This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-V+
Length 1.5 Miles
Flow Range 500 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.01 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/03/2006 10:51 am

River Description

Comments submitted by an alert surfer who knows what he's talking about: (Note: Gradient figures exclude the falls, which most people will not run. Essentially, the gradient is all in the first 1/3rd mile downstream of the falls, with the remainder of the run being a paddle-out to the access road.)

1. Don't put in at the Noccalula Road Bridge. 100 yards down stream is Noccalula Falls which is approximately 100 feet high. Most folks, I think would portage. Legend has it as the scene of the death of the Cherokee Indian Princess. She didn't like the husband her father selected and dove from the falls to her death. So much for local lore.

2. Should you decide to try to put in at the bridge, you will likely get accosted by the Noccalula Park Officer who will no doubt disapprove of your plans. As a child they disapproved of many of mine.

3. Access to the gorge and creek is easiest on river right through the Noccalula Park campground. There are a number of cliff crawls or trails that allow access to the gorge away from onlookers. The cliff crawls are closer to the falls and the easier trails are farther from the falls. In any event be prepared to shoulder your gear for a while.

4. There are trails crisscrossing the entire ravine, so creek access is essentially B-line once in the gorge.

5. The creek when runnable will be fast, narrow, boulder choked, contain strainers, and likely flooding. The gorge is filled with house size boulders that litter the creek bed and gorge floor. They boulders are undercut and sometimes create entries to blind slots. Many people (I know of 4) have died in the creek over the years, mostly hikers slipping into the water and being lodged in the many undercuts, sieves, caves, and underwater cavities on the creek. The local Rescue Squad usually retrieves the bodies from undercuts many days to weeks after the victims entered. It is not a creek to be out of your boat.

6. Once Black Creek collects the flow from the unnamed creek on river right it has descended almost to the floor of the Coosa River Valley and the gorge walls start to roll back, the house size boulders disappear, the boulder choked stream is no longer evident, and the creek widens and deepens.

7. The parking and takeout is easy on Tuscaloosa Avenue due to the lack of homes and the local schools near the creek.

8. The shuttle is pretty short and easy. From your putin follow Noccalula Road south toward Gadsden. Descend Lookout Mountain and at the base of the mountain, before the railroad tracks, turn hard right onto Tuscaloosa Avenue. Follow Tuscaloosa Avenue to its crossing of Black Creek.

Jon K. Overholtzer, P.E.

Rapid Descriptions


Class - 5.3 Mile - 0.1
The falls will just kill you!


default user thumbnail
Laura Elliott
8 years ago

Check out this video posted by Isaac Levinson, one of the kayakers who successfully navigated the first INTENTIONAL decent at Nocallula Falls on Monday, November 28, 2011. This video includes point-of-view video from his kayak as he goes over the edge. INCREDIBLE!!!

Gage Descriptions

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193629 01/03/06 n/a n/a