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.
Because it was a private waterfall, we had to work with their opening hours while also being prepared to pay the admission 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 (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.
We followed the paved 0.3-mile trail that meandered for its entire length alongside the brook responsible for the 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 as well as 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 botannical garden emphasizing native species, but 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. 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.”
After a bridge over the brook, the trail terminated at a couple of viewing areas. The main 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.
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) to get to Pearsons Falls. 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. 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 car park.
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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