Missoula in Missoula County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
Captain Lewis in the Missoula Valley
As the Salish, Nez Perce and other western mountain Indian tribes passed through these canyons enroute to buffalo hunting grounds east of the Rocky Mountains, they were often ambushed by raiding parties from the Blackfeet, Hidatsa and other more aggressive eastern plains Indians.
Captain Lewis wrote in his journals: "all the nations... on the west side of the mountains... & who visit the plains of the Missouri... pass by this rout."
On July 4th, 18076, just a few miles downstream, six Nez Perce Indian guides would travel no further into what is now the Missoula Valley, They warned Captain Lewis that his life and the lives of his time men were in grave danger if they insisted on traveling east, to the great falls of the Missouri River.
Luckily, Lewis and his band of men passed safely through the confined canyons, but many other traveler were not as fortunate.
(sidebar on right:)
By the 1820s, the local French-Canadian trappers were calling the dangerous canyons to the east Porte d'Enfer, meaning Gates of Hell or Hell's Gate, and the stream running through it, the Hell Gate River. By 1860, the valley's main trading post and village was also named
Over a century later, the Hell Gate term is still being used by local businesses, organizations, and two schools - Hellgate Elementary and Hellgate High School.
Erected by National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
Location. 46° 52.14′ N, 113° 59.808′ W. Marker is in Missoula, Montana, in Missoula County. Marker can be reached from Carousel Drive near South Higgins Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 123 Carousel Drive, Missoula MT 59802, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Name That River (here, next to this marker); Northwest Passage (a few steps from this marker); Free Speech Corner (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Missoula (approx. 3.4 miles away); Fort Missoula, Montana (approx. 3.4 miles away); Fort Missoula Post Headquarters T-1 Post Headquarters (approx. 3½ miles away); 1877 Fort Missoula Officers' Club (approx. 3½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Missoula.
More about this marker. This marker is in Caras Park on Riverfront Trail, opposite Brennan's Wave.
Categories. • Exploration • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 16, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 16, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.