Take a full day to tour the Crimson Bluffs and Townsend, Montana, for a historic ride tracing some of the travels of Lewis and Clark. The red-hued Crimson Cliffs appear in the same spectacular condition today as they did for our early explorers. The town of Townsend, MT, is loaded with points of interest, food, and sleeping accommodations.
Quick Travel Information Crimson Bluffs and Townsend, MT
Stop by the Forest Service Building at 415 South Front Street in Townsend to request a map and directions. The Crimson Bluffs Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation also created self-guided road maps you can use on your ride.
This historic adventure traces the route of Lewis and Clark and covers 43 miles, and includes interpretive road markers. You can reach the Crimson Bluffs by boat from Townsend and by foot from a fenced parking lot off River Road. Park your bike in the lot atop the cliffs, then take a short, steep walk down to the bluffs.
The Crimson Bluffs Trailhead is open around the clock and throughout the year. It is free to park in the lot and visit Crimson Bluffs. Pets are welcome.
Exploring the Crimson Bluffs
The Crimson Bluffs is a breathtaking 50-acre rock formation rising above the tranquil Missouri River. After setting out at sunrise, Captain Meriwether Lewis described the rock formation as “a remarkable bluff of a crimson coloured earth on starboard intermixed with stratas of black and brick red slate” in his journal entry on July 24, 1805. The Crimson Bluffs is a site to see.
The entire length of the road tour map covers 43 miles. Roadside interpretive signs mark some of the history and travels of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through modern-day Broadwater County. This ride is a rare trip back into the early history of our country.
Exploring Townsend, MT
You can find a wealth of sites to see in and near Townsend, Montana, including the Broadwater County Museum and Library, the Townsend Farmers Market, and fishing on York Island. You can also explore the Totson Dam Recreation site.
Townsend boasts plenty of great places to eat, depending on what you are craving. Canyon Ferry Brewing sits on the same site as the historic Dixon Brewery. The Brewery dedicates itself to brewing beer in the Montana tradition of excellence. You can also stop by The Commercial Bar, another local favorite, which serves tasty food and cold beer.
If you need a place to stay the night, consider camping at the Indian Road Bureau of Reclamation Campground at Canyon Ferry Reservoir, a massive 40-acre developed campground located near the Missouri River. The site has emergency restrooms but does not have running water. Other camping options include The Silos Marina & Campground, Goose Bay Marina and Campground, and Skidway Campground.
If you prefer indoor accommodations, check out the Mustang Motel or the Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle and Guest Ranch. After exploring the Crimson Bluffs and Townsend, Montana, you will need some rest.
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