Explore Helena with Montana History Foundation’s Guided Tours
Looking for a fun way to dig deeper into the rich history of Helena, Montana? The Montana History Foundation has you covered with four different tours of the Queen City! From June 15 to September 3, 2023, history enthusiasts and curious adventurers alike can delve into the past through four enthralling tours: “History on the Ambrose,” “Breweries & Brothels,” “Miners to Millionaires,” and “Pedaling through the Past.”
Let’s take a closer look at what each tour has to offer:
Get to Know the Available Walking Tours
1. Miners to Millionaires
The Helena Walking Mall follows the historic “Last Chance Gulch” where gold was discovered by the Four Georgians in 1864. On this tour you will explore the history of the early mining camp and walk through how this rough town became Montana’s Capital City. As you stroll through the Walking Mall you can learn more about the rich history of the area as you hear the stories of crime, corruption and strong community spirit that transformed Helena into the charming community it is today.
Ready to dive into Helena’s history? Why not start with a deeper dive into the discovery of Gold on Last Chance Gulch with The Tale of the Four Georgians.
Tour Time: Saturdays & Sundays at 1pm
Meeting Point: Helena Walking Mall in front of Ten Mile Creek Brewery
Recommended for Ages 10+
2. Adventure on the Ambrose Trail
Did you know that there is an accessible ADA trail on Mount Helena!? On this roughly 1 mile guided walking tour you will learn about some of Helena’s early history, the wildlife that can be found in the area and even a number of flights that have made history. This tour is perfect for the entire family and you’ll even participate in a game of trail bingo for a little extra interaction throughout the tour. Plus, with adult supervision, kids walk for FREE, making it an ideal adventure for the whole family to enjoy!
Tour Time: Saturdays at 11am
Meeting Point: Mount Helena Parking Lot
Recommended for All Ages
3. Breweries & Brothels
Starting as a gold rush town, there is no doubt that Helena has a colorful history just waiting to be explored. On the “Breweries & Brothels” tour, you will be met with the vibrant tales of the towns booming brewery scene and illustrious captivating red-light district. The tour runs about 90 minutes and you’ll wander just over a mile through the downtown and Reeder’s Alley area. In many of the 19th century mining towns, you will find that the brewery or saloon was often the first established business in town. Beer, like eggs, or milk, was a local enterprise. Limited refrigeration and no pasteurization meant that beer had a short shelf life, and brewers couldn’t transport their beer almost any distance at all. You’ll unveil intriguing stories of Helena’s entrepreneurs – brewmeisters and madams – shedding light on the rise and eventual decline of Helena’s enigmatic “underworld.” You might be surprised that this demise of the red-light district didn’t come until the 1970s.
As you explore Helena, it will be obvious that the brewery scene is still alive and well with 7 local breweries and a distillery. There is no shortage of craft beverages available in Montana’s Capital City – which might just be the perfect activity after your tour!
Interested in learning more about the first breweries established in Southwest Montana? Check out our blog post on the “Early Beer.”
Tour Time: Thursdays & Fridays 5pm
Meeting Point: Reeder’s Alley
Recommended for Ages 12+
4. Pedaling through the Past Tour
New this year and in partnership with the Helena Chamber and the Bert and Ernie’s Pub Trolley, the “Pedaling through the Past Tour” is sure to be a favorite among visitors. On this tour, you’ll cover more ground, enjoy a luxury ride and even get a little exercise. On this ~90 minute tour you’ll see the St. Helena Cathedral, the Mansion District and Reeder’s Alley. Make sure to reserve this tour in advance – you don’t want to miss this fun filled adventure!
Tour Time: Wednesdays & Fridays 10am
Meeting Point: Helena Chamber of Commerce
Recommended for Ages 12+
What to Expect on Your Tour
Tour Pricing – The three walking tours are $20 per adult with discounts available for children, seniors, and veterans. Additional discounts are available when booking 2 or 3 tours for the same participants. The newly minted “Pedaling through the Past” tour can be reserved for $30 per participant.
How to Book a Tour – Visit the Montana History Foundation website, where you will find additional information about the tour and easy booking links for each! There is limited space available on each tour, so we highly recommend booking your tour in advance!
Length of Tour (Time & Distance) – With the exception of “Adventure on the Ambrose” (a 75 minute tour) these tours are roughly 90 minutes in duration and you’ll walk between a mile and a mile and half on your tour.
Ready to Dig Deeper into Helena’s Rich History!? Book Your Tour Today!