Michigan’s Hidden Gems: Kitch-iti-kipi

Happy Mitten Monday Loves! In case you didn’t see my other post today… click here! Today, I’m celebrating ONE YEAR of blogging! Eeeek! If you want to walk down memory lane with me, and read my thank you to each and every one of you, go check it out.

Now… today I’m sharing one of Michigan’s Hidden Gems 🙂

There are so many places that I like to think of as a “secret” in my great state. And this place, is no exception.


Kitch-iti-kipi (pronounced kich-it-i-kip-e) may be the prettiest place in the state you’ve never heard of. Unless you’ve spent summer road trips through the U.P. (like many Michiganders at some point in their lives) chances are, this beautiful spot isn’t even a blip on your radar.

Kitch-iti-kipi is Native American for “Holy Crap. That is insane!” Okay, okay. You caught me. It’s actually Chippewa for “Big, Cold, Water” and commonly referred to as The Big Spring. (I totally got you… right? HAHA) Nothing can prepare you to see this place. NOTHING. Well… unless you’ve see the Grassi Lakes in Alberta. (Check out my post on Grassi Lakes here!) Because they are very similar. Thats the thing about The Big Spring. It seems SO out of place in Michigan. You expect to see a turquoise and green spring in places like the Canadian Rockies or Yellowstone. But in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? Completely unexpected.

But that my friends, is what makes this place so dang special.

A few weekends ago, my parents and I headed to the U.P for one of my cousin’s graduations. We went up a day early so that we could make a few stops and do a few hikes before driving the rest of the way to Marquette. One of the places we stopped at was Kich-iti-kipi.

We hadn’t been there since I was a little girl, and had heard it changed A LOT. And according to my parents, it totally had. It’s officially a park now, with real bathrooms and a camp store for all your souvenir needs. Like these cups… you NEED this coffee cup in your lives, my friends.


But, before we get to what it’s like to visit and what you can do there, let’s talk a little bit about The Big Spring itself, shall we?

Kitch-iti-kipi… The Facts. 


Where? You’ll find Kitch-iti-kipi nestled in Palms Book State Park, about 6 miles north of Manistique in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

What? What is Kitch-iti-kipi exactly? It’s all in it’s name. It is literally a 200 foot, icy cold, freshwater  spring found in a pond that is 45 feet deep. Year round, the spring is a whopping 45 degrees F. Every minute, 10,000 gallons of spring water push through the limestone sinkhole. And the craziest part? It is completely, 100% , crystal clear.

When? You can visit any time of year. Summer is of course the most popular time. But if you’re willing to brave the snowy cold weather, I hear it is considered at it’s prettiest in Winter.

Okay. Now that we have the facts out of the way, let’s move on to what you can do while you’re there.

How to enjoy Kitch-iti-kipi


The coolest party of The Big Spring is that you actually get to go out on a giant raft so you can see all the way to the bottom. Don’t worry… it’s not like one of those little blow up ones. It’s a giant wooden raft that’s hooked up to a pully system. You wait in a line (it’s usually pretty short) to board the raft, and then people take turns turning a wheel to pull you out to the middle and then back in.


The raft has a giant opening in the center so you can look all the way down to the bottom. You’ll see trees covered in limestone and tons of fish. (Mostly brown trout, lake trout and brook trout.) It’s pretty incredible because you know the fish are huge, but they are 40 feet below you, so they look so tiny!


After you head out on the raft, be sure to check out the camp store before you leave.

And that’s pretty much it. Like I said, it’s not a place that you choose as a main destination and spend days visiting. It is however, a great place to stop and stretch your legs before continuing on to your final destination. (May I suggest Pictured Rocks?!)

You’ll need a Michigan Recreation Passport to visit Kitch-iti-kipi. ($10 annually for Michigan residents… $29 annually, or $8 daily for non residents). The raft ride is free! You can find out more information here.

Will you be planning a trip to see The Big Spring?!

Don’t forget to check out my one year post from today! I’ll be back tomorrow with a new Travel Tuesday post! Enjoy your Monday my loves!



11 thoughts on “Michigan’s Hidden Gems: Kitch-iti-kipi

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