NE corner of intersection of Routes 3 and 143
Wood River, Illinois
In December of 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the Mississippi River in a keelboat full of supplies and the nucleus of the Corps of Discovery. Barred by the Spanish Governor in St. Louis from entering into the Louisiana Territory, they set up Camp DuBois at the mouth of the Wood River across from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. After quickly building a small fort with living quarters they spent the winter recruiting and training men, gathering intelligence, and securing additional supplies.
In commemoration of the Bicentennial of the departure of the Corps of Discovery, the Wood River Heritage Council has constructed a replica of the camp near where the original Camp DuBois was located. Members of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles quartered at Camp Dubois until their scheduled departure from St. Charles on May 23, 2004. Reenactors such as Eric Huber of Mount Washington, KY, who has chosen Private Joseph Fields to portray, were on hand to give tours of the encampment and answer questions.
After the Corps leaves, the Illinois Territorial Rangers are slated to make this site their headquarters with the intention of making Camp DuBois a Living History attraction. At the times when there are Rangers present, visitors will be able to watch and learn as the Rangers demonstrate black powder shooting, tomahawk throwing, blacksmithing, carpentry, hunting, military training, and primitive cooking. Possible plans for the future include the addition of a Native American village to represent the Kicapoo, Sac and Fox tribes that inhabited the area at the time of Lewis and Clark’s arrival.
Every May, the Wood River Rendezvous, a historic reenactment of the 1700-1840 French Fur Trading era is held at this location. For more on the area's many reenactments check out our Living History page.
Visit our special Lewis and Clark Section to learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s experience during their stay in the Middle Mississippi River Valley. greatriverroad.com’s special coverage includes information on all of the region’s sites and events as well as supplemental articles relating to the expedition’s experience during the winter of 1803-04.
Visiting Camp DuBois
The Corps of Discovery of St. Charles is an all-volunteer organization and there is no guarantee that there will be reenactors at the site at all times or that the site will be open to visit. If you are planning to make a trip to visit Camp DuBois you may want to schedule your trip on Wednesdays through Sundays when Camp River Dubois, the Illinois State Historic Site located 4 miles south of Camp DuBois on Route 3, is open and both sites can be visited. Camp River Dubois features another version of 1803-1804 winter encampment and features a Visitors Center with 4 galleries of exhibits and displays. Visitors and other groups wishing to visit Camp DuBois should call the Wood River Museum and Visitors Center at 618-254-1993 to ensure that the site will be open.
There is no charge to visit Camp DuBois.
Explore the community of Wood River area.