The Lewis & Clark Epic Journey
In 1804, the Corps of Discovery set out to challenge the nation's untamed wilderness. People have yearned to experience the scope and beauty of this rugged terrain ever since. . . .
Salt Lake City · Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks · Great Falls · Missoula · Portland
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Day 1 - Salt Lake City, Utah
We meet for our private champagne reception and welcome
dinner at the Little America Hotel. This evening we overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 - Salt Lake City / Board the American Orient Express
Our adventure begins with a tour of Salt Lake City, including stops at the "This Is The Place Monument" overlooking the city and the State Capitol Building. Boarding the American Orient Express in time for lunch, we make our way north along the front of the Wasatch Mountains, passing Ogden, Bear River Canyon and into Idaho's wide mountain valleys - unforgettable vistas - en route to Idaho Falls.
Day 3 - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
In the early 1800s, Native Americans hunted the great elk herds that gathered at the base of the Teton Mountain Range. Perhaps the most abrupt and breathtaking mountain in America is Grand Teton, rising to 13,770 feet. At the foot of these mountains, lies majestic Jenny Lake - a favorite site for photographers and sightseers. After crossing Teton Pass, we explore this spectacular region, stopping first in the chic western town of Jackson for some independent exploration. We enjoy lunch at the renowned Museum of Wildlife Art, which overlooks the elk refuge, with time to stroll the gallery's impressive collection of paintings and sculpture. Entering the national park, we make stops at the rustic Church of the Transfiguration, Menor's Ferry, and soak in awesome natural beauty on Jenny Lake's shore as we wend our way north along the majestic Tetons. Our day ends at a nearby lodge in the shadow of rugged mountain peaks. As an option today, travelers may chose a scenic float trip on the Snake River.
Day 4 - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The astounding sights of Yellowstone National Park - more than two million acres of protected wilderness and a glimpse of the West from centuries past - greet us today. We focus on John Colter, a trapper/guide and one of the nine members of the Corps of Discovery. Colter's survival skills were essential for the challenges of Yellowstone's wilderness in the early 1800s. We learn the reasons behind Colter's decision to abandon the expedition on the return journey in order to stake his claim in this wild region. Our exploration includes hiking and visits to the Fountain Paint Pots, Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin. Later, we enjoy dinner back on the train as we head into Montana, crossing the Continental Divide three times.
Day 5 - Great Falls, Montana
This morning we follow the Missouri River north through gorgeous mountain country to Great Falls and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Located on the banks of the Missouri, the center documents the Expedition's treacherous portage of the Great Falls and the vital role played by Sacagawea in negotiating with native tribes. Lewis described this portage as one of the greatest obstacles faced by the Corps. During a private boat tour, we visit the Gates of the Mountains, named by Meriwether Lewis for the towering limestone cliffs along the river that seemingly opened to reveal the mountains as they paddled upstream. This evening, enjoy dinner and overnight on board the train en route to Missoula.
Day 6 - Missoula, Montana
Lewis and Clark set up camp here in preparation for the most arduous part of their journey. We visit the actual campsite, Traveller's Rest, walking on the very same ground as the Corps, with a guide who shares regional specifics of the expedition. Their first attempt at a route across the Bitterroot Range proved impassable and they sought another passage to the north - Lolo Pass. Later, we return to the train for lectures and afternoon tea presented by our pastry chef.
Day 7 - Astoria, Oregon
We gain an even greater understanding of the expedition's navigational challenges this morning at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. After lunch at a local restaurant, we explore Fort Clatsop. It was at this most westerly outpost that the Corps spent a long, wet miserable winter, while Lewis sketched and collected more than 30 plants, 23 mammals, 28 birds and a number of fish species. This 125-acre park is located along a stretch of the Columbia River where ecosystems range from shrub wetlands to a coastal temperate rain forest. This evening, we transfer back to the train for a farewell reception and dinner. We overnight on board in Portland.
Day 8 - Portland, Oregon
Our American Orient Express adventure ends mid-morning, after breakfast. You may make arrangements to return home, or remain in Portland for further exploration.