As the name implies, the park was once an encampment for the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. It was on this spot where they celebrated the fourth of July on the banks of the Missouri River in 1804.
The area of the encampment now has a monument that was made to look like a compass that honors the bicentennial of the explorer’s visit.
In the years since their visit the river has changed course and what was once the river banks is now an oxbow lake.
The marsh is a popular location for waterfowl. There are many kinds of ducks, egrets, red and brown tailed hawks. The area is also the spring and fall nesting area for the white pelican which is definitely not indigenous. They winter in the Gulf of Mexico but spend their summers in the Pacific Northwest.
The trails are paved and well maintained. They are also circular and run about two miles. There are a couple so you can alternate. The trails go through a marshy area and the amount of birds who were communicating was a little maddening. You will most definitely see a lot of wildlife on this trail.
This tree has been gnarled off most likely from a muskrat but also possibly a beaver. There are supposed to be beavers in Missouri although I’ve never seen one in the wild. There are supposed to also be mountain lions here but (thankfully) I haven’t seen one of those either.
I also ran across the largest box turtle I have ever seen. I took a picture of my foot and the turtle for scale. I’ve seen snapping turtles get this big (and bigger) but never this type though.
Lewis and Clark State Park is located between Weston and St. Joseph, Missouri. The city of Atchison, Kansas is directly across the river. (If you want to find out more about Atchison and the Amelia Earhart museum. I have a post about it from a couple days ago)
Pros: Nice circular trail, length is fairly short (about two miles each), lots of birds, especially check out the Pelicans in the early Spring and late Fall. The whole Weston/Atchison area is full of things to visit.
Cons: The marsh area tends to attract mosquitos, the birds are beautiful but very noisy, the park is very popular so you won’t have much alone time.