Land Manager: City of Gadsden

Native Land:  S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) , Shawandasse Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee) (from

Area Rep: Carrie Machen,

Noccalula Falls was established as a public park in the early 1950s. Reports of climbers exploring, scaling the cliffline and scrambling on boulders date back to as early as the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, Noccalula was like a playground for climbers. Noccalula Falls has a mysterious history of climbing that centered around an ethic of anonymity. No photos, no route names and no grades. This practice was not motivated by exclusivity, but from a desire to simply have a playground for climbers and cavers alike.

New routes were climbed every week without publishing, naming, photographing, topo mapping, bolting, or grading them.

From what we’ve gathered with the help of Lenny Galleo, early climbers Dean Elliot, John Sherman, Ken Pitts, Chip and Curt Rundell have all been identified as early explorers of Noccalula Falls rope climbing and bouldering. Tim Roula was the author of the book Rock and Road that mentions Noccallula.

If you have more information about the history of Noccalula climbing we’d love to hear more about the people who helped establish the early waves of access to this special crag. Email us at

Carrie Machen brought Noccalula Falls to the attention of the SCC in early 2021. Now, in partnership with the City of Gadsden, we will work to maintain the already existing beauty of the gorge—particularly the 90-foot waterfall that is the namesake of the park—while also rediscovering the incredible climbing nestled within its walls. Encompassing 500 acres of land situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Noccalula Falls Park and Campground is a must-see destination in Northeast Alabama. Created and managed by the City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation Department, the original park opened in 1953 and has since become the destination of hikers, campers, and families from all over the world.

Noccalula Falls Website


Google Maps

What to Expect

There are two sides to the park. You can pay to park and enter from one side, or you can park at the large parking lot in front of the chapel and the campground and hike in for free.

Access notes

  • Please do your part to keep this area scenic and wild for all generations to enjoy
    • Leave no trace- Pack out all trash
    • Fixed Hardware placement and rock climbing underneath the falls is strictly prohibited.
    • Fixed hardware placement/bolting with permission only. Contact the SCC to obtain a permit. See below “development section for more details” for more details.
    • Do not explore off trail to protect rare native plant species. Do not destroy or remove any plants
    • Vehicles are to park in designated parking lots only. All vehicles must leave by posted closing time
    • No alcoholic beverages or glass
    • Pets must be on a leash at all times
    • Keep noise to a minimum

    See the full list of rules on City of Gadsden website.


There are tent, RV, and cabins at Noccalula Falls.  You can reserve those here:


In progress.


Bouldering development is underway. To get plugged into bouldering development, please email

Route development processes are in place. To apply for a programmatic permit for development at Noccalula Falls, please fill out the form below. Applications are reviewed monthly. Please note that by filling out this form you have started the application process, this does not automatically give you permission to begin route development. To check on the status of your application, please email

Individual volunteers across Alabama, Georgia & Tennessee do the tough work of developing new routes for everyone to enjoy. SCC does not actively manage or supervise route development. Rather, we provide standards and guidelines that we recommend route developers follow. We also help parks and land managers develop standards and guidelines for route development on their land and act as a liaison between route developers and land managers. Accordingly, SCC assumes no liability for route development; this information is for the convenience of the climbing community only. Climb at your own risk and use your own judgment to evaluate any route and the fixed hardware placed there.