Page Feedback

Canoe Camp

Canoe Camp

Information

208.843.7001
The general public does not need to pay entrance fees, make reservations, or obtain permits from the National Park Service for any recreational activities at Canoe Camp.
lat: 46.5005781 long: -116.3319208

Adjacent to the Clearwater River, this is the site where in 1805 the Nez Perce helped Lewis and Clark build five canoes for their journey down the Columbia River watershed.

Where the North Folk of the Clearwater River enters the main channel of the Clearwater, the Corps of Discovery were exhausted and famished.  It was the end of September 1805 and the difficult trek over the Continental Divide was finally behind them.

The Corps arrived on September 26 and immediately searched for food.  Deer and other large prey was nowhere to be found, so a horse was eaten.  Then they tried fat dogs of the Indians.

The crew was divided into five groups, and each with axes too small for the task, they began hacking away at five huge trees – probably red cedar or possibly ponderosa pine.  They saved labor by building fires along the tops of the logs, as taught them by the Nez Perce, then scraped out the ashes and charred wood.

They dried and repacked their possessions, branded and cut the forelocks off their 38 surviving horses so the animals were easily recognized when mixed with the Nez Perce herds. Finally, in the dark of night, they cached their saddles and some powder for the return trip over the divide.

Four of the canoes are believed to have been large, although no journal keeper reported any dimensions.  The fifth canoe was smaller, designed to more easily scout ahead of the others and check on the conditions of the rivers.

On October 7, the men broke camp, loaded the canoes and shoved off around noon.  For the first time since the fall of 1803, when they left the Ohio River, Lewis and Clark were going with the flow of a river, instead of against it.

Today, Canoe Camp is a part of the 38-site Nez Perce National Historical Park.  There are six wayside exhibits at Canoe Camp spaced along a short interpretive trail. They tell the story of the original meeting between Lewis and Clark and the Nez Perce, the Nez Perce role in the building of the canoes, the mission of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the Nez Perce historic use of the area. The site also includes a reproduction of one of Lewis and Clark’s canoes. The camp site is within the unincorporated town of Ahsahka, Idaho, about 50 miles east of Lewiston.

Nearby Attractions

Distance Unit:

Nearby Trails

Distance Unit:

Inmatoon Trail

lat: 46.591487591774 long: -114.61413703162
Weitas Meadows

Tucked 35 miles northeast of Pierce, just off Forest Service Road 250, Weitas Campground offers a tranquil escape on the shaded banks of Weitas Creek near the North Fork of the Clearwater River. Accessible via…

lat: 46.4329695 long: -115.4829135
Warm Spring Roads CDT Trail

Embark on a historic trail dating back to August 9, 1805, when Lewis, accompanied by a scouting party, ventured away from the main group. Their mission: to discover a portage and establish contact with the…

lat: 44.9740931 long: -113.4450483
Cherry Creek Public Access

lat: 46.4566683 long: -116.785071
Nee Me Poo Trail #4 to Castle Butte

lat: 46.5511875 long: -114.9756875
Lolo Trail

lat: 46.5344614 long: -114.9949272
Liz Butte Road

lat: 46.4359386 long: -115.324819
Old Highway 28

lat: 44.96006 long: -113.64075
Lolo Trail to Syringa ID

lat: 46.2281731 long: -115.6698517
Tenday Road

lat: 44.95982 long: -113.64409
Liz Butte Road to Weitas Butte Road

lat: 46.4534115 long: -115.1974801
Send Feedback

Instagram Feed