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The Laura Moore Cunningham

Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway

"When they reached Lemhi Pass, they believed from what they had heard was that would be the end of the Rocky Mountains, but instead they confronted the reality of central Idaho. The mountain ranges of central Idaho were a huge challenge for them."
        --Michael Crosby, Sacajawea Center staff historian.

A forty mile loop over dirt roads off Highway 28 will take you to the location where the Lewis and Clark Expedition first crossed the Continental Divide in 1805 — Lemhi Pass.

The pass offers great views of the sea of mountains that confronted the Corps of Discovery and let them know just how difficult their path to the Pacific Ocean would be. This spot is also where the expedition unfurled the United States flag west of the Mississippi for the first time. You can check an interpretive kiosk at the pass that offers insights on the historic journey of Lewis and Clark.

While snow usually closes the roads from November until June, a visit in the summer or fall is an adventurous trip filled with wonderful vistas. And near the end of the loop travelers can soak their weary bones in Sharkey Hot Springs, a small roadside attraction managed by the Bureau of Land Management.