With its beautiful scenery, amazing waterfall, pioneer village, and many activities, Noccalula Falls would make a great day-trip destination anytime, but Noccalula Falls is a must-do for Valentine’s Day.
After all, the majestic falls got their name from a plunging princess who died in the name of love.
Originally known as Black Creek Falls, Noccalula Falls is now named after a Cherokee Indian girl whose tribe lived along Black Creek near the great falls. According to legend, as the girl grew into her formative years, she fell in love with one of her fellow villagers.
Even though the object of her affection was a strong courageous warrior, Noccalula’s father, the village chief, did not think the man was worthy (or wealthy) enough to marry his daughter.
Instead, her father arranged for Noccalula to marry the wealthy chief of a nearby village. To help ensure his daughter’s cooperation, the Chief banished Noccalula’s true love from the village so that the two would no longer see each other.
Young Noccalula was distraught, but at her father’s insistence, she continued preparations for the upcoming wedding.
Finally, the day of the wedding came. But as Noccalula was being dressed by female relatives, she knew in her heart that she only loved one man, and it was not the one she was about to marry. When Noccalula had a few minutes to herself, she slunk away from the celebration and toward the falls. When her father and the crowd noticed her at the falls, she leaped from the top for all to see.
The wedding guests were horrified, and Noccalula’s father was filled with remorse, believing he had driven his daughter to her death. In his grief, he proclaimed that the falls would forever be known as Noccalula Falls in honor of his daughter who died for love.
If you visit the falls today, you will find a bronze statue honoring the legendary Princess Noccalula. The statue was built from pennies collected by local school kids in the mid-1960s.
When the statue was erected, it was the first statue depicting someone jumping off of a cliff.
There are also legends that the spirit of young Noccalula haunts the falls, with many visitors reporting seeing a young girl in the mist among the rocks.
The story of Princess Noccalula has never been historically proven. Like many histories from early settlements, this story has been passed down by word of mouth over the ages, and adopted by Noccalula Falls Park for the enjoyment of visitors.
This does not mean the story isn’t true; even the tallest of tales have a basis in reality.
So, take your special someone to the beautiful park for the day, tell the tale of the heart-broken Noccalula and decide for yourselves about the legend of the plunging princess.