Helena Montana

A rich history, a booming cultural scene, and 43 city parks are just some of the things that Helena Montana boasts. The capital of Montana, Helena can be found just east of the Continental Divide in the west-central part of the state. With the mountains close by, outdoor recreational activities like hiking and skiing are popular things to do in Helena. Boat tours on the nearby Missouri River are also featured on many Helena travel itineraries, and they afford visitors the chance to see the Gates of the Mountains. This Lewis and Clark Trail landmark consists of a series of canyon walls that rise up around the Missouri River near Helena. When Lewis and Clark passed through the canyons, they saw them as a natural gate to the highlands. When you're not out enjoying the natural sights in and around Helena Montana, you can enjoy the in-town attractions, which include a number of art galleries.

Helena Montana was once a very rich city, which has a lot to do with the fact that people were finding gold here in the 1800s. By 1888, there were reportedly 50 millionaires who called Helena home, which was more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world at the time. Take a stroll through the city's Mansion District, and you can see some of the opulent homes that these millionaires built. The Governor's Mansion is among the more recognizable mansions in this district, and it was built in 1888. Ten governors called the Governor's Mansion home between the years of 1913 and 1959, but now it acts more as a museum. Speaking of museums, anyone looking to learn more about Helena's history, and the history of Montana for that matter, won't want to miss the Montana Historical Society Museum. It's recommended that you enjoy a trip on the Last Chance Tour Train when visiting the Montana Historical Society Museum. These hour-long tours take to the streets of Helena, and important attractions are highlighted along the way.

You can continue your walk through history in Helena by enjoying a self-guided tour at the Montana State Capitol. A Greek neoclassical building, the Montana State Capitol was completed in 1902 and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can also enjoy guided tours at the Montana State Capitol, and they focus on the building's architecture, its present-day function, its history, and the ornate art found throughout it. The painting, Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross' Hole is of particular interest, and it was done by the famous Western artist, Charles M. Russell. Russell, who was born in St. Louis, came to Montana when he was 16, and he called Great Falls home for much of his life. The Montana Historical Society Museum and the Montana State Capitol can be found in close proximity, so you can easily visit one right after the other.

When you're not visiting historical sites, ducking into art galleries, or perhaps taking in some of the performing arts on Helena vacations, enjoying some outdoor recreation is always an option. As is true of every Montana city and town towards the western part of the state, Helena offers its residents and visitors a myriad of outdoor adventures to take advantage of. In the winter, the Great Divide Ski Area, which is just 20 miles away, can satisfy both beginning and advanced skiers and snowboarders with its 60-plus runs. In addition to adding skiing to your wintertime Helena travel plans, you can also consider snowmobiling. There are three major trail systems for snowmobiles within a half-hour's drive of Helena, so you can explore a bunch of terrain. Towards the summer months, Helena vacations can involve fishing on the area lakes and streams or hiking on the Continental Divide Trail. Should hiking figure among your Helena travel plans, you're also bound to be doing some wildlife viewing, as bighorn sheep, black bears, elk, moose, mountain goats, and other animals are quite prevalent in the area.

Helena vacations are all about enjoying a slice of Western life, not to mention a slice of the great outdoors, and they truly have something for everyone. You can go camping in and around Helena, book one of the downtown Helena hotels, or stay at a nearby dude ranch, among other lodging options, and since there is a major airport close to town, getting here is easy. Helena Montana, or The Queen City of the Rockies as it is also known, will impress you on many different levels, and you're bound to find yourself wanting to return.

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