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Difficulty II-III
Length 5.6 Miles
Gauge ~ Big Iron Approximation
Flow Range 250 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 810 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/17/2019 10:21 am

River Description

Quick Facts:

Location: White Pine to Silver City
Shuttle Length: 6.1 miles. (See details in "Directions" Tab.)
Character: Innumerous small ledge drops in a fairly uniform-width channel.
Drainage area at put-in: approximately 97 square miles.

Put-in is approximately 760' elevation.
Take-out is approximately 600' elevation (Lake Superior, mean level).
Thus total elevation change is approximately 160'.

Reach consists of alternating sections of short bedrock ledges, rapids and moving water. Most of this bedrock breaks diagonally (rather than perpendicular) to the flow, making for some interesting running! One quite significantly bigger drop, Bonanza Falls, comes at 4.5 miles into the run and may easily push into class IV- territory at higher flows.

Good photos of the falls are available online at:

The resolution on satellite views for this area is excellent. We highly recommended going to the "Access" tab, clicking the "Put in" coordinates. You'll be taken to GoogleMaps, where you can click 'Satellite' and do a 'virtual walk' of this reach! (HINT: The river flows North.)

Those seeking a longer run may wish to put-in about five miles upstream of White Pine (if the logging roads are passable for access).

The (rather smaller) Little Iron lies immediately to the West of this run, and may be a great 'companion-run' (if they prove both to be at runnable levels) or the Big and Little Iron runs may be 'fall-back' runs for each other in the event one is too high (or low) and the other may be runnable.

There are also runs nearby on the W.Br.Big Iron and Mineral River. Accessing these rivers (as with the aforementioned upper section of the Big Iron) may require navigating the maze of logging roads in the area, many of which are not seasonally maintained. This will likely stymie any early spring attempts at access, but should allow later spring or early summer runs.

Rapid Descriptions


Class - N/A Mile - 0
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Do not let the near total absence of marked/named features deter you from exploring this run. While it is not nearly as challenging as many U.P. runs, with the right flows, this should be a great change of pace and a lot of fun in its own right.

USGS sampling site

Class - N/A Mile - 1.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

USGS lists a sampling site at this location with drainage area of 98.1 square miles.

Bonanza Falls

Class - III+ Mile - 4.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Described as "60-foot-wide falls consisting of two separate drops spaced about 200 yards apart. The upper falls drops about ten feet; the lower about three feet."


Gage Descriptions

Visual from put-in.

Drainage area at put-in is approximately 97 square miles.
This is about twice the size of the Falls River in L'Anse (48 sq.mi. at Hwy.41),
or about 1.5 times the size of the Silver River (64 sq.mi at it's gauge at Skanee Road).

Analyzing historical info from a USGS gauge which had existed on this river (from 1952-05-01 to 1957-09-30), the Minimum mean daily flow was 2.7 cfs ( 1954-08-22). Flow exceeds 10 cfs 90% of the time. Flow exceeds 340 cfs 10% of the time. Maximum mean daily flow during gauge period was 3,130 cfs ( 1957.04.21). This makes a 10/90 ratio of 34 ('flashy-ness': under 3 is fairly steady, over 10 is quite 'flashy').


Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.


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Matt Muir