When visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, don’t miss Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest freshwater spring! Watch the video and read the post about our visit to this spring and the unique activity you too can do there!
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In this post we’ll share the best ways to see and experience Kitch-iti-kipi, a popular spring with a very unique way of experiencing it!
Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Kitch-iti-kipi is also known as the Big Spring and is Michigan’s largest freshwater spring.
How To Get Kitch-iti-kipi
To visit Kitch-iti-kipi, you’ll make your way to Palms Book State Park. It is located near the towns of Manistique and Thompson, which lie on the north shore of Lake Michigan. Palms Book itself is just north of there just off of Indian Lake. If you’re visiting Pictured Rocks near Munising, MI, you can easily drive down this way as a day trip as well. It’s only about 44 miles southeast of there.
Palms Book has no camping. We stayed with our RV over at Indian Lake State Park just down the road. It’s an easy drive over to check it out.
There is an entrance fee so you’ll need the Michigan recreation passport.
About Kitch-iti-kipi Spring
The spring is 200 feet across, and it’s 40 to 45 feet deep (there were some conflicting measurements that we read about the depth). It’s also 45 degrees Fahrenheit constant year-round. We read it might get an ice crust on it, but it typically doesn’t freeze over.
Coming out of the spring in the fissures below is 10,000 gallons of water per minute. No wonder it creates roiling sand dust clouds underwater as it comes out of there. It’s really impressive.
You can see ancient tree trunks down there, lime encrusted branches, and big lake trout. It is so crystal clear you can hardly tell there is water between you and everything you’re seeing underwater.
Take the Self-Propelled Raft
The really special thing about this spring is that you get to get on the self-guided and self-propelled observation platform. This allows you to best view and enjoy the spring and everything underwater. It is essentially a raft that you move with a wheel to go across the lake and look down into the spring.
It’s an open bottom platform, and the water is crystal clear. What a neat experience (whether you have kids or not)!
You’ll go through the gate, lock the gate, pull the levers as the posted instructions direct, and turn the wheel in the direction you’re headed across the spring. You might have to put a little muscle into turning the wheel! After a while it feels like a little bit of an arm workout!
Once you make it to the end at the other side of the spring, you just turn the wheel in the other direction until you make contact with the dock again.
We recommend you get there early so you can try to have it all to yourself or have to share it with fewer people. That way you will have more space to walk around and view the spring as well as get to turn the wheel. We’ve seen that it can get quite busy here.
History of Palms Book State Park
The land that the spring sits on now was originally owned by a lumber company. Back in the early 1920s a guy by the name of John Bellaire fell in love with the place. He arranged for the whole area to be sold to the state of Michigan to preserve it for just $10.
The name of the park comes from the Palms Book Land Company which is who owned it and sold it to the state.
We hope this post convinces you to check out Kitch-iti-kipi and ride the unique observation raft across!
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