Statue of Noccalula
A statue of Noccalula pays
tribute to the girl that legend
says took her own life by
leaping from the falls.
Noccalula Falls
The beautiful 90-foot waterfall
is the centerpiece of a
popular park and recreation
area in Gadsden, Alabama.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Noccalula Falls Park, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Noccalula Falls Park, Alabama
Noccalula Falls Park - Gadsden, Alabama
Noccalula Falls
This spectacular waterfall in Gadsden, Alabama, is
the focus of a fascinating Cherokee legend.
The Legend of Noccalula
Noccalula Falls is a beautiful 90-foot
waterfall at the western end of Lookout
Mountain in Gadsden, Alabama.

Now surrounded by a popular park and
recreation area, the waterfall is one of the
most visited natural attractions in Alabama.

The unusual name of the waterfall is part of a
popular Alabama legend that has been
repeated for generations. As the story goes,
Noccalula was the daughter of a Cherokee
chief who lived with his people near the
spectacular falls.

The young woman had fallen in love with a
warrior from her own tribe. He was a brave
man, but did not possess the worldly goods
of many of his rivals. Noccalula's father,
contrary to his daughter's wishes, viewed the
man as a poor match for his well-placed
daughter and instead arranged for her to
marry the wealthy chief of a powerful rival
tribe. He also ordered her true love expelled
from the village. The young woman was
heartbroken.

On the day of her wedding people gathered
in the village for a great feast. Noccalula was
dressed in her wedding finery but in a quiet
moment she slipped away and walked to the
edge of the swiftly running away. Before
anyone could stop her, she leaped from the
top and ended her life in the swirling water
and mist below.

His daughter's suicide awakened her father
to the harshness of his actions and in his
remorse he decreed that the waterfall would
always be known for his daughter. It is called
Noccalula Falls to this day and legend holds
that the ghost of the young Cherokee woman
can still be seen at times, walking among the
mists and looking for her long lost true love.

It is difficult to say today what the truth of the
legend might be, but it is a colorful part of the
folklore of Alabama.

In addition to the magnificent waterfall, the
park features hiking trails down into the
ravine where caves and Civil War carvings
can be found. A pioneer village of historic
structures has been assembled on the
grounds and features an original 19th
century covered bridge, a log cabin,
blacksmith shop and historic school building.

The park and waterfall are located on
Noccalula Road in Gadsden, Alabama. The
park is open from March until October, while
the waterfall itself can be visited year-round.

To reach Noccalula Falls from Interstate 59,
follow Exit 188 to Noccalula Road (Highway
211).  Turn right and travel over the mountain
to the waterfall, which will be on your right.

A footbridge leads from the parking area to a
point where the waterfall can be viewed.
A Rainbow in the Mist
Sunlight creates a rainbow of
colors in the mist at the
bottom of Noccalula Falls.
Some also claim to see the
spirit of Noccalula there.
Lookout Mountain
The rapidly flowing water has
carved a deep ravine into the
western end of Lookout
Mountain. The mountain
stretches from Gadsden all
the way to Chattanooga.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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