Galleries and Links
Preserve North Loop
Preserve & Western Woods
Trail Map from Miami University Natural Areas Website
University Official Natural Areas Site
University Natural Areas and Hiking Trails Bachelor Preserve Image Gallery
University, Oxford Ohio. It can be found east of the main campus between
Bonham Road(north border, Oxford Milford Road(east border) and State Route
73 (south border).
Other Names: Bachelor
Estate, Bachelor Estates, Bachelor Reserve, Joseph M. Bachelor Wildlife
and Game Reserve.
Features: Public hiking trails,
400 acres of natural area (over 1000 acres total with adjacent preserves),
two ponds, a large pine stand, deciduous forest, creeks, wildlife and
Adjacent Natural Areas With Hiking
Trails: Reinhart Preserve, Kramer Preserve, Beck Preserve, Western
Woods, Silvoor Biological Sanctuary, Peffer Park Trails, Marcum Loop
What to See
Cameras & Images
Adding in a walk from an parking area the main loop trail runs about
3.5 miles. If you include the adjacent preserves there are 13 miles
of hiking trails. Most of the loop trails take an hour or two to walk
and you can walk all day Saturday and Sunday and still not see it
all. The trails wind through climax forest, ponds, creeks, and gullys
and are well managed. If you do not like hills there is a 4 mile streach
of flat connecting trails following Harkers run and 4 mile creek.
Parking areas are avaiable on Oxford-Milford Road, Bohnam Road and
Ohio Route 73, and you can usually find trail maps and information
at those locations. Kids love to follow the creeks and play in the
mud and walk on the bridges allong Harkers Run.
aka Hefner Pond, Seeke Pond. There is a 10 acre pond in the East Central
area accessed from the trails and near the Eastern Parking area. It
is about 100 yards long and 50 wide at the earth dam and tapers a
bit at the opposite end. If you take a trek down directly below the
dam you may find the runoff pool container which can have turtles
trapped in it. There is a small stand of cattails at both ends of
the pond. Years ago they called this Seeke Pond. Students would come
and swim and skinny dip in the sixties there and Seeke was a derogatory
reference to Miami University Security officers that would visit the
pond to break up such parties. You can still find "No
Swimming" signs that were posted when the pond was considered
a health hazard and they were trying to get students and locals to
stop swimming there. There are various fish in the pond, bluegill,
sunfish, largemouth bass, catfish. A heavy row of honey suckles grows
east of the pond and large White Pines and Norway spruce trees were
planted on the north and sound ends of the dam. You can find sweet
gum trees north of the pond towards the Reinhart loop.
|Boesel Pond AKA Little
Pond, Micro Pond. Just south-south east of the Bachelor Pond you can
find the smaller pond in a roundabout trip heading south along the
trail from the big pond and then backtracking up north east. Summertime
is is covered in duckweed.
Maple, Beech, Ash Climax Forrest-Beech
Graveyard . There is a large stand of very large trees in the
South East corner(East Loop Trail) of the preserve. Its very shady
and has a upland look to it. Many of the trees stand very tall and
you will feel like someone is following you here because there are
lots of squirrels. Some of the larger trees have carvings on the
trunks from passers by that go back many years. Lots of May apples
here. On the trail most of the magnificent Beech trees have become
hollowed fells that have come crashing down opening up room for
the maple and ash trees to take over. As you head west, north of
this area you can see big but younger healthier Beech trees, that
are more like the look of 20 years ago.
There are really two types of forest here,
grazed forest at the south east end and upland forest down towards
the main body of beach trees. If you note on the topograpic map
there is a fence line just west of Bosler pond that divides the
grazed and ungrazed upland forest. This has been a climax forest
from the 1960s, but there is some evidence that it was once an orchard.
Sugar maple trees fill in the gaps from large maple tree-falls that
let the sun in.In the spring there are wildflowers here.
This creek runs through the center of Bachelor Preserve and ranges
from a small trickle in the dry summer months to a little raging river
when the rains fall. At the South West end of the connection Sycamore
trail the creek runs into 4-mile creek just beyond the Bridge. There
is a suspension bridge at the North crossing joining the East Loop
and Pine Loop trails. Connecting East Loop and Pine Loop trails over
the creek is a concrete pylon step bridge. During the late 80s and
90s there was another wood suspension bridge at this location. Before
that it was rocks that people piled across the creek.
Collins Run. This creek runs from
the south east part of Oxford through the north side of Peffer Park
and then across Highway 27 into the south end of Western Woods where
it dumps out into Four Mile Creek. A very large percentage of run
off water from Oxford coming down from Bull Run creek, the Locust
Street gully(in front of WalMart) and several connecting gullys
coming over South Chestnut Street all end up in this creek. There
can be dramatic changes in the quantity of water carried away during
large rainstorms and you usually see some evidence of flooding in
the early summer months after the spring rains. The creek supports
sunfish, creek chubs and other fish that can be spotted in the deeper
pools year round.
The area near Peffer Park has large quantities
of clay that the creek has cut through and there are abundant fossil
finds including horn coral.The flooding and twisted path of the
creek leaves large rock/sand bars all along Peffer Park and Western
Woods were you can find these fossils.
The east end of this trail is a grassy area and tree tunnel trail
with various juniper and deciduous trees and wild flowers (summer).
The trail twists and bends through water runoff creaks heading down
to Harkers Run and there are many bridges crossing the ravines. As
you head west and south towards the creek the woods become more dense,
with many stands of beech, maple and sweet gum trees. There is an
observation overlook above the creek on furthest west point. The trail
begins and ends at Bachelor Pond, with a spin off trail to the Bonham
Road/Harkers Run bridge that can take you to North Loop and Kramer
Trail. I may be the only one that calls it that. This trail connects
the Rt. 73 access point to the Pine loop trail. It runs for about
½ mile along Harkers run and has some huge and very beautiful Sycamore
Trees. They are most impressive if you visit during the winter months
when they are easier to see. Many of the very old ones are starting
to fall down, but there are many tall replacements ready to take over.
Pine Loop Trail. The loop starts and
ends at the south Cement Pylon bridge crossing Harkers run, runs
up to the north West end of Bachelor preserve and then twists back
along the creek. Here you can find low valley areas along the creek,
and the huge stand of pine trees planted in 1950 as a project to
sell Christmas trees for profit. In a few generations we can expect
the deciduous trees to take over this area and block out the pines,
replacing them. There is a lookout point that points back toward
the Dewitt cabin that is nice in the winter, but not much to see
in the summer. Near the south end of the pine stand you can find
some fairly rare ground pine covering the ground on both sides of
the trail. It used to be everywhere, now it is a rare site here.
The south edge of this trail contains a "slope
forest" with many oak, hickory, sugar maple and basswood tress.
I have seen many wildflowers on the slopes in the spring. Large
trees fall on the south west end of this area, then sugar maples
takes advantage of the sun in the "tree-fall gap" and
fills the vertical middle layers. The bowl shape of this area allows
light to fall into the edges of the forest giving a chance for exotic
plants like Amur Honeysuckle to grow.
Lower along the creek on the east end of
this loop is a young floodplain area with Sycamores and smaller
trees. When the area was not so overgrown, you could fined old cars
and junk piles in this area, but they are all now covered or rusted
East Loop Trail. This starts at the
Bachelor Pond runs west then south west to the creek. It used to
also run along the east side of the creek but they are trying to
keep people from going on that way and the north south run of the
trail is shared with the pine loop trail on the west side of Harkers
Run. Just south of Bachelor Pond you can find stands of Juniper
trees in what was once an old field. I can remember when most of
the Juniper trees were under 2ft and you could see from the pond
to the deciduous stand of trees near the small pond. Look around
a while you will find ground pine growing on the ground. You'll
find Osage Orange trees, dogwood and ash here also. A East finger
of the trail will take you to the smaller Bosler pond. You can find
field daisys and Queen Ann's Lace here if you look around the lower
areas. You will notice the herbs grow on the shady north side of
the junipers(see the green in the shade of the juniper in this picture).
Other trees here are flowering dogwood and white ash.
This is a successional area from about 1976,
meaning that human influences such as graizing and planting stopped.
This area was farmed through the end of the 1940s then graized by
cattle until 1968. This left the area void of topsoil until seeding
mowing and other land restoration followed the graizing. I have
heard many people talk about this area being covered with blackberries
at one time but I have never seen any.
|North Loop Trail. This
trial loop just short of a mile connects the preserve to the Kramer
Woods. This is a classic SW Ohio trail and reminds me very much of
the trails at many state parks in Ohio. It is much more up and down
than some of the other trails, moving you through ravines with steps
and bridges, large sycamore trees, maples, beech and oaks. There are
lots of scenic ridge line trails and even a connector trail back to
Bonham road where you can hook back into the trails that follow Harkers
Run through the main preserve.
and Western Woods. The trails in this area are wide open and easy
to access and have mature sycamore, oaks, beech, maples, locust, cedar
and white pine trees. You can see for quite some distance even in
the summer months. Beck Preserve boarders Four mile creek with a wide
trail running parallel to the creek and a open field trail near the
Ditmer Parking Lot off of Route 73.. Crossing the trail in two places
near the creek is a old access road that follows a major sewer line.
A similar service road that is completely overgrown now, exists running
along Collins Run which is a creek that is the south boarder to these
preserves Several trails run along the ridge lines of Western Woods.
Another long trail runs off the gravel access road just behind Boyd
Hall and twists down to the old Collins Run service road thean along
the old road path with tangent trails to the Western Cabin, and the
loop trail behind the Miami Art Museum. Continuing south you can cross
under US 27 along the creek bridge and come into Peffer Park.
Peffer Park. There is a loop trail
for mountain biking, a large creek Collins Run going down the north
side and the famous "Bluffs", an ever eroding hillside
adjacent to the creek. There is also a ropes course maintained by
Miami Recreation. The mowed loop trail has several crossover trails
and ends at the west end near the railroad tracks. Within the last
few years the cemetary in the south east corner took over the edge
of the loop trail, apparently the trail was over the property boarder,
so there are signs on the main trail that say, stop, private property.
This was my back yard when I moved to Oxford
in 1979, but the hillside in this picture had two more rows of pine
trees and the trail that ran over the top of the hill at that time
fell off the edge. I assume someday there will be a huge cave in,
the creek will be moved right and then the hill will fill in with
trees and vegitation.
Kramer Woods. A nice short loop trail
runs around kramer woods. The trail is well developed with bridge
and step and supports sycamore trees, maples, beech and oaks. There
are several very large trees that dominate the area on the west
side of the loop and is pleasantly open. The east side is more dense
and overgrown with small trees.
I have seen Whitetail Deer, mostly along
the Sycamore Trail and near the Bachelor Pond. Bucks seem to hang out
near the pond and doe along Sycamore trail.
Coyotes. I have not seen coyotes, though
I have heard them, found tracks, scat and some evidence of dens in a number
Woodchucks here and there. Years ago I saw an otter
of some kind in Bachelor pond, but that was maybe 1985 and I haven't seen
it since. I have seen feral cats along the creek from the pine stand to
Fish include Largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill
and sunfish in Bachelor Pond.
Crawfish and minnows in Harkers run.
Redtail hawks can be seen there from time
There is a raccoon family that runs around,
spends lots of time near the creeks, you can see prints in muddy areas
and spot them if you approach the creek quietly.
Sorry no Bigfoot. I figure this is a good place for one to hide out, but
I have never seen one, or footprints or anything. The Preble County Bigfoot
legend is pretty close by, so keep your eyes open.
Dogs, lots of families bring their dogs
out to walk the trails, so be prepared to be visited by some friendly
The land for the preserve was donated to Miami
University by Joseph M. Bachelor who was an English professor from 1927-1945
and acquired the land during his tenure. Agriculture was the primary use
on half of the estate in the 1950s, with both crops and grazing cattle.
The ponds were put in for the cattle in 1957 and 1958, but protests about
the way Bachelor willed the use of the property led to the eventual decrease
of grazing and farming into the 1960s.
From the late 1960s the areas turned from a mix
of forest, farmed, grazed and successional(areas that were grazed and
farmed that stop being grazed and farmed) lands to only forest and successional
areas as all grazing and farming came to a stop.
The pine stand is not natural but a planted in
about 1950 and 1951 when 26,000 red and white pine seedlings were planted
in rows to be sold for profit as Christmas trees by Miami University.
There is more information on Miami
University's Natural Areas Web Site.
History at Bachelor Preserve
My family moved to Oxford when I was 16 in 1979.
We lived near Peffer park and I hiked the whole area the first year we
lived there and eventually found my way over to Bachelor in the fall of
1980. There were trails here and there near the access ways, around the
ponds and going into the pine stand but most of the rest of the trails
were very small threads through the woods looking more like deer paths
than people trails. Back then I frequently ventured off the trails to
see what was in the remote areas. Throughout my college days at Miami
(1981-1985) hiking the trails was a get away and I would treat myself
to a hiking trip after my last final of the semester was over. I have
continued to visit sense then.
What has changed since 1980 that I notice the
Heavy undergrowth in the pine forest in the middle
and lower vertical layers
Generally more undergrowth everywhere, so bad you really want to stay
on trails all the time.
Fewer cattails in the big pond
Managed trails and two man made bridges
Loss of "ground pine" evergreen ground cover just south of the
pine stand on Pine Loop Trail-it is almost all gone.
Beech forest on East Loop trail turning into the Beech Graveyard.
Polaroid Ion 230, 2.1 mega pixel. Cmos chip,
not the best camera but very small and I always have it on me. It is really
hard to get a clear unblured good shot or set up panoramic images with
this camera because it auto adjusts all the time and no way to turn it
off. Still there are some photos I have taken outdoors that came out quite
well. The secret is to take lots of pictures and turn the exposure down,
you get a few that are quite nice. Many of the pictures here are from
this camera. The biggest problem with this camera outdoors is getting
and keeping an infinate focus.
Fugifilm Finepix 2600Z 2.0 mega pixel..
It is a point and shoot model, 5x zoom and 3x digital zoom, autofocus,
very adjustable if you want it to be, it is hard to take a bad picture
with this camera outside. Inside in big rooms it is an awful camera, the
flash doesn't carry beyond 10ft. It takes much better pictures than my
Polaroid. Had this camera for a couple of years and haven't felt the need
to upgrade. Biggest challenge out doors is keeping a steady hand.
Zenit SLR 12XP. I Russian made SLR camera
from the 80's. Weighs about 90 pounds but you can take a hammer to it
and it will still work. I got this camera because it has the old screw
on 120mm lens that I didn't want to throw away. I paid $99 for it at a
camera store in Hamilton Ohio in about 1987. It takes GREAT pictures.
I keep thinking about upgrading to something new but I know how to use
it and it works.
Vivitar PS:35 Point and Shoot 35mm Auto
Focus Camera. Picked this up at a flee market for $5 about 8 years ago
and it has been my backup 35mm camera for many years, Not too heavy, easy
to use and takes very good pictures. It has a great flash that works good
out to almost 15 ft in a dark room. I often push the flash on it for outdoor
shady photography to ease out some of the shadows.
Vivitar Vivicam 10 : 640x480 VGA grade digital
camera( 0.3 megapixel) with 8meg of memory. This is about the best sub
one megapixel camera I could find in 2002. Nice flash and controls, no
screen to see your pictures but has a flash and takes pretty good outside
pictures if there isn't too much glare and if you have a steady hand.
Very few of the pictures here are from this camera. I really bought this
for my daughters to use but I find I use it just as much for fun less
serious picture taking. My pictures of Peffer park here are with this
For my 35mm cameras I usually use ISO 400 speed
film. It seems to work out better in the shady areas of the preserve.
Most of my images I convert back to 600 pixel height
at 80% JPG compression(to save space). I have a Mustek 1200 scanner and
usually scan regular color photo prints in at 1200 dpi, then convert them
down the same way. I sometimes adjust brightness or contrast and frequently
do some color saturation with software to improve the color contrast to
bring out the greens. If anyone needs an original of these images let