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Section 6 of the Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail can be broken into two segments based on the corps multidirectional travels. Missoula, Montana, to Clarkston, Washington, is a continuation of Lewis and Clark's 1804 travels westbound. The Blackfoot Option from Missoula, Montana, to Great Falls, Montana, follows the route Captain Lewis used eastbound in 1806. Both segments are described below.
The main route follows the course of the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers and is fairly level after crossing Lolo Pass. The 145.3-mile Lolo Trail closely follows the approximate route the Corps of Discovery took through the Bitterroot Mountains. The rugged, mountainous terrain is on mostly one-lane, narrow, gravel/dirt roads. Services and water are scarce. Once you arrive in Kamiah, there are two options to Clarkston. The 68-mile River Option is more true to history but there are concerns on U.S. Highway 12 due to traffic volumes and nonexistent shoulders with concrete barriers. From the main route, you still get to make a choice on your way into Clarkston: either the seven-mile Lapwai Option on U.S. Highway 95 or the 22.5 mile Hell's Gate Option on smaller roads through Hell's Gate State Park.
This option traces Captain Lewis's 1806 eastbound journey. It is mostly on two-lane highways that follow the Blackfoot and Sun Rivers all the way to Great Falls. The Alice Creek Spur is 13 miles in length and you can ride/hike to the top of Lewis & Clark Pass.
The Sierra Club has sponsored this section of the Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail and major funding has been provided by REI.
Current Printed Version: 2009
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