My favorite part about living right in town is that I can pretend that urban sprawl has skipped Helena, Montana. It hasn’t, but the old downtown part of Helena butts right up against hills and mountains that are protected from development. The city stops and open space begins. No big housing developments, just mountains. The mountain that has defined Helena since the town was founded during the gold rush is Mt. Helena.
Mt. Helena is actually a city park, thanks to the foresight of the Helena Improvement Society, who started buying the land in 1903. By 1906 they’d purchased 360 acres; today the city owns close to 1,000. I’m on the mountain at least twice a week, pretty much all year long, so I’m plenty grateful to those long ago city improvers.
I hiked to the top a couple of days ago and thought I’d share some pictures from that hike.
I headed up the Prospect Shafts Trail on the south side of the mountain. The trail is lined with old adits (exploratory holes) that the miners dug more than a hundred years ago.
Views from the summit, 5,468 ft., 1300 feet above town: