Fayette and Kitch-iti-kipi
Updated: May 7, 2022
Why this is good for kids:
Great historical landmarks
Can bike the campground and bike from the campground to the town of Fayette on a gravel walking/biking bath through the woods
Can run and explore Fayette on your own terms, and see ruins and preserved buildings
View natural, geological, hydraulic site at Kitch-iti-kipi while having fun moving the raft and seeing huge fish
Excellent wildlife viewing at both locations if you slow down and take a look.
Here are two of Michigan's great destinations that are not well known. Both locations are in the Upper Peninsula (UP) west of the Mackinac Bridge about two hours. To see both, you can camp at Fayette State Park in the Garden Peninsula and take a day trip to Kitch-iti-kipi.
Most all Michigan campgrounds have sites that are setup the same way. They all have electric and great fire rings. Most do not have water or sewer. In fact, I don't think I've stayed at a Michigan State Park with full hookup. Don't let that worry you. These campgrounds are fantastic and we've been spoiled living in the mitten state. Another advantage to the campground is that the bathroom/shower facilities are new. They were built around 2015. The sites are mostly in the woods and there are short walk to the lakeshore and the historical town of Fayette.
Some history about Fayette. Fayette was built around an iron ore processing facility. The iron ore that was harvested in the UP was taken to Fayette to be processed into pigs. Each iron pig was about 100 pounds. Once made into pigs the iron was sent to Detroit, Chicago and other cities by boat for use in manufacturing. As you walk around the historical town you can't lose sight of how beautiful the location is. Everything is green and lush. the docks are new. The water is clear blue. the cliff is majestic in the evening. You may even see deer as you explore the houses and stores. Then consider the two iron ore smelters in full production, and people working and living in this town in its most productive capacity. It must have been horrible. You can imagine, mud, human waste, foundry smoke, and up to 500 people living and working in the town. Fayette was in operation for 24 years ending in 1891. When the ore company closed, most left but, some stayed and farmed the area, giving the Garden Peninsula its name. After a couple of other owners, the area became a state park in 1959.
The docks were built in 2016 and are located in Snail Shell Harbor. Each slip has water and electric hookup. These docks have finger piers that are 38, 45, and 60 feet long to handle the big boats.
Click here for more information on Fayette State Park and to make a campsite reservation
Kitch-iti-Kipi is a 40 minute drive from the campground and is Michigan's largest freshwater spring. It is located in Palm Book State Park. The water is about 40 feet deep and amazingly clear. To see the Spring you must board a raft that is manually powered by the rafts passengers and has viewing windows to look into the water. I hear this is becoming a popular destination so, to beat the crowds, arrive early. If you ever wanted to exercise your kids, take them to Kitch-iti-kipi and have them operate the raft. The raft is attached to a rope and pulley system and by spinning the wheel you can move the raft out into the spring pool and back to the dock. The spring looks like an underwater volcano. Sand is pushed up from the bottom of the pool by the spring. Viewing windows in the raft allow you to see to the bottom. You will also be amazed at the fish. Most of the fish our huge trout.
Click here for more information on Kitch-iti-kipi
There are many places to visit in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Fayette and Kitch-iti-kipi are two that should not be overlooked.
Have you been to either? What were your experiences?