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Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center interior

Dugout exhibit
Dugout Exhibit.
Photo courtesy Montana Office of Tourism

Top of dugout exhibit
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
Photo courtesy Montana Office of Tourism

" ...we set out early on the portage"

- Lewis
23 June 1805

The grueling portage of Great Falls took place on these bluffs along the Missouri. Scouting ahead a few days before the ordeal, William Clark discovered the Giant Springs along this same shore. From late June to mid-July, the men hauled wooden carts with irregular wheels across uneven, cactus-strewn soil. The view down into the river and the rushing of the falls led both captains to describe the sights in their journals. Lewis noted that "the men had to haul with all their wate and art" to budge and prod the heavy carts during the repeat trips required to complete the 18-mile portage.