While many people will claim to know of Silver River it's difficult to know which river they are talking about. After all, there are three Silver Rivers within fifty miles of Houghton, MI; one in the Keweenaw near Eagle Harbor, one near West Branch Sturgeon River near Alston, and the third one in Baraga County. The third one is the largest and, in my opinion, the most impressive in terms of both waterfalls in area.
Silver River, in Baraga County, does not flow by any population centers or industrial sites. It is not dammed along its route, and besides the bridges that span it and a scattering of houses and cabins along its route, is untouched by man. From headwaters in swamps within the Craig Lake State Park, the pristine waters fall eight hundred feet before emptying into Lake Superior's Huron Bay.
There are two main branches near the head of Silver River. The larger branch drains some lakes and swamps southeast of Herman, MI. After passing the dead end of Lahti Road, this branch drops three hundred feet over five large waterfalls, collectively called Upper Silver Falls, and numerous rapids. This stretch is normally quite dry during the year, with the falls flowing best immediately after the spring melt. East Branch Silver River drains a rugged area north of Mt Carwood and meets with the main river near Silver Road, but is mostly sluggish with no significant drop.
After the two branches meet, Silver River crosses under the Silver Road bridge a much larger stream. Between this bridge and the Arvon Road bridge, a distance of about two miles, the river drops an additional three hundred feet over several dozen individual waterfalls. Unfortunately, this portion of Silver River has a number of residences and cabins, making visiting these drops difficult. Kayakers often run this stretch of river during the spring, so more details on this stretch and images can be found on different white water blogs and websites.
After crossing under Arvon Road and passing a large gravel pit to the east, Silver River passes over two more sets of waterfalls before mellowing out for several miles into a slow, winding path. There is one more set of three waterfalls at a roadside park off of Skanee Road, well known by locals as Lower Silver Falls or just Silver Falls, before it empties into Huron Bay. Fisherman can be found along the last several miles of the river, but the steep chutes and falls at the lower falls make it difficult for fish to swim any farther upstream.
Whether it's fishing, hiking, kayaking, or just visiting, the pristine waters of Silver River make for an excellent stop. To visit the upper reaches, take Lystila Road to Lahti Road eastwards out of Herman. Stay straight on the two-track when the main road turns ninety degrees to the right. The first fork on the two-track leads to the main waterfall while the second leads to the uppermost drop. The easiest way to visit the middle stretch is by parking near the Arvon Road Bridge over Silver River, located off of Dynamite Hill Road by L'Anse, and either hiking upstream or downstream. A DNR sign on Skanee Road six miles out of L'Anse points to the lower falls.