After the Arikara campaign, Ashley divided his forces and instructed Smith to find the Crow Indians and gain their trade. Smith's party spent the winter of 1823-24 with a band of Crow Indians who told him about the Green River area and how to reach it. In mid-March 1824, his company crossed South Pass in present-day Wyoming and descended into the Green River area and prepared for the spring hunt.
In September 1824, near present Blackfoot, Idaho, Smith helped a destitute party of Hudson's Bay Company trappers and accompanied them back to Flathead House. In December Smith's Americans accompanied Peter Skene Ogden's brigade to the Bear River. In early July 1825 Smith arrived at Henry's Fork for the first rendezvous; at its close he accompanied William Ashley and the brigade's furs back to St. Louis. En route downriver, Ashley took Smith as partner to replace the retiring Andrew Henry.