Are you looking for a place to enjoy the hot, summer sun and eat a yummy picnic lunch? We’ve spent some time exploring and think that we’ve found a few of the most enjoyable places to picnic around Helena. We hope you’ll adventure out, stay socially distanced, and get outside by heeding our advice and visiting one or all of the following places:
Hill Park will soon have an outdoor stage that will be perfect for attending live events and music, and for the time being, it’s worth making a picnic and visiting. The new outdoor stage will have a natural amphitheater, and will be a central place for the community to gather. With a beautiful view of the Cathedral of Saint Helena and only seconds away from the heart of downtown, Hill Park is a great location for an afternoon with friends and family. You’ll find many tall trees offering great shade and a very nicely kept lawn prime for sitting and relaxing.
Spring Meadow Lake State Park
Located on the west edge of Helena, Spring Meadow is a popular spot for afternoons filled with birdwatching, swimming and enjoying a nice picnic full of your favorite treats. Anywhere you sit in the park, you can take in a perfect view of Mount Helena. The park includes many picnic shelters and a pavilion that you can use for larger groups and gatherings. If you’re wanting to take in the sights of the whole lake, there is a .8 mile trail that surrounds the lake, and is unpaved and mostly in the sun, so make sure to pack some sunscreen!
Pioneer Park, located toward the end of the downtown walking mall on famous Last Chance Gulch, offers a wonderful community playground for kids, with shaded areas and picnic benches ripe for a lovely picnic. There are chess tables to sit and play at with friends, and a water fountain to utilize if you run out of water on a warm Helena afternoon. Surrounding the park, you can explore many other local attractions such as the Montana State Capitol, and the Lewis and Clark library. If you are looking for a sweet treat after your fun-filled afternoon at Pioneer Park, Big Dipper is two blocks down along the Walking Mall.
Centennial Park is a popular destination in town with baseball fields, a skate park, community playground, bike park, dog park, sand volleyball courts and great views of the beautiful Carroll College campus. In addition, there is a one mile loop trail with many fitness stations along the way including pull-up bars for a great outdoor workout. This trail is also a center hub for connections to other trails around Helena, including one that connects to Spring Meadow Lake State Park. It is the perfect location to enjoy a picnic and then go play on the many attractions that Centennial has to offer. This park has everything for the whole family - even the dog! Centennial Park includes one of the only dog parks in Helena, which consists of a fenced park and some agility items for your pooch to run and stretch its legs.
The Old Fire Tower, called Guardian of the Gulch, is a city landmark. This used to be manned around the clock to watch over the city. Today, you can find a nice hillside to enjoy a picnic and take in the views. A hiking trail up to the tower is found off Cruse Avenue just across Broadway. The view from the hill depicts Helena the best with the surrounding Sleeping Giant mountain range.
What used to be an anchor for a United States Navy cruiser during combat is now located permanently in one of Helena’s favorite gathering spots. Anchor Park, near Lewis and Clark Library, has a ton of rich history to indulge in while enjoying your pleasant afternoon picnic. Anchor Park is located along Last Chance Gulch and is another exceptional stop for a picnic while enjoying the other great amenities around you in Downtown Helena, such as Reeder's Alley and local shops like Lasso the Moon toys and The Pan Handler.