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Out & About: The Gates of the Mountains

A trip through the "Heart" of Montana
GIF Gates Of The Mountains
Posted at 11:00 AM, Aug 10, 2023

Nestled in the canyons just 20 miles north of Helena is what is known as the Gates Of The Mountains.

Walls of limestone slanted in the water at the perfect angle creates the illusion of a grand gate of rocks parting to allow access through the canyon.

Boat tours through the passage have operated in the area since 1886.

“The Gates the Mountains Boat Tour has been going on for more than 100 years,” explained Melissa Zimmerman, the office manager for the tours. “It's a two-hour boat ride through our just beautiful scenic canyon along the Missouri river. It's about an hour down, hour back.”

Sacajawea 2 Tour Boat

On a tour, you get an up-and-front view of the dazzling sights of limestone cliffs, glimpses of wildlife, and in-depth stories of history through the canyon.

Much to a history buff’s delight, it’s a trek through the same path Meriweather Lewis took during the Corps of Discovery expedition.

On board the Sacajawea 2 tour boat is captain Kari Skadberg. An avid and illustrative storyteller, her knowledge of the history, geology, and wildlife makes the boat ride a fun and enjoyable experience.

GIF Gates Of The Mountains
Gates Of The Mountains

“One of my favorite things about doing these tours is talking about the history of Lewis and Clark. In fact, if Lewis were to visit Montana now, there isn’t a lot he would recognize. If he were to visit this canyon, he would be able to recognize it like that. This place looks like it did when they came by in 1805.”

Zimmerman added, “It's just beautiful. It's historic, it's nature, it's gorgeous, it's wonderful. I can't say enough good things. All sorts of good stuff to see and experience. It's definitely worth it.”

For more information - or to book a tour - click here to visit the website.