Lewis and Clark Decision Point

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Lewis and Clark Decision Point

Loma 59460,Havre Area

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This is certainly one of the most historic spots in America and is a must-see for Lewis and Clark history buffs. When Lewis and Clark arrived at this point, the Marias River was flooding. They were uncertain which of these two branches was the main channel of the Missouri. They made the decision to split up and each explore a branch until they were sure which was the Missouri. After nine days of exploring they chose what turned out to be the correct channel. Enjoy a short walk on a trail that leads to an overlook on the Missouri and Marias rivers. Loma now sits at that confluence 11 miles north of Fort Benton. Interpretive exhibits are provided.

History also records a fort built at or near this spot called Fort Pigeon. It was probably built prior to Fort Benton.

Another event that occurred here is the founding of the town of Ophir. In the early days, steamboats would stop here to unload freight and transport it overland to Fort Benton. The river was too shallow to go any further during certain times of the year. Some entrepreneurs decided to build a city here to compete with Fort Benton for the trade coming up the river. One day while the work crew of eleven men were constructing the site, they were all killed. No one knows for sure who killed them. Some think Blackfeet Indians. Others think it may have been a group from Fort Benton who wished to stop the project for good. Whatever happened, the town was never completed.

To get to this site, turn south on the gravel road just past the Marias Bridge at Loma. Drive a short distance to the pole fence which opens to a parking lot. The overlook is just a short distance on a well-maintained path.

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