The Gates of the Mountains Wilderness is a stunning natural area located near Helena, Montana. This area is famous for its towering rock formations, pristine river, and rich history. The Gates of the Mountains are a must-see for anyone visiting Montana, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.
The history of the Gates of the Mountains dates back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In July 1805, the famous explorers came across the narrow gorge where the Missouri River flows through towering rock formations. Captain Meriwether Lewis was awed by the scene and famously wrote in his journal that it was "the most remarkable cliffs we have yet seen in this country." Lewis named the cliffs "Gates of the Mountains," a name that has stuck ever since.
The Gates of the Mountains area was later used for mining and timber production. In the early 1900s, a hydroelectric dam was built on the Missouri River just downstream from the Gates. This dam created a reservoir that flooded part of the canyon, but the Gates themselves were left untouched.
Today, the Gates of the Mountains are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs. Visitors can take a scenic boat tour through the narrow gorge and experience the same awe-inspiring views that Lewis and Clark did over 200 years ago. The boat tour takes visitors through the towering cliffs, past historic landmarks, and along the crystal-clear waters of the Missouri River.
The tour guides are knowledgeable and provide interesting commentary on the history and geology of the area. Visitors can learn about the Native American tribes that have called this area home for thousands of years, as well as the early explorers and pioneers who ventured through the Gates of the Mountains in search of gold, timber, and adventure.
The Gates of the Mountains boat tour lasts about two hours and is suitable for all ages. The boats are comfortable and equipped with restrooms and room for incredible views. Book ahead in summer time, though it doesn’t have an extremely long wait they are seeing quite the influx of tours in recent years!