Many interesting sites along the way.


The remains of many old cabins lay along the way.

On August 12, 1805 the Lewis & Clark Expedition visited the headwaters on Trail Creek just above Lemhi Pass on the Continental Divide in the Beaverhead Mountains at around 8,600 feet.

Clark described finding the start the river as:
"the most distant fountain of the waters of the mighty Missouri in search of which
we have spent so many toilsome days and restless nights." 
 This is where it all starts!  Next to that boulder is a spring that is the beginning of the Mighty Missouri River.  They have it fenced so that it doesn't get trampled.
And here is me straddling the Mighty Mo!
Some Interesting Facts about the Missouri River:
- The Missouri flows 2,341 miles before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri
- It's the world's 15th longest river
- It flows through 7 states
- It has the nickname Big Muddy because of the amount of silt it carries
- The river can be followed by walking along the Lewis and Clark historic trail, which follows the entire length of the river.
- For most of its course, the Missouri flows across the Great Plains, one of the driest parts of North America.
There were nice info signs here and picnic area.  It was very well kept.  I doubt many people come up here. 
We took a lunch break and watched these cute birds stopping by for handouts.
Standing on the Continental Divide in Montana.

The views up here were amazing.  Great views all around!  We walked around and read the signs.

It always amazed me that rain that falls inches away on one side or the other of the Continental Divide ends up in either the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico
We also found a geocache way up here.
Nice hiking trails all around.

On the way down we could see this lonely little cabin out in the middle of a very large open range area.  You'd have had to ride your horse quite a long way to see another person.

We also stopped in to explore this area of old cabins.  Looks like they were exploring the area for mining possibilities.

Many core samples in some of the buildings.

We also stopped by a small river to see how the fishing might be.  We tried several spots but the fish are very clever and hard to catch.  My brother did hook a nice one though.
Nice one!

Back at camp we had a nice dinner of fish fillets that we caught yesterday.

Some we marinated in Lime, Cilantro and Chilies, some in Teriyaki and a Lemon & Garlic.
That evening was calm and it was nice to enjoy one last fire before we move on.

We enjoyed some nice port fireside.

Next up a nice ghost town!



  1. You sure had some great fishing up there. Very cool that you were at the head waters, hard to believe it grows into such an enormous river.

    1. It was a nice day trip. Loved seeing how such a huge river starts out from a trickle under a rock. Lot's of good fishing out here!

  2. That is a place we’ve always wanted to go, Debbie. How fun!

    1. It was! Now we'd like to see the headwaters of the Mississippi like you guys did!

  3. Amazing photos and great summary. Karen wants to learn to fly fish. I suppose I'll have to find a way to mount rods in the basement.

    1. Nice thing is they don't take up much room at all.

  4. Awesome post! I have always wanted to follow the path of the Corp of Discovery. Nice fish!

    1. It was a fun day trip with plenty of hiking up there too.

  5. Was so fun to see this area today. To think ithe Mighty Missouri River starts from there wow!!!


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