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Missouri: following the Trail of Lewis & Clark. (Advertisement).

Trailblazers who wish to rekindle the spirit of discovery fostered by Lewis and Clark's transcontinental journey of exploration need only travel to Missouri, the starting point for the expedition nearly 200 years ago.

Start your travels along the St. Louis riverfront, where the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers mark the expedition's beginning and end. Modern day adventurers can take in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, home of the Gateway Arch. Soaring 630 feet above the Mississippi River, the nation's tallest human-made monument is a symbol of St. Louis' role as the "Gateway to the West." Beneath the arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion provides an excellent interpretation of the expedition and 100 years of human history related to the American westward expansion. In St. Louis, travelers can tour the Missouri History Museum, which features an extensive Lewis and Clark collection, including William Clark's journal, clothing, and other artifacts.

Nearby St. Charles marks the spot were Lewis and Clark departed on May 14, 1804. Here visitors to the Lewis and Clark Center can learn about the voyage through interpretive exhibits or watch, at Frontier Park, the ongoing construction of replicas of the boats used on the expedition.

Outdoor enthusiasts can hike or bike along the longest non-motorized portion (185 miles) of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail via the Katy Trail State Park.

Those venturing across the state can also explore the river heritage of the many historic settlements - big and small - along the Missouri River Valley. On the western side of the state, lie towns that serve as testimony to the area's frontier history. From the National Frontier Trails Center in Independence to St. Joseph's Riverfront Park, visitors can learn about the legends who opened the West. The state's second largest city, Kansas City, anchors these communities and features the recently erected "Corps of Discovery" statue overlooking the Missouri and Kansas rivers.

Pack up your travel journal and your spirit of adventure and immerse yourself in the history, mystery, and legend that is Missouri. To begin planning your Missouri vacation call 1-800-519-4800 or go to www.VisitMO.com.
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Publication:National Parks
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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