Lover's Leap

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For other uses, see Lover's Leap (disambiguation).
A scenic view of the New River Valley from Lovers' Leap at Hawk's Nest State Park, Ansted, West Virginia.

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 Lovers' Leap.

List of locations[edit]

In the United States


United States[edit]

The Lovers' Leap at Hawk's Nest in Hawk's Nest State Park in the town of Ansted, West Virginia, United States, along the historic Midland Trail has a drop of 178 m (585-foot (178 m)) from a high bluff overlooking the New River Gorge. The promontory was named "Lovers' Leap" by settlers,[1] and has acquired a legend involving two young Native Americans from different tribes.[2]

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.[3]

Wills Mountain has a Lovers' Leap overlooking Cumberland Narrows at Cumberland, Maryland, USA. 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. Rte. 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."[4][5] "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.[6] The name "Winona" was actually not in use as a proper name at the time, but was solely a descriptive term that simply means "firstborn daughter."[6] Additionally, Native American cultures do not see their leaders as royalty.[6] Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, USA, 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.[7]

Jamaica, on the south coast of St. Elizabeth, has a Lovers' Leap 1,700 feet (520 m) above the Caribbean Sea. Lovers' Leap is named after two slave 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.[8] The story was used as the basis for a romantic novel.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, Penguin Books, New York, 1961 p. 283
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Porter, Cynthya (Feb 1, 2009). "Homecoming To Explore Roles Of American Indian Women". Winona Daily News reprinted at Diversity Foundation. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 
  7. ^ "National Trust – Ilam Park – Dovedale". Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lover's Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend, Horane Smith, Minerva Press (June 1, 1999), ISBN 0-7541-0589-X

Further reading[edit]