Pearson's Falls

Saluda, North Carolina, USA

About Pearson’s Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-10-20
Date last visited: 2012-10-20

Waterfall Latitude: 35.21512
Waterfall Longitude: -82.33594

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Pearsons Falls (or Pearson’s Falls) was a pretty, lacy, cascading 90ft waterfall at the end of a tranquil, family-friendly stroll owned and maintained by the Tryon Garden Club since 1931.

It was said to be named after an engineer named Charles William Pearson who scouted the area for the Southern Railroad.

Pearsons_Falls_022_20121020 - Pearson's Falls
Pearson’s Falls

Because it was a private waterfall, we had to work with their opening hours while also being prepared to pay the admission fees.

Visiting Hours and Fees

As of our visit on a Saturday in October 2012, they didn’t open until 10am, and that actually forced us to change up our plans for the day.

Fortunately, there were plenty of other waterfall sights (we actually started the day going to the Great Smoky Mountains instead) before coming here.

We paid $5 per adult ($10 total), which we thought was fair considering the amount of work they put in to keep this place as accessible and family-friendly as it was.

Pearsons_Falls_009_20121020 - Context of Julie on the tranquil trail to Pearson's Falls surrounded by Autumn scenery
Context of Julie on the tranquil trail to Pearson’s Falls surrounded by Autumn scenery

Indeed, we shared this trail with numerous families with kids and elders.

Since times and admission rates may vary over time, we’ve provided a link so you can literally hear/see it from the horse’s mouth.

Experiencing Pearson’s Falls

We followed the paved 0.3-mile trail that meandered for its entire length alongside the brook responsible for the Pearsons Falls.

Julie described this hike as tranquil as we were constantly serenaded by the lapping waters of the brook while hearing the bird songs of the forest.

Pearsons_Falls_002_20121020 - A wise sign seen along the trail to Pearson's Falls
A wise sign seen along the trail to Pearson’s Falls

Further adding to the atmosphere were the rustling of the leaves moving with the breezes above us.

Perhaps that was no accident considering this place was said to be considered as a botanical garden emphasizing native species.

However, it was easy to forget that and think of this place like a larger Nature Reserve.

We noticed a few interpretive signs as well as benches to allow us to take our time and relax while learning about the area.

We especially liked a sign near the trailhead that said, “to linger not to litter, to rest but not molest, to enjoy but not destroy.”

Pearsons_Falls_013_20121020 - Pretty much the entire walk followed along the brook downstream of the Pearson's Falls
Pretty much the entire walk followed along the brook downstream of the Pearson’s Falls

After a bridge over the brook, the trail terminated at a couple of viewing areas.

The main Pearsons Falls was in shadow during our visit so long exposure photos with a tripod were doable, especially considering this was one of those long exposure-friendly waterfalls.

Barricades were put to discourage off-trail scrambling to both protect life and limb as well as to protect the ecosystem here.


Pearsons Falls resides near Saluda in Polk County, North Carolina. It is administered by the Tryon Garden Club. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can visit their website.

Pearsons_Falls_005_20121020 - Julie on the tranquil trail to Pearson's Falls
Pearsons_Falls_010_20121020 - Julie on the well-shaded trail leading to Pearson's Falls
Pearsons_Falls_049_20121020 - We saw this little weeping rock besides the Pearson's Falls Trail just before the footbridge
Pearsons_Falls_012_20121020 - The footbridge over the brook responsible for Pearson's Falls
Pearsons_Falls_016_20121020 - Small waterfall on the brook just before the main drop of Pearson's Falls
Pearsons_Falls_026_20121020 - Direct look at the attractive Pearson's Falls
Pearsons_Falls_035_20121020 - Pearsons Falls as seen from the furthest viewing area
Pearsons_Falls_048_20121020 - Direct view of Pearsons Falls from an alternate viewing spot
Pearsons_Falls_036_20121020 - I saw somebody painting Pearson's Falls with this view

To reach Pearson’s Falls, we actually did a nearly 90-minute drive from Soco Falls (about 11 miles east of Cherokee in the far west of the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

But since Asheville would be a more centralized base for most visitors to this part of North Carolina, we’ll describe it from there.

From the I-40 and I-26 interchange in West Asheville, we headed south on the I-26 for about 28 miles (passing Hendersonville en route) to the Ozone Dr exit near Saluda.

We then turned right and followed Ozone Dr for a little over a mile before turning left (east) onto Hwy 176.

Pearsons_Falls_001_20121020 - The parking lot for Pearson's Falls
The parking lot for Pearson’s Falls

Then, we descended the steep and curvy highway for about 2.6 miles before turning right onto the unpaved Pearsons Falls Rd.

We followed this road about a mile (paying the admission fee en route) before arriving at the parking lot.

Pearsons Falls is between the towns of Saluda and Tryon.

We didn’t visit those towns (possibly because the GPS took us on the route we described which avoided both towns) though I heard there’s some small town charm to them. Maybe next time.

Nonetheless, if you do happen to visit those towns, I’m sure there’s some literature, signage or visitor center staff in either town that can provide directions to the falls as well.

For alternate directions, visit the Pearson’s Falls website.

Finally, for some geographical context, Asheville was 35 miles (under an hour drive) north of Brevard, 63 miles (about 90 minutes drive) north of Greenville, South Carolina, and 130 miles (over 2 hours drive) west of Charlotte, and 247 miles (4 hours drive) west of Raleigh.

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Fixated on the falls

Backwards L-shaped bottom up sweep of the falls

Fixated on the falls as seen from the viewing area closest to the falls

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Tagged with: saluda, polk county, north carolina, waterfall, asheville, tryon, charles william pearson, southern railroad

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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