Page 28 - HC Vacation Guide 2021
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Mount Helena City Park, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, is Helena’s most noticeable landmark, featuring many trails of various levels of difficulty across the park’s 620 acres. Maps of those trails are located at the base of the mountain in a kiosk at the Adams Street parking lot (turn right off of Park Avenue and follow the directional signs through
Reeder’s Village).
This easy, three-mile trail provides spectacular views of steep-walled limestone formations within a canyon northeast of Helena in the Big Belt Mountains. From Helena, proceed northeast on Highway 280 to York. Continue driving northeast past York to the end of the road and
Vigilante Campground.
This canyon located northeast of Helena is a fantastic destination on a hot summer day. Temperatures within the small canyon remain cool year round. Travel 16 miles east of Helena on State Highway 280 to York, then 8 miles north of York on County Road 4 to Nelson, then east on Forest Road approximately 4 miles to signed trailhead.
This easy walk in the Elkhorn Mountains features a gradual elevation gain of about 1,300 feet
on the three-mile route to the meadow. Other trails intersect at the meadow for hikers seeking additional recreational opportunities. From Helena, take Interstate 15 south to Montana City and turn right at the school. Follow this road past Saddle Mountain Estates to Forest Road 294 and the Casey Meadows Trailhead.
To get to Crow Creek Falls, travel south to Townsend on Highway 12/287 for 30 miles to Indian Creek Road (FR 360). Follow this road for approximately 11 miles to the junction with West on Creek Road (FR 4031). Travel about 2.5 miles on FR 4031 until its junction with Weasel Creek Road (FR 405). Follow FR 405 to the Eagle Guard Station. The trailhead is west of this station. From the trail-head, hikers can take two routes to the falls: (1) Follow Trail 112 for approximately one mile to the Trail 134 Trail-head. Trail 134 will take you the remaining two miles to the falls. (2) The trailhead for Trail 109 is east of the Eagle Guard Station and leads hikers 3.5 miles to the falls.
The Continental Divide trail offers exquisites views through the Helena National Forest. The trail can be accessed off main travel routes at the following mountain passes: MacDonald, Rogers, Flesher, Stemple and Priest.
More info: or
Helena is no novice when it comes to treasure hunts. In July of 1864, four miners, down on their luck, gave it one “Last Chance” and struck it rich in Helena. The region, named Last Chance Gulch, grew almost overnight, producing an estimated (in today’s dollars) $3.6 billion in gold over a 20 year period.
Now -150 years later, Helena appeals to treasure hunters of a different kind. Helena is a geocacher’s dream. Helena, Montana has developed a GeoTour that highlights our engaging history, attractions and everything that makes Helena, well, Helena! The GeoTour highlights the unspoiled nature and history of Montana’s Capital City area. Explore
the Helena National Forest, take a photo from the Firetower, follow Lewis & Clark’s route along the Missouri, discover the hidden treasures of a city built during the gold rush of 1864.
Helena has evolved into the region’s geocaching leader with a new trackable GeoCoin and received the title “Best for Geocaching” from Rand McNally’s and’s Best of the Road contest. Come catch the best in Helena!
More info:
Places to pitch a tent or pull up an RV are plentiful around Helena. The Helena National Forest offers numerous camping opportunities. State-owned land near Helena is also home to nice camping areas. Most camping sites are open from Memorial Day weekend until Sept. 15.
More info:
• Helena Ranger District: (406) 449-5490
• Bureau of Reclamation: (406) 475-3310
• Montana State Parks: Book campsite reservations by calling 1-855-922-6768 or
Popular camping areas:
Located east of Helena, Canyon Ferry Lake features day use sites, overnight camping areas, public boat launches, fishing, hiking, bird watching
and more. Visit the Canyon Ferry Visitor Center
to get the full story on recreation opportunities in the Canyon Ferry Lake area. To find the visitor center, turn right (east) on Custer Avenue from
N. Montana Avenue. Soon, Custer Avenue turns into Canyon Ferry Road. Follow the road about 17 miles as it approaches the lake, then winds over the dam at the north end. The visitor center is about a mile past the dam.
More info: (406) 475-3310
Hauser Lake was created in 1908 when Samuel T. Hauser dammed the Missouri River to supply cheap electrical power for mining companies in Butte and Anaconda. Today, the area is ripe with recreational opportunities, including
four campgrounds:
• Riverside Campground: located near the base of the Canyon Ferry Dam
• Devil’s Elbow Campground: located at the bridge on Highway 280/York Road
• Black Sandy and White Sandy Campgrounds: drive north on Montana Avenue to Lincoln Road and turn east. Follow the highway to the dirt road and go north.
Holter Dam was completed east of Wolf Creek in 1918. Today, the Holter Lake area features a variety of recreational opportunities including fishing, boating and camping. Shore camping areas include Juniper Bay, Log Gulch and Departure Point.
The Helena area provides a variety of canoeing, rafting and kayaking opportunities for residents and visitors to the area. Early summer is the best time for high water with many of the area’s best rivers flowing out of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex to the north.
More info: To rent or purchase items, or get more info about floating opportunities, at area shops, including The Base Camp, Montana Outdoor Sports, Bob Ward & Sons, Capital Sports & Western, and Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Flows southeast from the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the Missouri River Near the town of Craig. The Dearborn River is crossed by the Dearborn River High Bridge which was constructed in 1897. The Dearborn is a Class 1 for recreational purposes.
The Blackfoot is renowned for its recreational uses including fly fishing, floating and canoing. The Blackfoot flows near Lincoln and travels all the way towards Missoula.
See the Big Sky
• • • • • • • •
Alhambra RV Park: Clancy; for details, visit
Buzz Inn RV Park & Campground: 5 miles E of Helena on US Hwy 12
Cromwell Dixon Campground: located on MacDonald Pass
Black Sandy and White Sandy Campground: located at Hauser Lake northeast of Helena
Lincoln Road RV Park: for details, visit Exit 200 off I-15
Townsend/Canyon Ferry Lake KOA: 81 Silos Road, Townsend
Vigilante Campground: located northeast of York
Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds: 98 West Custer Ave.

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