The name of the falls came from the sulfurous deposits in the nearby cliffs. The misty water caught the various shades of the rock, giving the falls a golden, fiery color.
The falls were known to appear suddenly, offering little warning to travelers on the water. That, when combined with the strong current of the river, made avoiding them difficult and dangerous.
A small, steep, path crisscrossed the cliffs in switchbacks from the top to its base. Windblown mist was known to cover the path, making it very dangerous. It took most of a day to climb the path.