Noccalula Falls Park is a 250-acre public park located in Gadsden, Alabama. The main
of the park is a 90-foot waterfall with a trail winding through Black Creek Gorge at its base
past caves, an aboriginal fort, an abandoned dam, pioneer homestead, and Civil War carvings.
The park also features a petting zoo, mini-golf course, the Gilliland-Reese Covered Bridge
(built 1899), a replica 1863 C. P. Huntington train ride, and camp sites. It was listed on
the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on May 12, 1976.
The falls drop itself has been run successfully in whitewater kayaks at least once in late November 2011 by three expert kayakers. The water level was unusually high, permitting a deep enough pool to form at the base of the falls.
Most of the park is on land once owned by R. A. Mitchell, a former mayor of Gadsden, who bought 169 acres in 1909 and intended it to become a city park. His daughter Sadie Mitchell Elmore inherited it and offered it to the city for $50,000 in 1940; after an election approving the purchase, the city finally bought the land in 1946 for $70,000 and additional acreage in 1959. Improvements started in 1950. R. A. Mitchell Elementary School is located across the street from the falls.
In the second half of the 19th century, the Gadsden Land and Improvement Company operated a tavern and dance hall in a cave behind the waterfall; attempting to increase the flat area inside using dynamite led to a cave-in. An inscription, "FAXON 1859", remains visible.
Above Noccalula Falls is a nine-foot-tall bronze statue of a young Cherokee woman, Noccalula, who, according to local legends, plunged to her death after being ordered by her father to marry a man she did not love. The legend is very similar to Wisconsin's Winona story. The statue is the work of Suzanne Silvercruys and was dedicated in September 1969; it was paid for by a fund-raising drive by the Gadsden Woman's Club that included school children collecting pennies.
Noccalula Falls Park
1500 Noccalula Rd.