Platte River Springs Pathway
Outside of the Porcupine Mountains, there aren’t too many places in Michigan where you need to ford a stream. But here we were, looking at a beautiful stretch of the Platte River with no foot bridge in sight. We were on one side, the trail resumed on the other and the only way to continue was to kick off the hiking boots and splash across the cold trout stream.
Located in Benzie County, near Honor, the Platte River Springs Pathway is short loop but packed with adventure, starting with that ford reached minutes after leaving up your car. On the south side of the river the trail winds through 35 acres of rugged bluffs, from which a handful of springs emerge to keep the Platte cold and clear. Lining the trail is a handful of towering beech and maples, making this pathway an especially delightful place to hike in the fall.
Although rated easy, the route does involve a bit of climbing and path finding. The trail is not easy to distinguish at times, meaning you have to keep a sharp eye out for blue blazes and an occasional trail marker. The entire hike may only be 1.6 miles but the Platte River Springs Pathway is harder than most trails twice its length. Nor is it conducive to mountain biking or cross-country skiing, even if skiers were willing to endure an icy ford in mid-winter.
The pathway begins in the Platte River State Forest Campground and in the fall a wonderful weekend can be spent camping on one side of the river and hiking on the other. In the spring the pathway would be an excellent place to search for morels. At either time of the year, after dashing across the Platte you can warm up the toes with a campfire back at your site.