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this page updated 8/3/14

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at Silver Creek Pathway

Silver Creek Pathway
Silver Creek Pathway Loop Silver Creek Pathway Loop Silver Creek Pathway Loop More Info

Silver Creek Pathway

This is a DNR pathway open to hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. Access for canoes at south end, and boats on trailers at the north end. There are also campsites at both ends of the loop, which is located on the Pine River within the Pere Marquette State Forest north of Luther. Note that there is an ORV trail very close to the river as well, sharing some portions with the foot path. This can be heavily used on summer weekends. Hikers should be careful on the road portions.

Camping- State Forest Campground, picnic tables, fire rings, self-pay fee tubes, $13/ night, no reservations
Lincoln Bridge Campground- 9 camping sites, picnic tables, fire rings
Silver Creek Campground- 19 camping sites, picnic tables, fire rings

Boat Launch- carry in access only to Pine River at Silver Creek (south). There is a boat ramp at Lincoln Bridge (north).
Most people take out here and do not go further downstream than Lincoln Bridge until Peterson Bridge.

Pine River- The Pine is known for brook, brown and rainbow trout.
Silver Creek- brown and rainbow trout

Skiing- The trail was designed for skiing, but it is no longer groomed by the DNR. See trail descriptions under Hiking.

Silver Creek Pathway Loop

The description begins at the south end of the loop, going north on the east side of the river, crossing on Lincoln Bridge, returning south, and completing the loop. There are snowmobile and ORV trails nearby, so you may hear motor noises. There are only a few places where the trails cross or come together, but hikers need to be very careful in the summer, as the ORV users do not like hikers being in the road.

Day use parking at the south end is near State Road. To reach the trail, continue to walk in via the road until reaching the turn-around loop. The trail leaves beyond the last latrines, at about 2 o'clock on the loop, and is marked by a small sign with a map. (The bridge over the pine is at about 9 o'clock.) Very quickly you cross Silver Creek on a wooden footbridge. Landmarks are listed with no travel times ... but you should come to them in this order. Next, cross another small bridge. You will climb to the top of the bluff, with lots of great views of the Pine River, and emerge at the edge of a sand road. Turn left on the road and cross a culvert then turn left again back into the woods. After a few minutes, emerge on the road again and turn left. Stay on the road and it makes a 90-degree turn to the right; soon after this you enter the woods on the left again. Cross an open area and make a long descent on nicely benched trail to the bottomland. Cross two wide sections of composite board puncheon over wet areas. Soon you enter the grassy area on the edge of the north parking loop. Stay to the left and come to Lincoln Bridge.

Leave the northwest corner of the parking area and cross Pine River on the steel-truss Lincoln bridge. This is not a vehicular bridge, but serves both the foot path, ORV trail, and a snowmobile trail. Be very careful. Follow the road away from the river for about 100 feet uphill and then the trail turns left along the river, leaving the road. You will be high above the river, and there is a nice grassy area for resting or a lunch stop.

You will come out to a sand road for a few steps then re-enter the woods on the left. Next reach a sand road beside some red pines. This has several pathways and may be confusing, but if you turn left beside the pines the trail goes slightly downhill on the road and you should see a marker on a tree ahead. This road will narrow, but continues into the woods through the low area. Cross a small wooden bridge. Make a switchback left and right and cross another small bridge. Cross another bridge. Watch for a sharp turn back to the right. Soon after this there is a steep climb back to the top of the bluff. Watch for markers as you pass through an area of red pines where there are multiple paths. Gradually descend and come to a small footbridge at the south end of the loop. There are some places near the edges on the west side where the path is narrow and eroded. Walk with care.

Note: If walking the trail in the opposite direction, watch carefully at two potential places where you might take the wrong trail. After ascending the steep hill just after heading south from Lincoln bridge, be sure you find the trail close to the bluff edge, and don't take the road out of the clearing. Also, after taking the 90-degree bend in the road (left) the trail leaves the road from a wide pullout, between the road and the river.
Access- Parking and Camping areas at both the north and south ends of the loop on dirt roads.
Restrictions- hiking, skiing, bicycling- no motor vehicles (but note the ORV trail is nearby, and sometimes concurrent with the foot path)
Distance and time- 4 miles according to the sign. An easy 2 hour walk.
Trail Markers- Blue DNR hike and ski logo plastic blazes.
Treadway- stable packed sandy soil, somewhat uneven footing in many places, some spots narrow and eroded along sand banks
Grades- gentle to moderate grades take you from the flood plain to the bluffs above the river and back several times. One long, steep climb/descent.
Marking- barely adequate, but treadway is well defined. Pay attention to when the trail leaves the roads to go back into the woods
Ecosystem- Mostly Oak and Pine on the high bluffs, Cedar swamp in floodplain
Other points of interest- nice views high above the river, village of Luther with small town services is a few miles to the south

Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- August 2014
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Bicycling- The trail is open for bicycles, but is badly eroded near edges, particularly on the west side, and could be dangerous.

Picnicking- day use of the campsites is allowed, picnic tables and fire rings

Scenic Views- nice creek views from the trail

Handicap Accessibility- new latrines at south end are accessible but you must cross natural surface to reach the ramps

Rest Rooms- latrines at both campsites
Potable Water- summer only at hand pumps in campgrounds

Access- via dirt roads
Restrictions- State Forest Campsite regulations apply
Seasonality- pump handle removed in winter
Additional Facilities- none
Maintained by- Michigan DNR, Pere Marquette State Forest. Call (231) 775-9727
DNR web site
More- If you wish to canoe on the Pine River you need a permit. This is a designated Wild and Scenic Waterway. You need a watercraft permit, and there are special regulations which apply. Private watercraft permits may be reserved by calling 1-231-723-2211. Some of the landings in the Manistee National Forest require a Recreation Fee sticker to park there. See Manistee National Forest Recreation Fees

[Counties] Lake County Manistee County Mason County Oceana County

From the village of Luther take State Road north. The access and Silver Creek Campground at the south end of the loop is directly west of the 9-Mile Rd. crossing.

Or continue to 10-Mile Rd. and turn west to park where the road dead-ends at the Pine River to reach the Lincoln Bridge Campsite.


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