The Lewis And Clark Back Country Byway And Adventure Road

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TheLewis and ClarkBack Country Bywayand Adventure RoadTendoy, Idaho

TheLewis and ClarkBack Country Bywayand Adventure RoadTendoy, IdahoThe Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway andAdventure Road is a 36 mile loop drive through abeautiful and historic landscape on the Lewis andClark National Historic Trail and the ContinentalDivide National Scenic Trail. The mountains,evergreen forests, high desert canyons, and grassyfoothills look much the same today as when theLewis and Clark Expedition passed through in1805.1

Getting ThereThe portal to the Byway is Tendoy, Idaho, which is nineteen milessouth of Salmon on Idaho Highway 28. From Montana, exit fromI-15 at Clark Canyon Reservoir south of Dillon onto MontanaHighway 324. Drive west past Grant to an intersection at theShoshone Ridge Overlook. If you’re pulling a trailer or drivingan RV with a passenger vehicle in tow, it would be a good ideato leave your trailer or RV at the overlook, which has plenty ofparking, a vault toilet, and interpretive signs. Travel road 3909west 12 miles to Lemhi Pass. Please respect private propertyalong the road and obey posted speed signs. Salmon, Idaho,and Dillon, Montana, are full-service communities. Limitedservices are available in Tendoy, Lemhi, and Leadore, Idaho andGrant, Montana.Traveling the Byway is a Real Adventure! 2The Byway is a single-lane gravel road with pullouts.Passenger vehicles can drive the road safely but musthave good tires. Buses, RVs, and trailers are notrecommended on the Agency Creek Road [see map],which is narrow and has some tight corners. Even ifyou’re experienced in mountain driving, drive slowly andcarefully.There are three segments to the Byway. First is the “Lemhiback road” in the Lemhi Valley near Tendoy. Second isthe “Warm Springs Wood Road” [185] from the valleyinto the Beaverhead Mountains to Lemhi Pass. The thirdsegment is the Agency Creek road [013] from Lemhi Passback to Tendoy.With a 4,000 foot gain and loss in elevation, expectsome steep grades, at times approaching 20%. A hardclimb on a hot day can cause your vehicle engine tooverheat. Shift into low gear, turn off the air conditioning

and open your windows.The Byway is normally free of snow from early Junethrough October. To check on current road conditionscall the Public Lands Center in Salmon at (208)756-5400.There are numerous opportunities for hiking andmountain biking. At lower elevations, be alert forrattlesnakes.Cell phone coverage is sporadic at best.The remains of mining operations are scatteredthroughout the area. These sites can be very hazardous.Stay out, and stay alive.Plan on taking a minimum of three hours to drivethe Byway. Drive carefully and slowly, even if you’reaccustomed to mountain driving. Parts of the Bywaytraverse steep, exposed slopes and there are noguardrails.Checklist for a Safe and Enjoyable JourneyAt least half a tank of gasolineA properly inflated spare tire, jack, and lug wrenchDrinking water; water from springs and streams must bechemically treated or filteredFirst aid kitExtra foodSweater and rain gear; it can snow year-round at 8,600feet elevationFlashlightCamera and film, binocularsBooks to identify birds and wildflowers3

Mule DeerAntlersMeadowlarkSyringa4

Scenic AttractionsThe Byway traverses four habitats: river valley, sagebrushgrasslands, mountain forests and meadows, and high desertcanyons. The views of the Lemhi Valley and the surroundingmountain ranges are incredible. This is truly some of the finestscenery in America. Wildflowers are prolific in spring andsummer. Early mornings and evenings are the times to look forwildlife, particularly where forest and meadow meet. You mightsee elk, mule and whitetail deer, black bear, moose, pronghornantelope, coyotes, and many smaller mammal species.Among the many bird species present are golden eagle, redtailed hawk, chukar, hungarian partridge, blue grouse, sagegrouse, nighthawk, mallard duck, Canada goose, great blueheron, mourning dove, boreal owl, four hummingbird species,belted kingfisher, flicker, Lewis’ woodpecker, magpie, Stellar’sJay, Clark’s nutcracker, chickadee, tree swallow, robin, bluebird, cedar waxwing, Western tanager, song sparrow, Westernmeadowlark, Brewer’s blackbird, and American goldfinch.Wildflowers bloom in spring and summer, their presence varyingaccording to weather, elevation, and each species’ characteristicrequirements. Lemhi Pass is well-known for its wildflowerdisplays. Captain Lewis collected three new plant species inthis area: mountain maple, common snowberry, and Lewis’smonkey flower. You may also see desert buckwheat, sunflowers,arrow-leaf balsamroot, buttercups, glacier lilies, larkspur, stickygeranium, sego lily, lupine, forget-me-not, yarrow, bitterroot,phlox, spring beauty, blanket flower, asters, violets, paintbrush,currants, evening primrose, yellow monkey flower, valerian, flax,blazing star, serviceberry, and syringa.By late September shorter days and cooler temperatures releasehues of red, yellow, and gold in aspens, cottonwoods, willows,and shrubs. Agency Creek is beautiful in October.5

Shoshone fish weir on the Lemhi River, 1906—Smithsonian InstitutionShoshone man fishing on the Lemhi River, 1906—Smithsonian Institution6

Native AmericansThe Lewis and Clark Expedition did not blaze new pathshere. They followed long-established Indian trails. This isthe homeland of the Agai Dika [“salmon eater”] Shoshone,who came to be known as the Lemhi Shoshone after theMormon settlement of Ft. Lemhi was established in the 1850s.Archaeological evidence suggests that the Shoshone may havearrived possibly 3,500 years ago. The chinook and sockeyesalmon that returned here from the Pacific Ocean every summerto spawn were at the center of Lemhi life and culture.Early in the 18th century the Lemhi acquired horses, which greatlyincreased their standard of living. The men used horses to huntbison and to transport a winter’s supply of bison “jerky” to wintercampsites. Women tanned bison hides and sewed them togetherto make tepees, which were hauled by horses wherever thefamily went.Hunting bison took the Lemhi onto the game-rich plains ofcentral Montana, where they came into conflict with othertribes. When their enemies the Blackfeet, Atsina, and Hidatsaacquired firearms from Canadian traders in the late 18th century,the Lemhi retreated to their mountain homeland. An annualbison hunt was still conducted, often with allies such as theSalish [Flatheads], Nez Perce, and Crow tribes. Sacagawea waskidnapped by the Hidatsa during a bison hunt around 1800.She was taken to the Knife River villages in North Dakota, whereshe and her husband Charbonneau joined the Lewis and ClarkExpedition.Fur traders and trappers eventually reached the Lemhi Valley,then missionaries and finally miners and settlers. The Lemhi, nowincluding Sheepeater and Bannock families who had joined theShoshone, remained peaceful, but found it increasingly difficultto hunt, fish, and gather food in their traditional manner.7

Fanny Silver was born on the Lemhi Reservation near Tendoy about 1897. She was atboarding school in Fort Shaw, Montana when the Lemhi Shoshone were moved to FortHall in 1907. Her family returned to the Lemhi Valley to hunt , fish and gather plantsin the traditional manner. Silver died in 1985 when she was eighty eight years old.—Photography by Jed Wilson, 19718

President U. S. Grant authorized a small reservation for theLemhi tribe in the 1870s, but the federal government pressuredthe tribe to move south to a central Shoshone Bannockreservation at Fort Hall in 1907.The Lewis and Clark ExpeditionIn August 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached theheadwaters of the Missouri River. Lewis set out on foot with asmall party to find the Shoshone, Sacagawea’s people, whosehorses he hoped would help portage the Expedition’s baggageover the divide. But the mountain barrier he saw to the westfrom Lemhi Pass suddenly complicated the mission. Could therebe a navigable river through such mountains? If not, then theExpedition must buy horses. If they could not find the Shoshone,or if the tribe refused to sell, the Corps of Discovery had onlyone option: return down the Missouri. Nothing less than thesuccess of the Expedition, and the future of the United States,were at stake.Euro-American SettlementTrappers, explorers, and missionaries followed in the wake ofthe Lewis and Clark Expedition. Permanent settlement began inthe 1860s when gold was discovered in the nearby mountainsand miners arrived. The Lemhi Valley was bracketed by the townsof Salmon City at the mouth of the Lemhi River and Junction atits headwaters. The valley and its major tributaries were soonoccupied by ranchers and farmers, many of whose descendantsstill live here today.The land that was not claimed by settlers was eventually broughtunder the management of the United States Forest Service andthe Bureau of Land Management.9

LOCATION MAPkeeIDAHOCrttMile 8.2Mile 4.8SharkeyHot SpringsriPWSparmrisngatMile 3.5Back CountryByway KioskCampgroundencr.hiAgency Creeky CreekharkekCCreittAgAgMile 31.5Mile 0.2teoweyCrhi28ry Cree k Mile 24Lemhi PassNational Historic Monument.reCr.eekekak Yerian Cr,S.ororeadLeLemhiYearianRiveSalmonLewisand ClarkBackcountryBywayencCrFCIDAHOMile 25Mile 26SDTendoyLewis’sAug.12, 1805CampsiteClark’sAug.19, 1805CampsiteLemMcevPCreek.Pattee CreekOverlookWBaldyCCrteeMile 9.6r.Cr eekekceCreteeetatCyekeCreeknereFlag UnfurlingzlKadenKCmonlmSaSandy Cr.MONTANAFluPraPBakerMAP LEGEND10Back Country Byway RoutePoint of InterestViewState HighwayCampingOther RoadInformationPicnic AreaNational Historic TrailTownMAP SCALE:03Miles

Byway and Adventure Road MileagesAlthough the mile guide is written in a clockwise direction,the Byway can be traveled in either direction. Mileages areapproximate and will vary depending upon the eccentricities ofyour vehicle’s odometer.Mile 0—TendoyThe “portal” to the Byway was named for Tendoy, head chief ofthe Lemhi Shoshone from 1863 to 1907. His strong leadershipkept his tribe at peace and earned him great respect from localsettlers. Tendoy successfully resisted Federal government pressureto move his people to the Fort Hall reservation near Pocatellountil he died in 1907.The first Tendoy store and post office was built in 1911. Itsremains stand behind the present store.Mile 0.2—“T” intersectionTurn left onto what is referred to locally as the “Lemhi backroad.”Mile 1.5—SunfieldThis area was homesteaded by Joseph B. Pattee, the lastmanager of Hudson’s Bay Company Fort Hall trading post. Apost office and school were built in the early 20th century.Mile 1.8—Fort LemhiIn 1855 a party of twenty-seven Mormons arrived in the LemhiValley to establish a mission among the Shoshone, Sheepeater,and Bannock tribes for the purpose of converting and “civilizing”them. The missionaries built both a fort with cabins surroundedby a nine foot high log palisade and an adobe livestock corral.At first relations with the local tribes were cordial, but tensionsarose, particularly with the Bannock. More Mormons arrivedand a second fort was constructed, signs that the mission station11

was becoming a permanent colony. Bannock resentment and aseries of misunderstandings led to a raid on the fort’s livestockon February 25, 1858. Bannock warriors drove off most ofthe Mormons’ cattle and horses. Two missionaries were killedand five wounded. A month later the Mormons abandonedtheir settlement and returned to Utah. The only visible remainstoday are portions of the corral wall. Please respect the privateproperty upon which they stand.The fort was named for Limhi, a king in the Book of Mormon.The spelling was changed to Lemhi and the name applied to theriver, mountain range, and pass.Mile 3.0—Turn right to leave the Lemhi back road and continueon the Byway along the “Warm Springs Wood Road [185].Lewis meets women, gives trinkets—Delbert Farmer, Fort HallMile 3.5—Backcountry Byway KioskHere you will find Byway information, interpretive panels, picnictables and vault toilets.12

In this area Captain Lewis’s advance party first made contactwith the Lemhi Shoshone on August 13, 1805, when theysuddenly came upon three Shoshone women. After “pacifying”them with gifts, Lewis persuaded the women to take the explorersto their encampment to speak with the chief. On the way therethey met the chief and sixty of his warriors, who had been alertedto the presence of possible enemies by Shoshones who had seenLewis’s party. When the women showed Chief Cameahwait thegifts Lewis had given them, he welcomed the four strangers asfriends.Mile 4.0—IntersectionGo left to continue on the Byway. Or, turn right for the Alkali Flatroad, which follows roughly the route of the Lewis and Clark Trailtoward Pattee Creek. This dirt road can be impassable whenwet; use caution. Look for posts with the Lewis and Clark Trailemblem.Sharkey Hot Springs recreation site—BLM Photo13

Mile 4.8—Sharkey Hot Springs is named for pioneer miner andrancher Frank Sharkey, this BLM recreation site features twolarge outdoor soaking pools, changing rooms, vault toilets, afire pit and picnic tables. This is a recreation fee site.Mile 8.2—The Flag Unfurling Monument commemorates thedisplay of the U. S. flag by Lewis’s advance party on August 13th,1805. This symbolic act introduced a new nation to the LemhiShoshone and strengthened the American claim to theNorthwest. This was the first time the Stars and Stripes wereunfurled in present-day Idaho.Mile 9.6—Pattee Creek Overlook provides a hawk’s eye view ofPattee Creek from its steep forested canyon on the left throughthe grassy foothills to the front. A detachment led by WilliamClark camped on lower Pattee Creek below on the night ofAugust 19th, 1805, on their way to assess the navigability of theSalmon River. [The river proved to be unnavigable.]across the head of hollows and Springs.Captain William Clark, August 19, 1805The high peaks of the Lemhi Range lie to t