Smoking Place

Rock cairn with trees in background

Photo by Tommy LaVergne, courtesy of Rice University.

Quick Facts
National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmark

Lewis and Clark NHT Visitor Centers and Museums

Visitor Centers (shown in orange), High Potential Historic Sites (shown in black), and Pivotal Places (shown in green) along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Smoking Place is a High Potential Historic Site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

On June 27, 1806, the expedition proceeded east on the rugged Lolo Trail. Clark wrote, “we halted by the request of the Guides a fiew minits on an ellevated point and Smoked a pipe on this eminance the nativs have raised a conic mound of Stons of 6 or 8 feet high and erected a pine pole of 15 feet long. from hence they informed us that when passing over with their families some of the men were usually Sent on foot by the fishery at the enterance of Colt Creek in order to take fish and again meet the party at the quawmash glade on the head of Kooskoske river. from this place we had an extencive view of these Stupendeous Mountains principally Covered with Snow like that on which we Stood; we were entirely Serounded by those mountains from which to one unacquainted with them it would have Seemed impossible ever to have escaped […] after haveing Smoked the pipe and Contemplating this Scene Sufficient to have dampened the Spirits of any except Such hardy travellers as we have become, we continued our march.”

Smoking Place is located within Clearwater National Forest, along Forest Road 500, also known as the Lolo Motorway. Constructed in the 1930s, the single lane dirt road roughly follows the historic route traversed by Lewis and Clark west of the Bitterroot Divide. The rock cairn originally described by Clark is no longer extant; a smaller cairn now marks the landscape. The site is a component of the Lolo Trail National Historic Landmark.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Last updated: October 5, 2020