CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381

The South’s Most Scenic Obstacle Course Race Returns to Gadsden June 17

Decatur, Ala. (May 15, 2023) – Thrill-seeking athletes who are not afraid of getting muddy, wet and pushed to the limit will be taking part in Gadsden’s Barbarian Challenge, a six-mile obstacle course run through scenic Noccalula Falls Park. The tenth annual extreme competition set for June 17, 2023, and registration is open at

The Barbarian Challenge course is approximately six miles long and includes more than 20 natural and challenging human-made obstacles and tough terrain. The course takes participants into the Black Creek Gorge and up close and personal with Noccalula Falls. It is considered one of the south’s most scenic obstacle course race. New this year, the festival area and start/finish lines will be by the waterfall area and not on the traditional battlefield. 

Race or “horde” times are at 8:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. for competitors and 9:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.  for non-competitors. All finishers receive a Barbarian medal. The overall female and male winners from the 8:00 a.m. horde will receive a custom Barbarian battle ax. The awards ceremony will start at approximately noon. 

The Barbarian Challenge is for those 13 years old and older. Anyone under the age of 15 must have a parent or guardian present to sign a consent waiver and run with them. 

The smallest barbarians can participate in the Kid’s Barbarian Challenge competition, sponsored by The Factory Gadsden, from 8 to 11 a.m. The race is open to kids 5 to 12 years old and is approximately .6 miles and includes mud. Finishers receive a medal, t-shirt and goody bag that are pre-registered. 

There will be food, drink and beer vendors. The event is held rain or shine. Admission and parking are free to spectators. 

Registration is available on race day (t-shirts may or may not be available at this time). Participants must show up an hour before desired horde time to register on race day. Packet pick up and race day registration will be in the Kiwanis Pavilion. Registration fees are as follows:
March 1st – May 15th, 2023 – $60 non-competitive / $70 competitive
May 16th – June 12th, 2023 – $75 non-competitive / $85 competitive
June 12th – Race Day 2023 – $85 non-competitive / $95 competitive 

A packet pick-up party will be held Friday, June 16 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Kiwanis Pavilion at Noccalula Falls Park. Barbarian Challenge and Kid’s Barbarian Challenge participants can pick up their race packets and visit with other competitors. 

The Barbarian Challenge is organized and staged by the City of Gadsden’s Parks and Recreation Department and is presented by Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. The Barbarian Challenge is held at Noccalula Falls Park located at 1500 Noccalula Road in Gadsden, Ala. Pets are not allowed. For more information, visit or call Christina Richardson with City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation at 256-549-4663 ext. 3.


About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations and vendors. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381, by visiting and by following us on social media @VisitNorthAL.