Though it meanders through an open meadow that’s backdropped by a towering wall of Douglas firs and incredible views of Mount Hood, the stars of this nature walk are Milo McIver State Park’s five bat houses. Constructed in 2005 by a troop of Eagle Scouts, the dwellings help support the park’s six resident bat species, including big brown bats and silver-haired bats. Visitors can also find an enormous wood-shingled barn inhabited by Townsend’s big-eared bats: Discovered in 1998, the bats roosting here comprise one of Oregon’s only nursery colonies of female Townsend’s bats, making any sighting a treat for nature lovers or those in search of inspiration before carving this year’s jack-o’-lantern.
ROUTE: Before setting out into the meadow, grab a trail map loaded with facts about the park’s bats, then begin a leisurely stroll along a dirt path lined with dense blackberry bushes. After about half a mile, the trail rises to a small hilltop where you’ll find the bat barn.
DIRECTIONS: From Clackamas, travel southeast on OR 212 for 0.5 miles and turn left onto OR 224. Drive 1.1 miles and turn right onto S Springwater Road. After 0.2 miles, bear left to stay on Springwater and continue approximately 9 miles to the entrance of Milo McIver State Park, located on Entrance Road. Follow the signs for the equestrian parking lot. $3 entrance fee required.