Kitchiti Kipi in Winter is a Breathtaking, Must-See Michigan Tourist Attraction in Michigan's Upper Peninsula | See the State's Largest Natural Freshwater Spring with Large Fish!

Kitchiti Kipi in Winter is a Breathtaking, Must-See Michigan Tourist Attraction in Michigan's Upper Peninsula | By: Sherry Trautman | All photography by | Updated: November 27, 2022 

Kitch iti kipi is Michigan's Largest Natural Springs and is absolutely breathtaking to see in the winter! Chris and I absolutely love it!

Located in Manistique within Michigan's Upper Peninsula, this little known Michigan tourist attraction makes the perfect Michigan winter getaway.

What is Kitch iti kipi? 

Kitch-iti-kipi (The Big Spring) is Michigan's largest natural freshwater spring where you can see very large fish while taking a raft across the springs!

Where is Kitchiti Kipi Located? 

Kitch-iti-kipi is located in the Palms Book State Park just outside of Manistique in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  

Also known as The Big Spring and “Mirror of Heaven," Kitch-iti-kipi is a magical place to visit in the winter. Check it out!

Is Kitch-iti-kipi Open in winter?

Absolutely! The lots are plowed and Kitch iti kipi is open for visitors. You may have to step over or through deep snow to get to the path so be prepared and wear boots and ski pants.

  • There is an open porta john in the parking area near the entrance/exit.

How Does the Raft Move Across the Water?

Well, someone in your party will need to manually turn a large wheel which pulls the raft across the water. See how it works in my video above!

Is Kitch-iti-kipi open year round?

Yes! You can visit Kitch iti kipi in the spring, summer, fall and winter! It's gorgeous any time of year!

Breathtaking Kitch iti kipi Springs (The Big Spring) in the Palms Book State Park is One of the Best Places to Visit in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the summer, too!

What to do at Kitchiti Kipi in Winter

Chris and I love visiting Kitchiti kipi in winter as there is less people and you can really enjoy the area.

Things to do at Kitch iti kipi include:

  • Ride the raft across Michigan's largest natural spring!  
  • It's free to ride the raft, so check it out!
  • See how many different huge fish you can see in the natural spring!
  • Take a walk through the woods

Kitch-iti-Kipi History

Around 1940 Palms Book State park protected 257 acres around Michigan's largest natural spring. 

Per the City of Manistique, Big Spring measures 300 feet by 175 feet and has a depth of 40 feet. Years ago, people built rafts so they could go out into the pond. Also, shockingly, the Big Spring was also used as a dumping ground for trash.


However, due to the efforts of John I. Bellaire, Kitchitikipi became a state park.  Thanks, John!!

Per the information display at Kitch iti kipi, from 1933 and 1942 the Civilian Conservation Corp's Camp Manistique worked to improve the Palms Book State Park. They each earned $30 a month to build roads, picnic tables, concession building and a new raft. 

Hard to imagine, huh!

This early raft was supported by 55 gallon drums which was a maintenance nightmare. Each fall the raft was pulled ashore and checked for leaks.  Then each spring the leaky barrels were replaced and tarred before the raft was put back into operation.

The raft was fitted with pontoons in 1957 and new decking was applied in 1961. There's even more history on Wikipedia!

This is a photo of the park manager, Joe Anthony, pulling visitors across the spring in the 1930's.  Pretty cool, huh! There are several more photos of the history that you can see when you arrive at the springs. 

Why doesn't Kitch-iti-kipi freeze?

Michigan's largest natural freshwater spring maintains a constant 45 degree water temperature year-round so it rarely freezes over.

Exciting Things To Do Near Kitchiti Kipi 

    Wondering what to do near Kitchiti kipi in winter?

Kitchiti Kipi in Winter Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Kitch iti kipi's address? Sawmill Rd, Manistique, MI 49854
  • Is the lot plowed? Yes, the lot to Big Springs (Kitch iti kipi) is plowed in the winter.
  • Are there bathrooms? There is a porta-john at the end of the lot on your way out of the park.
  • Is it a long walk to the spings? You will only walk a very short way (like 3 minutes) through a path of pine trees to the spectacular emerald springs. There are no stairs.
  • How is kitch-iti-kipi pronounced? ("KITCH-i-tee-KI-pee" with short "i"s)
  • What does the name mean? The name means "big cold water"

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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What city is Kitch-ITI-Kipi? Not rated yet
Can you tell me how to get to Kitch-iti-Kipi? It looks fabulous and we would like to visit. Thanks! Answer Hey Cathy, Kitch iti kipi is located …

Why doesn't Kitch-iti-kipi freeze? Not rated yet
Do you know why kitch iti kipi doesn't freeze? It look so magical! Answer Hi Darla! Kitch iti kipi, Michigan's largest natural freshwater spring, …

Is Kitch-iti-kipi open year round? Not rated yet
Can you visit Kitch iti kipi in the winter? Or does it close in the fall? Answer Hey Angie, You can visit Kitch iti kipi any time of year, even …

Are there natural springs in Michigan? Not rated yet
I wondered if there were any natural springs to visit in Michigan? Thanks! Answer Hey Ronald, Absolutely! You need to check out Kitch iti Kipi …

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

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We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

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