For a detailed list of all Helena has to offer in the area of outdoor recreation for all seasons, see Visit Helena’s wonderful site! And if you want a full rundown of what trails are available in Helena, be sure to check out Prickly Pear Land Trust!
Mount Helena City Park at its peak is 5,468 feet above sea level and about 1,300 feet above the Last Chance Gulch Mall. There is a parking lot with information kiosk available at the trailhead. There are many trails on Mount Helena:
This well designed trail has offered the easiest and most direct route to the top of the mountain for over 70 years. It follows the base of the limestone cliffs for a while, and passes the Devil’s Kitchen.
The Prairie Trail
This trail was named for the beautiful prairie wildflowers that bloom along its length, and it is perhaps the best place to see the cliffs and to enjoy the park’s remarkably varied north-slope landscapes. The colors here are always beautiful, but especially when the wildflowers are in bloom and near sunset or sunrise.
The Backside Trail
An interesting trail passing through a typically open and grassy woodland of ponderosa pine. You’ll notice that the pines at the trail’s western end have a little fire-blackening at the base of their trunks. Quick burning grass fires are a frequent visitor to such woodlands, and the pines are well adapted to thrive in spite of it.
The Hogback Trail
A rather rough and rocky trail that leads from the peak of the mountain southward along the exposed Hogback Ridge. It is a lot more fun to go down this trail than to go up, but it offers spectacular views in all directions, and the closest thing to a wind-swept alpine experience to be had on our little mountain.
The Prospector Shafts Trail
Named for the prospector shafts about half-way along its length. This is a long and very interesting trail that winds through a wide variety of landscapes, and which makes a lot of unexpected twists and turns. A fine way to explore the recently acquired southeast quarter of the park.
The West End Trail
This is the most remote part of the park. The trail leads through a beautiful little meadow in the saddle between Mount Helena itself and the next prominent bump along the ridge. It is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon.
The Ridge Trail
This scenic trail is perfect for hiking and biking. The entire trail is approximately 13.2 miles and runs from the parking lot at Mount Helena City Park up to Park City and back. Bike Helena now runs the Trail Rider, Helena’s free community bike shuttle, to the trailhead. The Trail Rider runs five days a week (Wednesday-Sunday) from mid May until the end of September. Pick up is at women’s mural. Trail Rider also goes to Arrowroot and CDT. Full schedule can be found at Bike Helena’s website, here. No pets allowed on the Trail Rider.
Trail information courtesy of the Montana Official State Travel Site.