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Don't Fence Me In 5K Run/Walk/Dog Walk



3.1 mile 5.0 kilometer point to point
92% Runnable


Ascent: 411' 125 m
Descent: -452' -138 m
High: 4,587' 1,398 m
Low: 4,136' 1,261 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)


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Trail shared by Dave Hagen

Run or walk with your favorite people and pooches in this fun annual event.

Dave Hagen

Features Views · Wildflowers


Come sample a small slice of Helena's South Hills trails in this 3-mile annual event that has been supporting the efforts of the non-profit Prickly Pear Land Trust since 2000. Starting and ending in the historic Last Chance Gulch area, the course leaves the pavement behind after a half mile and ascends 400 feet into the pine forest before gently descending back into the funky South Hills neighborhood. Some participants choose to blaze through the course while others, some with leash in hand, take their sweet time. Whatever your method, you'll have FUN!

Need to Know

The 5K Run, Walk and Dog Walk all follow the same course with the dog walkers starting 15 minutes after the runners and walkers. Although definitely intended to be a family-friendly event, the course cannot accommodate baby joggers or strollers.

There will be a water/aid station near the halfway point of the course.

Runner Notes

The course will be flagged and crossing guards will be present at key points but not at every intersection. Please know the course!

As is the case with most trails, rocks, branches and roots comprise part of the challenge. Have fun but remain safely alert!


This and all other Don't Fence Me In events begin at the intersection of Warren and Miller streets. Heading north on the pedestrian mall from the race registration booth, keep to the right past the S.S. Helena Memorial (a really BIG anchor) and go through the tunnel beneath Cruse Avenue and up a short hill to Warren Street.

The 5K course begins by running south (up) Warren Street for three blocks, turning left on Pine Street for approximately three blocks and right on Davis Street. The course connects with Lower De Ford Trail (known locally as the Wood Chip Trail) on the left side of Davis Street and follows the second left turn onto the Eagle Scout Trail.

After negotiating the switchbacks to the intersection with Pay Dirt Trail at the Porcupine Flats Aid Station, the course descends down Pay Dirt to the Beattie Street Trailhead. Continuing through the hikers entrance, the course continues straight ahead on Beattie Street for three blocks. It takes a left onto 2nd Street for one block, a right at Chaucer Street for two blocks, and then another left onto State Street. The course stays on State until merging with Cruse Avenue. It stays left on Cruse until reaching the grassy triangle median. After angling across the grass, it turns onto the sidewalk along Park Avenue and makes a final and triumphant right turn onto the pedestrian Mall to the finish line.

History & Background

The Don't Fence Me In events have been supporting the conservation and trail development efforts of the non-profit Prickly Pear Land Trust since 2000. If you're looking for a bigger challenge, please check out the 12K and 30K courses here on Trail Run Project or at the link above.

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Land Manager: Prickly Pear Land Trust

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May 13, 2017
Karen Wemmer Shepherd

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in Montana


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762 Since Feb 24, 2016



Leaders up the first climb at the Don't Fence Me In 30k
Apr 28, 2015 near Helena, MT
A mom-and-daughter pair enjoy themselves on the 2016 DFMI 5k.
Jan 4, 2017 near Helena, MT
Man and man's best friend tackle the 2016 DFMI 5k.
Jan 4, 2017 near Helena, MT
The 30K home stretch.
Mar 5, 2016 near Helena, MT
The 30K finish with Mt. Helena visible to the upper left.
Mar 5, 2016 near Helena, MT
30K start below the historic Helena firetower.
Mar 5, 2016 near Helena, MT


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