Indian Lake State Park, located off County Road 422, next to Palms Book State Park / Kitch-iti-kipi, is one of the area’s most popular campgrounds and inland lake recreation areas. Indian Lake is fed by Kitch-iti-kipi and offers excellent fishing and swimming.

Indian Lake State Park
Indian Lake State Park

Location: 8970 W County Road 442 - Manistique, Michigan 49854
Size: 567 Acres
Phone: (906) 341-2355 Michigan Relay Center
Recreation Passport: Required

Indian Lake State Park is located on Indian Lake, the fourth-largest inland lake in the Upper Peninsula, and features two campgrounds, overnight lodging facilities, a boat launch, a popular swimming beach, a picnic area and 2 miles of trails.

Indian Lake State Park

Indian Lake State Park is located on the shores of Indian Lake, five miles west of Manistique in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This 567-acre park is composed of two units, which are 3 miles apart and separated by the lake. The south unit features a modern campground overlooking the lake and the west unit features semi-modern campsites in a wooded setting. Other amenities include two Civilian Conservation Corps-era picnic shelters, a designated swim beach, a quarter-mile, paved trail along the lake and boating access site.

Indian Lake, which is 6 miles long and 3 miles wide, is the fourth-largest inland lake in the Upper Peninsula. The lake was once called M'O'Nistique Lake, and surveyor records from 1850 indicate Native Americans lived in log cabins near the outlet of the lake.

Indian Lake State Park
Indian Lake Trails

Location: 8970 W County Road 442 - Manistique, Michigan 49854
Trail Length: 2 miles
Phone: (906) 341-2355

Indian Lake features 2 miles of trails open to hiking, cross-county skiing and snowshoeing. A quarter-mile, paved, accessible trail with lake overlooks runs along Indian Lake in the day-use area. The Dufour Creek Loop includes bridges that cross the Dufour Creek at two locations, and the trail can be very wet seasonally, mainly in the spring and fall.

The Friends of Indian Lake State Park Committee invite you to enjoy your vacation with us by visiting or camping on beautiful Indian lake. Available in the park you will find two shelters that were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the '30s and are available to rent for family activities. A large picnic area is also featured with an inviting family friendly beach. The friends group sponsors several activities and programs that are for all ages to enjoy. The friends group also offers for rent aluminum row boats, canoes and kayaks.

Indian Lake Pathway
Indian Lake Pathway

Trailhead: 9 Miles NW of Thompson via M-149
3 Trail Loops - 1 mile, 3 miles, 4.5 miles
Phone: (906) 341-2355

The 8.5-mile Indian Lake Pathway is located in the Lake Superior State Forest and consists of three loops. The trail winds through flat and rolling terrain and a variety of woodlands, including hardwoods, hemlock and pines. The trail can be wet during certain times of the year. The trailhead is located off M-149 between Palms Book State Park and County Road 442.

Indian Lake State Park Snow
Indian Lake Manistique Michigan
Indian Lake State Park Trail

Two Great State Parks
Indian Lake and Palms Book

By John Pepin
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

In southern Schoolcraft County lie two fantastic Michigan state parks, each situated along the shores of the Upper Peninsula’s fourth-largest lake – the 8,400-acre Indian Lake, which is located north of Thompson and west of Manistique. Indian Lake State Park – which is divided into a south and a west unit – offers a total of 217 campsites. Palms Book State Park, located 15 minutes away, along the northwest corner of the lake, is home to Michigan’s largest free-flowing spring.

Combined, these two state parks offer visitors beautiful scenery, places for picnicking, camping, ice cream and star gazing, boating, kayaking and fishing, hiking, swimming and beachcombing. Visitors are also well within range for a day trip from here to Fayette Historic State Park in neighboring Delta County.

Though large, Indian Lake is shallow with a maximum depth of 18 feet, with almost all the lake measuring 15 feet deep or less. Once referred to as “M’O’Nositique Lake,” Indian Lake measures 6 miles north to south and 3 miles across. Despite the shallow depth, anglers – especially those with small boats – come here to try to catch some of the nine species available, which range from sturgeon and brown trout to muskies, panfish, walleye and northern pike.

At one time, American Indians lived near the outlet of the lake in log cabins. Original land for the south-shore unit at Indian Lake State Park was acquired in 1932. Development of the park started a year later with the help of labor provided by the Depression-era saviors from the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration.

Campsites and other park features were constructed along the lakeshore here. In 1939, land was acquired for the west-shore unit of the park, though development didn’t start here until more than two decades later, in 1965. Campsites at the west side of the lake are situated farther back from the water, about a quarter to a half-mile, providing a more secluded atmosphere for camping. The state park is located 4 miles west of Manistique.

Head in the Clouds Photography

Palms Book State Park is found at the northern end of M-149. “It is a rewarding side trip for the vacationer touring the Upper Peninsula, for here can be seen one of Michigan’s alluring natural attractions – Kitch-iti-kipi, ‘The Big Spring,’” a park brochure reads. A raft takes park visitors across the surface of the spring. A viewing well in the watercraft allows views of sand boiling out of the bottom of the spring, the pool cast in an emerald green color due to the minerals present. “Ancient tree trunks, lime-encrusted branches and fat trout appear suspended in nothingness as they slip through crystal waters far below,” a brochure reads. “Clouds of sand kept in constant motion by gushing waters create ever-changing shapes and forms, a challenge to the imagination of young and old alike.” The spring maintains a constant 45-degree water temperature year-round, with more than 10,000 gallons of water per minute gushing from cracks in the underlying limestone.

Early proponent of the spring John I. Bellaire found it as a logging camp dump and persuaded Frank Book of the Palms Book Land Co. in Detroit to sell 90 acres around the spring to the state for $10 to preserve the area as part of a state park. Additional land acquisitions and exchanges brought the park to a total of 308 acres. Work crews constructed the first raft here over the oval-shaped spring. There is a concessionaire’s store at the park, along with swings and grills for picnicking. No camping is permitted here. Bellaire and an American Indian friend created Indian legends about the spring to attract more visitors to the site he visited almost daily.

In addition to the two state parks in this part of the peninsula, there are other attractions in the area to visit, including the state fish hatchery at Thompson, shoreline boardwalks with a picturesque lighthouse at Manistique, along with more recreational opportunities within the Hiawatha National Forest. Cool day trips from here include the nature drive and other wildlife viewing opportunities at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, history and ghost hunting at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, shops and restaurants in Manistique, as well as places to walk along the shell-encrusted beaches of Lake Michigan.

Indian Lake State Park is situated along Schoolcraft County Road 442, not far north of U.S. 2, which winds along Lake Michigan east to the Mackinac Bridge and west and south to Escanaba, Menominee and the Wisconsin border. Whether you’re a camper, a sightseer, a picture taker, painter, stargazer, angler, boater, biker, paddler or hiker, these two beautiful state parks are places that should be experienced – whether for a day, a week or more. The emerald waters of the big spring await, like the sweeping vistas found across Indian Lake, a place for beautiful sunsets, peaceful contemplation, fun with a fishing rod, a kayak or family and friends.


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