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U.S. Forest Service

Northern Region Viewing Area


Map of a portion of the Helena National Forest displaying the roads in the Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit.

sagebrush buttercup. Sagebrush buttercup. Photo source: Joe F. Duft, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

long-plumed avens. Long-plumed avens. Photo source: Gary A. Monroe, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

hikers in the Elkhorns. Hiking the Elkhorn Mountains. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit

Forest: Helena National Forest

Description: Explore a magnificent recreation and wildlife resource at the doorstep of Helena, Montana's capital city. From prairie to alpine, mayflies to mountain goats, and scenic driving to tortuous climbing routes. In the Elkhorns, you will discover diversity. The Elkhorn Mountains are a mountain island, which provide a spectrum of habitats for a wide variety of plants and animals. The Elkhorns are especially known for the beauty and productivity of the plentiful mountain meadows and grassy parks. Both small and large, these open areas provide abundant food for wildlife, and beautiful vistas and colorful wildflowers for visitors.

Viewing Information: The Elkhorns offer unique opportunities for viewing wildflowers and wildlife in their natural habitat. Early Spring Wildflowers include: Sagebrush Buttercup (Ranunculus glaberrimus), Yellow Skunk Cabbage (Lysichitum americanum), Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum), Trillium (Trillium ovatum), Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium grandiflorum), Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), Yellowbell (Fritillaria pudica), Western Springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata), and Grass-Widows (Sisyrinchium inflatum).

Summer Wildflowers include: Sticky Geranium (Geranium viscosisimum), Prince's Pine or Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata), Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa), Pussytoes (Antennaria rosea), Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii), Lupine (Lupinus sericeus), and Long-Plumed Avens (Geum triflorum).

There is an extensive network of hiking trails.

Safety First: Before you go stop at a District office to learn about safety in bear country, avoiding the hazards of giardia and other important tips for staying safe during your visit.

Directions: See map.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, and Helena National Forest, 2880 Skyway Drive, Helena, MT 59602, (406) 449-5201.

Closest Town: Elkhorn, Jefferson City, Helena, Montana.

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