Pictured Rocks Tours say legend has it that an Indian couple displayed their love for one another by jumping off the top of this rock arch together. They stress that the water at the base is only a few feet deep, so don’t try it!
While Myths and Legends of our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner (online e-book from Project Gutenberg here) doesn’t have a story about this Lovers’ Leap, Skinner does detail three tales from Mackinac Island in his chapter on Lovers Leaps that says (in part):
So few States in this country—and so few countries, if it comes to that—are without a lover’s leap that the very name has come to be a by-word. In most of these places the disappointed ones seem to have gone to elaborate and unusual pains to commit suicide, neglecting many easy and equally appropriate methods. But while in some cases the legend has been made to fit the place, there is no doubt that in many instances the story antedated the arrival of the white men…
When we say that the real name of Lover’s Leap in Mackinac is Mechenemockenungoqua, we trust that it will not be repeated. It has its legend, however, as well as its name, for an Ojibway girl stood on this spire of rock, watching for her lover after a battle had been fought and her people were returning. Eagerly she scanned the faces of the braves as their war-canoes swept by, but the face she looked for was not among them. Her lover was at that moment tied to a tree, with an arrow in his heart. As she looked at the boats a vision of his fate revealed itself, and the dead man, floating toward her, beckoned. Her death-song sounded in the ears of the men, but before they could reach her she had gone swiftly to the verge, her hands extended, her eyes on vacancy, and her spirit had met her lover’s.
From this very rock, in olden time, leaped the red Eve when the red Adam had been driven away by a devil who had fallen in love with her. Adam, who was paddling by the shore, saw she was about to fall, rushed forward, caught her, and saved her life. The law of gravitation in those days did not act with such distressing promptitude as now. Manitou, hearing of these doings, restored them to the island and banished the devil, who fell to a world of evil spirits underground, where he became the father of the white race, and has ever since persecuted the Indians by proxy.
Much (much) more from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan in Pictures. I also want to stress that while the price tag on the boat tour might give you pause, this is hands-down the best boat tour I’ve ever done and gives you a view of the Michigan natural wonder that is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore that will stay with you forever.