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20 Trails Within 20 Miles of Helena, Montana Perfect for a Day Trip


Growing up in the Helena area, it was always a must to go hike MT Helena every so often. Whether friends were visiting or you just needed a quick trip to stretch your legs, the little mountain has yet to disappoint. Now older, wiser, and with access to my own car, I’ve gotten a little more choosey with my hikes, and found a few more that I’d recommend!


Check these out the next time you need a quick day hike, and make sure you turn around if you see a snow bank and don’t have a four-wheel drive, these aren’t all winter friendly!



Hiking Montana Trails

Mount Helena Ridge Trail: This 4.4-mile trail offers excellent views of Helena and the surrounding area. The Mount Helena Ridge Trail is a popular 4.4-mile hike that offers excellent views of Helena and the surrounding area. The trail is located on the south side of Mount Helena and provides hikers with a challenging climb up to the top of the ridge. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with several switchbacks and steep sections that require a good level of fitness and hiking experience. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers, towering trees, and stunning views of the Helena Valley. At the top of the ridge, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, including the Continental Divide and the Sleeping Giant mountain range. One of the highlights of the Mount Helena Ridge Trail is the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and a variety of bird species. The trail is also popular with mountain bikers and trail runners, who enjoy the challenging terrain and stunning scenery.


1906 Trail: The 1906 Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Helena, Montana. It is named after the year when the city suffered a devastating fire that burned down much of the city's business district. The trail is approximately 2.6 miles long and offers a steady climb up the south side of Mount Helena, providing hikers with stunning views of the city.


Prairie Trail: This 3.3-mile trail is located in Spring Meadow Lake State Park and offers a peaceful hike through the prairie landscape. As you walk along the trail, you'll have the opportunity to take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the lake. The trail is relatively flat and easy, making it an ideal option for hikers of all skill levels. Keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls this area home, including deer, elk, and a variety of bird species.


Rodney Ridge Trail: This 3.7-mile trail is a challenging hike that takes you to the top of Rodney Ridge, offering great views of the surrounding area. The trail is steep and rocky, so be prepared for a strenuous climb. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Helena Valley and the surrounding mountains. This trail is a popular option for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenging workout and breathtaking views.


Hogback Ridge Trail: This 4.4-mile trail is a challenging hike that takes you up Hogback Ridge, offering great views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is steep and rocky and requires a bit of scrambling in some places, so be prepared for a strenuous climb. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. This trail is a popular option for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenging workout and breathtaking views.


Crabapple Ridge Trail: This 1.7-mile trail is a relatively easy hike up Crabapple Ridge, offering great views of the surrounding area. The trail is well-maintained and relatively flat, making it an ideal option for hikers of all skill levels. As you walk along the trail, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and lush vegetation. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Helena Valley and the surrounding mountains.


Elkhorn Trail: This 8.7-mile trail is a challenging hike through the Elkhorn Mountains, offering great views of the surrounding area. The trail is steep and rocky in places and requires a good level of fitness and hiking experience. As you walk along the trail, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers, towering trees, and stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. This trail is a popular option for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenging workout and breathtaking views.


High Ore Trail: This 8.1-mile trail is a challenging hike through the forests and meadows of the Continental Divide, offering great views of the surrounding area. The trail is steep and rocky in places and requires a good level of fitness and hiking experience. As you walk along the trail, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers, towering trees, and stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. This trail is a popular option for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenging workout and breathtaking views.


Lincoln Hills Trail: This 2.7-mile trail is a peaceful hike through the forests and meadows of Lincoln Hills, offering great views of the surrounding area. The trail is relatively flat and easy, making it an ideal option for hikers of all skill levels. As you walk along the trail, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and towering trees. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Helena Valley and the surrounding mountains.


Mount Ascension Trail: The Mount Ascension Trail is a popular 3.3-mile hike that provides a challenging climb up to the top of Mount Ascension. The trail is steep and rocky in places, requiring hikers to have a good level of fitness and hiking experience. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of Helena and the surrounding area, including the Helena Valley, the Sleeping Giant mountain range, and the Continental Divide. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with several switchbacks and steep sections that offer a great workout for hikers.


Scratchgravel Hills Trail: The Scratchgravel Hills Trail is a 4.6-mile hike that offers a challenging climb through the rugged terrain of the Scratchgravel Hills. The trail is steep and rocky in places, requiring hikers to have a good level of fitness and hiking experience. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Helena Valley, the Sleeping Giant mountain range, and the Continental Divide. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with several switchbacks and steep sections that offer a great workout for hikers.


South Hills Trail: The South Hills Trail is a 3.7-mile hike that offers a peaceful hike through the forests and meadows of the South Hills. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with gentle inclines and a few steeper sections that provide a moderate workout for hikers. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Helena Valley and the Sleeping Giant mountain range. The trail is popular with hikers and trail runners, who enjoy the peaceful scenery and moderate terrain.


Summit Trail: The Summit Trail is a 2.7-mile hike that offers a steep climb up to the summit of Mount Helena. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with several switchbacks and steep sections that require a good level of fitness and hiking experience. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of Helena and the surrounding area, including the Helena Valley, the Sleeping Giant mountain range, and the Continental Divide. The trail is popular with hikers and trail runners, who enjoy the challenging terrain and breathtaking scenery.


Old Shooting Range Trail: The Old Shooting Range Trail is a 2.2-mile hike that offers a peaceful hike through the forests and meadows of Spring Meadow Lake State Park. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with gentle inclines and a few steeper sections that provide a moderate workout for hikers. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Helena Valley and the Sleeping Giant mountain range. The trail is popular with hikers and families, who enjoy the peaceful scenery and moderate terrain.


Archery Range Trail: The Archery Range Trail is a 1.1-mile hike that offers a peaceful hike through the forests and meadows of Spring Meadow Lake State Park. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with gentle inclines and a few steeper sections that provide a moderate workout for hikers. As you make your way up the trail, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Helena Valley and the Sleeping Giant mountain range. The trail is popular with hikers and families, who enjoy the peaceful scenery and moderate terrain.


Mount Helena City Park Loop Trail: This 5.6-mile loop trail is located within the heart of Mount Helena City Park, and offers a challenging hike through the forests and meadows of the park. The trailhead starts at the historic Reeder's Alley and offers panoramic views of the city of Helena, the Helena Valley, and the surrounding mountains. The trail gradually ascends to the top of Mount Helena, where hikers can enjoy stunning views from the summit. The loop trail is well-marked and offers benches and picnic areas along the way. The trail can be accessed year-round and is a popular destination for hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers.


Centennial Trail: This 2.7-mile trail follows the banks of the Prickly Pear Creek and is located just south of Helena. The trail offers a peaceful hike through a mix of grasslands, forests, and meadows, and provides great views of the surrounding area. The trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it a popular destination for families with children and individuals seeking a relaxing hike. The trail is open year-round and is especially beautiful during the fall season when the leaves on the trees start to change color.


Prairie View Trail: This 1.1-mile trail is located within Spring Meadow Lake State Park, and offers a peaceful hike through the park's prairie landscape. The trailhead starts near the park's visitor center and offers great views of the surrounding mountains and Helena Valley. The trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it a popular destination for families with children and individuals seeking a relaxing hike. The trail is open year-round and is especially beautiful during the spring and summer seasons when wildflowers are in bloom.


Fox Ridge Trail: This 1.1-mile trail is located within Spring Meadow Lake State Park, and offers a peaceful hike through the park's forests and meadows. The trailhead starts near the park's visitor center and offers great views of the surrounding mountains and Helena Valley. The trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it a popular destination for families with children and individuals seeking a relaxing hike. The trail is open year-round and is especially beautiful during the fall season when the leaves on the trees start to change color.


Upper Mount Ascension Trail: This 2.5-mile trail is a steep climb up to the top of Mount Ascension, offering hikers great views of Helena and the surrounding area. The trailhead starts at the end of the Lower Mount Ascension Trail and follows a rocky and steep path through forests and meadows. The trail is challenging, and hikers should be prepared for a workout. The trail is open year-round, but hikers should exercise caution during the winter months when the trail can be icy and slippery. At the summit, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of Helena and the surrounding mountains.


Montana Trails

Hiking in Montana: Tips to Remember and the Best Hiking Shoes


Montana is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, with its rugged terrain, breathtaking vistas, and diverse wildlife. But before you embark on a hiking adventure, it's essential to keep in mind a few things to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to remember when hiking in Montana:


Watch out for bears


Montana is bear country, and it's essential to be bear aware. Carry bear spray, make noise while hiking, and learn about bear behavior before hitting the trail. It's also advisable to hike in groups, especially in bear country.


Bring sun spray


Montana is higher in the ozone, and the sun can be intense. It's crucial to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn and other skin damage.


Beware of rattlesnakes


Rattlesnakes are common in Montana's grasslands and desert areas, and it's essential to watch your step and stay on the trail. Wear sturdy hiking boots and pants to protect your legs and feet.


Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes


One of the most critical factors for a successful and enjoyable hiking experience is having the right footwear. A good pair of hiking shoes will protect your feet, provide support, and offer traction on a variety of terrain.





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