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Crimson Bluffs

Townsend Montana

Listing Type: Landmark
City: Townsend Montana
Region: Southwest Montana

Imagine canoeing against the Missouri's current never sure of what may be around the bend. The red-hued cliffs on the west side of the Missouri River must have been a pleasant surprise for the Corps of Discovery on that early summer morning of late July.

The 50-acre Crimson Bluffs, a spectacular rock formation perched above the Missouri River, is a landmark described in the Captain Meriwether Lewis' journal on July 24, 1805. He and his party 'set out at sunrise' and 'passed a remarkable bluff of a crimson coloured earth on starboard intermixed with stratas of black and brick red slate.'

Today, the Crimson Bluffs are preserved for future generations as an important public landmark. The view of the Crimson Bluffs described by Captain Lewis has changed very little since 1805 thanks to the Bureau of Land Management and the Crimson Bluffs Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation who now managed for public enjoyment.

Self-guided auto tour maps are compiled and printed by the Crimson Bluffs Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Based on journal descriptions, Clark's maps, and modern topographic maps, the tour map covers 43 miles and has 19 road markers. Roadside interpretive signs outline some of the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through what is now Broadwater County.

Directions: The Crimson Bluffs are located a short boat trip from Townsend, Montana. Or a short walk off River Road. While in Townsend, stop at the Forest Service Building at 415 South Front Street to ask for a map and directions.

Crimson Bluffs
Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Townsend, MT 59644

  • Historic
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Sightseeing
  • River Fishing
  • Education
  • Tour
  • Maps
  • Interpretive Display

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