“Long ridge traverse with 360 views; a must-do in Helena.”
— Leslie Kehmeier on Aug 4, 2013
DescriptionThe Mt Helena Ridge trail is accessed at its namesake trailhead on Prospector Gulch Rd, 5.5 miles from downtown Helena.
The route is the heart of many different rides, often connecting to Wakina Sky or Mt Helena City Park. In summer the Trail Rider, a free shuttle from downtown is a great way to access the trail for a point-to-point ride. Check Bike Helena for shuttle status.
The trail climbs straight up initially and then settles into steady pedaling across open slopes towards the first taste of the ridge. After a punchy and loose climb to reach the top, the route drops into and across a saddle.
From here Mt Helena Ridge jumps in and out of pine stands as it starts its first descent. The grade is mellow at first and then transitions to steep and loose. As the grade rolls flat, you'll pass the intersection for Mini-Ridge and Emmet's and then continue on through the trees.
The route rolls on the contour for a bit, uphill at first and then descending. After breaking out into the open briefly, the trail dives back into the trees, down a quick, steep rocky descent and screams across a hidden meadow. It will seem like you'll be in for another steep grunt up the other side; luckily the route bangs right and takes up contouring again.
The next section traverses an open grassy hillside with amazing views all around. Carving left, notice the route below, as the ridge drops so will you.
Before a long open straightaway, pass the junction for Show Me the Horse, a great option for descending the ridge before getting into Mt Helena City Park.
At the end of the flat run, duck left into the trees and then pop out again for yet another high meadow. From here it's mostly open and a bit more rocky until the intersection with South Dump Gulch.
Mt Helena Ridge has many finishing options including South Dump Gulch to McKelvey or West End - Backside - Prospect Shafts. If riding the latter option, be ready for encountering a variety of other trail users.
ContactsLand Manager: USFS - Helena National Forest Office
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