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Oregon/Washington/Montana

The Corps of Discovery: Montana to Oregon by Land & River

Program No. 22207RJ
Embark on an adventure of learning and discovery as you follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, exploring Great Falls, Hell’s Canyon and historic Middle Village and Station Camp.
Length
13 days
Rating (4.75)
Activity Level
Starts at
7,499
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Balcony
Accommodation Details

A cabin featuring a verandah, or balcony, that allows you to step outside without going to a public deck.

May 3 - May 15, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,499
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

May 17 - May 29, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Balcony 7,499
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

May 31 - Jun 12, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Balcony 7,899
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Jul 12 - Jul 24, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,899
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Aug 9 - Aug 21, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,899
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Itinerary Note

This is a large group date with a max of 64 participants.

Aug 23 - Sep 4, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,899
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Sep 6 - Sep 18, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,899
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Sep 20 - Oct 2, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,899
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Oct 4 - Oct 16, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,699
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Oct 18 - Oct 30, 2023
Ship Balcony 7,699
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

DATES & PRICES

Ship Balcony
Accommodation Details

A cabin featuring a verandah, or balcony, that allows you to step outside without going to a public deck.

May 3 - May 15, 2023
Ship Balcony 8,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

May 17 - May 29, 2023
Ship Balcony 8,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

May 31 - Jun 12, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,399
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Jul 12 - Jul 24, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,399
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Aug 9 - Aug 21, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,399
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Itinerary Note

This is a large group date with a max of 64 participants.

Aug 23 - Sep 4, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,399
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Sep 6 - Sep 18, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,399
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Sep 20 - Oct 2, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,399
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Oct 4 - Oct 16, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,199
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

Oct 18 - Oct 30, 2023
Ship Balcony 9,199
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

At a Glance

Charged with the task of finding a water route across North America, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on their historic expedition in 1804. On land by private motorcoach and on the river by 221-passenger riverboat, the American Empress, voyage from Montana through Idaho to Washington and Oregon, learning about important expedition sites. Enriching lectures with a Road Scholar study leader provide an in-depth perspective of this monumental expedition.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Optional walks up to 1.5 miles; uneven or slippery terrain. Elevation up to 6,500 feet.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn on the Corps of Discovery with an in-depth exploration of Lewis and Clark’s expedition.
  • Follow the infamous Portage Route around five waterfalls on the upper Missouri River.
  • Explore features of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

General Notes

The program is limited to 36 participants and the ship holds 221 passengers.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Only One Man Died: The Medical Aspects of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
by Eldon G. Chuinard
Lewis and Clark Among the Indians
by James P. Ronda
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Day by Day
by Gary Moulton
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
by Stephen E. Ambrose
Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists
by Paul Russell Cutright
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13 days
12 nights
35 meals
12 B 11 L 12 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Great Falls, MT
D
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Great Falls

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Check-in: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived.

Dinner: In our private meeting space at the hotel.

Evening: Orientation: The group leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. Throughout the program, we will be accompanied by a study leader who will present educational content. During the land portion, all transportation will be provided via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like according to your personal preferences. The group leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and river conditions may affect the itinerary. River conditions could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice. The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change by the cruise line). After orientation, continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
2
C.M Russell Museum, Portage Overlook, Lewis & Clark Lecture
Great Falls, MT
B,L,D
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Great Falls

Activity note: We will be getting on/off our motorcoach numerous times each day. Some of the stops are quick hops off for photo opportunities, and sometimes to better see and explain what has been discussed in onboard commentary. There will be hikes up to one mile almost daily during the motorcoach portion of the program. While on the American Empress, some land transportation will be provided via Hop On/Hop Off buses operated by the ship.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel via motorcoach with our study leader, we will explore several locations important to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, including Decision Point Park, Fort Benton and Ryan Dam. We'll then head to the C.M. Russell Museum where the Old West lives on-- in one of the United States' finest museums of American Western art. It is also home of the most complete collection of Charles Marion Russell's artwork and memorabilia in the world. Also known as the "Cowboy Artist", Russell's artwork is part entertainment, part history lesson. In a fascinating presentation, learn about the life of this cowboy, outdoorsman, writer, philosopher, environmentalist, conservationist, artist, and passionate Plains Indians advocate. Following the presentation you'll be free to explore the museum on your own.

Lunch: At the C.M. Russell Museum.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll visit the Portage Overlook and then follow the infamous Portage Route, where the Corps of Discovery experienced a grueling, month-long trial to determine the best route around the falls, which became a serious underestimation on their part. After the tour we'll depart for the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Tonight we will begin our lecture series on Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Also known as the Corps of Discovery, the Lewis and Clark Expedition departed the western border of the United States – what was then the Mississippi River – in May 1804 for the Pacific Northwest, reaching the Pacific Ocean in November 1805. Throughout the journey, they established relations with more than two dozen groups of Native Americans, mapped their route, and noted species of plants and animals new to science.

DAY
3
Giant Springs, Buffalo Jump, Lewis & Clark Center
Helena, MT
B,L,D
Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel

Activity note: Total driving time is approximately 2.5 hours; getting on/off the motorcoach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will board the motorcoach for Rainbow Falls Overlook, followed by a stop at Giant Springs. It was here in 1805 that Lewis and Clark “discovered” one of the largest freshwater springs in the country - flowing at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day!

Lunch: Boxed lunch at the First People's Buffalo Jump.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll explore First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park - the largest bison cliff jump in North America. We'll learn how native people used buffalo jumps for hunting. For centuries, native peoples would stampede buffalo off of the mile-long cliff with tribe members waiting below to finish the kills. In some areas at the base of the cliff, there are up to 18 feet of compacted buffalo skeletons. Afterward, we'll head to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center to explore and learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s journey west. After exploring the Interpretive Center, we will board the motorcoach and head on to Helena to our next hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: In the meeting room at the hotel we will have another lecture by our Study Leader, learning more about the Corps of Discovery.

DAY
4
Gates of the Mountains
Missoula, MT
B,L,D
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Missoula - Edgewater

Activity note: Total driving time is approximately 5 hours; getting on/off the motorcoach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we'll board the motorcoach and head to the State Capitol Building in Helena, set amid 10 acres of spacious lawns. With our Study Leader, we will explore the handsome capitol building, which was completed in 1902. Among its many beautiful paintings is C.M. Russell's magnificent historical depiction of Lewis and Clark meeting the Indians at Ross' Hole on September 5, 1805. Boarding our motorcoach, we will have a short ride to Gates of the Mountains - the name bestowed by Meriwether Lewis in July 1805 - where we will board a boat for a field trip along the Missouri River to view wooded slopes and towering walls of limestone that Lewis and Clark would still recognize today. High above are bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Keep an eye out for eagles and some 120 other species of bird life. The canyon is home to creatures such as beavers, black bears, deer, ermine, mountain lions, otters, squirrels and more (these animals may or may not be visible during our cruise).

Lunch: At the Gates of the Mountains Pavilion.

Afternoon: Following lunch we'll board our motorcoach to head west to Missoula. During the trip we'll make a stop at the Hi-Country Jerky Trading Post for a brief opportunity to stretch your legs and explore. More than just a typical trading post, it is also home to the Upper Blackfoot Valley Historical Society; there are many artifacts on display.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: In the meeting room at the hotel we will have another lecture by our Study Leader, learning more about the Corps of Discovery.

DAY
5
Lewiston, ID
B,L,D
Hells Canyon Grand Hotel

Activity note: Elevation up to 5,233 ft. Walking at the parks and visitors center. Total driving today is approximately 5 hours; getting on/off the motorcoach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we'll visit Travelers’ Rest State Park, where the expedition camped September 9-11, 1805 and June 30-July 3, 1806. Continue to learn about Lewis and Clark and how they stopped here on both portions of their trip. On the return journey the Corps of Discovery separated into two parties as to allow one group to explore Yellowstone country. In 2002, archaeologists found evidence of a latrine and central fire of a Corps camp. This is the second of the two sites with physical confirmation of the group's visit. Next, we will head to Lolo Summit and explore the Lolo Pass Visitor's Center. A National Historic Landmark, Lolo Pass was traversed by the Corps on their westward journey. Also used by the Nez Perce people, the Lolo Trail was known as “naptnišaqs” or “Nez Perce Trail” in Salish. Afterward, we'll continue to the Lochsa Lodge.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will stop at Canoe Camp, where the expedition camped and built five canoes for their journey down the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers. It was here that the expedition finally reached navigable waters after hardships in the Bitterroot Mountains. At Nez Perce National Historical Park, we will learn about the ways of the Nez Perce people and view a sample canoe. The Nez Perce called themselves Nimi'ipuu, which means “real people” or “we the people.” Nimi'ipuu oral history records their presence in these lands since time immemorial. More than any other group in their travels, the Corps of Discovery became friendliest with the Nez Perce, who gave them assistance at their most desperate time in the expedition in the autumn of 1805. In return, Lewis and Clark promised a productive relationship with the U.S. government (promises the government never kept as it pursued a policy of Manifest Destiny). Still, in 1806 when the expedition returned, they were welcomed by the Nez Perce. Next, we'll continue on to Lewiston, Idaho.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Spokane, Embark American Empress
Clarkston, WA
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Activity note: Total driving today is approximately 3 hours; getting on/off the motorcoach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our motorcoach and make way to the Lewis and Clark Center for Arts and History.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will depart to Clarkston, WA, where we'll board the American Empress to begin the river portion of our journey.

Dinner: Each evening, we will dine at a designated time in The Astoria Dining Room with plated meals featuring locally sourced Pacific Northwest ingredients, plus coffee, tea, beer, wine, water.

Evening: Spend the evening relaxing, exploring the ship, or with fellow participants discussing the day's activities.

DAY
7
Hells Canyon Jet Boat, Road Scholar Cocktail Reception
Clarkston, WA
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Activity note: Getting into and out of a jet boat.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning we will depart for a jet boat ride along the Snake River. Hells Canyon is North America's deepest river gorge at 7,993 feet. Protected as a National Recreation Area since 1975, it preserves a world of fascinating natural and cultural elements. Vertical cliffs carved by the river now hem in the rushing waters. Watch dramatic scenery unfold as we jet upriver. We'll watch for big horn sheep and hawks throughout the journey. Along the route we will view petroglyphs, reminders of the Nez Perce people that were the earliest inhabitants of the canyon. After our journey we will return to the ship.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Before dinner, we will join our fellow Road Scholar participants for a cocktail reception.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Spend the evening enjoying the ship's entertainment or with fellow participants discussing the day's activities.

DAY
8
Sacajawea State Park, REACH Museum
Richland, WA
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Activity note: Walking at Sacajawea State Park and the REACH Museum.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: With our study leader, we will depart via the Hop On/Hop Off bus and head to Sacajawea Historical State Park and Interpretive Center. It offers fascinating exhibits on the Lewis & Clark expedition. At this location the Columbia and Snake rivers converge. You will also have some free time to experience the Confluence Project. Working with Pacific Northwest tribes, local civics groups, and landscape artists and architects, renowned artist Maya Lin has designed installations that draw from Lewis and Clark’s journey as well as the region's natural and indigenous peoples’ history. We’ll return to the ship for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: Following lunch we’ll continue exploring Richland with our Study Leader on the Hop On/Hop Off bus.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy the evening entertainment program aboard the ship.

DAY
9
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
The Dalles, OR
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Activity note: Walking at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Museum

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles has long been a destination point for pioneers and adventurers alike. With our study leader, we will depart via the Hop On/Hop Off bus and head to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, where interactive displays bring to life the volcanic upheavals and historic floods that created the Columbia River Gorge. Under the National Scenic Act in 1986, the incredible natural and cultural history of the region was protected to help preserve the magnificent landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, ancient Indian rock art and more.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll spend the afternoon cruising on the river. Enjoy the afternoon relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Spend the evening enjoying the ship's entertainment or with fellow participants discussing the day's activities.

DAY
10
Bonneville Dam, Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls
Stevenson, WA
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Activity note: Walking through Bonneville Dam powerhouse, exploring on your own at Multnomah Falls.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: As we sail toward Stevenson, we'll continue our study of the Corps of Discovery with a lecture from our study leader.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll make port in Stevenson and set off for a breathtaking drive aboard a Road Scholar exclusive motorcoach along one of America’s most scenic stretches of highway. Our study leader will offer in-depth commentary while we imagine the trials of the Corps of Discovery as they continued their journey on the river below. The Historic Columbia River Highway was built in 1913 and specially designed to complement the region's stunning landscape without interrupting it. Along the way we will visit the Bonneville Dam where we'll explore the dam and powerhouse. Completed in 1938, the dam is a hydroelectric generator for the surrounding cities. Its fish ladders offer a unique way for the dam to assist spawning salmon to pass through the dam to the upstream river. This ladder has a viewing area allowing you to see the salmon passing by as they are counted. En route back to the ship, we will stop at Multnomah Falls, which plummets 620 feet from its origins on Larch Mountain, and is the second highest year-round waterfall in the nation. At the base of the falls is the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge which offers a Forest Service Visitors Center. Returning to the coach, we will journey back down the highway to the American Empress.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Spend the evening with fellow participants discussing the day's activities or take in some entertainment aboard the ship.

DAY
11
Columbia River Cruising
The Dalles, OR
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Today we will remain on the ship cruising through the area. We will see picturesque canyon walls, mountains and fertile fields as we learn about the Corps of Discovery's trip through this area from our study leader.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continuing our relaxing day of river cruising through wonderful scenery.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Spend the evening enjoying the ship's entertainment or with fellow participants discussing the day's activities.

DAY
12
Cape Disappointment, Maritime Museum, Fort Clatsop
Astoria, OR
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Empress

Activity note: Walking on paved paths, boardwalks, and seashore at Cape Disappointment and Fort Clatsop, self-exploration at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and an opportunity to climb the Astoria Column (164 stairs) if you wish.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning we will depart via the Hop On/Hop Off bus to visit the Astoria Column with our study leader. This magnificent monument stands 600 feet above sea level and gives the perfect view to Young’s Bay, the Coast Range, the Columbia River and in the distance, even the Pacific Ocean. Next, we will board the Hop On/Hop Off bus for the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Founded in 1962, the Columbia River Maritime Museum has become one of the top maritime museums in the country, with the mission of preserving the maritime heritage of the Columbia River region and the Pacific Northwest. Visitors can explore the Lightship Columbia, a National Historic Landmark. It was the final lightship to be moored at the mouth of the Columbia River. Visitors can also roam the museum’s collection of more than 30,000 items, experience what it was like to pilot a tugboat in the tugboat simulator, and hear stories of Coast Guard rescues on the Columbia River Bar. After exploring the museum you are free to walk back to the ship for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will depart with our study leader via Road Scholar exclusive motorcoach to visit Middle Village and Station Camp, where the Corps spent many days in November of 1805, pinned along the stormy Columbia River shores. We will proceed on to Cape Disappointment, which overlooks the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean; the Corps' ultimate destination. We'll then head to Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the harsh winter of 1805-1806.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Enjoy the on board entertainment or take time to share memories with your fellow travelers. Be sure to take some time to ready yourselves for departure in the morning.

DAY
13
Disembark, Portland, OR, Departures
Portland, OR
B

Activity note: Disembarkation at 7:30 a.m. Arrivals at the airport at approximately 8:30 a.m.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Disembark the ship in Vancouver, Washington. Transfers to the Portland International Airport are provided. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.