Scenic USA - Alabama

Noccalula Falls

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Noccalula Falls - Gadsden, Alabama

Photos by Terri Prepelka

     Those unfamiliar with Alabama's travel regions may only recall its popular association with the Gulf of Mexico and its beaches and casinos along Mobile Bay. As the topography ascends northward, the state's coastal plains cover more than half the state, an area that once supported thousands of acres of farmland during an era of cotton. Some first time Alabama visitors may be taken by surprise once they discover its northern region of hills and mountains.
     South of the Highland Rim and Cumberland Plateau, the Piedmont Uplands slowly transition into a land of hills and mountains, topped out with Cheaha Mountain, Alabama's highest point at 2400 feet. Covered with an assortment of waterfalls, deep gorges and natural wonders, northeast Alabama is exemplified by Lookout Mountain and the southern extremes of the Appalachian Mountains. This section of Alabama is also big on waterfalls. In fact, the Sipsey wilderness is nicknamed the land of ten thousand waterfalls.
     Here in the Gadsden area, just off I-59, residents are fortunate to have Noccalula Falls in their own backyard. Noccalula Falls Park - Gadsen, Alabama The roadside Noccalula Falls Park takes in the scenic Black River area and features the 90 foot waterfall. The adjacent park also features a rustic pioneer village, complete with a country store, grist mill, covered bridge, smoke house, pioneer home and a blacksmith shop. Picnic pavilions and hiking trails are found throughout the park.
     The waterfall is named for a Cherokee maiden, Noccalula. The legend of Noccalula tells of her upcoming marriage, prearranged by her father. The maiden's heart was set on another young brave of her own tribe. And sadly, on her wedding day, dressed in her ceremonial attire, Noccalula leaped to her death into the Black Creek Canyon below.

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