Ride the waves at Kitchitikipi

Indian Lake and Palms Book State Parks are in full swing in the U.P.
Explore Kitchitikipi/The Big Springs with us.

In our continuing “Northern Exposure” series we take you on a journey with us exploring Michigan’s most valued states parks, located right here in the U.P.

Just west of Manistique and visited a set of state parks just miles apart and says you can’t visit one without the other. There’s nothing quite like relaxing on the shores of Lake Superior on a beautiful summer day. Apparently many others feel the same at the Indian Lake State Park. It’s campground is currently at capacity and will be until sometime in August. The first rate amenities and scenic sunset seem to be some of the biggest draws.

“The beaches are clear, safe, clean, the camping facilities are just phenomenal, it’s just beautiful, we had the most beautiful sunset last night and hopefully we will have the same tonight,” said Theron Kotze, Twin Cities, Minnesota.

“What I really like most is when we were cycling by the sunset. It was very nice, it was fiery red, kinda reddish–orange, gave you the idea that the sky could have been on fire, said Jimmy Shields, 10 years–old.

Indian Lake is the fourth largest inland lake in the U.P. It stretches 6 miles long and 3 miles wide. It’s south and west shore offer outdoor enthusiasts a choice of over 300 campsites with a variety of vantage points.

“It’s kind of centrally located. From here within a couple of hours you can visit the Sault, visit Pictured Rocks, you can travel over to Mackinaw and see the bridge, it’s a good place to set a base camp and explore,” said Patrick Nelson, Park Officer, DNR.

Just head six miles north and you will end up at Palms Book State Park, where you can see all the way to the bottom of the emerald green pool through the crystal clear waters. But, that wasn’t always the case. The river used to be a garbage dump. But, today, more than 50,000 visitors roam through the park and experience nature and her unspoiled beauty.

“This state park is so popular it has several different nicknames. It is also known as the big springs and Lake Kitchitikipi,” reports, Danielle Davis.

The Big Spring is 45 feet deep and maintains a constant temperature of 45 degrees year round, which prevents it from ever freezing. The raft is equipped with a viewing port right in the middle of the translucent waves, allowing for fish viewing like you’ve never seen.

“This is the most peaceful place on earth, you get to see the most big and beautiful fish and cool people along the way. It’s the type of fish you can only dream about catching but you can’t catch them so it’s just fun to look at them. There are hundreds and hundreds of fish down there, the brightest blue water you will never find anywhere else,” said Tessa Herro, Cheboygan, MI.

The only way to see the fish is by going on a self guided tour. So with hands on and elbows up I took her for a spin on the Kitch iti kipi freshwater spring. But how did the tongue twister get it’s nicknames.

“It’s the name of the Indian legend that was derived by Paul Bellaire, turn of the century he was the one who fell in love with this area and it was predominantly through his efforts that he persuaded the Palm and Book family who were lumbering families to sell this property to the state for $10 to forever be preserved for this natural beauty and what it is,” continued Nelson.

10,000 gallons of water flow through the springs each minute. But as you look through the raging rapid, you can see limestone, ancient tree trunks, mineral encrusted branches and some of the fattest trout you will ever lay eyes on.