One of the best and most beautiful areas of Gadsden is Noccalula Falls! This 90 foot tall waterfall is surrounded by gardens, majestic trees, a petting zoo, and a full park. It is quite easy to spend a whole day here!
Being near to the Falls was one of the biggest draws of our new house! The park is literally 0.9 miles away, so we can go anytime. It is a nice walk there, but coming back a constant uphill is a little challenging for me. I purchased season passes for my husband and me a few days after we moved, and the total was only $30! Just $15 per person to visit the park anytime I want from March to October is a steal. If you are a visitor, it is still very affordable at $6 for an adult day pass.
Parking is free (as it should be), and tickets are purchased inside the gift shop or at the ticket window. Strolling into the park is very welcoming. There is a train station as soon as you enter the grounds. And do not feel ashamed if you want a train ride! It might be intended for children, but I see people of all ages jumping on the train. Riding the train is also an enjoyable way to see the park but avoid too much heat. A few train stations are around the property, so you can board at anytime.
The trails are all paved, and it isn’t too hilly. Sometimes I go for a cardio-inspired walk around the gardens and look up at the trees, and other times I go to wander. If you are looking to explore, follow the trails to the Pioneer Village. Within this area, there are several pioneer homes, stores, and other small educational buildings. Passing through the village, you come up to the petting zoo and lion cage. The BEST thing about these animals is that they have all been RESCUED!! Some animals might be from a circus or from an inhospitable environment, so the park has saved them. Sheila, the beautiful lion, is so sweet and has a large cage to herself. She likes to perch on her rocks or bask in the sunshine. Behind her home is the petting zoo of goats, donkeys, and a deer. There is another mini-horse area in the park, but this specific zone is for petting and feeding. It is a wonderful place to take the kids to feed the precious animals without getting too close.
Leaving the more kid-friendly area and heading into the center of the park is where it all gets greener and luscious. The variety of flowers, trees, and little critters is always a thrill. Last visit, I saw an adorable beaver! The sweet little guy scurried away when he heard my footsteps, but I thought it was so cool to see his cute face! The Gorge Trail is AWESOME! This trail leads to the falls. Hiking to the falls is not that difficult of a feat, and the views make it all worth it! You can walk under the waterfall and see how the water has changed the rocks’ coloring over time. When it is rainy or windy, the drizzle of fresh water feels amazing!
Once you get to the falls, you can either turn around and go back the way you came, or you can walk under the falls and to the other side. Being careful, you can even hike down to the water and visit the little “beach.” Ducks are usually swimming in the water and begging visitors for food. One on recent adventure, my sister and I saw a snake! We were a little terrified and found out that it was poisonous, so as always in nature, keep your eyes open! And watch for poison ivy. Staying on the trails is the safest option, but I know exploring is half the fun, so just be on the lookout.
I love water, and I love nature. Noccalula Falls has both! This little delight of Alabama has been one of my favorite things to tell people about. If you are in the area or pass through Northeast Alabama, stop by the park for a hike and see what Alabama has to offer. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can visit the free part of the area, view the waterfall from above, read about Noccalula and why she jumped, and let the kids play at the playgrounds.
Enjoy your visit and exploring! Who knows, you might see me there wandering and doing yoga 🙂