When it comes to cycling nirvana, few spots in Montana offer as much variety as the Mt Helena Trail Network. Situated just a pedal stroke away from downtown Helena, this extensive trail system encompasses scenic beauty, technical challenge, and delightful flow. It's the kind of destination where multiple trails offer the opportunity to customize the experience to one's liking.
While the system is rife with options, two trails typically catch the attention: the 1906 Trail and the Prairie Trail. Both are climbs but offer contrasting experiences.
Following a more traditional trajectory, the 1906 trail offers a steady ascent. It's a leg burner but less of a rollercoaster compared to its counterpart.
Ironically mostly ensconced among pines rather than prairie, this trail ascends, dips, and forces you to reclaim lost altitude. A blend of physical and mental test, it keeps you on your toes, literally.
For those seeking the highest reward, a summit push is doable, although the final pitch can be too challenging to ride. Yet, the vistas from the top are a worthy payoff, followed by an exhilarating downhill journey.
Head south from downtown Helena and follow signs leading to Mt Helena City Park.
Not for the faint-hearted or those allergic to climbs, the Mt Helena Trail Network is an intermediate rider's playground. With varying degrees of difficulty, natural beauty, and the convenience of its location, it captures the essence of Montana mountain biking. As one rider put it, this network offers a "different experience every time you visit," making it a top-ranking destination in the mountain biking community.