Millie Mine Bat Viewing Site and Trail
Millie Mine bat Viewing site and trail system is an excellent way to spend an hour or so in Iron Mountain, Michigan.
My daughter and I recently stopped in to explore the grounds after someone suggested it. We enjoyed our stay and most certainly will return again in late summer. We didn’t get to see the amount of bats we would like to have because of the time of year we stopped.
As nature nuts, we want to see numbers and numbers of bats come out at night. Now that we know when this might be a possibility, we will be back. It isn’t everyday you get a chance to watch certain things happen in nature. Watching bats come out for the night in numbers is one of the odd things in nature I wouldn’t normally get a chance to see.
So many people I have came across not share locations of “cool” things anymore and want to keep them all to themselves. I understand why some feel this way. People! Please respect nature so that everyone can enjoy it. Nuff said there.
Want to visit this place for yourself? The property is located at Park Ave in Iron Mountain, Michigan it houses walking trails and the Millie Mine bat viewing area.
If you want to skip the trails all together you can drive right up to the parking area for bat viewing at night. After parking, it is a very short walk up the hill.
1.) Bring bug spray for at night.
2.) Bring a flashlight to get back to your car. There is no lighting for the return walk to your car.
3.) Be sure to peer over the hill at night. You get a nice night view of the city lights of Iron Mountain from this location.
When is the Best Time To See The Bats?
During spring and fall at dusk are your best bets at trying to see the bats leaving the mine. Around the fenced in mine cage are benches to sit and try to see them leave the mine. In the summer months you can still see a bat or two leaving.
What Can You Expect?
Park your car and it is a very short uphill walk. There are a few informational signs to read and a three benches around a chain link fence that has a metal cage over the mine. No lights. Just the light of the night. At dusk, during the spring, late summer and fall you may see bats come out. But get there before October because the sign says the bats go into hibernation mode in October. Sometimes a large amount come out of the mine, and sometimes a few. Depends on many factors from what I am told by the locals. Either way, a nice way to spend an evening.
During the years from 1880 -1925 the Millie Mine was known by the name Hewitt Mine and shipped tons of iron ore. After 1925 the mine was not used. In 1992 a spelunker named Steve Smith explored the mine and found colonies of bats living within the tunnel system. After his finding the mine was sealed off except for the gate that is pictured.
How Many Types of Bats Hibernate Here?
During the late summer the bats return to the mine to mate. It is said that as many as 50,000 bats can be found here. The Little Brown Bat, Big Brown Bat, Northern Long- Eared Bat and Tri- Colored Bat all call the mine home for the winter and early spring months.
What Else Does the Property Have?
1.) The Millie Mine Bat Viewing Site and Trail has a short trail system to walk during the day.
The trails are lined with native, wildflowers during the summer months.
Butterflies and skippers are common. The path has informational reading plaques about the early mining in Iron Mountain.
2.) A Chapin Pit that is full of water is on the opposite side as the bat viewing site. On a calm day the water reflections are beautiful and there is a natural stone bench to seat yourself to take a break.
3.) A recreational park is on the grounds that has a baseball diamond.
4.) A covered seating area with minor statue and landscaped floral gardens.
If you are looking for something to break up your road trip to stretch your legs, a walk on the grounds of The Millie Mine Bat viewing Site and Trail will give you that and provide you with a little bit of interesting history to read.
At night, for people like ourselves, the experience can make you giddy.
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