If you are looking for classic trails to ride with vast views and moderate climbs, Helena is the place to be. The trail systems here can be reached right from town and linked every which way. The trail systems here are similar to Lake Tahoe's Rim Trail with views of Canyon Ferry Lake, the city of Helena and rolling mountain vistas filled with wild flowers. Dylan and I left Bozeman on whim searching for a car camping mountain bike adventure. This trip began with little to no planning. A couple quick txts and a rack of beer in the cooler and we were off after a Friday's work. Once arriving in Helena, we stopped at "The Garage" for some quick beta and direction. We were pointed to the Mount Helena Trail.
With darkness setting in, we decided to explore camping off Highway 12 on Rimini Rd. We passed Tenmile and Moose Creek Campgrounds to find a primitive spot. The 4x4 road systems are never ending and can get very technical. We found a nice turnout, set up shop, built a fire, enjoyed some refreshments and solved the worlds problems. There is plenty of cut wood laying around to keep the fire stoke high. We experienced light rain throughout the evening but stayed dry. This rain in return created perfect conditions for the trails. Everything is so green and the trails are grippy.
To begin the ride, we made our way back into Helena and onto Park Avenue from Highway 12. Continue on Park Avenue until reaching Dump Gulch Trailhead. This parking lot sets riders up for Mount Helena City Park trail systems and road access to Orofino, Wakina Sky and Grizzley Gulch trail systems. For the all inclusive afternoon ride, gear up and ride onward, leaving Dump Gulch Trailhead and left onto Wakina Sky Road. *This road is private for motorized vehicles but public for mountain bike access. Continue on the road until it turns into Wakina Sky Trail. There are a few trail access points initially off the road but stay on the road until in naturally turns into Wakina Sky Trail and follow this until it leads back to Grizzly Gulch Road.
Continue up Grizzly Gulch Road another mile and a half until taking a right onto Prospector Gulch Road to Mount Helena Ridge Trailhead. After a short series of switchbacks to gain the ridge, you are riding smooth single track. Continue about two miles until reaching Mini Ridge Trail. Descend here and take Emmett's Trail shortly after for the descent (riders right on Mini Ridge Trail). Once arriving at Grizzly Gulch Road, immediately turn around and climb up Mini Ridge Trail, riders right back up to Mount Helena Ridge. This is a quick and fun downhill adding to your day's ride. Once back on top of Mount Helena Ridge Trail, continue downhill to Show Me The Horse trail and descend here back to Grizzly Gulch Road and further down the road back to Dump Gulch Trailhead. This is roughly 4 hours of glorious, flowy, single track.