Zebulon Pike

Zebulon Pike was a young American army officer who conducted to significant expeditions of discovery in the early 1800s. The first would be an attempt to find the headwaters of the Mississippi River, while the second was into the recently acquired Louisiana Territory, where Pike will find the headwaters of the Arkansas River.


Zebulon Pike – Part 1 – Early life and the Mississippi Expedition
In the wake of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, young American officer Zebulon Pike sets out to find the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Part 1 of our podcast. It is a journey that will take place while the American west oozes with political intrigue and rumors of war.

Download this episode or listen online.

Zebulon Pike – Part 2 – The Western Expedition
In the conclusion of our series, Zebulon Pike sets off into the Louisiana Territory amid rumors of war with Spain. It will be a perilous journey that will almost cost lives of his entire party (although a few will lose some toes in the process).

Download this episode or listen online.


Pike’s route throughout the west. pikemap1

Pike’s route through the Rocky Mountains


I recommend going to zebulonpike.net to see all their detailed maps following Pike throughout his journey. The maps are fantastic. Here is the map source.

Select Resources

Jared Orsi’s Citizen Explorer: The Life of Zebulon Pike is a comprehensive look at Pike, his world and his journeys. It was my favorite book on Pike – and highly recommend it if you want to know more about the man and his world.

Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the West is a nice collection of essays about – you guessed it – Pike, Jefferson and the opening of the American west. It doesn’t provide the detail regarding Pike as Orsi’s book, but it delves more into the other players and the American mindset.

The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike (Vol. 1-3) are Pike’s own journals. In the late 1800, Elliott Coues provided a heavily annotated version of the journals – they are what I was able to read. As they are public domain documents, you can read them for free online.

Zebulonpike.net is a website set up detailing Pike’s western journey. It has a ton of information – including maps – a couple of which I have placed on this page.

Wikipedia has a good Pike page if you just want to read an overview of his life.