Montana's state capital city is a "Helena" good time, research suggests. All (bad) jokes aside, the trip to Helena, Montana is a favorite for residents in the state of Montana, as well as for Americans in neighboring states like North Dakota, Idaho, and Wyoming. The city was forged from the early American gold rush. In the 19th century, the pricy metal was found and mined in Last Chance Gulch--the same place that host's the city's present day Main Street. Today, the 41st state sees constant visitors due to some beautiful views and interesting attractions.
What is the Capital of Montana?
Helena is the state capital of Montana and features the Montana state capitol building as the functional seat of the state government and meetinghouse for politicians in the state senate or house of representatives, according to the Montana Historical Society.
This city is the seat of Lewis and Clark County and lies on the Western end of the United States. The Helena metro area borders nearby bodies of water like the Missouri River and Lake Helena. What's more, the city is an easy go-between for other favorite Montana cities like Bozeman, Butte, Big Sky, Virginia City, or Anaconda. Helena is also in the middle of well-known parks like Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.
Helena's unique American culture and history began after the area was first scouted by the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1805. Montana history teaches that Helena was named after the Minnesota town by the same name. Helena, MT was chosen as the state's capital due to its importance during the early American mining boom. Natural gas and precious metals like gold, silver, lead, and zinc were discovered--this became very useful to the U.S. states and nation as a whole during World War I.
In 2019, the population of Helena was estimated at 33,000 people making it the sixth most populous city in Montana behind places like Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, and Bozeman.
5 Reasons to Visit Helena, Montana
1. Gates of the Mountains
In 1805, Lewis and Clark coined this name and it's stuck ever since. This stretch of the Missouri River features the looming Rocky Mountains that part ways for the river's running water. Many visitors opt to enjoy the tour by boat. The tour boats known as the "Canyon Voyager" or the "Sacajawea" bring guests through the river to view scenic sites and wildlife like Bighorn sheep, Mountain Goats, Ospreys, bald and golden eagles, falcons, otters, beaver, mountain lions, black bears, and other wild animals.
2. Elkhorn State Park
Elkhorn State Park is home to Elkhorn Ghost Town where visitors can see the ruins of a 19th century mining village. The area has been preserved by the park for education and historical examples of frontier architecture. The park is also great for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife interaction.
3. Great Divide Ski Area
Traveling to Montana in the Winter? Skiing, snowboarding, and other Winter sports are very popular in the state as well as in Helena. The Great Divide Ski Area is just 30 minutes Northwest of the city of Helena. So, visitors in Helena can allocate as little as half a day to the ski area or hit it each day they're in town.
4. Mount Helena
The Mount Helena City Park comes to a peak at 5,468 feet above sea level and about 1,300 feet above the Last Chance Gulch Mall. Mount Helena makes for a great view from the top. What's more, the city park offers many hiking trails for hikers of all skill levels. Mount Helena is located right in town which makes for easy access at any point during a tourist's stay.
5. Taste Helena
Helena, MT has some delicious, local food and drink options that all visitors should be privy to when staying in town. Places to eat include spots like The Breakfast Club, El Vaquero Taqueria, Bert & Ernie's Sports Pub. Adults can grab drinks at establishments like Gulch Distillers or Lewis & Clark Brewing Company. Even places like the Broadwater Hot Springs have great food and drinks. The city has much on offer to keep visitors drinking, eating, and making merry while on an educational and nature-filled expedition through Helena.
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