The wild terrain and striking beauty of the Bitterroot Valley has held travelers in reverence since the days of Lewis and Clark. The Corps of Discovery entered the area in the fall of 1805 through the southern part of the valley, at Lost Trail Pass. From there, they traveled north toward present day Missoula to the confluence of Lolo creek and the Bitterroot River. At this juncture, which was named Traveler’s Rest, the Corps of Discovery turned westward once more, to cross over the Bitterroot Range through Lolo Pass—following Lolo Creek and the Nez Perce Trail. In July of 1806 the Corps of Discovery visited Traveler’s Rest again on their return journey eastward. At that time, the group split into two; with Lewis headed northeast and Clark south, for further discovery.
At many places in “The Bitterroot,” visitors can read roadside signs that illustrate Lewis and Clark’s movement through the valley. Yet, most don’t suspect that Dunrovin Ranch has one of these markers on its property that actually provides incorrect information identifying the location of Travelers Rest, which is now a state park. Fortunately, this was a short-lived mistake and Traveler’s Rest State Park has been correctly identified 1.3 miles west of the ranch.
The Traveler’s Rest Preservation and Heritage Association has been a driving force in helping Traveler’s Rest State Park develop a museum and visitor’s site that tell the compelling story of the Corps of Discovery. Bill and Ramona Holt of the Holt Heritage Museum have been particularly supportive and instrumental in making Traveler’s Rest the center of Lolo and bringing the story of Lewis and Clark to visitors and residents alike.
Dunrovin Ranch owners, Sterling and SuzAnne Miller, have long been ardent fans of Lewis and Clark, marveling at their courage and leadership. The more they learned, the more impressed they were. It is nearly impossible not to be awed by their achievement. They lost only one person to sickness during their two year journey. They sought and obtained friendship and assistance from most of the American Indian tribes they encountered, with only one hostile encounter that ended in an Indian fatality. Their scientific findings and measurements were rigorous and invaluable in understanding the country through which they traveled, and their sense of geography coupled with their just and confident leadership of the corps made the expedition successful. One of the Miller’s favorite places for finding information about them is Discovering Lewis and Clark.
Dunrovin Ranch strives to emulate the characteristics so aptly demonstrated by the Corps of Discovery by celebrating courage to explore new territory with a sense of scientific and cultural curiosity and respect, fostering a connection with local residents for better understanding of place, demonstrating a focus on the safety of all involved, and approaching the natural world with a sense of awe.