Decision Point: The Lewis and Clark Expedition in Montana
It was the beginning of June in 1805 that Lewis and Clark reached the ‘Decision Point‘: where the Missouri and the Marias River merge. They camped here for several days, deciding which route to take for the best route across the Rockies. Their decision to take the Missouri River ended up being the right one, and they reached Great Falls, Montana, on June 13, 1805.
I just so happened to visit this spot in June 2013, and I was so humbled to be in this spot exactly 208 years after them. I imagined what it felt like to be making a decision that could lead to a deadly winter. I love learning and following the Lewis and Clark Expeditions.
The Decision Point Overlook is located in the tiny town of Loma, Montana, just 11 miles north of Fort Benton. You will follow US 87 north, and you will see a sign just before you reach the bridge in Loma that will point you toward the overlook. A short drive will take you to a large parking lot, and you can hike up to have this beautiful view. It is an easy 1/4 mile hike, and worth it for the view.
FUN FACT: Lewis actually named the Marias River the Maria River, after his cousin, Maria Wood. Somehow the name changed over time. Which name do you prefer?
Standing there, really puts life in perspective when you consider what they had to consider while they were deciding which one was the Missouri. Lewis actually stood at the Decision Point Overlook, trying to get a better look at the rivers. Lewis finally chose the Missouri because it had clearer waters, which he determined must run through the high mountains. Thankfully, he was right!
Be sure to stop and see the Lewis and Clark Decision Point Overlook if you make it to Fort Benton, Montana!
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog