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Northwest Passage Scenic Byway

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Basics
Length:
202 miles (325 km)
Time:
5.5 hours to drive or three days to enjoy the entire Byway.
Fees:
Expect to pay fees at the various campsites and attractions along the Byway.

Description

Trace the historic route of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they searched, at the request of President Thomas Jefferson, for a passage between the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. When you travel the beautiful Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, you will find the same sparkling rivers, deep canyons, and rolling hills that Lewis and Clark found on their epic journey.

The Clearwater River is an exhilarating sight even from the window of your vehicle, and there are many pullouts along the way where you can step out and hear the roar of the rapids. But if you really want to take advantage of the churning whitewater, hop aboard a raft or kayak and experience the river up close and personal.

After traversing the Clearwater River canyon, climb south to the Camas Prairie. Along the way you will see numerous Nez Perce cultural sites and Lewis and Clark Expedition campsites. View displays, cultural demonstrations, and historical movies featuring the traditions of the Nez Perce Tribe when you visit the Nez Perce National Historical Park Museum at Spalding.

In addition to experiencing the intrigue of historical sites and events along the Byway, also take a moment to enjoy the patchwork of wheat, barley, peas, alfalfa, and wildflowers that wave in the gentle breeze of the Camas Prairie.

Tourism Resources

North Central Idaho Travel Association North Central Idaho offers wilderness areas than any other state, which means ample outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone. North America's deepest river gorge, named Hells Canyon, is located here, and offers plenty of room to play.

Points of Interest Along The Way

Bernard DeVoto Memorial Grove (ID)

Twelve miles from the Montana border is the old-growth cedar grove dedicated to American author and historian Bernard DeVoto, whose works include a compilation of the journals of Lewis and Clark.

Big Eddy (ID)

Located on the Dworshak Reservoir, Big Eddy is a full-service marina. It's a great place to fish or to just rest from a long journey. The area is complete with tables, covered shelters, grass, a swimming area, hiking trails, and a playground to help the kids to get the wiggles out before the next leg of the journey.

Directions

Highway 12, milepost 27.

Canoe Camp (ID)

In 1805, Lewis and Clark stopped at this spot alongside the Clearwater River in Orofino to build five dugout canoes for their journey down the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. Visitors can still pause at this National Park Service site to build memories. Fish for steelhead at the Steelhead National Fish Hatchery or go bird-watching for glimpses of osprey, herons, and bald eagles.

For visitors wanting to spend more time in the area, take advantage of an RV Park located just across the highway.

Directions

Located at the west end of Orofino, adjacent to the river on Highway 12, milepost 40.

Clearwater Battlefield (ID)

Pullout on the west side of Highway 13, approximately two milessouth of Stites, Idaho to view the interpretation of the ClearwaterBattlefield associated with the Nez Perce War of 1877. The battlesite itself is located on private property, which makes itinaccessible to the public. However, the wide expanse of thebattlefield can be viewed from points along the way.

Much of the battle area is now cultivated farmland. The NezPerce occupied the ravines, which are uncultivated land. The stonerifle pits and barricades raised by the Nez Perce are still presentin a collapsed state, as is the smoking lodge used by the old menat various stages of the fighting. At least one Nez Perce burialreportedly occurred on the site.

Directions

Highway 13 milepost 21, approximately two miles south of Stites.

Clearwater National Forest (ID)

This forest covers 1.8 million acres from the jagged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains in the east to the river canyons and the rolling hills of the Palouse Prairie in the west.

Dworshak National Fish Hatchery (ID)

Your hunt for steelhead and rainbow trout, along with spring chinook salmon, will end here.

Eimers Park (ID)

This park and visitor center is managed by the Grangeville Chamber of Commerce on the south entrance to the byway. An exhibit of a Tolo Lake mammoth is at the park. Visitor information on Nez Perce National Historical Park sites is at Tolo Lake, White Bird Battlefield, and Weis Rockshelter nearby.

Eimers Park Mammoth Exhibit (ID)

Visit Eimers Park, home to Grangeville's mammoth replica, and experience an archealogical wonder. The replica is 14 feet height and 17 feet long from tusk to tail and is a partial recreation of the huge Columbian mammoth, based on mammoth bones discovered at nearby Tolo Lake.

Directions

Highway 95, milepost 243 just west of Grangeville at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center.

Greer Ferry (ID)

The history of Greer Ferry is marked by a wayside interpretive site located at milepost52.5 east of the Greer bridge at the junction ofHighways 12 and 11. Idaho's first gold wasdiscovered in 1860 at Pierce, accessed viaHighway 11. A ferry served the miners at thissite. There are large ponderosa pines shadingthe site.

Directions

Take the Greer turn-off and cross the Clearwater River Bridge. Wayside is located on the right.

Harpster Junction (ID)

Length:
202 miles (325 km)
Time:
5.5 hours to drive or three days to enjoy the entire Byway.
Main Roads:
US-12 E
Fees:
Expect to pay fees at the various campsites and attractions along the Byway.
Customizable Directions

Formatted DirectionsMap

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