Summary: Three outs-&-back start at ghost town center--half mile (to the historic Ruckman house & back) on town streets, 1 mile (to the cemetery & back) along highway & on grassy road, 5 miles (to Eclecto Creek & back) on dirt road with gradual ascent over a hill with vista of countryside.
Flat to rolling terrain with clay & sandy loam soil supporting native grasses, cactus, scrub brush, mesquite, juniper, & oak. Horses, country homes, & a "castle" along the route. A peaceful & nonstrenuous walk.
Helena was Wild West town at the confluence of historic roads leading north/south & east and west. After a rancher's son was killed in town, he "killed" the town by getting the railroad to bypass it. On the historic grounds now are the old wooden courthouse (now a museum), a farm house, a barn, a post office, & two wrought-iron jail cages. The 1878 Ruckman home is nearby. The Eclecto Creek crossing was on the historic Goliad to San Antonio Road.
Done as volksmarch 11/03.
Trailhead: From San Antonio, take I-37 south, take US 181 south, take FM 81 east to Helena, TX.
From Austin, take State 80 south, take FM 81 east, to Helena.
From Houston, take I-10 west, take State 80 south, take FM 81 east to Helena. (Lat:28.95386 Lon:-97.82334)
Trail Guides for Helena Ghost Town Outs-and-Back Walk:
THE AFFAIR AT HELENA 1884 TWO DEAD
by Archie B. Ammons (Rootsweb.com)
VILLA DE DOLORES JOURNAL OF JOHN CHARLES BEALES 1833
by Wallace L. McKeehan in Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas (Texas A and M University)
Texas State Travel Guide
by TX Dept of Transportation (TX Dept of Transportation)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Dorothy. 830-780-3182. firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Tu-Sa, 9 - 5 (but call). Free.
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Frank Chappell, who has posted 11 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by jerry on 11/9/2006
Long drive from the city for a walk in the country.
Reviewed by Frank Chappell on 7/24/2006
In response to rating of 7/24/2006, I want to say how happy I am that you did the walk and to thank you for your feedback. The drive from San Antonio is nice, especially if you go thru historic Panna Maria. I am sorry if you felt misled; I will change the info on the days of operation of the museum. The trails are structured as the website implies and according to the map (which IS available on the website). As for the dogs next door, they did come out when we did the walk, but there were no problems; however, we will return and see if there is now a problem and at any rate, note on the website that the dogs are there. There is a creek on the longest leg of the walk--the historic Ecleto creek crossing; see website cited VILLA DE DOLORES..
Reviewed by CM on 7/24/2006
Hiked Sunday, July 23. The drive wasn't bad from San Antonio. The website is a tad misleading, the museum is open all weekend. I talked to the lady there, and she was very helpful, but told us the trails really are not structured like the site would imply. She pointed us in the direction of the Ruckman house "out back". And she also pointed us in the direction of the cemetery, which was about a 1/4 mile down the highway. Unfortunately, we had to drive because the neighbors had a pack of dogs that came out to meet our two. If you like cemeteries, I would highly recommend the trip. As far as she knew, there was not a creek. Perhaps an online map is in order? Thanks for the hike though, it was an enjoyable day regardless.
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Keys: Texas Hiking, Texas Trails, Texas Hikes, Karnes County Hiking, Karnes County Trails, Karnes County Hikes