Mt Helena Ridge (and other local trails) Trip Report- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mt Helena Ridge (and other local trails) Trip Report

    While passing through Montana late May, I originally planned on riding the Bangtail Divide. Concerns for lingering snow put me in Helena to ride the trails there. I heard good things, particularly of the Mt Helena Ridge. I checked with a bike shop for suggestions but they didn't have a map so I tried to wing it (I don't have a smart phone so I didn;t have access to trailforks or other map apps)
    I rode up Grizzly Gulch from town and rode the Mt Helena Ridge then descended onto Mt Helena Park Trails. Mt Helena Ridge is a wonderful ride through meadows and the sunflowers were in their peak season bloom. The park trails are not marked too well- or there is a lot of unsanctioned trails intersecting causing confusion. The Prickly Cactus and trailhead kiosk maps didn't always agree with signage and didn't portray some trails so I had some difficulty navigating those trails. The NF seemed well marked. I only scratched the surface but ended up putting in 20 miles til I wrapped it up. It is a great system and I would definitely ride it again but maybe with trailforks map/app. Below is the full TR and lots of photos to the trip.

    Tomcat's Outdoor Adventures: Mountain Biking Helena, Montana: Mt Helena Ridge and South Hills Tails

    Here's a few photos to enjoy as well
    Mt Helena Ridge (and other local trails)  Trip Report-helena-nf-mtb-5.26.17-038.jpgMt Helena Ridge (and other local trails)  Trip Report-helena-nf-mtb-5.26.17-039.jpgMt Helena Ridge (and other local trails)  Trip Report-helena-nf-mtb-5.26.17-041.jpg

  2. #2
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    Excellent post / blog, and no strava! (sorry about the map issue)
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  3. #3
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    Mt Helena Ridge (and other local trails) Trip Report

    Glad you enjoyed your ride. You're right about the navigation issue- there are a lot of social trails in the Mount Helena city park. All the junctions shown on the map have trail signs on the ground.

    [edit] And thanks for detailing the issues you encountered. I forwarded your blog to the appropriate people at the city, tourism group, and the local land trust.
    Last edited by evasive; 06-17-2017 at 09:04 AM.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, nice photos and trip report.

    You might correct the captions under your flower photos. The "sunflowers" are actually arrowleaf balsam root.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    Yeah, nice photos and trip report.

    You might correct the captions under your flower photos. The "sunflowers" are actually arrowleaf balsam root.
    Arrowleaf balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

  6. #6
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    I don't have a smart phone so I didn;t have access to trailforks or other map apps

    Good'onYa! Way to get after it old school style! You don't need no stinking trail forks, you find 'em well enough on yer own!
    Night has fallen.
    And there's nothin' we can do about it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BumpityBump View Post
    Arrowleaf balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
    I would argue that there is no "sunflower family" and that Balsamorhiza and Helianthus are both members of the aster family.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    I would argue that there is no "sunflower family" and that Balsamorhiza and Helianthus are both members of the aster family.
    Well yes, but Asteraceae is commonly referred to as the sunflower family by many, including USDA publications. Although most botanists I know and have worked with would use the common "aster" or "composite" designation. Tit for tat and the obvious problem with common names. But "sunflower" is not incorrect IMO.

    Regardless, nice write up OP, and my apologies for the semantics.

  9. #9
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    I'm glad the write up was enjoyed. Like I said in the blog my plan was to hit Bangtail in Bozeman but at the last minute decided on Helena to avoid the snow. I live in Salida Colorado which had a big boom in trail building in the past 5 years and during the growth the signage was also a problem during transitioning and the use of previous social trails. I enjoyed the trail system and wouldn't hesitate riding it again. I would at the very least get a copy of the paper map which was out of stock in the shop I checked. It's nice to see a city progressive with mountain bike growth.

    Also thanks for the heads up on the flower id. I never thought to look it up because it looks similar to the various wild sunflowers in Colorado. The flowers were pretty by any name. In the blog I made a note about the correction at my first mention of sunflowers.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for posting this, plan to rode some of this weekend.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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