About Fort BentonAt the head of navigation on the Missouri River, Fort Benton is one of Montana's oldest communities and was the link between east and west. Thousands of immigrants and miners marked this landing as the beginning of the way west along Mullan Road or north along WhoopUp Trail. Fort Benton also was their chief means of supply, as all goods were brought by steamboat from St. Louis. In 1868, 39 steamboats unloaded 8,000 tons of freight and 10,000 passengers; one steamboat returned to St. Louis with $1.5 million in gold.
The Lewis and Clark Memorial overlooks the Missouri River from the levee not far from the old fort; the memorial stands as a reminder of the explorers' stay in the area and the role they and Fort Benton played in opening the West. A statue of Lt. John Mullan, the first white man to pave the way west from Fort Benton to Walla Walla, Wash., and for whom the Mullan Trail is named, also stands on the levee.
Fort Benton is on the western fringe of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, and its corridor traces the Upper Missouri River 149 miles east into the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Recreation information can be obtained from the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Interpretive Center.
Visitor Centers Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce 1421 Front St. Fort Benton, MT 59442. Phone:(406)622-3864
Self-guiding ToursA brochure outlining a walking and driving tour of Fort Benton is available from the Museum of the Upper Missouri and from the visitor information center on Front Street.
Things to Do Museum of the Northern Great Plains
Fort Benton, MT
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