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Pompeys Pillar

When we are out on road trips, we always look for the lesser known places of interest that have historical significance, amazing views or fun photo opps. When we were out in Montana this past summer, we took some time to explore Pompeys Pillar. This little known National Monument is the home of the only physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and has an amazing view of the surrounding area and Yellowstone River.

Pompeys Pillar was part of the original 1803 Louisiana Purchase and was named “Pompy’s Tower” in honor of Sacagawea’s son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, whom he had nicknamed “Pomp.”

Friends of Pompeys Pillar

Visitor Center

Start your visit at Pompeys Pillar at the Interpretive Center that opened in 2006. The Exhibits in the 5,700-square foot center cover the Yellowstone River Valley journey of Captain William Clark and his detachment, including Sacagawea and her son Pomp in 1806.

Boardwalk & Trail

Follow the trail and boardwalk outside the Interpretive Center and climb to the overlook where you can see Captain Clark’s signature. There are quite a few steps so take a bottle of water and get ready to climb!

Enjoy the view of the surrounding area as well as the Yellowstone River as you climb to the top of Pompey’s Pillar.

Captain Clark’s Signature

Pompeys Pillar is one of the most famous sandstone buttes in America. you can see the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Rock and signature appears on the trail today as it did 200 years ago.

On the face of the 150-foot butte, Captain William Clark carved his name and the date, July 25, 1806, during his return to the United States through the beautiful Yellowstone Valley.

At the top of the climb, there is a sign with this quote from the Lewis & Clark Journals. I absolutely love it because it summarizes the way I feel many times on our adventures. Basically when I rephrase it, I say the same thing: I enjoy the view and then I proceed on to the next place of adventure.

This rock I ascended and from it’s top had a most extensive view in every direction…after Satisfying my Self Sufficiently in this delightful prospect of the extensive Country around, and the emence herds of Buffalo, Elk and wolves in which it abounded, I descended and proceeded on…”

Lewis & Clark Journals, July 12, 1806

Find Pompeys Pillar

3039 US Highway 312
Pompeys Pillar, MT 59064

$7.00 entrance fee per vehicle
***We were able to use our National Park Annual Pass for free admission.

The area is easily accessible from Interstate 94, using exit 23, or from State Highway 312. The monument is 25 miles east of Billings, Montana

  • May through September Visitor’s Center
  • November through April Visitor’s Center and Main Gate are closed (walk in only)
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