Like many cities in this region, Helena got its start thanks to the Gold Rush. In 1864, gold was discovered in an area that was known at the time as Last Chance Gulch. Many felt that this name was too undignified, so the residents decided to change it to Helena, which was the name of a township in Minnesota. Helena was named the capital of Montana Territory in 1875 and was allowed to keep this designation after Montana achieved statehood in 1889. Thanks to the area's mining boom, Helena grew to hold more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world. This led to the construction of many gorgeous houses, some of which you can still visit today.
To learn more about the history of Helena, you can visit the Original Governor's Mansion, which is a Queen Anne mansion that housed nine Montana governors during their terms. Another excellent place to explore is the Montana State Capitol, which was built in 1902. Reeder's Alley is the oldest part of Helena, so you should check out this brick alleyway full of shops and a restaurant.
If you're looking for a beautiful place to get out in nature near Helena, then you should visit Mount Helena City Park. Multiple trails take visitors past cliffs, through woodlands, and along ridges. You can even summit Mount Helena itself, which is nearly 5,500 feet above sea level.
Helena is home to several stellar RV campgrounds that you might want to consider. One of these is Helena North KOA, which is just 15 minutes north of town off Interstate 15. Showers and Wi-Fi are available, and Lake Helena is just 10 minutes away.
If you want to stay even closer to town, then you should check out Helena Campground and RV Park, which is 10 minutes south of Helena North KOA and 10 minutes north of Helena. A sizable clubhouse, nice laundry facilities, and clean showers are all featured here.
Should you prefer to camp closer to Lake Helena and the Helena National Forest, then Black Sandy State Park may be ideal for you. The campground at this beautiful state park on the Missouri River is perfect for anglers, hikers, and lovers of gorgeous mountain views. A dump station is available, so you'll be able to clean out your tanks at this campground that's 25 minutes northeast of Helena.
The northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park is only three hours southeast of Helena, so you'll probably want to visit this stunning park on your trip. Nowhere on earth contains more geysers and hot springs than Yellowstone’s nearly 3,500 square miles of gorgeous terrain. Old Faithful, the Queen's Laundry, Grand Prismatic Spring, and more await at the world's first national park. Nearly 1,000 miles of trails will take you everywhere from the most popular sights of Yellowstone to some of its remotest backcountry areas. If you visit during the winter, you'll have the opportunity to snowshoe, ski, snowmobile, and more.
In order to get to Grand Teton National Park from Yellowstone, all you have to do is get on John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and drive 10 minutes south. Grand Teton is less famous than its northern counterpart, but it still contains its fair share of gorgeous wonders. This 310,000-acre stretch of the Teton Range and its valleys is home to Jackson Hole, part of the Snake River, and Grand Teton itself, which is 13,755 feet high. Hiking, biking, and driving are all popular here. Other common pastimes at this Wyoming national park include fishing, mountaineering, boating, and mountain climbing.
If you travel about three and a half hours northwest of Helena almost to the Canadian border, then you'll reach Glacier National Park. This wild, rugged park is, of course, home to plenty of glaciers. Some of the easier glaciers to view are Jackson Glacier, Salamander Glacier, and Sperry Glacier. Glaciers requiring more challenging treks include Grinnell Glacier, Sexton Glacier, and Piegan Glacier. This park contains more than glaciers, however. It is also home to plenty of excellent places to boat, fish, camp, and hike. Be sure to check out the fantastic Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is a two-hour drive through some of Glacier's stunning alpine terrain.
Missouri Headwaters State Park is just an hour and 15 minutes southeast of Helena. This park is situated near the merging of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers into the Missouri River, so there are numerous locations that are perfect for fishing, boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Four miles of trails provide ample places to hike, bike, and ride. One section of this Montana state park also provides an area to hunt deer, waterfowl, moose, and more. If you visit during the summer, you might be able to take in a program led by rangers or special guests.
Salmon Lake State Park is approximately an hour and a half northwest of Helena. People come to this park to spend time at Salmon Lake, which is full of trout, bass, pike, and other types of tasty freshwater fish. Swimming, canoeing, water skiing, and boating are also popular lake activities. The camping here is outstanding thanks to the park's gorgeous scenery and its ability to accommodate RVs as long as 45 feet. Bird watching and wildlife photography are also common here due to the diverse array of fauna that calls this park home. Hiking opportunities are limited here, but multiple paths provide convenient access to park amenities as well as nice places to stroll.
The small but fascinating ghost town of Bannack lives on in the form of Bannack State Park, which is two and a half hours southwest of Helena. In 1862, gold was discovered in the area, causing thousands of people to flock to the town in hopes of striking it rich. Panning and dredging in Grasshopper Creek were popular until World War II, which led to the closure of the mine and the eventual abandonment of the town. The modern result is a well-preserved ghost town featuring 60 buildings from days gone by. If you visit at the right time, you’ll be able to pan for gold, take a ghost walk, or experience a historical reenactment of life in a Wild West mining town.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is about an hour southwest of Helena. This working ranch was built in the late 1800s, and many of the historic buildings from that time still remain today. The Ranch House, the Draft Horse Barn, and the Thoroughbred Barn are just a few of the 88 historic buildings you can explore here. When you're not touring buildings indoors, you can spend some time in the great outdoors on the site’s more than 10 miles of trails. The Ranch House Trail, the Red Barn Trail, the Big Gulch Trail, and the Old Hay Stacker Trail take you through this fascinating ranch and its grounds.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is about five hours southeast of Helena. Bighorn Lake is 55 miles long, so it has plenty of room for boating, fishing, and kayaking. The park's 27 miles of trails include everything from an easy stroll to the canyon's rim to a strenuous hike through thick greenery. The remnants of several historic ranches from the early 1900s are in this recreation area, so be sure to check out the Ewing-Snell Ranch, the Mason-Lovell Ranch, and the Caroline Lockhart Ranch.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is roughly six hours southwest of Helena, but it's only four and a half hours from Bannack State Park. At the end of your lengthy drive, you’ll feel like you've driven all the way to the moon thanks to the park's barren volcanic landscape. Some people prefer to experience this remote environment from their vehicles by driving on the seven-mile scenic loop road. More adventurous visitors hike on the North Crater Trail, the Inferno Cone, and the Caves Trail. If you visit Craters of the Moon in winter, you can go skiing and snowshoeing in this interesting environment.
The entrance to Helena National Forest is just 20 minutes west of Helena, so you'll have convenient access to nearly a million acres of lovely Montana forest at your disposal. The Continental Divide, the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and more are part of this national forest. The Missouri River and plenty of streams provide many places within the forest to fish, boat, and watch wildlife. Roughly 700 miles of trails take visitors through a variety of alpine scenery. In the winter, snowmobiling and skiing are popular. Additional activities you can do in Helena National Forest include stargazing, geocaching, and camping.
Lewis and Clark National Forest is about two and a half hours east of Helena. More than 1.8 million acres of Montana countryside contain mountains, scrublands, woodlands, and the Continental Divide. While some of this forest has pockets of civilization, most of it looks the same as it did when Lewis and Clark explored it in the early 1800s. You'll feel like an intrepid explorer yourself when you set foot on some of the park's 1,500 miles of hiking trails. Fishing and boating are popular thanks to this forest's 29 lakes and 1,600 miles of streams and rivers.
The 3.35 million acres of Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest make it the biggest national forest in Montana. This forest that's an hour and a half southwest of Helena is an amazing place to take a wilderness trek, scenic drive, or fishing trip. Whether you want to take an easy walk on the Lacy Creek Trail or a harder hike on the Lima Peaks Loop, you'll have numerous opportunities for adventure in this national forest.
Motorhomes are divided into Class A, B, and C vehicles. On average expect to pay $185 per night for Class A, $149 per night for Class B and $179 per night for Class C. Towable RVs include 5th Wheel, Travel Trailers, Popups, and Toy Hauler. On average, in Helena, MT, the 5th Wheel trailer starts at $70 per night. Pricing for the Travel Trailer begins at $60 per night, and the Popup Trailer starts at $65 per night.Do you need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Helena?
Yes. The minimum age is 25 to be eligible to get an RV Rental in Helena from RVshare.Does RVshare have emergency roadside assistance?
Yes. Every RV rental booked through RVshare receives 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.Does RVshare offer one way RV rentals in Helena?
Yes. Prior to renting any RV, check with the owner since not all will offer this particular option.