Just south of lively state capital Helena, the brisk, mountain air of Clancy, Montana is rich in nature, community, and history.
The late nineteenth century saw the Clancy area come alive as a silver, gold, and ore camp, named in 1873 after respected prospector William Clancey.
But Clancy is more than just a stop on the way to Helena; its semi-arid climate and nearby mountains make it a perfect spot to recharge at a charming B&B or explore your surroundings.
This charming town will make you feel at home. Read on for more information about this picturesque Montana town.
Jefferson County Museum
The first thing you’ll notice about the Jefferson County Museum? Its two large galleries: one dedicated to the unique history of Jefferson County and the other for traveling exhibits.
The first gallery houses rare and historical artifacts on the area’s mining, railroading, and ranching communities and architecture.
In fact, you may feel yourself going back in time by looking at images of children in log cabins, old postcards of Main Street, the journals of Lewis & Clark, and 19th-century letters from the mines.
Current and past exhibits focus on historic railroad photos, local memories, and judges, all vital to the community makeup of what is now Clancy. Originally opened in 2000, this museum works hard to preserve culturally significant history for locals and tourists alike.
Open on Fridays and Saturdays!
Tizer Botanic Gardens & Arboretum
A short drive south of Clancy brings you to the beautiful Elkhorn Mountains, home of the Tizer Botanic Gardens & Arboretum. Open May through September, these gardens offer 6 acres of rolling pathways of roses, wildflowers, perennials, herbs, and more.
Whether you come alone for a meditative walk or bring the whole family, your child at heart will love the stroll through the fairy gardens and Buddha garden.
Keep an eye out for the vivid blue delphinium around the property, as well as the vegetable garden.
Even better? Come sit in the theme gardens and practice nature-inspired watercolor, or treat yourself to a homemade picnic in the grass.
Beautiful Prickly Pear Creek runs through the center of the gardens, providing a safe habitat for birds and fish – and a nourishing experience for you. Walk-ins welcome!
Willard Creek Trailhead
Great for hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, Willard Creek Trailhead is the perfect nature getaway. Because this steady, gradual trail takes around 2 hours to complete, you may want to pack a light snack for your stroll through Helena National Forest.
If you’re lucky, you may see a few horses or moose on the trail, so it’s recommended to keep your furry loved ones close by. As a bonus, this well-maintained trail doesn’t have a lot of visitors, so use this opportunity to soak in the sunshine and get a good workout.
Highly recommended: the Quaking Aspen groves!
Crow Creek Trail
For another nature adventure, check out the more challenging Crow Creek Trail in nearby Townsend.
If you’re an intermediate or experienced hiker, this 7.9-mile trail leading into the Elkhorn Mountains is the one for you! Fans of stream fishing, snow-shoeing, and off-road driving rave about this natural wonderland.
Much like Willard Creek, Crow Creek doesn’t get a lot of visitors, but it is still recommended to keep your dogs close by in the event of a wild animal sighting.
The best part of the trail? A breathtaking 360 view at the peak of Elkhorn and an impressive secret waterfall. Once you’re done sweating it out, head back to Clancy for a drink and meal at Chubby’s Bar & Grill.
Acting as a dedicated forest lookout and overlook, don’t miss out on Strawberry Butte in the heart of the Elkhorn Mountains. Topaz crystals are abundant at this beautiful location just 13 miles east of Clancy.
Tip: you’ll want to get your hiking boots on for the uphill climb and overlook, but the view is well worth the workout.
If you’re looking for a place to relax in or around nature, Clancy has you covered. While nearby Helena has hotels like Best Western and DoubleTree, you came to Clancy for the natural world and down-to-Earth accommodations. The best are below:
- 4-R Ranch & Cattle Co. – If you’re looking for a rancher’s paradise, this is your home for the night. Featuring 900 acres of meadows and forest, 4-R Ranch is the perfect Montana adventure. While the Ranch House only has two rooms, 4-R Ranch has plenty of space for the more adventurous tent campers – especially ideal for the fall hunting season.
- Boulder Hot Springs – Aiming to refresh after a long hike in the Elkhorn Mountains? Visit historic landmark Boulder Hot Springs for a relaxing and rejuvenating stay, and then hit the pillow in one of their newly remodeled Bed & Breakfast-style rooms. Also offered: spa services, hiking, wildlife viewing. This is clearly a local favorite for staycations, so get in on the secret.
- Alhambra RV Park – Sometimes you just need a place to rest your RV for the night. Lucky for you, this Clancy-based natural setting has a National Park feel without the foot traffic. Dip your feet into Prickly Pear stream before your next adventure! And a bonus: this site features a dog park for your furry friends.
- Chocolat Moose Bed & Breakfast – You may or may not see a moose at this bed & breakfast just northwest of the city center, but you’ll definitely enjoy the log cabin rustic feel, as well as being minutes away from nature. Look closely though, because you just may see elk, deer, or coyote outside your cabin window. Ideal for a quiet night in the wilderness – and let’s face it, that’s part of Montana’s charm.
If you are planning on staying at nearby Helena for your visit to Clancy, you can check out a full list of available accommodations here.
Clancy is close enough to Helena to please those looking for a bigger city but small enough to have that neighborhood feel. Check out summertime events loved by locals below:
- June – Clancy Days
- June – Governor’s Cup Marathon
- July – Butte 100
- August – Jefferson County Fair & Rodeo
- August – Rockin’ the Rivers
Activities Near Clancy
- Helena, MT (12 miles)
- Townsend, MT (38 miles)
- Montana City, MT (6 miles)
- Anaconda, MT (79 miles)
- Willard Creek Trailhead (Clancy, MT)
- Casey Peak Trail (Helena, MT)
- Bar Gulch Trail (Townsend, MT)
- Chubby’s Bar & Grill
- Legal Tender Pub & Bistro
- Clancy Coffee Shop (Very cozy outdoor seating!)
- Montana City Mercantile & Hardware Cafe
National and State Parks
- Black Sandy State Park (Helena, MT)
- Helena National Forest (Helena, MT)
- Lewis and Clark National Forest (Helena, MT)
- Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park (Whitehall, MT)