A walking tour of the city will give you a capsule of the history of the Old West. For pointers on where to explore, contact the Helena Convention and Visitor's Bureau (tel. 800/743-5362 or 406/442-1530) and request one of the excellent walking tour brochures by the Montana Historical Society.
Last Chance Gulch was so named because a quartet of gold-seeking prospectors declared the spot to be their "last chance" to strike it rich. It came to be one of the richest gold-producing areas in the world and remains one of Helena's main streets. Located downtown, this historic area combines Helena's colorful past with a contemporary freshness. Architecturally significant buildings, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, house espresso shops and boutiques, while ultramodern sculptures depict historical events. Interpretive markers are scattered along the pedestrian mall, with historical information relating to period construction.
In Jefferson City, 15 miles south of Helena via I-15, the Tizer Botanic Gardens & Arboretum, 38 Tizer Rd. (tel. 406/933-8789; www.tizergardens.com), is the only botanic garden in the vicinity, a peaceful display of bulbs, perennials, roses, and other plants crisscrossed by paths. It's open May through September and by appointment other times of year; admission is $4 (free for kids 5 and under).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.