Northern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.
Dotted gayfeather. Photo source: J.S. Peterson, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.
Rocky Mountain bee plant. Photo source: J.S. Peterson, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Forest: Lewis and Clark National Forest
District: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
Description: Around the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and paved sidewalks visitors are able to view native plants that grew in this area when the Lewis and Clark Expedition portaged around the great falls of the Missouri in 1805. These trails vary in length from 0.25 to 2 miles long, so visitors can create their own journey. Around the Center itself are over 30 information signs that identify some of the native plants. By reading the identification signs, visitors learn what the captains thought of the native plants, how Native Americans used some plants for their survival, and interesting historical facts. Plants that are located at the Center include wild blue flax, Indian blanket, dotted gayfeather, rubber rabbitbrush, gumbo primrose, common sunflower, yarrow, prickly pear cactus, serviceberry, Rocky Mountain bee plant, woods rose, wavy leaf thistle, western chokecherry, milkvetch, shining penstemon, and purple prairie clover. Some trails from the Interpretive Center lead to Giant Springs, one of the largest freshwater underground springs found in the United States.
Safety First: Rattlesnakes do live in the area. Some of the plants have sharp spines that can pierce the skin of those who pass too closely. The weather at the Center is often hot and sunny in mid-summer. Wearing a hat and sunscreen and carrying water is recommended.
Directions: The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located inside Giant Springs State Park at 4201 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls, Montana.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center (406) 727-8733.
Closest Town: Great Falls, Montana.