Upper Missouri River Breaks
|Upper Missouri River Breaks (courtesy, ROW Adventures)|
Deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, and 212 species of birds call this place home. Its scenic sweep through some of Montana's best riparian habitat is matched only by its place as the heart of the country's historic westward expansionLewis and Clark made their way past the same wilderness bluffs some 200 years ago. The approximately 375,000-acre monument in eastern Montana encompasses six wilderness areas, 149 miles of the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River, portions of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, and the Chief Joseph National Trail.
The river is a favorite with floaters, canoeists, and kayakers. The section from Fort Benton to Coal Banks is studded with islands and riverbanks alive with wildlife and various birdlife. Channel cats, sturgeon, and smallmouth bass are all fair game, while the magnificent scenery will assuage any disappointment for the ones that got away. Research and plan carefully for any trip along the Missouriit is a big, wide, shallow river with shifting sand and gravel bars and unpredictable weather.
On land, don't let the lack of maintained hiking trails stop you from exploring the narrow canyons, sandstone arches, and the same shorelines where Lewis and Clark stayed overnight. In the spectacular White Cliffs area, you may find yourself hiking along with tour groups at Hole-in-the-Wall, but other wilderness areas, ravines, and abandoned homesteads also offer endless possibilities for hiking and discovery off the beaten track. Campgrounds, scattered throughout the river corridor, range in style from hike-in primitive with fire rings to road-accessible with vault toilets and running water.
Know that Meriwether Lewis called this country "scenes of visionary enchantment," an appraisal that remains true today.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication