Missouri Headwaters State Park, Three Forks

4.0
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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  • September 30, 2017
    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 »
  • September 30, 2017
    We were following the Lewis and Clark trail from So.Dakota into Montana and back thru North Dakota. This was an interesting stop and I was surprised at how fast the Madison was rushing into the Missou...  more »
  • September 20, 2017
    Wanting to learn more about Lewis & Clark ... great place to visit. We camped overnight and were able to take a comfortable hike to the headwaters, even with our little puppy. Lots of signs explaining...  more »
Google
  • February 4, 2017
    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.
  • February 7, 2017
    Great place to stretch your legs or cast a line. Quick detour off I-90 gives you a typical Montana oasis to enjoy.
  • June 25, 2017
    Camping fees are high and we had a constant swarm of mosquitoes attacking us.
  • May 7, 2017
    The park is well maintained and the trails are well marked.
  • June 24, 2017
    Great views great history..

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