gates of the mountain


Broadwater Athletic Club & Hot Springs recreation pools are located at 4920 Highway 12 west. Call 443-5777 or go to www.thebroadwater.com.

Last Chance Splash Waterpark and Pool. Families come join the fun this summer from June 16 through September 1. Play in the splash deck, float the lazy river, ride the slides, grab a snack at Miner’s Diner or just relax in the 50-meter pool. Last Chance Splash not only offers open swim, but also swimming lessons, water aerobics, lap swim, water walking and water polo. Waterpark has open swim 12:15 to 7 p.m. Mon- Fri and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends (no Sundays in June). The 50-Meter pool & diving well hours are Mon-Fri 1 to 7 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends (no Sundays in June) Located at 1203 N. Last Chance Gulch St, 447-1559. For more information about lessons, exercise, and pool parties go to www.lastchancesplash.com

The Carroll College PE Center features a 25-yard pool that is used for athletic competition, recreation and educational purposes. Cost is $2, and children 5 and under are free with a paying adult. Pool punch cards are also available. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Swim lessons are offered June 16-26, June 30-July 10 and July 14-24 and cost $38. The pool is located on the Carroll College campus at 1601 N. Benton. Call 447-4480 for current hours. Visit www.carroll.edu. for more information.

Crossroads Sports and Fitness has an indoor, 25-yard lap pool used for private lessons, master swim program, family swim times and hydro fitness classes. A spa area complete with a steam room, dry sauna and hot tubs are also available. Located at 1013 Dearborn, 442-6733. Visit www.crossroadssportsfitness.com for complete aquatics schedule.

YMCA Pool is open to the public for day use and includes the use of the all fitness facilities. The Y also offers swimming lessons for kids year round. Located at 1200 N. Last Chance Gulch. Call 442-9622 or go to www.helenaymca.org for summer membership specials and rates for all programs.

The Capital City Health Club has a lap pool and a rec/therapy pool. For information about swimming call 442-6577.

Lions Swim Team is a competitive team of 6 to 18 year olds dedicated to making members successful at swimming and in life. Professional coaches and supportive team atmosphere. Striving to make participation challenging and fun. Swimmer must be able to swim the length of the pool (25 yards). Contact coach Jake Bryne at 307-254-0070 or email at hlstswimcoach@gmail.com, or visit hlst.org.


Yacht Basin Marina is a full-service marina with deep harbor docks and shore power. Yacht Basin Marina can be reached by taking Canyon Ferry Road to the north end of the lake. Open from May through October. Amenities include: convenience store, handicapped-accessible facilities, boat launch, beach, camping, paddle boats and sailing. Both large and small private beach facilities are available for rent. Areas are perfect for reunions, company parties, weddings and birthday parties to complete your Canyon Ferry Lake vacation or event. Reservations are highly recommended. For more information or to make your reservation, call 475-3440.

Kim’s Marina and RV Resort is a sportsman’s paradise. If sailing, power boating, jet skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking or biking are your passions, you can do it all from the private beaches of Kim’s Marina and Resort. Kim’s is located just 20 miles east of Helena on Canyon Ferry Lake. Kim’s offers seasonal and daily boat mooring, camping spots and cozy cabins. Kim’s can readily supply you with boat rentals, fishing tackle, food, beer, gas, espresso and clean clothes. This is all done from the easily accessible grocery, tackle and gift shop. A laundromat is also available. For more information call 475-3723 or visit www.kimsmarina.com.

Lakeside Resort & Marina is located on the shores of Hauser Lake, just 10 miles from Helena at 5295 York Road. Services and amenities include: bar, restaurant casino, boat launch, store and water. Live music Thursday through Sunday. For more information, call 227-6076. Find us on Facebook.com, search for Lakeside on Hauser.


For detailed information about many of Montana’s lakes go to www.fwp.mt.gov. Look under “State Parks,” then “Visit a State Park.”

Spring Meadow Lake is an urban, day-use-only park minutes from Helena fed by natural springs, is a popular spot for family afternoons of swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving, fishing, birdwatching and pure play. When you tire of the beach, walk the park’s easy nature trail that circles the lake, home to a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Hours are sunrise to sunset. Fees apply. There is also a group use shelter available to rent for gatherings. Call for fees, rental prices and general information 495-3260. To get there, travel west on Euclid Ave., turn right on Joslyn Street, veer left onto Country Club Ave. and watch for the recreation area on the left.

Park Lake Campground and Park Lake Fishing Access are actually two sites located on the same lake in the Helena National Forest. At an elevation of 6,500 feet, the site encompasses 10 acres. Park Lake Campground sits back slightly from the 3 1/2 acre alpine lake in a lodge pole timber forest. There is boating access but no boats with motors are allowed on the lake. The boat launch is carry-in. Fishing is permitted on the lake. Hiking may also be enjoyed in this scenic area. For more information visit www.ci.helena.mt.us/play/recreation.html. There are two routes to Park Lake: through Clancy or through Unionville. To travel via Clancy, exit I-15 at the Clancy off ramp and go a mile north on the west side of the highway before turning on to Lump Gulch Road. Keep to the left. To get there through Unionville, go through town until the road turns to dirt and continue over the pass into Jefferson County. Stay to left until you come to a sign at Lump Gulch Road, where you make a sharp right and head up the mountain to the lake.

Hauser Lake is a 3,200 acre reservoir on the Missouri River created by Hauser Dam. The lake yields kokanee salmon; for which it holds the state record; rainbow and brown trout; walleye and perch. It is an extremely popular take-off point for weekend boating, fishing and water skiing. There are two scenic public campgrounds on Hauser Lake. White Sandy and a few yards further Black Sandy State Park.

Holter Lake, formed by Holter Dam on the Missouri River, is a very popular lake, both for fishing and for pleasure boating in Montana. The lake has very good fishing for rainbow trout, as well as walleye and perch.

Canyon Ferry Lake was formed when Canyon Ferry Dam was built, blocking the Missouri River. Canyon Ferry Lake is very popular and receives the most use of any lake in the state. This is due to both its size and location. The lake is quite large, even by Montana standards, measuring more than thirty-miles long and up to five miles wide. Since the lake lies just fifteen miles from Helena. It receives heavy use during warm weather and on the weekends. Canyon Ferry Lake is an excellent lake for fishing for rainbow trout. The lake is heavily stocked each year, and the large size of the lake along with its fertility allow the rainbows to grow large quite quickly.

True North Sailing Club offers sail boat rentals as well as a variety of yearly memberships that will accommodate your sailing desires. Located on Canyon Ferry Lake. Don’t know how to sail? No problem, sailing lessons are available. For more information call 449-8715 or visit http://truenorthsailing.com.


Rivers run through Montana — everything from raging rapids for kayakers and white water rafting to serene waters for the casual boater or floater.

Smith River. Some of the best floats near Helena are on Smith River, which meanders between the Big Belt and Little Belt mountains from Fort Logan to Eden. The river offers a little something for everyone, including beautiful scenery, some whitewater and good fishing. You can also view Native American pictographs along the limestone canyon walls. The river is popular, so expect to see others on the water and in the campsites. Floaters who want to run the stretch from Camp Baker to Eden need permits, which are given out in a lottery system. The deadline for entries in the lottery is usually around mid-February. You can get an application at any Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks office. But you may also be able to “walk on” if there are cancellations or openings. Floaters can also put in at the Smith River fishing access, located six miles downstream from Fort Logan. This stretch of the river is recommended only for people with boating experience as it has numerous small dams dotting the river. The trip from Camp Baker to Eden takes about three days; after mid-July the river is too low to float. Watch for fences and cables across the water. For more information on Smith River recreation, visit http://fwp.mt.gov.

The Missouri River has several fun day floats, all of which are calm and easy. The most popular segments are from Three Forks to Toston, from Toston to Townsend, from Wolf Creek to Craig and from Craig to Mountain Palace. Spring run-off north of Toston is strong enough that you’ll need to stay alert for some stretches; also watch for late afternoon winds in Craig area. Dearborn Inn, Mountain Palace, and Missouri Inn are located about five miles apart and are convenient takeouts areas.

The Dearborn River north of Helena isn’t for timid or beginning rafters. For experienced floaters, the rewards of the Dearborn include beautiful scenery as the river flows out of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and into the Missouri north of Craig. For a long one-day trip on the Dearborn, you can float the stretch between the U.S. 287 bridge and the Missouri River. Get an early start, since there is no public land for camping. After mid-June the river often is too low to float.

Blackfoot River. Classic trout habitat and incredible scenery make the lower stretch of Blackfoot River one of the most popular rivers in Montana. Fly fishing, camping, swimming, rafting or relaxing are some of the things you may enjoy along Blackfoot corridor. Corridor is a partnership between landowners, The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who all work together to provide protection of the natural resources and private property and provide public safety along the 26 mile stretch of river. The Blackfoot River northwest of Helena offers exciting white water and beautiful scenery to daring floaters. Most floating takes place below Clearwater Junction west of Ovando, although the Lincoln area also offers nice views.


Some visitors don’t realize that there may be more wildlife in nearby rivers and streams than in the mountains and meadows. Trout of all sorts — including rainbow, cutthroat, brown, brook, bull and lake — are living in almost any stream, lake or river in the Helena area. Or cold-water fish include kokanee salmon, arctic grayling, goldeye and mountain whitefish. Walleyes are usually only found east of Continental Divide, usually in lakes, and once in a while in larger rivers. The Helena area includes Holter, Hauser and Canyon Ferry reservoirs. In Canyon Ferry, it’s not unusual for fishermen to catch 5 or 6-pound walleye. Other warmer-water fish in the area include northern pike, large- and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, sauger, yellow perch and other species. Grayling fishing is best along the Continental Divide, including Park Lake and a few areas in southwest mountains. You can also find smallmouth bass in some of Helena’s lakes and along the Missouri River. For more information on fishing in the Helena area visit,

Walleye Tournaments

Walleyes Forever is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting walleye fishing, walleye conservation, family recreation and hands-on, grassroots efforts to improve warm water fisheries of Montana. Throughout the year the group sponsors a host of walleye tournaments geared towards raising awareness for sound management of all species as well as raising money for many non-profits. For information about Walleye tournaments in the Helena area go to www.walleyesforever.com


Birds of a feather flock together! The Last Chance Audubon Society promotes understanding, respect and enjoyment of birds through a variety of educational programs and exciting activities. Call 443-3949. Find field trip schedule and download a birding brochure in PDF format at lastchanceaudubon.org

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