Fantastic Voyage

With their small flotilla heading up the Missouri, Lewis and Clark expected to find an easy water pathway to the Pacific but found the Rockies instead. Nothing they had ever seen before prepared them

THE BOATS The corps used 25 vessels throughout the journey. A 26th boat--a custom-designed collapsible iron frame covered with skins--was carried all the way to what is now Montana, where it failed upon hitting the water

The Keelboat Lewis designed the craft and oversaw its often delayed construction in Pittsburgh. This largest craft of the expedition never made it past what is now North Dakota. In spring of 1805, it returned to St. Louis, carrying men, specimens and reports

--55 ft. long --8 ft. wide --Retractable roof --Crew of up to 27

--Carried perhaps 12 tons of cargo and, when loaded,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!