Mackinac Island Stories from the Past: Lover’s Leap

As the story of Lover’s Leap goes, a young woman sat atop the cliff, eagerly awaiting the return of her lover. He had gone with the tribe’s other warriors to battle to prove he was worthy of marrying her. Each day she trained her eyes on the horizon looking for any sign of him.

One day, the maiden’s spirit rose when she saw specks on the water far in the distance. As they approached and became larger, she recognized them as the war canoes of her tribesmen. Her heart jumped in her chest with joy!

But as the boats came within earshot of the young woman, she heard a chant rising from the men – a song of lament for the dead. Desperately, she scanned the canoes for the man she would marry. Slowly, she was gripped by the realization that the one who had died was hers.

Pining to be with her lover, the heartbroken woman leaped from the cliff to join him in death.

Centuries later, a limestone outcropping some 145 feet above the water on the southwest shore of Mackinac Island maintains the name “Lover’s Leap” in remembrance of the young woman’s tragic end. It is one of many unique rock formations on Mackinac Island that are the stuff of legend.
Old Photo of Lover’s Leap on Mackinac Island

The Geology of Lover’s Leap

Typical of many surviving limestone formations on Mackinac Island, Lover’s Leap emerged as the surrounding lake water – which used to be much higher – receded to its current level. Crashing waves washed softer rock and soil away, leaving a spire of limestone in their wake.

These days, Lover’s Leap is on private property and is somewhat obscured by surrounding growth of trees and vegetation. Yet, it still presents a wonderful illustration of Mackinac Island’s unique geology as well as the mythical charm that makes Mackinac Island such a romantic place.

Throughout Mackinac Island’s four square-miles of natural beauty are extraordinary limestone formations that have captivated people’s imaginations – and moved their hearts – for generations. These days, they make for one-of-a-kind Mackinac Island selfie spots you don’t want to miss.

3 More Fascinating Rock Formations on Mackinac Island

Couple Posing for Photo in Front of Arch Rock on Mackinac Island

The most iconic natural feature on Mackinac Island is Arch Rock. The limestone was hollowed out eons ago by Lake Huron, which now sits some 145 feet below and presents a picturesque backdrop of bright blue water framed by the 50-foot-wide arch. Arch Rock has been viewed as a bridge to the afterlife – or, as a bridge for the spirits to descend upon earth.

Man and Woman in Bicycle Helmets Taking Photo of Sugar Loaf Rock Formation in Distance on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island’s Sugar Loaf is a limestone stack rising 75 feet out of the middle of the Mackinac Island State Park forest. It’s a popular stop for bikers and hikers who venture into Mackinac Island’s interior. From nearby Point Lookout, the rock surrounded by green forest with blue waters in the distance makes for an incredible photo op.

As for how Sugar Loaf was formed, well, that’s another interesting story.

Couple Posing for Photo Outside Devil’s Kitchen on Mackinac Island

Stories attributed to Devil’s Kitchen, where bad spirits are said to have cooked and eaten men, may seem far-fetched. But the inside of the cave really is blackened with soot as if from a fire. A lot of photos are taken here because it’s right along M-185 as the road circles Mackinac Island.

These are just a few of the legendary sites on Mackinac Island that make for fantastic selfie spots. Check out all of them on a visit to Mackinac Island this year!


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