Marias Pass - 5, 215 ft

The Slide Inn Cafe & Motel

Marias Pass (5, 215 ft) is the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide in Montana. At one time, Maria Pass was known by the Blackfeet Indian Nation as “Backbone Pass.” Salish and Kootenai Indians used the pass to cross the mountains onto the plains to hunt bison.

The name “Marias” was first mentioned by Captain Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition in his diary of 1805.  it is believed he named the Marias River after his cousin, Miss Maria Wood.  Headwaters of the Marias River are on the east side of the pass and flow east past Shelby, Montana and empties in to the Missouri River near Loma, Montana.   An old roadside Historical Marker in Loma, Montana reads: “Until exploration proved otherwise, most members of the of the Lewis and Clark Expedition believed the Marias River to be the main channel of the Missouri.” We included pictures the old roadside Historical Marker and obelisk found near Camp Disappointment.