Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence – The Joining of Two Mighty Rivers

View of the confluence of two mighty rivers

Williams County, North Dakota.

It was a dreary day on our visit to the Missouri-Yellowstone Interpretive Center. Just a half-mile from Fort Buford, (that story coming in a future Travel Tuesday, two major rivers come together at a point where Lewis and Clark once stood. In 1805 and 1806, the explorers found their way to this point as they moved westward and back east again.

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The Confluence Interpretive Center

A very reasonable $5 per adult and $2.50 per child is the charge to visit the center (as of this writing.) In addition to the exhibits inside, there is a walking trail. If you don’t want to walk to the confluence, a tour bus is available on certain days for a small fee. The center has winter and summer hours, so you want to be sure you plan your trip to arrive on a day and time that they are open. Details can be found on their website here.

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Trails, tracks, rivers, and roads.

The exhibits inside are well laid out and a collection of large murals also features quotes and paintings of the landscape. The permanent exhibits focus on the life and times of the early settlers. Some of the histories of Fort Buford are also featured in the center.

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A covered wagon and a 1904 Model A Cadillac

The permanent exhibit includes the story of transportation in the region from steamboats to wagons to motorcars. There are also exhibits focusing on the fur trade, modern-day irrigation, and energy development.

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Sitting Bull

A temporary exhibit features the story of Sitting Bull. You will learn about his life, his unyielding support for his Native American brothers, and the part he played in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. A section on his later years, when he was part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, delves into the man’s memories and myths. In my Flickr gallery, you’ll find a couple more images captured of the Sitting Bull exhibit. Be sure to check the center’s website to see if this temporary exhibit has changed. As of this writing (late April 2022), it is still the current exhibit.

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The real story of the center is the confluence of two major transportation routes.

The 2,000-square-foot gallery ensures that you will be able to spend some time learning about the region and its impact on the Native Americans and the traders and settlers that traveled the river systems.

Much of the information about the interpretive center for this post was gleaned from the center’s website here. You can check out the images, including more about the Sitting Bull Exhibit on my Flickr site here. Alternatively, you can click on any of the images above to pixel peep in 2K HD from my photo album.

John Steiner

13 comments

  1. That looks like my sort of place. I find the history of the early settlers fascinating (maybe because I grew up loving the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder). And the river confluence itself looks worth more than a few photos!

    • The day we visited wasn’t the best weather, and photos of the viewpoints don’t show the magnitude of the place. It would have been a great place for drone shots, but we couldn’t determine whether they were allowed or not.

  2. We’ve crossed the Missouri many times on our way from first Cleveland and then Naperville to Wyoming and we’ve seen it in full spate, well out of its banks where it flowers through Chamberlain, South Dakota. I wonder what the confluence looks like now or when the Yellowstone flooded recently.

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