Missouri Headwaters State Park, Three Forks

4.1
Missouri Headwaters State Park is a Montana state park that marks the official start of the Missouri River. It includes the Three Forks of the Missouri National Historic Landmark.It is located near Three Forks, Montana at an elevation of 4045ft.The Missouri starts at the confluence of the Jefferson River and Madison River. It is joined about 0.6 mile down stream (northeast) by the Gallatin River.Lewis and Clark visited the site on July 28, 1805. Meriwether Lewis in his journal entry wrote:Both Capt. C. and myself corresponded in opinon with rispect(sic) to the impropriety of calling either of these streams the Missouri and accordingly agreed to name them after the President of the United States and the Secretaries of the Treasury and State. The Lewis and Clark decision not to call the Jefferson the Missouri has spurred debate over what is the longest river in North America since the Missouri and Mississippi are nearly identical in length. The Missouri traditionally had been called the longest river in North America. However, 72 miles of it have been trimmed off in re-channeling its streambedmainly for the many hydroelectric power plants in the region so that it is now sometimes referred as second to the Mississippi in terms of length. If the Jefferson were included in the Missouri length, it would technically still be considered the longest river by the USGS experts.
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Missouri Headwaters State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
123 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • We had paid for a campsite but we're so disappointed in the campgrounds we headed into town No view of the river(s) it reminded me of a gravel parking lot.  more »
  • Pulled in here with a friend in our two trailers and rigs. Was disappointed there were no camp sites with river views. Had to walk through tall grasses to get to the water. Ran into a large snake on t...  more »
  • An important stop for anyone interested in Lewis & Clark. It's an easy hike with interpretive signage. After reading about the headwaters of the Missouri it was wonderful to see it first hand.  more »
Google
  • Was awesome to see where the Missouri River starts. I have lived near the river in Bellevue Nebraska for 40+ years and it was just neat to see where it all has come from.
  • Good place to visit. They have a campground and you can go tubing down the rivers. Most of the area is HC accessible. We glad we went but it is. Nothing like the Headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park Minnesota.
  • A beautiful and historic state park where three large rivers combine to form the Missouri. Small, but full of wildlife and scenic views.
  • This place of convergence, is peaceful to me. I love big water...
  • It was like going back in time, especially when the beavers were right at the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison Rivers. It was an added blessing to learn that this was discovered by the Lewis and Clark Core of Discovery and that it was also Sacajawea's childhood home. I was also thankful that the advent of silk, and a change in styles, saved the beaver from extinction. Here begins a river of frontier history and culture.

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