Goin' Batty at the Orient Mine
At least once in your life you must experience this extraordinary event. A one-hour hike will take you to an abandoned mine from which you will see nearly 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge.
From mid-June through mid-September the Orient Mine, a designated Natural Area in the Colorado Natural Areas Program, is the summer home of the northernmost and largest bachelor colony of Mexican free–tailed bats known in North America. Every night, these bats head out at sunset in search of up to 6,000 pounds of insects and put on a spectacular display in the process. During the emergence, bats can be seen stretching south down the valley like a river.
To see the bats, visitors must make an hour-long trek to the mine, starting at Valley View Hot Springs. If you can handle the 700 feet of elevation gain, the hike and bat viewing are available for free; there is a charge only if you choose to use the hot springs facilities.
Call the Orient Land Trust at (719) 256-4315 to make sure the bats are there when you are planning to visit. More information is also available on Orient Land Trust website.