Introduction - American Frontier Explorers
In this section of Famous Explorer Facts you will find information on famous American frontier explorers. You will find facts about such brave people as Lewis and Clark, John Charles Fremont, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Daniel Boone, and Christopher "Kit" Carson. These famous explorers ventured out from the safety of cities and towns into uncharted land. Find out who these brave men and women were, where they ventured, and why they took such great risks. All our list of facts are written for both kids and adults.
This section does not cover the famous explorers of the Age of Exploration. For facts about them go to the home page and then select the particular country you are interested in. Most of the explorers in this section are from the 1700s and 1800s.
List of Famous American Frontier Explorers
- Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809) and William Clark (1770 - 1838) - led the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition which was the first American expedition to explore the western portion of the United States.
- Daniel Boone (1734 - 1820) - is one of the most famous American frontier explorers and an American folk hero. He is best known for exploring what is now the state of Kentucky.
- John Charles Fremont (1813 - 1890) - was a U.S. military officer who, in the 1840s, led four government expeditions of the American west which mapped large areas of the vast and largely uncharted area.
- Christopher "Kit" Carson (1809 - 1868) - was a frontier explorer most famous for guiding an exploration of the western United States led by John C. Fremont. Carson led the group of explorers thru Oregon and California. They traveled across the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
- Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779 - 1813) - led an expedition in 1806 with the purpose of exploring the southern portion of the Louisiana Purchase. During this expedition Pike discovered the mountain that would later be named for him; Pikes Peak in what is now the state of Colorado.
- William Becknell (1788-1856) - is known as the Father of the Santa Fe Trail. He established the trail which served as an important trade route from 1821 through 1846 and was used by America to invade Mexico during the Mexican-American War.
- John W. Gunnison (1812-1853) - was a U.S. military officer and explorer. He explored and surveyed areas around the Great Lakes in the northern United States and many other areas including around the Great Salt Lake in what is now the state of Utah.
- James Pierson Beckwourth (1798-1860) - was a freed slave who discovered the Beckwourth Pass; the lowest pass through the Sierra Nevada mountain range which was used by thousands of settlers to get to California.
- David Thompson (1770-1857) - explored western North America and was the first European to explore the entire length of Columbia River.
- Jedediah Strong Smith (1799 - 1831) - explored many areas of the American frontier including the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific coast and the Southwest portion of the United States.
- Jim Baker (1818 - 1898) - was a scout and guide on numerous explorations of the American frontier and was one of John Fremont's favorite scouts.