Helena National Forest Guide

Taking its name from the city it surrounds—Helena, MT, the state capital—the Helena National Forest covers 976,000 acres of land that straddles the Continental Divide. Mountain ranges appear in and around this forest though no peaks inside it reach higher than 10,000 feet. The unusually low peaks in the area are one reason the Lewis and Clark expedition chose to cross the Continental Divide here. That expedition spent months in this region, establishing that no navigable water access crossed the continent. Inside this forest, there is a Wilderness Area—The Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area—and a Wildlife Management Unit in the Elkhorn Mountains. Though there were attempts to develop this forest in the early years by ranchers and miners, most of the land sits just as the Lewis and Clark Expedition members found it.

RV Rentals Near Helena National Forest

Shape Hiking Trails

Helena National Forest Hiking Trails

Things to Do

Activities in Helena National Forest

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How to get to Helena National Forest

Address: 2808 Skyway Drive, Helena, MT 59602

Fee: Entry fee $0

Highways bisect Helena National Forest with signed junctions leading to isolated locations accessible by road. An RV can travel those roads, getting you closer to your destination while providing a comfortable facility to return to after a day of adventure. Local anglers and hikers use RVs for overnight stays, and other visitors will also appreciate the convenience of using an RV during a lengthy visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Helena National Forest

Is Helena National Forest open all year round?

Yes, Helena National Forest is open year-round. Visitors can hike, fish, and paddle in the summer. In winter, some parts of the forest may be inaccessible due to snow. However, visitors can ski, snowboard, and snowmobile in other areas of the forest.

What is the closest town to Helena National Forest?

Helena, Montana is, unsurprisingly, one of the nearest big towns to Helena National Forest. Helena has plenty of places to eat, rest, and stock up on anything travelers need while they're in Montana.

What type of wildlife lives in Helena National Forest?

Wildlife living in Helena National Forest includes bears, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, and mountain goats. There is also a variety of birds that live in the forest, as well as fish in the nearby lakes and streams.

Is there a fee to get into Helena National Forest?

No, there is no fee to get into Helena National Forest. However, there may be fees or permits required for certain activities within the forest, or for parking in certain areas such as day-use areas.

Does Helena National Forest offer free camping sites?

Yes, Helena National Forest offers free camping sites. Dispersed camping is allowed in the forest. Dispersed camping does not have any amenities, and campers need to take everything with them and leave no trace when they pack up camp.