Historically, Fort Belle Fontaine is a fascinating location due to it being the first military fort being built west of the Mississippi River. While Lewis & Clark did happen upon this location and set up camp for two nights at the fort, interestingly enough they were not the only adventurers to come across Fort Belle Fontaine during the exploration of the newly acquired settlement from the Louisiana Purchase. And even though it was a military fort, its true purpose was for trade. The fort opened its doors to people from all walks of life. From Native American, French, Spanish and American settlers, trappers and traders, and the local businessmen and farmers who supplied officers and enlisted soldiers at the fort with necessities.
These days, Fort Belle Fontaine proudly stands as an archaeological site for St. Louis County while simultaneously being open to the public. A visit to this site reveals the beauty of the land and wildlife Lewis and Clark observed in 1804 and 1806.
The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Trail in Fort Belle Fontaine is a 3-mile multi-purpose trail that includes a trailhead and interpretive signage which guides visitors to all four main areas of the park. The trail also passes massive stonework features that the Works Progress Administration added in the 1930s when the City of St. Louis owned the property.