The Millie Hill Bat Cave Trail
You may have been to Iron Mountain, but I’d bet there’s a good chance you missed this view, which means you missed the Millie Hill hiking trail.
My wife and I live near this trail and hike it often. It’s a short hike, and it’s also smack in the middle of town which makes this trail an easily accessible gem.
We typically walk from the East side of town up to the trailhead off Park Street, through the towering pine trees to the scenic lookout, then down to the other trailhead across from Hardees and back. I’d recommend starting at the Park Street trailhead, though there’s also an unofficial trail that angles up Millie Hill from the Mountain View Ice Arena parking lot and connects with the main trail.
That walk (with our daughter in the stroller) takes us about a half hour. And if you take a stroller I’d recommend jogging strollers only. My wife tried to use our regular stroller on the Millie Hill trail a few times and came back cursing. (Too much loose gravel for the smaller wheels.)
If you park at the Park Street trailhead and walk straight to the lookout it’s only a few hundred yards and can be done in less than five minutes. That’s the quickie version.
But if you walk the whole trail, take in the scenery and read the interpretive signs you could spend an hour or so here. And in my opinion it’s well worth it.
Millie hill was home to the Millie Mine, which operated from 1881 to 1936, and about a half a million tons of iron ore were hauled from it during that time. The nearby Chapin Pit and Cornish Pump Museum are further remnants of Iron Mountain’s once booming mining era, as is the Iron Mountain Iron Mine in Vulcan, MI, about 10 miles away.
So when you walk the Millie Hill trail, you’re walking on some serious history.
Even our eight year old thinks the historic underlining is kind of cool. For example, a little off the main trail (on that unofficial trail I mentioned earlier), part of the track used to haul iron ore out of the mine still juts out above the grass.
The mineshaft itself is now caged off and designated as an honest to goodness bat cave.
And after your hike, head down to Spiros, Blackstone or Poor Boy Roy’s for a meal. If you’re feeling thirsty, there’s a cool little lounge called Sol Blu, also right downtown, that feels like something you’d expect to see in a much bigger city. Blackstone has a full bar as well, and both watering holes have better than average beer selections for the area.
To see more photos of the Millie Hill Trail, click here to access my Facebook page and then and then browse to the “Millie Hill Trail” photo album. (You’ll need to “like” the page if you haven’t already)
Bottom Line: The Millie Hill trail is a scenic and historic stop for anyone who happens to be in the Iron Mountain area. And if you’re just passing through, it’s a great spot to stretch your legs!
How to get there: From downtown Iron Mountain, drive up East A Street and make a left on Park Street. Then make a quick left at the “Bat Viewing Area” sign to the trailhead.
Time Required: Ten minutes to one hour.
Location: To see the Millie Hill hiking trail’s location on my map of the Upper Peninsula, click here.
Have you walked the Millie Hill trail? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!