Hundreds of people hike from Phantom Ranch to Ribbon Falls to wonder at its beauty as if falls from the cliffs above to splash onto a travertine cone below. Some play in the water and some even walk under the falling water for a cooling shower.
But, how many of them know the reason for the name “Ribbon Falls”? Looking at the falls from the travertine cone there is no sinuous ribbon of water, just a cascading shower. If a person takes the time to find the abandoned trail to the top of the hill above Ribbon Falls then the view in this panorama is seen. Look closely at the stream as it begins its tumble from the creek. The thin narrow ribbon of water finds its way through a winding groove cut into the cliff before falling over the last precipice where people below see it shower onto the travertine cone. I’m going to make the assumption that the water flowing through the winding groove in the upper portion of the 100’ cliff is the reason this falls is called Ribbon Falls.