Silver Mountain is one of many easily accessible and highly scenic "mountains" in Michigan's UP
. It is not really part of any range, or any major geologic formation, as it is pretty much just an anomaly of resistant rock that made it past the massive glaciation that took place in the last Ice Age.
Silver Mountain is southwest of Baraga, near the Sturgeon River Gorge and Wilderness area. I call it part of the Huron Mountains
, only for ease of finding it on Summitpost, but really it is just a hill all by its lonesome, much like Little Mountain
(northeast of here). Like Little Mountain, Silver Mountain is chunk of rock that sticks well out above the surrounding terrain and affords excellent views all around itself into the interior of the western UP. The summit is a series of outcrops of bare rock (old igneous intrusions), many of which (especially on the south side) show numerous scars of glacier scour.
Glacial scour is present on the summit.
Abandoned mine shaft at the base.
Back in the mining days, there was an attempt to find silver here (hence the name). They never found anything, but there remains an old closed off mine shaft, and some remnants of buildings on the summit.
In addition to being a great hike with some great views, Silver Mountain contains a series of cliffs, the likes of which I have never seen in the UP. I would dare to guess (from my limited knowledge) that these cliffs are the largest in the UP outside of the sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks
. By all indications, from topo maps as well as personal witness, these cliffs average around 100 feet high, topping out at probably around 40 meters, and they run for several hundred meters along the east side of the mountain. From my limited knowledge of rock climbing in the area, I know that they are occasionally climbed (though I have not personally done so) but they would be a prime spot to set up some sport routes or do some top rope climbing. There could be dozens of routes along the huge face. Really, if anyone knows anything more about this area, please let me know! I think this could be a great climbing attraction for interested people who want to get to the UP. The only issues I can think of are that it is east-facing, so it is shaded much of the day, meaning that bugs are an issue as well as water dripping down in places. However, this rock face is itching to be climbed!
The beginning of the long staircase.
At the trailhead, you are presented with two options for getting to the top. The first is a looooong staircase, built who knows when, that takes you directly to the top. It's pretty cool, and I would actually recommend taking it up.
The other option is to take the trail, which tends to be very ambiguous, though it is blazed with white markers. This trail starts across the parking lot from the staircase and winds around the back side of the mountain. Hopefully your route finding skills are in good shape if you want to take the trail, though it is not very far (maybe a mile at most) so it doesn't take too long.
I would recommend taking the stairs up, so you know you got to the good stuff right away, then wander around, heading to the south side of the mountain and taking the trail back down. But that's just me...
I have yet to see the likes of the cliffs here anywhere else in the UP's interior
From Baraga, MI head west on M-38. After around 9 miles, you will see a sign for Silver Mountain next the the road, and you will turn left (south) on Prickett Dam road. 2.3 miles south of M-38 you turn right (west) onto FR2270. From there, follow that road and the signs to Silver Mountain (it's pretty easy to find). It should take you around 20-25 minutes to drive the remaining ~6.3 miles to the trailhead.
The Sturgeon River Gorge and Wilderness is in the immediate vicinity of this mountain as well, and makes for a great addition to a trip out here.
None. It's National Forest land, and free to visit.
Camping is prohibited here. Too bad...
However, you are allowed to do dispersed camping in the Sturgeon River Wilderness
, which is very nearby. There is a national forest campground
not too far south of here too.
There's not much information about Silver Mountain out there, but here are some things I was able to find:
Hunt's UP Guide entry
A DNR site dedicated to it
US Forest Service Site about the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness
The cliffs would be a great place to climb!