Mirror Of Heaven : Big Spring aka “Kitch-iti-kipi” of the Michigan Upper Peninsula

If you are already surprised by the name of this lake, wait till you actually get to the lake and be bowled over by its ethereal beauty. For one thing that all Michiganders can swear by, this tiny lake can score one above all the Great Lakes simply by providing the most out-of-this world experience. Read on to know all the interesting facts about this infamously beautiful lake.

How To Reach Kitch-iti-kipi or the Big Spring

Located to the west of Manistique in the Palms Brook State Park, “The Big Spring” is about forty feet wide and about 200 feet across. Entry to the park is free for those with the Michigan State Park permit. For all others, the park charges a nominal fee of $10 per vehicle. From the car parking it is a mere 50 yards walk before one starts seeing the emerald green waters of this tiny, yet enchanting lake.
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Pets are welcome and people of all ages can easily get to the boat – all too well connected through ramps that are accessible for the young and old alike

The raft on the lake on a gleaming Sunday morning

Even before you enter the self operated raft that takes you to various vantage points to take a peek at the fantasies that lie beneath the still water surface, you will notice an instant change of scenery. The entire area reflects the green from the lake and the barks of the fallen trees can be seen deep in the waters from the shoreline. You may even catch sight of some ducks wading their way in the waters.

The flora and fauna around the lake is a beauty to watch

Not yet impressed ? Read on to know more about the journey on the raft to the “Mirror of heaven” as the lake is popularly called.

The Journey to Magic

Once you are on the raft, brace yourself for watching one of the most glorious sights that you will see in Michigan – this is no glass bottom raft – it is open right into the waters in the middle and everyone can watch the lake by standing around the safety rails. So watch your belongings – for all we know there is no fishing/diving allowed in the lake!

The raft can be operated by the people on-board quite easily by spinning the wheel – we made sure to take turns to allow everyone to enjoy the views from the raft.

Wait for your turn while the raft returns to pick you up – and enjoy the ride!

As the raft starts gliding down the waters, one can watch the thousands of gallons of water being pushed into the lake from the numerous springs at the bottom of the lake. Remember, that you are watching something 40 feet deep down. Ancient tree trunks covered by minerals that cast a glow in the depths allow you to see everything as if you are looking through a turquoise tinted glass. Then there are the long trout fishes that appear as if they are suspended into nothingness. The gushing waters from the springs deep below sends the clouds of white sand in the depths shifting to create magical forms opening the world of imagination.

The raft that is open in the middle right into the lake provides an unobstructed view of the depths of the lake

In and Around the Big Springs Lake

Once you are back to the ground, take some time to walk around and enjoy the sunlight glistening off the waters. There are several information boards to give you a brief about the history and facts of the lake.

The lake remains unfrozen at an average of 45 degrees round the year. Yes, this means that you could visit the lake even in the peak of winter and enjoy its beauty.

Upside down ? No folks, that’s the sky reflected down there – and if you look for it, you can spot the fishes too

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Some Excerpts from History

Here is a bit of history on the lake as taken from Wikipedia. You can read more on this by following the link.

History records that John I. Bellaire, owner of a Manistique Five and Dime store, fell in love with the black hole spring when he discovered it in the thick wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1920s. It was hidden in a tangle of fallen trees and loggers were using the nearby area as a dump.

Bellaire saw its potential as a public recreational spot. He could have purchased the spring and adjoining property himself; however, he persuaded Frank Palms of the Palms Book Land Company to sell the spring and 90 acres (36 ha) to the state of Michigan for $10. The property deed requires the property to be forever used as a public park, bearing the name Palms Book State Park.The State of Michigan has since acquired adjacent land so the park now encompasses over 300 acres.

Another popular legend associated with the lake is of one that is around the Native Indians.  You can read all about it in the wiki link provided above – it is added below for those who want a quick read.

Kitch-iti-kipi was a young chieftain of the area. He told his girlfriend that he loved her far more than the other dark-haired maidens dancing near his birchbark wigwam. She claimed she wanted to put him through a test of love and demanded, “Prove it!” The test of his devotion was that he must set sail in his canoe on this spring lake deep in the conifer swamp. She would then leap from an overhanging branch in an act of faith. He was to catch her from his canoe proving his love.He then took his fragile canoe onto the icy waters of the lake looking for her. Eventually his canoe tipped over in the endeavor. He drowned in the attempt to satisfy the vanity of his love for this Native American maid. It turned out she was back at her village meanwhile with other Native American maidens laughing about his frivolous quest. The spring was then named in his memory.

KindleAndKompass hopes that we have managed to entice you to visit this beautiful lake in the northern peninsula of Michigan.

Where to Stay in Munising

There are several small motels and loges in and around this area. Your choice of location should be ideally Manistique. We always prefer to stay at the Econolodge while visiting this beautiful lake or use this small yet comfortable motel as a pit stop on our way enroute to northern most part of Michigan in Munising.

You can find more listings and places for stay in and around munising at a short drives distance from the lake. The entire area is scenic during the peak spring summer times and is also a popular place for winter activities.

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Feel free to reach out to us at kindleandkompass@gmail.com and we will be glad to help with pointers.

Follow us on Instagram @kindleandkompass for all updates.


  1. What a stunning lake! I love learning about little hidden gems around our own country. The open middle in the raft is awesome. Looks like a wonderful place to spend time in the summer and fall.


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