Vacations To Go

Montana Fun



Day 1 Thursday July 18th  
5:00 p.m. Depart: Spokane  
    (Go east on I-90. At exit 174 go left on Hwy 12. In Helena it will become Lyndale. The road will go right on Montana and then left on Boulder Ave. Just before the freeway turn right on Washington. Not quite 4 blocks on the left.)  
11:00 p.m. Arrive: Helena, MT 316
  Lodge: La Quinta Inn & Suites
701 Washington St
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 449-4000
(2 rooms with 2 queens in each $593.48, free breakfast and wifi)
Scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, sausage, sausage and gravy, biscuits, toast, bagels, potato wedges, and cut up fruit.

Day 2 Friday July 19th  
    Helena 31,429 population 78 degrees  
    (Go left on Washington. Turn right on Prospect. Take the 1st left on Fee St. After crossing Hwy 15 it will become 11th, then become Colonial. On the right side.)  
Jen: Do: OokiiSoraCon
Delta Colonial Hotel
2301 Colonial Drive
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 443-2100
Everyone Else:      
    (Go left on Colonial Dr on 11th Ave. In 2 blocks turn left on Washington. In 6 blocks go right on Broadway. After the 2nd job right turn left on Warren. Turn right on Vawter into the park.)  
    Fire Tower Park-Called Guardian of the Gulch, is an official city landmark. This twenty-five foot fire tower was built in 1876 after a huge fire destroyed the downtown area. The octagonal cab was added in 1886 and last used in 1931. The Guardian of the Gulch was manned around the clock to keep watch over the city. If a fire was spotted, the alarm was sounded to alert the town to begin fighting a fire. The Guardian is the last remaining tower of the many that once existed in Helena. In fact it is one of only five of its kind left standing in the United States.  
    (Go out of the park and turn left on Warren. Go left Broadway. In 4 blocks go left on Park. Just past Reeder's Alley is parking.)  

Reeder's Alley
212 S Park
Karmadillos Cafe (10-9)
Cotton Top Pastries (7:30-sold out)
Visit Helena (8-5 Mon-Fri)

    (Go back north.)  
    Park Avenue Bakery (7-6)
44 S Park
    (Walk across the street from the parking lot to a path to S. Last Gulch St. Turn left on a pedestrian parkway.)  
    Last Chance Gulch-

A group of miners out of provisions and down on their luck took one last chance as they swung through this gulch on July 14, 1864. They found “color,” and soon miners trickled in, a few at a time, panning, sluicing, and hastily building shelters on their claims. The discovery men became known as the Four Georgians for reasons the community soon forgot. Historians speculate that since one of the miners was from Georgia, where gold was mined before discoveries in the West, they were probably practicing a Georgian method of placer mining.

In the great frenzy to get at the precious metal, miners soon stripped the landscape of everything green, churned up the soil, and built their buildings along the claims that followed Last Chance Stream through the gulch. In October, residents gathered to properly name the mining camp known as Last Chance. After some discussion, they dubbed the new settlement Helena after the Scott County, Minnesota, hometown of one of the men. Last Chance Gulch produced 19 million dollars’ worth of gold in the first four years.

Only so much gold lies close to the surface, and so when placer mining was finished, hydraulic mining changed the landscape even more drastically. Workers used powerful pressure hoses to viciously wash the hillsides. Montana’s capital city thus rose from the mining camp. By the 1890s, Helena’s spectacular architecture and cosmopolitan ambience won the city its nickname, “Queen City of the Rockies.” The historic layers tell of the journey from gold camp to capital city.

Original Helena Street Car
38 S Last Chance Gulch
With the arrival of the Northern Pacific in 1883, Joseph O’Neill began a taxi service using horse-drawn trolleys like this one. For ten cents, passengers rode brightly painted trolleys between the Northern Pacific Depot, a mile to the northeast, and downtown. Great Falls legislator Charles Bovey and his wife, Sue, were great collectors of Montana’s early treasures and spent a fortune buying, restoring, and replicating buildings in Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana. The Boveys donated the trolley to the people of Helena.
Sculpture, north end of the South Walking Mall (1974)
Titled Kinetic Fountain, the sculpture of the miners at their sluice box is also known as The Prospectors. It visually demonstrates how miners across the west worked their claims. Lyndon Pomeroy created the welded metal sculpture reminiscent of Helena’s beginning.
Women's Mural
2 S Last Chance Gulch
Conceived and installed in 1979, the Women’s Mural is perhaps the most photographed piece of public art in the Helena community. Painted by Montana artists Delores Dinsmore, Ann Appleby and Marilyn Sternberg, with the assistance of other community members, it represents the role women have held in Helena’s history. This mural is the largest thematic art installation of its kind in the community.
Column of Broadwater’s Bank
At the east end of the Women’s Mural (#15) on the Livestock Building’s southeast corner is a remnant column marking Broadwater’s Montana National Bank and Edwards Street, a thoroughfare that no longer exists. The column is all that remains of Broadwater’s fabulous building designed in 1889 by John C. Paulsen and destroyed by fire in 1944 (#4 & #25).
Parrot Confectionary Store (9-6)
42 N Last Chance
General Merchantile (8-5:30)
413 N Last Chance
Beargrass Trading Company (10-5:30)
417 N Last Chance
Golden Girls Antique Mall (10-5:30)
505 N Last Chance
    (Go back down Last Chance to Placer and turn right. On the right side.)  
    Bargain Basement Thrift (10:30-3)
118 W Placer
    (Go back on Placer one block past Last Chance to Jackson. Turn right. On the left.)  
Optional:   Holter Museum of Art (10-5 Tues-Sat)
12 E Lawrence
    (Go left to the corner. Turn left on Lawrence. Walk 2 blocks and turn right on Warren. On the left.)  
Cathedral of Saint Helena

530 N Ewing
    (Continue left/east on 9th. Take the 1st right on Ewing. In less than 3 blocks on the right.)  
Original Governor's Mansion
(12, 1, 2, 3)
304 N Ewing
    (Go right on Ewing. At the corner turn right on 6th. Take the 2nd right on Cruse. At Neill continue forward on Last Chance Gulch. Turn left on 14th. In 3 blocks go right on Carousel Way. On the right.)  
    Great Northern Town Center-Lewis and Clark Interpretive Walk & Carousel (Mon-Sat 11-6) $2  
    Scooby Dooby Doo! Letterbox  
    (Turn around on Carousel Way. Go right on 14th. Take the first right on Getchell St. Take the first left on Lyndale/Euclid. Take the second right on Benton. About 4 blocks on the left.)  
Benton Avenue Cemetery
Hattie Clark 1863, Judge Francis Frank Bell or Hanscombe-1865, Samuel C. Allen and James A Anthony-1867
    (Go right on Benton. At Lyndale/Euclid go left. It will go right on Montana Ave. Take the first left on Boulder. Just before the freeway go right on Washington. On the left side.)  
    La Quinta Inn & Suites
701 Washington St
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 449-4000

Day 3 Saturday July 20th  
    (Go left on Washington. Turn right on Prospect. Take the 1st left on Fee St. After crossing Hwy 15 it will become 11th, then become Colonial. On the right side.)  
Jen, Paul & Mark:      
  Do: OokiiSoraCon
Delta Colonial Hotel
2301 Colonial Drive
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 443-2100
Everyone Else:      
    Take letterbox and food with you or buy in Boulder. Bring swimsuits and towels.  
    (Go right on Prospect. Take the first left at the light. Take the first left again onto I-15. Stop at the Jefferson City Rest Area around exit 178.)  
    Montana Symbols-Ponderosa Pine Letterbox (may be missing)  
    (Go back on the freeway. Take exit 176. Take the first left over the freeway. Take the first right on Hwy 282. It will go left on Tizer Lake Rd. Just past Bull Gulch Rd on the right.)  
20 minutes   Tizer Botanic Garden and Arboretum (10-6) $9 18
    (Go back left on Tizer Lake Rd. It will become Hwy 282 going right. Cross the freeway and enter I-15. Take exit 164 at Boulder. Go left over the freeway on Hwy 69. Just past 2nd on Main.)  
16 minutes   The Sweet Spot-bakery
102 N Main
Boulder, MT
    (Continue left/south on Main St/Hwy 69. Turn left on White Bridge Rd. Take the first right on Lower Valley Rd. When it goes right, continue straight ahead on Elkhorn Rd. At Dry Creek Rd it will go left. It will become USF 258. Continue straight ahead on Main St into Elkhorn. On the right side.)  
33 minutes  
Elkhorn Ghost Town
  Do: Elkhorn Letterbox  
    (Continue right on Main/Elkhorn Rd. It will go right to Diego Town Rd. Go right. It will become Holter St and go left. Continue straight/right on Tramway Rd. On the right side.)  
Elkhorn Cemetery
Peter Wys 1872
    (Go back on Tramway. Turn left on Holter St. Go left on Elkhorn Rd. At Dry Creek Rd it will go right. Take a left on White Bridge Rd. Go right on Hwy 69. Go left on Hot Springs Rd.)  
29 minutes  
Boulder Hot Springs
(10-9) $7/$5 Sr
Outdoor pool 96-100 degrees
Indoor Plunge 103-106 degrees
    Boulder Hot Springs Letterbox  
    (Go back out on Hot Springs Rd. Go left on Hwy 69 into Boulder. Continue on Main St. Enter I-15 going right/north. Just past Jefferson City take the next exit into the Rest Area.)  
    Jefferson City Rest Area-Quickie Series #7 Letterbox  
    (Take exit 192. Go left over the freeway on Prospect. Take the first right on Washington.)  
30 minutes   La Quinta Inn & Suites
701 Washington St
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 449-4000

Day 4 Sunday July 21st  
    (Turn right on Prospect. Go left on Montana. Turn left on Lockeye Ave after 5th. On the left.)  
Montana State Capitol
(9-3) Self-guided tour
    (Go back to Montana and turn right. Across from Town Pump behind Natural Grocers.)  
    Good Samaritan Ministries and Thrift Store (10-5)  
    (Continue right on Montana. On the left side.)  
    Helena Goodwill Store (10-6)  
  Depart: Helena  
    (Turn right on Prospect. Go right on Montana Ave. It will go left on Lyndale/Hwy 12. Enter I-90. Take exit 59 to the rest area at Quartz Flat Campground.)  
  Do: Quickies Series #1-Driving Tunes Letterbox  
2 hrs 50 min   (Continue on I-90 west. Take exit 33.)  
  See: St. Regis Travel Center 185
    (Continue on I-90.)  
2 hrs 10 min Arrive: Spokane