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“Feel like Lewis and Clark!”

Gates of the Mountains
Ranked #2 of 48 things to do in Helena
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Just north of Helena on the Missouri River.
Reviewed August 1, 2012

The Gates of the Mountains boat tour was a last minute decision for my family. We have 7 kids (8 months - 14yrs) and they absolutely loved it. The Captain of our boat was phenomenal and the unique canyon tour was fascinating. A great way to spend 2 hours near Helena travelling in Lewis and Clark's footsteps!

2  Thank Frank O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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381 - 385 of 407 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2012

We rented a pontoon boat for a family of 14 people and floated from one end to the other. It was absolutely beautiful! We stopped along the way at one of the lodges so the little kids could have a potty break and we ended up having drinks and a meal. So surreal being there...and the children thought the pontoon boat ride was as good as a trip to Disneyland. Fun Family idea...

1  Thank chatwizme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2012

This was one of the best boat rides I have taken. This trip was a fantastic value for the extremely reasonable price. It was worth double. The guide was extremely informative about Montana history and natural history, including bird identification. The trip goes downstream for about an hour and fifteen or twenty minutes at a very leisurely pace. The captain/guide frequently turns the vessel around so all passengers can get a great view. At the "Gates of the Mountains," so named by Meriweather Lewis the boat returns at a somewhat faster, but still enjoyable pace.

4  Thank janm60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2012

This two hour boat tour is a very relaxing float down the meandering Missouri River. The Canyon is beautiful, and the tour guide is a walking encyclopedia of Montana history. Well worth the reasonable fee of $14. I would take this tour again and again.

3  Thank surfercharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2011

We have traveled between Great Falls and Helena before and saw the signs for Gates of the Mountains Wild Area. This time we planned ahead to take time to do the boat tour. This wilderness is managed by the Helena National Forest. Captain Lewis in 1805 penned the name “The Gates of the Rocky Mountains”. He said “we entered the most remarkable cliffs that we have yet seen. These cliffs ride from the water’s edge on either side to the height of 1200 feet”. Lewis supervised his party’s passage on the Missouri through this canyon framed by "sheer, towering cliffs”.
To get there, just follow the signs off of Interstate 15 to the marina by the Holter Lake. They have a nice web site that explains all about the tours, times and fees. We parked at the Marina. There is food available, a gift shop and restrooms. Our tour was 1 hour and 45 minutes. Our tour guide was Captain Jim. He is a master coast guard licensed captain. The boat was new, the “Canyon Voyager”. It was built just for this tour. He is also a history teacher. We felt very lucky to have him because he had so much knowledge of the history of this area. The boat travels down the Missouri River for about 6 miles. We saw nesting bald eagles. We learned that the babies fly around July 4th. One side of this canyon is Gate of the Mountains Recreation Area and the other side is the Hilger Ranch, which is the oldest ranch in Montana. Nicholas Hilger emigrated from Europe and brought his family to Montana in 1867. He started the first boat trips in this area. His descendants enacted one of the first conservation easements in Montana, ensuring that the lands of his ranch will always remain undeveloped. We also saw native American pictographs. That was very special indeed.

When Lewis and Clark were here, they camped at Field’s Gulch. Captain Jim also explained about the Mann Gulch fire of 8-5-1949. There are 13 stations, one for each firefighter that died in that fire. A sister of one that died, used to come every year to visit each station until she was 90 years old. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, a Clint Eastwood movie, was filmed in this area.

7  Thank limey52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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