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. Volunteer course guards and signage will be at key points, but not every intersection—study the map and know the course!
Running: 1.25 hours
Walking: 2.5 hours. If you wish to attend the 12:30 awards ceremony, please consider the 5K walk.