Helena West Side, Montana

Helena West Side is a census-designated place in Lewis and Clark County that is largely a rural neighborhood in terms of population density, which is currently not much more than 1500 and is apparently on the decline.

The town is included as part of the Helena Micropolitan Statistical Area and covers about 15 square miles of land. It is bordered to the east by the capital city of Helena, and Helena Valley West Central to the northeast.

The main point of the West Side area is along US Highway 12, which runs through the community and continues 3 miles east into Downtown Helena.

The highway also runs 40 miles west over the Continental Divide to the I-90 at Garrison.

One interesting fact about the Helena West Side neighborhood is that the community apparently has more residents of Croatian and Welsh ancestry than virtually any other neighborhood in America.

helena west side
Image: Roger Lynn

The Top 3 Hotels in Helena West Side

DoubleTree by Hilton

DoubleTree by Hilton

  • Bar
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Station
  • ATM On Site

Main Attractions and Recreation in or near Helena West Side

Spring Meadow Lake State Park is set along the western edge of the city just 2 miles from Helena West Side, and it is something of a local outdoor recreation haven.

The park is mainly for day use and is popular with families who fancy indulging in an afternoon of swimming, fishing, and birdwatching.

There is no campground in the 60-acre area but the park does feature picnic shelters and a pavilion for group use which can be reserved.

Along with the water and beach area, the park also includes an 8-mile, self-guided loop nature trail around the perimeter of the lake.



Spring Meadow Lake State Park is undoubtedly also the best option in this area for fishing. The park is located close to Helena’s west side, just off of Highway 12 (near the Old Kessler Brewery).

This 14-acre spring-fed pond is also something of an all-ages fishing location—one of the reasons why it is so popular.

Species of fish found in the water here include trout and bass and smaller populations of yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, and cutthroat trout.



All of the following hikes are examples of what is available on Helena’s West Side.

Emmett’s Trail and Mini Ridge Loop is a 5.1-mile loop trail rated as easy to intermediate. It takes most hikers an average of at least 1.5 hours to complete and is a multi-purpose trail also used for birding and biking.

You shouldn’t find the trail too busy and the best times by far to use it are March through October. Leashed dogs are permitted along this route which doubles as a perfect mountain biking trail with some impressive views at the top.  

The Switchback Ridge Trail is a 3.5-mile intermediate-level route with a descent that is quite long and with lots of variety—possibly the reason for the difficulty rating of challenging.

It starts out on an open ridge before leading down through loose rocky sections with a few sharp switchbacks.

The trail finishes up across Tenmile Creek onto Rimini Road across from the Campground there. Upstream access is also available via the Moose Creek Campground.

The Mount Helena Ridge Trail is a slightly easier going, 5.8-mile route that The Mount Helena Ridge Trail is located only a short distance from the city of Helena, Montana, and is connected to the Mount Helena City Park.

The Mount Helena Ridge Trail is 5.9 miles long. The trail begins at a trailhead near Park City, approximately 5 miles south of Helena.

This ridge trail is nearly six miles of outrageous single-track, with great views of surrounding mountains and valleys, including a distant Helena townscape.

The Stairway to Heaven Trail is a 1.3-mile route that starts out at the intersection of the Wakina Sky Trail and the Barking Dog Trail.

You start off up through the trees and the trail climbs gradually but not too steeply. After it levels off you’ll hit a couple of rocky sections, until the trail drops into some short switchbacks leading down to Wakina Gulch.



Moose Creek Campground is a nine-site facility located about 8 miles west on Highway 12 before taking a right in a southern direction off Rimini Road.

The campground is close to various other Forest Service amenities such as cabins, a picnic area, and an environmental education trail. This facility is also quite close to the access point for the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

Accommodation–Hotels and Lodging

You won’t be short on choices for accommodation anywhere close to the main regions of Helena. Aside from local vacation rentals, to get closer to hotels on Helena’s West Side try some of these options:

Special Events in Helena West Side 

  • May—Springfest—annual event at the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds
  • Jul—Last Chance Stampede & Fair—annual event near Helena featuring rodeo and fair activities
  • Check out more local events in the Helena Valley region HERE.

Activities and other Points of Interest near Helena West Side

Forests/State/National Parks/Wilderness Areas

Museums/Historic Items

Nearby Towns/Cities

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