HELENA - Located 20 miles north of Helena, the Gates of the Mountains helps tourists and residents learn about the 'Last Best Place.'
On the Missouri River on an open-air boat, eager learners can take the same path Meriweather Lewis and William Clark took during their Corps of Discovery.
"Doing the tour lets you get all that historical information. Lewis and Clark went through there and named it the Gates of the Rocky Mountains," said Melissa Zimmerman, who helps her husband Brian Zimmerman manage the boat tours.
Limestone cliffs welcome wildlife, such as otters and more than 120 bird species. They also hold rare plants, your tour guide will take you on a journey from ancient times to a more contemporary era with tales of floods and wildfires.
"Mann Gulch was an infamous smokejumper tragedy that is down there, and we have a lot of people interested in that," said Zimmerman.
Brian and Melissa Zimmerman say the opportunity to host the historical boat ride is an honor, "it is a great place to be. We are super busy, but what a great place to be busy. It's beautiful, it's fun, and it is historic."
The Gates of the Mountains is owned by a nonprofit organization that gives tickets to fourth-grade classes around Helena, and the company also offers dinner cruises. However, they are booked for the season.
You can catch a boat weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and on weekends between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.