General Information for All Courses
- All running and walking events begin at the intersection of Warren and Miller Streets. Walking north on the walking mall from the race registration booth, keep to the right past the S.S. Helena Memorial (a really BIG anchor) and go through the tunnel beneath Cruse Avenue and up a short hill to Warren Street. For details, click on the DFMI Trailhead Map or take a look at the map at the registration booth when you arrive.
- All courses are flagged with a unique color or color combination attached to branches, sign poles and other existing objects, or to wire pin flags planted in the ground where other objects are absent. The more winding and forested course segments, and sharp turns will be more heavily flagged.
- Course guards will be at key points, but not every intersection. Know the course!
- Unfortunately, none of the courses will accommodate baby joggers
- Dogs are allowed only in the 5K Dog Walk and must be leashed at all times. Please be prepared to clean up after your dog.
Click HERE to take a “virtual run” or to download the 5K course to your GPS or phone.
- Start times: Run/Walk: 10:30 AM, Dog Walk: 10:45 AM
- Flag color for the 5K: orange
- One water/aid station
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 all follow this course.
The 5K course begins by running south (up) Warren Street for three blocks, turning left on Pine Street for approximately three blocks and right on Davis Street. The course connects with Deford Trail (known locally as the Wood Chip Trail) on the left side of Davis Street and follows the second left turn onto Eagle Scout Trail. After negotiating the switchbacks to the intersection with Pay Dirt Trail at the Porcupine Flats Aid Station, the course descends down Pay Dirt to the Beattie Street Trailhead. Continuing through the hiker’s entrance, the course continues straight ahead on Beattie Street for three blocks. It takes a left onto 2nd Street for one block, a right at Chaucer Street for two blocks, and then 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
Running: 25 minutes
Walking: 50 minutes
Click HERE to take a “virtual run” or to download the 12K course to your GPS or phone.
- Start time: 10:00 AM
- Flag color combination for the 12K: orange and green
- Three water/aid stations
With a total elevation gain of nearly 1,400 feet, 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. Both the 12K walk and run follow this course.
The 12K course begins by running south (up) Warren Street for three blocks, turning left on Pine Street for three blocks and right on Davis Street. The course connects with Deford Trail (known locally as the Wood Chip Trail) on the left side of Davis Street and follows the second left turn onto Eagle Scout Trail. After negotiating the switchbacks, the course continues east to make a right turn on the Archery Range Trail at the Porcupine Flats Aid Station. Past the actual Archery Range, it swings uphill and over a small ridge, then down some switchbacks to Davis Gulch Road. After a sharp right turn onto the Davis Gulch Road, a trail leads down the embankment to the left and the Davis Gulch Aid Station. The trail skirts the outside of the fence enclosing the old shooting range and begins a climb up gentle switchbacks to Rodney Meadow. From the meadow, the course follows the TR Trail for a short climb up to the ridge. The TR Trail drops downhill and swings farther south before making a sharp right turn down a steeper pitch onto the Waterline Trail. Continue on the Waterline Trail to a sharp right turn up the Don’t Fence Me In Trail at the Waterline Aid Station. This trail takes the course through some long switchbacks to the top of the ridge and then drops back down toward Davis Gulch to pick up the Rodney Ridge Trail and a series of switchbacks first down and then sharply uphill.
Enjoy a fine panoramic view of Helena at the top of this climb before descending 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 winding trail that descends toward Dale Harris Park. After crossing Cruse, the route turns left and before continuing to the right 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.
Click HERE to take a “virtual run” or to download the 30K course to your GPS or phone.
THE 30K COURSE HAS FEW WATER STATIONS AND IS NOT SUPPORTED. PLEASE PLAN APPROPRIATELY!
- Start time: 7:30 AM
- Flag color combination for the 30K: pink, yellow and blue
- There are two water/aid stations on the 30K course; it is not otherwise supported. PLEASE PLAN APPROPRIATELY, particularly if race day is a warm one!
- Portions of the course have been re-routed from past years. Please carefully review the course map and description to understand the new route!
The Don’t Fence Me In 30K Trail Run is a test of endurance. The course rambles from rolling dense pine forest to open rocky ridges with a total elevation gain of approximately 4,300 feet.
The 30K course begins by running south (up) Warren Street for three blocks, turning left on Pine Street for approximately three blocks and right on Davis Street. The course connects with Deford Trail (known locally as the Wood Chip Trail) on the left side of Davis Street and follows the second left turn onto Eagle Scout Trail. After negotiating the switchbacks, the course continues east and makes a right turn onto Pail Rider Trail, continues across the Easy Rider Trail and uphill onto 2006 Trail. After several switchbacks, the course takes the left fork onto Mt. Ascension Loop Trail and then a right turn up the ridge.
The point where the Loop Trail meets the Mt. Ascension ridgeline is the beginning of Entertainment Trail. It climbs steeply to the summit, 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, and 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 Range Trail. NOTE: For your safety, please keep left on the lower downhill section of Entertainment Trail. The course stays left at the junction of Entertainment and Archery Range Trails, and continues through a few switchbacks to Davis Gulch Road.
After a sharp right turn onto Davis Gulch Road, Rodney Meadow Trail will be visible down the embankment to the left. The trail skirts the outside of the fenced former shooting range (now a parking lot and trailhead) and begins a climb up gentle switchbacks to Rodney Meadow. In the meadow, the course stays straight past two right turns. Continue past the TR Trail for about 50 yards to a left onto Roger Fuchs Trail. Stay on Roger Fuchs Trail for about 50 yards to a right turn onto Rodney Ridge (Rent Money) Trail. NOTE: Rent Money is the segment of the Rodney Ridge Trail between the Roger Fuchs and Pinchot Trails but it is not uniquely signed. This trail makes several switchbacks climbing to the junction before straightening and crossing the Rodney Ridge Trail and connecting with the Pinchot Trail. Turn right on Pinchot Trail winding down slope to TR Trail. NOTE: Trail crews reconfigured the Pinchot Trail in 2016 to include switchbacks. Pay close attention to the flagging here to remain on course. Turn left on TR Trail.
Continue winding downhill on the TR Trail to Orofino Gulch Road and the Orofino Gulch Aid Station NOTE: Do not take the turn(s) onto the Waterline Trail. Cross the road carefully!
Following the course flagging from the aid station, stay on the road for 20 yards and find Evans Trail on the left (west) side of Orofino Gulch Road. Take this trail, cross the bridge and follow it up to the ridge to an intersection with the Black Forest Trail. At this 4-way intersection, take a gentle left turn onto Black Forest Trail following it across the meadow and to Wakina Sky Road. Turn right onto the dirt road and continue for about 900 yards. There is a dirt road connecting to the Wakina Sky Road from the left. Take a left here and look immediately for Wakina Ridge Trail (known locally as Dazed and Confused Trail) turning sharply left up the slope. Follow this trail up several long switchbacks to the ridge, keeping left at the first trail junction. Stay on the ridge past the Stairway to Heaven Trail. In Wakina Sky Meadow, turn right on Wakina Sky Trail (known locally as the Goat Trail) and continue west into the trees and through many switchbacks down to Grizzly Gulch Road.
At Grizzly Gulch, a gravel public road, the course makes a right turn (NOTE: 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 15 yards past the fence line, takes the course onto single track Emmett’s Trail. This trail winds through forest uphill to the Mt. Helena Ridge Trail (aka West End Trail). After a right turn onto the Ridge Trail, the course heads toward Mt. Helena, the highest point on the ridge ahead of you. NOTE: STAY ON THE RIDGE! There are trails that branch off the ridge in both directions but the Mt. Helena Ridge Trail is the most direct trail route to the Mt. Helena summit. DO NOT ABANDON THE RIDGE! Follow the Mt. Helena Ridge Trail all the way to its junction with the 1906 Trail. Turn right and climb the 1906 Trail to the summit of Mt. Helena. At the summit, keep right onto the Hogback Ridge Trail.
Descending from the summit on the Hogback Ridge Trail, you will veer sharply to the left onto Prospect Shafts Trail followed by a sharp turn to the right. The course drops into a field just above the houses of Reeder’s Village Subdivision. It continues to the right onto a secondary trail that goes through a break in a fence, between two houses and onto a paved road in the subdivision. By keeping to the left on the first road and then veering right onto the second road, 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 and past the MT Preservation Association office and the Reeder’s Alley Conference and Interpretive Center. The course makes a right turn onto the bricks of historic Reeder’s Alley and crosses Park Avenue to the finish line.