Following history

Whether by train, boat, bus or car, there are plenty of ways to retrace the Lewis and Clark journey
Sunday, May 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:43 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whether on a barge floating down the Missouri River or on a train traveling through the countryside, vacationers have many ways of experiencing the adventures of Lewis and Clark.

Julie Fanselow, author of “Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail,” has been traveling the trail annually since 1993, and she has pages of advice for travelers looking for a Lewis and Clark adventure.

“Go with a spirit of discovery and adventure,” Fanselow said. “Spend at least a few days on a river, and get out of your car as often as you can.”

Fanselow spent much of last year researching the newest attractions and activities on the trail. Her guidebook is a comprehensive resource for planning a trip along the trail.

Fanselow has served as a guest historian and on-river interpreter on canoe and small ship cruises led by River Odysseys West and Lindblad Expeditions in Montana and the Pacific Northwest. Such guided tours provide experts to help share the history of the expedition, said Fanselow.

“I try to take as many as I can,” she said. “It’s fun to travel with people who share your interests.”

By rail

The Trails & Rails program, provided by Amtrak and the National Park Service, is one way to experience the Lewis and Clark adventure in a more comfortable environment than the one in which the explorers traveled. Passengers can hop aboard Amtrak’s Kansas City Mule in St. Louis and ride along the trail of Lewis and Clark to Jefferson City, while the National Park Service staff tells stories of the expedition and the Missouri River.

The Trails & Rails guides are available to answer questions along the way. For more information, call 314-425-1600.

By barge

Cruise down the river on the R/B River Explorer river barge. The barge offers hotel-like accommodations with home-style meals and an experienced staff with an in-depth knowledge of the history of the river and its surrounding regions.

The 10-day trip begins in St. Louis and ends near Kansas City. For more information, contact RiverBarge Excursion Lines at or call 888-456-2206.

By bus

Follow the trail of Lewis and Clark by bus on the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail Motorcoach Tours by Rocky Mountain Discovery Tours. For a full-scale adventure, Rocky Mountain Discovery Tours offers a 20-day bus tour which journeys through all 11 states of the original Lewis and Clark route. The trip begins in St. Charles and continues all the way to the Pacific Ocean in Portland, Ore.

Motorcoach trips don’t have to go through all 11 states. The 20-day tour can be shortened to 18 days, seven days or anything in between to accommodate travelers’ needs. While regular tours are offered only during the summer months, customized tours can be booked year-round, and they can start from any of the 11 states on the Lewis and Clark trail. For more information, visit or call 888-400-0048.

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