Helena, like any city surrounded by moutains and a national forest, has amazing hiking close to town. Here are a few of the nearby trails that we recommend:
Not every city gets to claim an entire mountain as a city park. Mount Helena, though, is Helena's largest and tallest city park. It rises 1,300 feet above the city and is home to a number of trails. There are great views from the summit and you can see pretty much all of Helena and the surrounding valley.
For a nice loop hike that is about 4-miles long, take the 1906 Trail to the summit and then come down the Prospect Shafts Trail.
The trail is located south of downtown Helena. Drive south on Park Avenue until you see the sign for Mount Helena City Park and Reeders Village. Drive up through the subdivision to the dirt parking lot. All trails are nicely marked.
The Ridge Trail
For a longer hike that ties into Mount Helena, try the Ridge Trail (sometimes called the Ridgeline Trail). It’s a 7.5-mile through-hike that follows a ridge to Mount Helena. After the initial uphill stretch it’s a fairly easy day hike with great views.
To do this hike, you’ll need to set up a shuttle. To reach the upper trailhead, drive south on Park Avenue until it forks. Take the right fork and drive 4.1 miles up Grizzly Gulch to where another road veers off to the right. The upper trailhead (called Park City Trailhead) is half a mile up this road. Look for a small sign marking the direction to the trail and the right turn. From this trailhead, follow trail 373 to Mount Helena. From there you can take the 1906 trail to the summit and then drop down to the Mount Helena Parking lot.
South Hills Trail System and Mt. Ascension
The Prickly Pear Land Trust has been busy building amazing hiking trails that thread their way around the edges of the south side of Helena. For a great hike with a great view, hop on the trails pretty much anywhere and make your way to the top of Mt. Ascension. It should be about 5 to 7 miles depending on where you start. The complete map of the South Hills Trail System can be viewed here.