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Missouri Headwaters State Park, Three Forks

(100+ reviews on the web)
State Park Historic Site
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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  • Husband wanted to visit. I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed it. The River signage was interesting and the walk to the top of the viewpoint was fun. It was also nice to have flush toilets...  more »
  • This is where the three rivers meet, Jefferson, Madison, and Missouri. It is a world of wonder and a must see.  more »
  • We are thankful Montana has seen fit to create and preserve this most historical park. The park is not very big for sure, but the historical information presented is done so quite nicely. We agree wit...  more »
  • 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.
  • Great place to stretch your legs or cast a line. Quick detour off I-90 gives you a typical Montana oasis to enjoy.
  • The park is well maintained and the trails are well marked.
  • It was absolutely beautiful. Park Ranger very knowledgeable about the area.
  • Great state park. You can see where Lewis and Clark mapped the surrounding area, and the view is very nice.