Lover's Leap

Lover's Leap, or (in plural) Lovers' Leap, is a toponym given to a number of locations of varying height, usually isolated, with the risk of a fatal fall and the possibility of a deliberate jump. Legends of romantic tragedy are often associated with a Lover's Leap.

A scenic view of the New River Gorge from Lovers' Leap at Hawk's Nest State Park, Ansted, West Virginia.

List of locationsEdit

In the United StatesEdit

Two Lovers Point is a major tourist attraction on Guam


Diarmuid and Gráinne's Rock / Lovers's Leap - Loop Head, Clare, Ireland
Couple approaching boat after they swim in lover's leap spot, Trincomalee


United StatesEdit

The Lovers' Leap at Hawks Nest State Park in the town of Ansted, West Virginia, along the historic Midland Trail, has a drop of 585 feet (178 m) from a high cliff overlooking the New River Gorge. The promontory was named "Lovers' Leap" by settlers,[2] and has acquired a legend involving two young Native Americans from different tribes.[3] The most notable Native American legend can be found in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. It involved a Chickasaw warrior and a Cherokee maiden.[4]

Blowing Rock Mountain, outside Blowing Rock, North Carolina, has a similar legend of a young lover leaping from the cliff and instead of plunging to his death, is saved. In this version the lover is saved by the blowing wind which sends him back into the arms of his sweetheart.[5]

Wills Mountain has a Lovers' Leap overlooking Cumberland Narrows on the west side of Cumberland, Maryland. It is 1,652 feet (504 m) above sea level and made up of oddly squared projections of rock from its top all the way down to the National Road (U.S. Route 40) below. The city of Cumberland and the surrounding states of Pennsylvania and West Virginia may be seen from this point.[citation needed]

Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi writes: "There are fifty Lover's Leaps along the Mississippi from whose summit disappointed Indian girls have jumped."[6][7] Princess Winona is one such legend, in which the daughter of a Dakota chief leaps to her death rather than marry a suitor she does not love.[8] Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, is one site for the Winona legend, though other locations include Winona Falls in Pennsylvania, Camden County, Missouri, and Cameron Park in Waco, Texas.


Dovedale in the Peak District in the United Kingdom has a limestone promontory named Lovers' Leap reached by a set of steps built by Italian prisoners of war captured in World War II. The local legend is that a young woman believed her lover had been killed in the Napoleonic wars, so she threw herself off the top of the promontory. Later, her family found out that her lover was alive and well.[9]

The south coast of Jamaica at Saint Elizabeth Parish has a Lovers' Leap 1,700 feet (520 m) above the Caribbean Sea. Lovers' Leap is named after two enslaved lovers from the 18th century, Mizzy and Tunkey. According to legend, their master, Chardley, liked Mizzy; so, in a bid to have her for himself, he arranged for her lover, Tunkey, to be sold to another estate. Mizzy and Tunkey fled to avoid being separated but were eventually chased to the edge of a large steep cliff. Rather than face being caught and separated, the lovers embraced and jumped over the cliff.[10] The story was used as the basis for a romantic novel.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Lover's Leap · St. George, UT 84790".
  2. ^ Shawnee Captive: The Story of Mary Draper Ingles (Women of the Frontier), page 83, Mary R. Furbee, Morgan Reynolds Publishing (July 2001), ISBN 1-883846-69-2
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2009-05-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Fairy Tale Nights At Rock City | The Autism Diva Hotel & Travel". Archived from the original on 2020-08-10.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-29. Retrieved 2008-07-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, Penguin Books, New York, 1961 p. 283
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-28. Retrieved 2008-07-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Porter, Cynthya (Feb 1, 2009). "Homecoming to Explore Roles of American Indian Women". Winona Daily News reprinted at Diversity Foundation. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015.
  9. ^ "National Trust – Ilam Park – Dovedale". Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Lover's Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend, Horane Smith, Minerva Press (June 1, 1999), ISBN 0-7541-0589-X

Further readingEdit

  • Lover's Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend, Horane Smith, Minerva Press (June 1, 1999), ISBN 0-7541-0589-X
  • Legends of Lover's Leaps, Phil Hoebing, Missouri Folklore Society Journal 21 (1999), 81–98.
  • Lover's Leap Legends: From Sappho of Lesbos to Wah-Wah-Tee of Waco, Payton, Leland & Crystal, Lens & Pen Press (February 1, 2020), ISBN 978-0-9673925-9-2