Road Trip! Where is Michigan’s “Must See” Natural Spring?
The travel website TheDiscoverer.com recently published a list of the "must see" natural springs in every state. Do you know of a natural spring in Michigan that everyone should see?
The website's number 1 pick of natural springs in Michigan has been a long time favorite of mine. I was first introduced to it back when I was just a kid by my grandfather...and it has been a place that I stop to see every time I'm in the area.
Kitch-iti-kipi, or the "Big Spring", is located in Palms Book State Park in Manistique, Michigan.
Kitch-iti-kipi is 200 feet across and 40 feet deep. It has the title of Michigan's largest freshwater spring. More than 10,000 gallons a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone. The water remains at a constant 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
TheDiscoverer.com website describes Kitch-iti-kipi this way: "From the late 19th century through the early 20th, Michigan enjoyed a mineral springs heyday, with 60 artesian wells producing waters of varying levels of iron and other minerals. Resorts boomed, and the Victorian middle class flocked to the area to take in the healing waters. Today, a visit to Kitch-iti-kipi near Manistique is a treat, as it is the most beautiful natural spring in Michigan. Located in pristine woods, the emerald pool is constantly fed by water gushing up through the limestone beneath. Wooden rafts allow floating on this pond formed by a sink over an old limestone cave."
When you are there, the best way to experience this "Big Spring" is to hop on a self-guided observation raft. This "person powered" raft will take you over the center of the water. With the open center of the boat, you will be able to see not only the bubbling springs, but ancient tree trunks, lime-encrusted branches and fat trout. The self-guided observation raft and the trail leading to it are ADA-accessible.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website, one of the legends of Kitch-iti-kipi is centered around a young chieftain whose girlfriend got the best of him. "He told her he loved her far above the other dark-haired maidens dancing near his birch bark wigwam. Prove it, she insisted. As a test of his devotion, she declared that he must set sail in his canoe on the pool deep in the conifer swamp. He was to catch her from his canoe as she leaped from an overhanging bough. His canoe overturned in the icy waters and he drowned. It turns out that the maiden was back at the village laughing at his foolish quest. According to legend, the spring was named Kitch-iti-kipi in memory of the young chieftain who went to his death in the icy waters in an attempt to satisfy the vain caprice of his lady love."
Here is a video from Under the Radar showing the beauty of Kitch-iti-kipi...
And as many snowmobilers will tell you, winter is a great time to visit Michigan's Upper Peninsula...
The next time you are driving through the Upper Peninsula, make a point to stop to see the "Big Spring". I promise you won't be disappointed.