Trip Planner USA  /  Montana  /  Three Forks  /  Nature  /  Missouri Headwaters State Park

Missouri Headwaters State Park, Three Forks

Categories: State Parks, Historic Sites, Nature & Parks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.1/5 based on 90+ reviews on the web
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.
Plan your visit to Missouri Headwaters State Park and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Three Forks itinerary builder.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
going to
read all reviews »
  • We really enjoyed sitting back and listening to the sounds while absorbing the sites. Lots of informative plaques that help show you what you are looking at as well as learning about. We loved listeni...  read more »
  • Been driving by here for years. Good explanation and history. Very nice picnic areas. Handy, just off the freeway. 
  • A few months back I visited the confluence of the Mississippi/Missouri near St. Louis. I decided it would be nice to visit the headwaters of the Missouri. I was pleasantly surprised. There were severa...  read more »
  • Awesome park with beautiful views. Lots of history here. Wish there was more parking and trash cans.
  • Great state park. You can see where Lewis and Clark mapped the surrounding area, and the view is very nice.
  • Great place for a quick hike after work
  • Well marked with historical information and handicap accessible trails.
  • Muito interessante o local onde nasce o Grandioso Rio Mississipi a partir de outros trĂªs rios.
Nearby Attractions