Saturday, May 8, 2010

Noccalula Falls - Gadsden, Alabama

One of the most stunning sights in Alabama is formed by the water of Black Creek as it thunders over Noccalula Falls atop Lookout Mountain in Gadsden.

The stunning natural feature takes its name from the Legend of Noccalula, a folk tale about a Cherokee princess who is said to still appear in ghostly form in the mists that rise from the bottom of the falls. As the story goes, Noccalula was the daughter of a powerful Cherokee chief, but had fallen in love with a handsome but poor warrior in her own village. Her father, however, held hopes that his daughter would marry the chief of a rival tribe, thereby assuring the expansion of his own influence and power.

To achieve this goal, he expelled Noccalula's true love from the village and ordered his daughter to marry the rival chieftan. Instead, as the wedding ceremony was about to begin, she leaped from the high bluff at the waterfall, meeting her death on the rocks below. Her grief-stricken father realized his error and decreed that the waterfall would forever bear the name of his daughter. It was said that Native Americans still living in the area when the first settlers arrived told of having seen the ghost of the young princess in the mists of the falls.

There is no way of knowing how true the legend may be, but it is a colorful part of Alabama folklore and history and Noccalula Falls is one of the most beautiful and easy to access large waterfalls in the state.

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