The Platte River is a short river in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Its mouth is located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and much of the rest is in the Pere Marquette State Forest.
The Platte River is about 14 miles in length. The watershed area is about 193 square miles. The land coverage is forested, open lands or wetlands; agriculture, and urban. Approximately three quarters of the watershed is publicly owned lands. Water in the river is clear due to extensive wetlands. Mixed conifer and hardwood wetlands give way to tamarack and arborvitae swamp near Platte Lake.
Lyons Lake drains into Bellows Lake which drains to Ransom Lake. That lake drains into Lake Ann. From Lake Ann, the Platte River run west and south. It collects the outflow of Upper and Lower Woodcock Lakes then flows through Bronson Lake. The river continues southwest. The Platte River State Fish Hatchery is on the river at Platte Creek, Michigan and Brundage Creek joins the river just to the east. The main branch receives Collison Creek just east of Honor, Michigan. At the Platte River Campground in the state forest, the river turns north west flowing toward Platte Lake.
The north branch of the Platte River receives the outflow of Little Platte Lake shortly before joining the main branch just before the combined flow enters Platte Lake.
The lower part of the Platte River begins as the outflow of Platte Lake, south of Empire, Michigan. It runs generally northwest, widening into Loon Lake about a third of the way through it course from Platte Lake. Its mouth is at Platte Bay of Lake Michigan at Platte River Point. Mud Lake is a tributary upstream of Loon Lake.
There is a canoe launch and 3 picnic areas on the river in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Photograph courtesy of Sue McVey,