Upper Portage Camp
Upper Portage Camp (1805-1806) - A Lewis and Clark Expedition portage camp established in 1805 above Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana. Abandoned in 1805 and briefly revisited in 1806. Also known as White Bear Islands Camp.
Established by William Clark on 18 Jun 1805 as the terminus of the portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Four round trips between the Lower Portage Camp and the Upper Portage Camp were required to move the dugout canoes and the supplies around all five falls. The portage was complete and the party was ready to depart the Upper portage camp on 13 Jul 1805.
The camp was revisited on 10 Jul 1806 by Lewis and nine Corps members returning to retrieve cached items. Lewis departed the camp on 15 Jul 1806 to explore the headwaters of Marie's River with three of the men. The six remaining men left were to accomplish the portage, this time with the aid of horses. The carriage wheels had been buried from the 1805 portage and they were retrieved and pressed back into service. The iron boat frame was also retrieved with just some rust damage. The cached bearskins had been destroyed by high water along with all the plant specimens. The trunks and boxes were also wet and had to be dried out.
Abandoned after 26 Jul 1806.
No visible remains. There are two site viewing points, one along the Lower River Road and one called the Upper Portage Camp Overlook above the site on 40th Avenue South. Both viewpoints include interpretive panels that generally identify the location.
Visited: 14 Aug 2016