Michigan State Parks: Palms Book

Two people at Palms Book State Park

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is full of surprises and wonder. Palms Book State Park contains one such natural phenomenon.

Tucked in the woods is Michigan’s largest freshwater spring. It is so crystal clear that you can see 40 feet down to the bottom and watch the water bubble up from underneath.

It is called the Big Spring, or by its native American name, Kitch-iti-kipi.

Over 10,000 gallons per minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone. The flow continues throughout the year at a constant 45-degree Fahrenheit so it never freezes.

Fish in a lake
Looking down at the bottom of Kitch-iti-kipi from the observation raft

Kitch-iti-kipi is a very popular attraction year-round. Families visit Palms Book State Park from all over to get a glimpse of the bubbling water and watch the large trout swimming about.

A cable-propelled observation raft allows visitors to get out over the center of the spring for unique views. The raft and the trail leading to it are ADA accessible.

During peak summer weekends you can expect up to an hour wait for a 10-minute ride on the raft, but it is totally worth it! On weekdays or in the off-season you can usually walk right on and spend as much time as you like provided there aren’t other guests waiting.

Visitors on the raft at Palms Book State Park

History of Kitch-iti-kipi

Like much of Michigan, the surrounding area had been a bustling lumber community in the late 1800s. In the 1920s a lumberman named John Bellaire came across the spring hidden deep in the wilderness. When he discovered Kitch-iti-kipi, there wasn’t much to be seen – the woods were overgrown and the spring was full of trash and debris left from the local lumber company. But John saw the beauty of the water underneath.

Instead of purchasing the land for himself, he arranged for the state of Michigan to buy the land for $10. The original 90 acres became state property in 1926 to be used as a public park. The name Palms Book State Park comes from the Palms Book Land Company, which helped arrange the deal.

Raft at Palms Book State Park
Visitors on the observation raft at Palms Book State Park

Palms Book State Park Today

The state park today encompasses around 300 acres, but Kitch-iti-kipi remains the sole attraction.

However, a concession stand and gift shop are on site, along with bathrooms and a small picnic area.

There is no camping available at Palms Book State Park. If you are looking for a place to camp, Indian Lake State Park is less than 10 miles south and offers both modern and rustic facilities.

Palms Book State Park is located about 20 minutes northwest of Manistique.

Two people by the Palms Book State Park sign

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. We have a video about Palms Book State Park here. You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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