Upper Portage Camp

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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.

Upper Portage Camp Overlook.
Upper Portage Camp River Road Viewpoint.
View of the Upper Portage Camp Area from the Overlook Above.


Upper Portage Camp Panel Map.
Great Falls Portage Panel Map.

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.

Return Trip

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.

Current Status

Upper Portage Camp Interpretive Panel.

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.

Location: Above Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana.
The camp map point is approximate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 47.45667 Long: -111.2936

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Fortification ID:

  • MT0207 - Upper Portage Camp
  • MT0210 - White Bear Islands Camp

Visited: 14 Aug 2016

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