Courses listed below are from the 2015 race. Stay tuned for 2016 updates and changes!
This 2.6-mile course gains 430 feet in elevation and consists of 30 percent pavement and 70 percent trails. The 5k walk, run and dog walk follow this course.
The 5k starts at the intersection of Warren and Miller streets, a short walk from the Lewis & Clark Public Library, past the S.S. Helena Memorial and under Cruse Avenue. The course begins by running south up Warren Street to Pine Street, and turns left on Pine and right on Davis. It picks up the DeFord (wood chip) Trail and makes the left turn onto the Eagle Scout Trail. After descending the Pay Dirt Trail to the Beattie Street trailhead and through the hiker’s entrance, the course continues straight ahead on Beattie Street. It takes a left onto Second Street, a right at Chaucer Street, and another left onto State Street. The course stays on State until merging with Cruse Avenue. It stays left on Cruse until reaching the grassy triangle median. After angling across the grass, it turns onto the sidewalk along Park Avenue and makes a final right turn onto the Walking Mall to the finish line.
- Estimated average time to complete the 5k walk – 50 min.
- Estimated average time to complete the 5k run – 25 min.
Unfortunately, courses will not accommodate baby joggers and strollers. Dogs allowed only in the 5k dog walk and must be leashed at all times.
With 1,400 feet in elevation gain, this 7.2-mile course is not for the faint of heart. With less than one mile of pavement, this challenging course provides runners with a round-trip tour of some of the greatest running trails in Helena’s South Hills. The 12k walk and run follow this course.
The 12k starts at the intersection of Warren and Miller streets, a short walk from the Lewis & Clark Library past the S.S. Helena Memorial and under Cruse Avenue. The course begins by running south up Warren to Pine Street, turns left on Pine and right on Davis. It picks up the DeFord (wood chip) Trail and makes the left turn onto the Eagle Scout Trail. After negotiating the switchbacks, the course continues east to make a right turn on the Archery Range trail. Past the Archery Range, it swings uphill and over a small ridge, then down some switchbacks to Davis Gulch. After a sharp right turn onto the Davis Gulch Road, a trail appears down the embankment to the left (aid station will be here). The trail skirts the outside of the fence enclosing the old shooting range and begins a climb up some gentle switchbacks to Rodney Meadow. From the meadow, the course takes the TR Trail for a short climb up to the ridge. The TR Trail drops downhill for a ways and swings farther south before making a sharp right turn down a steeper pitch onto the Waterline Trail. It follows the Waterline for a ways to a sharp right turn up the Don’t Fence Me In Trail. This trail takes the course through some long switchbacks to the top of the ridge and then drops down toward Davis Gulch to pick up the Rodney Ridge Trail and a series of switchbacks first down and then sharply uphill.
This climb tops out just in time to get a great panoramic view of Helena and then descends to the Rodney Ridge trailhead. After passing through the gate, the course keeps left onto Sparta Street. Just before the intersection with Clancy Street, the course veers left onto the city maintenance road. It then climbs up and over a small ridge on a trail that descends toward Dale Harris Park. After crossing Cruse, the route goes along Park Avenue to the finish near the Lewis & Clark Public Library.
- Estimated average time to complete the 12k walk – 2.5 hours. The awards ceremony begins at noon. If attending the ceremony is important to you, please consider doing the 5k run.
- Estimated average time to complete the 12k run – 1.25 hours.
THE 30K COURSE HAS FEW WATER STATIONS AND IS NOT SUPPORTED. PLEASE PLAN APPROPRIATELY!
The 30k starts at the intersection of Warren and Miller streets, a short walk from the Lewis & Clark Library past the S.S. Helena Memorial and under Cruse Avenue. The course begins by running south up Warren to Pine Street, turns left on Pine and right on Davis. It picks up the DeFord (wood chip) Trail and makes the left turn onto the Eagle Scout Trail. After negotiating the switchbacks, the course continues east to make a right turn onto the Pale Rider Trail, continues across the Easy Rider Trail and uphill onto the 2006 Trail. After several switchbacks, the course takes the left fork onto the Porter Trail, and then a right turn when the trail hits the Mt. Ascension ridgeline.
This is the Entertainment Trail and it climbs steeply to the summit and proceeds along the ridge across another intermediate summit, down a short switchback section onto a very old Jeep road and into some trees. The trail angles to the right away from the Jeep road, traverses a slope through some trees and meadows. It comes to an intersection where the course takes the soft right downhill. This newly constructed portion of trail makes a sharp right turn and then a left onto the old trail. This trail is a fast downhill to the intersection with the Archery Trail. The course keeps left at the junction and continues down to Davis Gulch.
After crossing the Davis Gulch Road, a trail appears down the embankment to the right. The trail skirts the outside of the fence enclosing the old shooting range and begins a climb up some gentle switchbacks to Rodney Meadow. From the meadow, the course takes the second trail on the right and stays right at a “Y” for a short climb up to the ridge. The trail drops downhill for a ways and swings through two wide switchbacks.
NEW COURSE: Avoiding the right turn on the Waterline Trail (12k course), the trail comes to a four-way intersection. Take the LEFT TURN onto the new Waterline extension trail. ***If you hit the paved Orofino Gulch road, you missed the turn and are now off course.*** The trail stays above the road for a ways before dropping down to the road shoulder. The course continues on the shoulder a few yards to cross Arrastra Gulch and then angles to the left to continue on the Waterline extension for another quarter of a mile. The trail swings up to the road shoulder to the Barking Dog aid station. Crossing the road carefully, the trail picks up on the other side of the road. This trail is the Barking Dog extension and stays close to the road until it ties into the old Barking Dog Trail.
The course proceeds up the Barking Dog Trail to Wakina Sky Meadow and the Wakina Sky intersection. At this intersection, the course takes a left (west) and then a quick right onto the Stairway to Heaven Trail. This trail follows a ridge line before swinging down to the right through some lazy switchbacks to the Wakina Sky Road. A right turn on the road brings the course to the Wakina Sky Trail up the gulch and back to the meadow. From the Wakina Sky intersection, the course again turns west but passes the Stairway to Heaven Trail and continues west into trees and many switchbacks down to Grizzly Gulch.
At the gulch, it makes a right turn (caution: no traffic control here) and follows the dirt road for about a quarter mile to the Mini Ridge Trail. A left turn off of the road and another left turn, about five yards past the fence line, takes the course onto singletrack Emmett’s Trail. This trail winds through forest uphill to the Mt. Helena Ridge Trail. With a right turn onto the Ridge Trail, the course heads back toward Mt. Helena. Stay on the ridge, ignoring trails that drop off to the side, and follow the Ridge Trail all the way to its junction with the 1906 Trail. The Ridge Trail enters Mt. Helena City Park, and passes the Prairie Trail to the left and the Backside Trail to the right before it climbs to the 1906 Trail junction. The 1906 Trail takes the course to the summit of Mt. Helena.
After descending the Hogback Ridge and Prospect Shafts trails the course drops into a field just above the houses of Reeder’s Village. It takes a right onto a secondary trail that goes through a break in a fence, between two houses and onto paved road in the subdivision. By keeping to the left on the first road and then veering right onto the second, the course gets back onto a trail that again passes between two houses. It descends across a paved cul de sac onto a few more yards of dirt trail and then onto pavement that goes under the Howie Street bridge past the old Stonehouse Restaurant. The course makes a right turn onto the bricks of historic Reeder’s Alley and crosses Park Avenue to the finish line.
- Estimated average time to complete the 30k run – 3-4 hours. The awards ceremony begins at noon. If attending the ceremony is important to you, please consider a different course.
- In consideration of our volunteers, 11 a.m. is set as the cutoff time for the 30k at the Mini Ridge aid station #2. Runners arriving after that time will be asked to discontinue their race and take an alternate route to the finish.