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The Virginia Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail is a driving and “stop-to-experience” trail along or near the Great Valley Road (Rt. 11 & I 81), from Bristol to Charlottesville “and beyond” that follows and honors the travels of Meriwether Lewis & William Clark in the Commonwealth, and the people and places they visited…Come take the journey, visit the sites, learn about their families and friends, and how their histories in Virginia are significantly intertwined with the Expedition.

4 snippets

In 1803, the 15-million-dollar Louisiana Purchase was finalized. This deal set the stage for U. S. Congress and Thomas Jefferson to authorize a team of explorers to search for a navigable water route west to the Pacific Ocean.

virginia lewis and clark trail explorers

President Jefferson chose Meriwether Lewis, a fellow Virginian, a longtime family friend, and his personal secretary, to command the westward expedition.

Virginia Lewis and Clark trail Meriwether Lewis

In July 1803, Meriwether Lewis invited William Clark, another Virginia-born, military and personal friend “…to participate with me in its fatigues, its dangers, its honors.” Clark replies,”… I will cheerfully join you.”

William Clark-Virginia Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail

One of Clark’s major responsibilities was to help select men for the trip. Of these, eight were born in Virginia. Who were they, what were their contributions to the expedition, who were their Virginia ties?

Virginia Lewis and Clark expedition explorers