Kitch-iti-kipi Springs: Michigan’s Mystical Jewel Toned Pool

The state of Michigan is home to countless beautiful lakes and rivers. One of Michigan‘s most celebrated bodies of water is a frigid jewel toned spring located in Palms Book State Park in the wild and remote Upper Peninsula. Kitch-iti-kipi Springs has several names, but locals often refer to it as the “Big Spring.” On a clear day, visitors can easily peer into the water and get an unobstructed view of Kitch-iti-kipi’s limestone bottom.

Due to Kitch-iti-kipi’s chilly 45 degree temperature, swimming is prohibited. Visitors can board a raft which allows them to float atop Kitch-iti-kipi’s sapphire and peridot colored waters and view the Big Spring from different vantage points. Groups of fish swim freely, swirls of sand bubble up from the floor of the Big Spring, and ancient tree branches which have been submerged in Kitch-iti-kipi’s waters for ages create captivating shapes.

A constant jet of water supplied by an underwater aquifer fills Kitch-iti-kipi with nearly 10,000 gallons of fresh water a minute. Thanks to Kitch-iti-kipi’s constant 45 degree temperature, the Big Spring tends not to freeze in the winter. Rugged winter travelers delight in snowshoeing and cross country skiing to Kitch-iti-kipi so that they can view the Big Spring’s jewel toned water surrounded by fresh white snow.


Photo credit: Quin at @everchanginghorizon

The Ojibwe people—who were the earliest people to encounter Kitch-iti-kipi—believed the Big Spring had mystical properties and healing powers. The Ojibwe used Kitch-iti-kipi’s mineral infused water in healing tonics and rituals. Modern visitors certainly have no difficulty understanding why such a stunningly beautiful body of water has historically been revered as a sacred place.

No trip to Michigan is complete without spending a few hours gazing into a natural spring so pristine that it is often lovingly referred to as “The Mirror of Heaven.” Kitch-iti-kipi is certainly a little slice of heaven on Earth.


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