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Pearson’s Falls in NC: Visitor Guide and Photos

Pearson’s Falls is a stunning 90-foot waterfall that is not as heavily visited or well-known as many others in North Carolina. Located between the small western NC towns of Tryon and Saluda, it is a perfect destination for a crowd-free and easy waterfall hike along with a quiet day enjoying nature.

Pearsons Falls waterfall cascading down rocks

It is easy to walk to the base of the staircase waterfall. Along the way you will follow Colt Creek that flows from the main waterfall, with plenty of smaller waterfalls and cascades along the way filling the cove forest with the sounds of rushing water.

One of the smaller waterfalls along Colt Creek beside the trail.

While this is an easy, 1/4 mile hike to the base of the waterfall, it is NOT a flat path! Most of the walk is climbing stairs, with flat areas with benches located along the way. There is a handrail for most of the hike, however there are places with no handrail or trees to grasp onto while climbing or descending.

This is a privately-owned waterfall owned and operated by the Tryon Garden Club since 1931. The club has been protecting and preserving the 268 acres of Pearson’s Falls and Glen which has been designated a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area site, included in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens and is a North Carolina Birding Trail site.

Over 200 species of native deciduous and evergreen trees, flowering plants, wildflowers, algae, mosses, fungi and ferns grow in this botanical glen.

Pearson’s Falls is named after civil engineer Charles William Pearson, who surveyed the area’s mountains in order to build the Southern Railroad from Asheville to Spartanburg. The land was bought from the Pearson family.

FAQs

Where is Pearson’s Falls in NC?

Pearson’s Falls and Glen is located near US 176 between Tryon and Saluda. It is approximately 40 miles from downtown Asheville, NC and Spartanburg, SC. It is approximately 15 miles from Hendersonville, NC.

The address for GPS is: 2748 Pearson Falls Road, Saluda NC 28773

What Are Pearson’s Falls Hours?

  • March – October: Open every day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Gates close at 5 p.m.)
  • November – December and February: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Gates close at 4 p.m.)
  • Closed in January
  • Closed for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

What is the Admission Cost?

  • Adults (13 and up): $5
  • Ages 6-12 years: $1
  • Kids under 6 years: Free

Credit cards, debit cards and cash are accepted.

Ticket bundles and annual passes are available. The cost of admission goes towards the protection and preservation of Pearson’s Falls and Glen.

Can I Bring a Picnic or Food With Me?

Yes, you can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the Falls, as well as snacks. Three picnic areas are available.

There are several picnic tables by the parking lot. Picnic tables by Colt Creek offer a bit more privacy and a lovely view. (Walk the path to the right of the entrance to Pearson’s Falls trail; this is not a very far walk from parking.)

Picnic table by Colt Creek.

The picnic tables by the waterfall offer some of the most amazing views, if you don’t mind hiking your food up the entire trail!

This picnic spot is the furthest to walk to, but it does have the best view!

Keep in mind, there are no trash cans. This is a “Pack it in, Pack it out” nature destination.

A covered picnic shelter can be reserved for large groups of 10-20 people.

Covered picnic pavilion for groups.

Are There Restrooms Available?

Yes, there are two restrooms at Pearson’s Falls. Hot and cold water and hand dryers are available.

In fact, these restrooms are unusual and historic! They are the first public composting toilets in western North Carolina. The vault-style toilets (like a pit toilet with no flushing) are located in a building with a living roof. The Clivus Multrum System is used in the composting toilets to create usable compost to enrich plants.

Can You Swim at Pearson’s Falls?

No, you cannot swim in the waterfalls or the cascading river. There are chains in front of the pool at the base of the waterfall as well as plenty of signs to alert guests that you cannot enter the water. No wading is allowed, either.

What is Parking Like?

There is a small parking lot that is easy to get into. If that lot if full, turn right out of the parking lot and go up the hill to find a few more parking spaces. Turning right out of the parking lot will lead you to a circular road with a pull out with one designated parking space for Senior Parking. This space is closer to the picnic tables. The road will loop around in front of the entrance to the trail and go back towards the parking area and exit.

Is There Cell Service or WiFi?

We have Verizon cell phone service and did not have a signal while at the Falls. This also meant we couldn’t put in a return address through GPS when leaving the Falls.

There is no WiFi.

Can I Grill or Start a Campfire?

No, there are no facilities to grill or start a campfire. It is prohibited.

The 1/4 mile trail has hand rails for most of the walk and is located right beside Colt Creek.

Are Dogs Allowed at Pearson’s Falls?

No pets are allowed at Pearson’s Falls, however leashed service dogs are allowed.

Helpful Tips

  • There is a tunnel on the road from Tryon to Pearson’s Falls with a maximum vehicle height of 7 feet, 8 inches.
  • The road from Tryon has a bridge that is one lane only. Vehicles need to take alternate turns crossing this small bridge.
  • Bring shoes with a tread for safely walking the rock stairs and around the waterfall. There can be a lot of moisture on the rocks and that can cause some slippery spots. While hiking boots are probably not necessary, wear good sturdy shoes for walking.
  • Waterfalls are always cooler than surrounding areas. Consider bringing a jacket.
  • If you are traveling through Saluda to get to Pearson’s Falls, visit this colorful tunnel a few miles outside of the entrance:

If you are looking for more easy walks and hikes similar to Pearson’s Falls in North Carolina, see these related posts:

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