Hi there!

 

So Kitch-iti-kipi is one of the great natural wonders in Michigan!

 

Natural wonder in Michigan: Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Natural wonder in Michigan: Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Natural wonder in Michigan: Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Natural wonder in Michigan: Kitch-iti-kipi - the bubbling big spring in palms book state park. Best things to do in the UP. Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

 

THE thing to do at Kitch-iti-kipi is to take a ride on the observation raft. You can get a glimpse of the underwater world of the Big Spring!

 

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft in the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft in the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft in the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

Going on the Kitch-iti-kipi raft is something you do on your own (more on this below in a bit), and it’s FREE! No added cost, no tour necessary!

This is located in Palms Book State Park, and Kitch-iti-kipi is also called the Big Spring. 

 

 

Why is it called Kitch-iti-kipi?

The Ojibwa people were Native Americans who were said to have lived across parts of the midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota) and Canada (Ontario). This included parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, like the area of Kitch-iti-kipi.

If you’re interested in Native American history, there’s a good amount that you can explore with a visit to the Upper Peninsula. There are many historical sites and interpretive signs put up in various areas. 

 

According to Michigan State Parks:

Kitch-iti-kipi is an Ojibwa word that is said to have many meanings, including:

– The great water

– The blue sky I see

– The roaring bubbling spring

 

See the great water!

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

 

See the reflection of the sky (and trees!) with the big spring being like a mirror lake!

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Mirror Lake. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Mirror Lake. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Mirror Lake. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Mirror Lake. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Mirror Lake. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Mirror Lake. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

 

See the roaring bubbling spring!

First… what IS the bubbling spring that’s being referred to?!

 

According to Michigan State Parks:

More than 10,000 gallons a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone at a constant 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beneath the Big Spring, the Burnt Bluff is cracked, allowing the pressurized water to squirt into the pool.

The water squirts into the pool through a dancing layer of sand.

If you are into geology, there are more details far below on the posted park info about how the water enters the spring.

 

When you are on the observation raft, you can actually see what appears to be the sand “dancing” with the water that is coming through to see the “bubbling” in action!

 

Kitch-iti-kipi bubbling spring - the big spring in palms book state park. Natural wonder in Michigan. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

Be sure to look down as the raft moves forward so you don’t miss it! It will be around the middle of the raft line. More about the raft line below.

 

 

Cost of visiting Kitch-iti-kipi

How much cost of kitch-iti-kipi, big spring, palms book state park. Michigan travel blog

 

Kitch-iti-kipi, aka the Big Spring, is a part of Michigan State Parks, and this requires the Michigan recreation passport. 

If you’re a Michigan resident, hopefully you already have the annual recreation passport. In which case, it basically makes this an amazing FREE spot to visit in Michigan! There is no fee to ride the observation raft in Kitch-iti-kipi.

If you don’t have the recreation passport, or you’re from out of state, then you’ll pay the entry fee at the booth when you enter the park.

 

How much cost of kitch-iti-kipi, big spring, palms book state park. Michigan travel blog

 

In 2020, for Michigan residents the annual pass is around $17 when purchased at a state park. For out-of-state residents, the annual pass is around $34 while the daily pass is around $9. See current fees here.

Although, there was no one monitoring the entry booth when I went. I entered the park just before 7pm. The gift shop hours at Kitch-iti-kipi are 10am to 6pm (every day including the weekends) so maybe there was a park employee at the entry until 6pm. 

Officially, the park hours of Palm Books State Park are 8am to 10pm.

 

Palms book state park hours, kitch-iti-kipi big spring. Michigan travel blog

 

 

When to go to Kitch-iti-kipi during your U.P. road trip

Kitch-iti-kipi is located on the southern side of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the city of Manistique. It’s around a 20 minute drive from Manistique to Kitch-iti-kipi. 

I was doing a sort of “circle the UP” type of road trip.

When doing a UP road trip, the general route that can make sense when going from west to east is to go from the Porcupine Mountains to Escanaba to Manistique to the Mackinac Bridge back to the lower peninsula. For reference, going directly from the Porcupine Mountains to Kitch-iti-kipi is around 4 hours.

There are also 2 smaller peninsulas around here that you can make a stop at along the way to go to more off-beat UP spots that’s kind of in the area.

You can map it out something like this: Porcupine Mountains to Peninsula Point Lighthouse (Stonington Peninsula) to Fayette Historic State Park (Garden Peninsula) to Kitch-iti-kipi to Manistique to further east.

It can also be reasonable to make it a day trip to Kitch-iti-kipi from other parts of the UP, with one-way drive times listed:

  • Escanaba to Kitch-iti-kipi – 1 hour
  • Menominee to Kitch-iti-kipi – 2 hours
  • Pictured Rocks / Munising to Kitch-iti-kipi – 1 hour
  • Grand Marais to Kitch-iti-kipi – 1.5 hours
  • Marquette to Kitch-iti-kipi- 1.5 hours (stop by Laughing Whitefish Falls!)
  • Tahquamenon Falls to Kitch-iti-kipi – 2 hours
  • St Ignace / Mackinac Bridge to Kitch-iti-kipi – 2 hours

And for reference, drive time from parts of the Lower Peninsula:

  • From Traverse City – 4 hours
  • From Grand Rapids – 5.5 hours
  • From Muskegon – 6 hours
  • From Detroit – 6 hours

 

If you’re interested in Kitch-iti-kipi, you may also be interested in these activities in Michigan:

 

More pictures below of what you’ll see on the Kitch-iti-kipi raft!

 

 

🌳

 

 

 

Now…

More PHOTOS: Riding the observation raft!

And a bit about getting there

 

For your destination, you can put into google maps Kitch-iti-kipi and it will get you there.

 

Getting to the Big Spring, Kitch-iti-kipi. Palms book state park directions. Michigan travel blog

Getting to Palms book state park, kitch-iti-kipi driving directions big spring. Michigan travel blog

Getting to Palms book state park, kitch-iti-kipi driving directions big spring. Michigan travel blog

Getting to Palms book state park, kitch-iti-kipi driving directions big spring. Michigan travel blog

Getting to Palms book state park, kitch-iti-kipi driving directions big spring. Michigan travel blog

Getting to Palms book state park, kitch-iti-kipi driving directions big spring. Michigan travel blog

Getting to Palms book state park parking lot, kitch-iti-kipi driving directions big spring. Michigan travel blog

Getting to kitch-iti-kipi, big spring, palms book state park. Michigan travel blog

 

From the parking lot, you’ll see the trail that leads to the Big Spring.

You can start to see the turquoise color through the trees.

The trail is pretty short (a few minutes walk) and it will take you to the boarding spot of the observation raft. 

 

Kitch-iti-kipi trail to observation raft - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi trail to observation raft - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi trail to observation raft - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi trail to observation raft - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi trail to observation raft - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

The observation raft is self-operated, meaning someone (a visitor) on the raft will be operating it to move it forward.

When I was there, there was no one in an official capacity around in the raft area. This also means there was no one around to encourage any of posted guidelines in regards to the “new normal.”

From reading the recent summer 2020 reviews and seeing the pictures posted there, it seems like the observation raft can get pretty packed during the day.

When I was there around 7pm in July, comparatively there were hardly any people there. The raft I was on had like 10-15 people and it felt like there was plenty of space around. 

 

So once you are at the dock, you’ll wait for the raft to come back.

 

Kitch-iti-kipi trail to observation raft - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft line how much time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

The raft operates on a straight line.

 

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft line how much time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft line how much time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft line how much time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

So once the raft is back and everyone is on, it’s moved forward by a volunteer turning the wheel.

 

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft start - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft start - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft start - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft start - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft start - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

And off you go!

 

Indian Lake State Park. Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Kitch-iti-kipi observation raft ride time - the big spring in palms book state park. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

I was on the raft for around 15 minutes.

 

 

Love geology?! Here is more of the posted information about how the water enters the spring!

Kitch-iti-kipi water geology - the big spring. great lakes. UP Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

Rain and snowmelt seep into the ground at a higher elevation than the spring.

The water at the top pressurizes the water beneath.

 

The water seeps into the cataract formation and is trapped by the waterproof bedrock of the Burnt Bluff formation above and the Richmond Group bedrock beneath.

The ground water moves slowly downward, dissolving soluble components of the bedrock, creating caves and tunnels.

It it pressurized more, and more water seeps into the bedrock from the surface.

 

Beneath the Big Spring, the Burnt Bluff formation is cracked, allowing the pressurized water to squirt into the pool.

The water squirts into the pool through a dancing layer of sand.

 

And that’s a bit about the Big Spring in Michigan!

 

If you’re interested in Kitch-iti-kipi, you may also be interested in these activities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan:

 

More of the U.P.

 

HAPPY VISIT TO KITCH-ITI-KIPI IN PALMS BOOK STATE PARK!

 

Natural wonder in Michigan: Kitch-iti-kipi - the big spring in palms book state park. Best things to do in the UP. Upper Peninsula Michigan travel blog

 

 

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