Fun Day Trips from Helena, Montana
Drive from Helena to Lincoln and take Flesher Pass. The scenery is gorgeous and there is this amazing overlook. Drive cautiously.
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In Lincoln, visit Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild. It is a fun international sculpture park.
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Admission is free and the park is open from dawn to dusk. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash!
Drive to Bannack State Park. It is a 2.5 hour drive but totally worth it. Check out my Jumprope on Bannack, which is an amazing ghost town!
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Drive out to the National Bison Range. It is open dawn to dusk and has wildlife viewing opportunities! Red Sleep Drive is only open seasonally though.
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Don't forget to bring your binoculars in case the bison and elk are far away. Sometimes they are right on the road though!
Drive to the college town of Missoula and explore! If you visit during the fall, be sure to go apple picking at Green Bench Orchard!
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For a hidden gem check out Melville Lutheran Church. Several people told me on Instagram they thought this picture was from Iceland!!
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Drive state highway 371 if you have a good vehicle & time to spare. There are gorgeous views of the crazy mountains and wildlife. Avoid private roads.
Go to the Helena National Forest. There are tons of access points, but look into places like Refrigerator Canyon and Trout Creek Canyon.
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Roughly 1.5 hours away, drive to Anaconda and see the famous Anaconda Smoke Stack. You can't go close but can see it via the state park and elsewhere.
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While you're in Anaconda, visit Lost Creek State Park, which is great for leaf peeping in the fall. The road is nice for Instagram shots.
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It is an easy walk to see Lost Creek Falls, ideal for the whole family. There is a longer trail we didn't try yet.
If you have time to spare, take the scenic route back by taking Pintler Veterans' Memorial Scenic Highway.
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2.5 hours away from Helena, you can go to Big Sky, where there are a lot of popular hikes, such as Ousel Falls.
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Here is a picture of Ousel Falls when it is raging in the spring. Be sure to pack bear spray!
Between Bozeman and Big Sky are other popular hikes we have yet to do, like Lava Lake or (pictured from the highway) Storm Castle.
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One hidden gem near Big Sky is Durnam Meadow. I love to stop for pictures and to walk a short way along the trail there
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If you head to Bozeman, be sure to visit the Museum of the Rockies, which has one of the world's largest dinosaur exhibits!
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Just outside Bozeman, you can see the Montana Grizzly Encounter. The bears were rescued from abusive or hopeless situations.
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70.2 miles from Helena you can see the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Go inside the cavern via a guided tour.
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Almost 2.5 hours from Helena you can visit Holland Lake. Make sure to choose the route that includes state highways 141 and 200 for a scenic drive.
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You can hike from Holland Lake to Holland Falls to see a lovely waterfall, as well as swoon-worthy panoramic views of the forest, lake, and mountains.
For another day trip, you can drive from Helena to Butte. Along the way, you can stop at the eclectic Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum.
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In Butte you can see the Berkeley Pit, an open-pit copper mine filled with toxic (but pretty!) wastewater.
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As this plaque shows, there are several things in Butte. See if you can spot the 90-ft high statue of Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking the town.
A very short drive from Helena, MacDonald Pass Recreation Area has pretty mountain views.
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18 miles from Helena is Gates of the Mountains, if you want to see a historic area and do a boat tour during the summer.
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Take a Day Trip to Great Falls. Along the way see First Peoples Buffalo Jump and much more, as featured in my Helena to Great Falls Jumprope.
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Helena is a cool city & about halfway between Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks, so it's worth a stay here, or worth using as a base to explore.
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