The winter headquarters (1804-1805) for the Corps of Discovery was constructed by the Expedition and named after their Native American hosts.
November 20, 1804: "We this day moved into our huts which are now completed. This place which we call Fort Mandan, is situated in a point of low ground, on the north side of the Missouri, covered with tall and heavy cottonwood". Captain Clark
This site, located a few miles downstream from the actual site, is a full-sized reconstruction of the trapezoidal fort.
November 20, 1804: " The works consist of two rows of huts or sheds, forming an angle where they joined each other; each row containing four rooms, of 14 feet square and 7 feet high, with plank ceiling, and the roof slanting so as to form a loft above the rooms, the highest point of which is 18 feet from the ground". Captain Clark
It is here that the adventurers were befriended by the area's Native Americans who taught them how to gather food and cope with the frigid temperatures. Sakakawea's (Hidatsa spelling) son, Baptiste, was also born at the fort.
December 7, 1804: "the Big White Grand Chief of the 1st village, came and informed us that a large Drove of Buffalow was near and his people was waiting for us to join them in a chase."Captain Clark
December 8 - 25, 1804
January 5, 1805: "a Buffalo Dance for 3 nights passed in the 1st Village, a curious custom, all this is to cause the buffalow to Come near So that they may kill." Captain Clark
January 10, 1805: "last night was excessively Cold the Murckery this morning Stood at 40 ° below 0 which is 72° below the freesing point, about 10 oClock the boy about 13 years of age Came to the fort with his feet frosed and had layed out last night without fire with only a Buffalow Robe to Cover him, Customs & the habits of those people has them to bare more Cold than I thought it possible for man to endure." Captain Clark
February 11, 1805: " about five oClock this evening one of the wives of Charbono (Sakakawea) was delivered of a fine boy." Captain Clark
2 miles west of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center on McLean County Highway 17
Hours of Operation
Fort Mandan and the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center are open all year. Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m; remainder of year 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission to Fort Mandan and Interpretive Center
To arrange a school field trip to the Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan, call (877) 462-8535. Student admission for prescheduled school tour groups is $2.00 per person.
To arrange a group tour to the Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan, call (877) 462-8535. Group tour admission is $4.00 per person.
Contact For More Information
North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center