Camp Disappointment is the farthest northern location that the Lewis and Clark Expedition explored. The location received its name from Lewis due to his disappointment that the location did not have what he was looking for. This site is about 12 miles northeast of Browning at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The site was dedicated on 15 October 1966.
On the way back from the expedition, Captain Lewis,
George Drouillard and the two Fields brothers moved up the Marias River near
the end of July. The point of this was
to look for a channel of the Missouri River.
The hope for this channel was that it would extend north and pass
through the 50th parallel. If
this were the case this would mean that more property could be acquired by the
United States for the Louisiana Purchase.
Along the Cut Bank River, east of what is now Browning, Lewis was able
to view the river leaving the mountains.
This led him to the conclusion that the river did not go to the 50th
Parallel; with this disappointment came the name of the site.
When viewing the site one can see the mountains of
Glacier National Park in the distance.
Camp Disappointment is dedicated by a monument placed there by the Great
Northern Railway in 1925. There is also
a sign at milepost 233 along US Highway 2 from Browning and Cut Bank. This sign is just 4 miles exactly south of
the real location of the camp that the explorers arrived at on 23 July
1806. In order to view the real location
visitors must have exclusive approval from the private property owner.1
The explorers stayed at the location from July 22 to 26
July 1806. Along with the other hope
Lewis had concerning the 50th Parallel, his findings here at the
site proved disappointing for another hope of his. Lewis wanted to discover a simple importing
path from the Marias and Saskatchewan rivers that would make it possible for
the U.S. to veer Canadian fur trade into U.S. property at the Missouri
River. However, having not been able to
make either of his hopes a reality, Lewis and the other men left the camp
site. On the adventure back, they encountered
some Piegan Native Americans and stayed with them overnight. However, the next morning the first and
single skirmish during the entire journey happened at Two Medicine Fight
Site. Camp Disappointment is now known
as one of the many National Historic Landmarks in the country.2