The rugged backdrop of the Book Cliffs mountains sweep across the north side of Helper. Looking at a map, the topography of the cliffs seem to swallow the town up in the river valley between the Western Tavaputs and Wasatch plateaus. Settled in 1881, Helper was named after the team of “helper” coal-powered steam engines that assisted freight trains up the neighboring canyon and over Soldier’s Summit; the city was created because of and for the coal industry. Though the tracks are still integral in the town’s DNA and even more-so, history, its identity has changed. With the invention of powerful diesel engines, we no longer need the Helper of times past, but we still need small towns like Helper — towns with a beating heart and a will to persist by evolving their identity. Now a community of art, culture, history and stories of the power of togetherness, Helper has evolved into a destination of incredible artistry, opportunity and discovery.
Things to Do
Many art galleries and must-sees are found along Helper's Main Street. Stroll with your mind wide-opened to the history, livelihoods and industry that created this town.
The Helper Riverwalk
The Helper Riverwalk runs through the heart of town, beginning at the Helper River Beach, located at the corner of Ivy St. and S 100 W. The river's restoration has been several years in the making and has phases yet ahead. Walk, jog or take a bike ride down the several miles of river walk and find easy access points to the water, a sandstone labyrinth, benches for resting or birdwatching and charming bridges. Several beaches and swimming holes have been placed along the river allowing for swimming, wading and habitat creation for native fish.
Western Mining and Railroad Museum
The best place for a quick overview of Helper's incredible history. It’s all here: major events such as the United Mine room, Castlegate Mine explosion room and personal mining items such as lanterns, lamps and bird cages. Butch Cassidy even makes an appearance.
After dark, be sure to look up! The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has certified Helper City as an International Dark Sky Community. Helper is the second community in Utah and the 25th in the world to be designated. Witnessing a star-show in the heavens is guaranteed to conclude your day with a healthy dose of inspiration. More information on stargazing in Utah
Balanced Rock Eatery and Pub
Named after a nearby rock formation and hike, this restaurant has lasted the test of time with its down-home cooking, charm and large portions. Soak in the artwork lining the walls, if/while you wait for a table.
Happiness Within Coffee Shop
Happiness Within is not just a feeling in Helper. It’s an oasis of great coffee in central Utah, a welcoming shop with an upbeat vibe that builds from and feeds the unique community.
Castle Gate RV Park
Castle Gate RV Park has 106 sites including RV hookups, tents and full-service cabins. On 13 acres on the south end of Helper, the RV park offers a wide range of amenities and Price River access.
Follow one of our writers on his walking tour through Helper.
To familiarize yourself with the art scene in Helper, watch a seven minute PBS video showcasing the history, growth and current state
Slideshow: It's Happening in Helper
Mayor Lenise Peterman
Steven Lee Adams Fine Art
Main Street Helper
Near Happiness Within coffee and the Anne Jespersen Fine Arts Gallery
Boxcar Gallery's David Johnson
The work of David Johnson and Tom Williams
The Helper Project's Roy Jespersen
In the Anne Jespersen Fine Arts Gallery
Anne Jespersen Fine Arts Gallery
During the "Helper and the Landscape" exhibit
Helper Councilwoman Malarie Matsuda visits the shallows at one of the river's new access points.
Ask about favorite dishes at Balance Rock Eatery & Pub
Balance Rock Eatery & Pub
Main Street in Helper
Artist Steven Lee Adams
Interior of the Steven Lee Adams Gallery
The gallery space preserves much of the original J.C. Penney look and feel.
Happiness Within Coffee
Helper Hope Labyrinth
Accessible from the river parkway
Restored Service Station, Helper, Utah
Though non-operational, Gary DeVincent's passion project brings Helper's history to life.
Restoration Expert Gary DeVincent
First Friday Art Stroll - First Friday of every month from 6–9 p.m.
Butch Cassidy Film Festival - February
Outlaw Car Show & Cruise - June
Helper Arts, Music and Film Festival - August
Catholic Carnival - November
Utah’s Christmas Town Festival - November and early December
Electric Light Parade + Fireworks - December
For more information and events, check out itshappeninginhelper.com.
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