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Mt Helena Ridge Trail

Intermediate
 4.6 (5)

Long ridge traverse with 360 views; a must-do in Helena.


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Map Key

5.6

Miles

9.0

KM

Singletrack

5,821' 1,774 m

High

5,018' 1,530 m

Low

737' 225 m

Up

908' 277 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Description

The 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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes

#4559

Overall
  4.6 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#54

in Montana

#4,559

Overall
85 Views Last Month
6,253 Since Aug 4, 2013
Intermediate

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Photos

Enjoy the wild flowers as you climb the south flank of Mt. Helena.
Jul 16, 2018 near Helena…, MT
The Mt Helena Ridge has many high meadow sections with amazing views
Aug 4, 2013 near Helena…, MT
First quick meadow traverse after getting to the top of the initial climb to Mt Helena Ridge
Aug 4, 2013 near Helena…, MT
Across the big sky on a long open run on Mt Helena Ridge
Aug 4, 2013 near Helena…, MT
The initial climb up the Mt Helena Ridge trail.
Aug 4, 2013 near Helena…, MT
Singletrack through the trees on Mt. Helena Ridge
May 28, 2016 near Helena…, MT

Weather


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Check-Ins

Jul 11, 2019
Erik Haivala
Aug 12, 2018
Ephy Bateman
Jun 24, 2018
Chuck McQuade