Pets allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan houses numerous natural attractions that create a truly mystical world removed from the busier realms of the lower peninsula and the rest of the country; there is none more than Kitch-iti-kipi (or Big Spring), which was named by the first native americans as the "Mirror of Heaven".  Thought to possess magical properties, the spring is crystal clear with a sand bottom where a constant bubbling, almost volcanic look, of activity can be seen from the spring water entering below. It sits 200 feet across and 40 feet deep, spewing 10,000 gallons of water a minute from the limestone fissures underneath at a constant 45 degree Farenheit temperature.  Due to this consant temperature, the spring never freezes and can be viewed every day of the year. In the winter months, the access road is not plowed, so snowshoe, snow mobile, or cross country skis are necessary to access the site.  Of particularly keen interest, are the lake trout that have grown exceptionally large in the spring living off the mineral rich waters gushing from below. They are a staple attraction through a viewing platform in the raft that can be hand cranked across the top to look through the crystal clear waters below. The spring does not allow any fishing to protect these fish from any unnatural interference to their habitat.

Local Native American legend states that the spring acquired the name Kitch-iti-kipi from a local chieftain who perished in the cold waters while trying to impress and earn the love of one of the maidens in his village.  His declaration of love was met with a "prove it" to which she required him to catch her from a swinging bough over the spring; while looking for her that night in the spring, she was back at the village laughing with the other maidens, and the chieftain's canoe tragically capsized and he drowned in the cold waters.

Kitch-iti-kipi sits in Palms Book State Park which is one of Michigan's many state parks in the state where a recreation passport gets you free entry or a small, per car, fee is required for day use. The park is quite small by Michigan state park standards as it is exists to protect the spring, but it houses a playgorund, concessions, and picnic area for additional features while visiting the area.  The spring feeds into nearby Indian Lake just West of Manistique, MI, a small UP logging town that boasts a quaint downtown with several options to choose from for the hungry traveler. The town also sits on the North end of Lake Michigan and offers numerous vistas of the lake and the local lighthouse to sit and take in the beauty of this Great Lake.  Visit Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe for breakfast and lunch, or try Marley's Bar and Grill for dinner and/or watching sporting events.  When visiting the area, remember to take care not to drop anything into the water or to enter the water as this pristine Spring has been able to remain largely untainted by human interaction for all these years.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Car fee

Open Year-round



Wildlife. Family friendly. Close to town.


Raft rentals popular in busy season.


ADA accessible
General store
Historically significant
Geologically significant
Flushing toilets
Family friendly
Guided tours
Picnic tables
Near lake or river
Old-growth forest
Covered picnic areas
Potable water


Nearby Lodging + Camping


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