Close up view of Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama. Editorial credit: Jimmy Rooney /

Noccalula Falls, Alabama

Noccalula Falls, formerly referred to as Black Creek Falls, is a 90-foot tall waterfall found in a public park that is situated in the city of Gadsden in the US State of Alabama. According to a legend, this natural marvel is named for Noccalula, a young Cherokee woman that leaped to her death there in order to avoid being forced into marriage. This is where the name Noccalula is supposed to have been derived. An amazing range of yearly events are held at Noccalula Falls, such as "Christmas at the Falls," which attracts families from different cities away to spend the holiday and make memorable memories.

Geography Of Noccalula Falls

A view of Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama
A view of Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama. Editorial credit: JNix /

Noccalula Falls is located within the Noccalula Falls Park in the city of Gadsden in the northeastern portion of the US State of Alabama. The 225-acre park, in addition to the Gilliland-Reese Covered Bridge, has a botanical garden, a pioneer farmhouse, nature walks, picnic spots, and a campsite open all year. From Huntsville and Birmingham, the travel is around one hour and thirty minutes. Noccalula Falls plunges 90 feet over the ledge of Lookout Mountain into the Black Creek ravine. The falls depend on precipitation for water flow and are vulnerable to harsh weather patterns.

Brief History Of Noccalula Falls

Noccalula Falls including the 9ft tall bronze statue of Noccalula
Noccalula Falls including the 9ft tall bronze statue of Noccalula, a young Cherokee woman, whom the falls and park are named after. Editorial credit: JNix /

As per a legend, the Noccalula Falls was named after a Cherokee woman who was a chief's daughter. The tale may have its origins in actual incidents that happened at the Cherokee settlement of Turkey Town, which is close to modern-day Gadsden, in the late eighteenth century. The most famous telling of the tale was a poem by pianist and composer Anne Mathilde Bilbro that appeared in the Gadsden Times in 1895. In the poem, Noccalula's father engaged her to a wealthy chief of a different tribe who gave a substantial amount of gifts in exchange for her hand in marriage. Noccalula's father pushed that she marries the chief despite the fact that she was in love with a man from her own tribe. Then Noccalula escaped and plunged to her death down Black Creek Falls. The astonished attendees at the wedding wept, and Noccalula's father was overcome with guilt after allegedly driving his daughter to death. He declared that the falls will always be known as Noccalula Falls in memory of his daughter, who gave her life out for love. The settlers who came after the Cherokee were driven off pledged to maintain the falls' name in honor of the Cherokee princess. One can find a bronze monument honoring the fabled Princess Noccalula when one visits the falls today. The monument was constructed in the mid-1960s using pennies gathered by local students.

Gorge Trail

Aerial view of Noccalula Falls Park and Campgrounds in Gadsden, Alabama
Aerial view of Noccalula Falls Park and Campgrounds in Gadsden, Alabama. Editorial credit: photosounds /

The Gorge Trail is the best route to take if you want to go close to the waterfall. It's a pleasant trek with some flat and rocky terrain. The trail is a loop that goes from the top of the falls, across the suspension bridge, and back down to the bottom. About 1 hour and 12 minutes are required to finish the trail, which is typically regarded as a moderately difficult course. This trail is excellent for strolling, hiking, and trail running. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year.

Noccalula Falls is a fantastic destination since there are so many things to do there, including trails and outdoor adventures, enjoyable children's activities, and paved pathways that make the park, where the waterfall lies in, accessible to everyone. Without a doubt, it's a breathtaking natural landmark that one shouldn't miss out on.


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