Pearson’s Falls: How to See this Lovely 90-Foot Waterfall!

Last Updated on April 13, 2021

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Pearson’s Falls and Glen is a 275-acre botanical preserve in Polk County near the mountain towns of Saluda and Tryon. The preserve features a beautiful forest, spring-fed streams, and a hike that leads to a gorgeous 90-foot waterfall.

The Tryon Garden Club manages this natural space. Buying a ticket is required to enter, but all proceeds go toward maintenance and future conservation efforts.

While Pearson’s Falls and Glen is relatively small compared to other preserves, it’s a fantastic experience nonetheless. There’s quite a bit to know before visiting. Here’s how we’ve organized this guide:

  • Pearson’s Falls and Glen Quick Guide
  • About the Falls and Glen
  • The Tryon Garden Club
  • Where is Pearson’s Falls and Glen (Driving Directions)?
  • When to Visit
  • Things to Do (Waterfall Hike and More)
  • Is Pearson’s Falls Worth Admission?
  • Places Nearby

This post is part of our series on the best things to do in North Carolina. We also included it on our map of waterfalls in Western NC, in case you’re a visual planner like us!

Pearson’s Falls and Glen Quick Guide

Address: 2748 Pearson Falls Rd, Saluda, NC

Hours

  • Open February to December.
  • Closed January, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
  • March 1 to October 31: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Gates close at 5:00 pm.
  • November to December and February: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Gates close at 4:00 pm.

Admission

  • Adults (ages 13 and older): $5
  • Children Ages 6 to 12: $1
  • Children Under 6: Free
  • Members: Free. More info in our “Tryon Garden Club” section.

About Pearson’s Falls and Glen

Pearson's Falls

Pearson’s Falls is named after the family who owned it before it came under the care of the Tryon Garden Club. The Pearsons allowed visitors to picnic at the waterfall base for many years before it was purchased in 1931 by the TGC.

The Glen is the deciduous climax forest that surrounds the waterfall. It’s home to more than 300 species of plants and wildflowers.

Due to the Tryon Garden Club’s hard work, the site has been designated as a North Carolina National Heritage Site of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and a North Carolina Birding Trail Site.

There are two buildings on the site. The Ellen Holt Cottage is the residence of the site’s Operations Manager, while the Garden House is used for various meetings and classes.

The Tryon Garden Club

As we mentioned, the Tryon Garden Club has owned and maintained Pearson’s Falls and Glen since 1931.

The organization works to preserve Pearson Falls and contribute to Tryon’s “beautification.” They also work with the local community through a variety of collaborative and educational efforts.

You can support their efforts through various levels of sponsorships (including annual passes) here.

Where is Pearson’s Falls and Glen (Driving Directions)

Pearson’s Falls sits off US-176 between Tryon and Saluda in Polk County.

It’s within an hour’s drive of many places, including Asheville, Brevard, Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, Rutherfordton, and more. You can also reach it in about two hours from Charlotte.

When to Visit

Pearson’s Falls gets relatively crowded on warm days, so we suggest arriving in the morning. Spring is a beautiful time to visit as the wildflowers are in full bloom and birds flock to the area.

If you’ve come to see the waterfall, cloudy or overcast conditions are perfect. A bright, high sun won’t make for great photos, so we recommend arriving earlier or later in the day.

For the foreseeable future, the preserve limits admission to 50 people, which is another incentive to arrive early.

Things to Do

The Pearson Family Walking Trail

Pearsons Falls Water Gravity Feed

The quarter-mile Pearson Family Walking Trail leads you to Pearson’s Falls and is a mostly easy stroll through the woods. The trail is listed as “moderate,” however.

You’ll pass streams and numerous plants along the way. About halfway to the falls is a dam-like raw water gravity feed that serves as an alternative water source for Tryon.

The biggest attraction of the preserve is the 90-foot waterfall. The Ethel Chase Crossing Bridge, named for a former TGC member, splits Pearson’s Falls’ two most popular and closest viewpoints.

Looking back from Pearsons Falls NC

This bridge is also a nice spot for a family selfie in front of the waterfall. There are a couple of benches on either side of the viewing platform for you to sit and admire before heading back.

Please note that venomous and non-venomous snakes reside here during warmer months, so please stay on the trail and don’t venture into the water.

Listen and Watch Wildlife (Plants, Flowers, and Birds)

Pearsons Falls and Glen Plantlife

Pearson’s Falls is reason enough to visit the area, but the incredible wildlife is another bonus.

Throughout the year, you’ll see various wildflowers and plants, many of which are rare in the rest of the state. Trout lilies bloom in spring and are joined by Dutchman’s Breeches and more flowers as life renews each year. While they are beautiful to look at, please refrain from picking the flowers while on the trail!

The mosses, lichens, shrubs, and tree varieties (including hemlocks) are another welcome and wonderful sight.

Birds also pass through here, either northbound or southbound depending on when you visit. In addition to permanent residents like woodpeckers, you might see warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, wrens, and other birds spending time here.

Host Events Here

Pearson’s Falls and Glen is also a popular spot for events. When available, their picnic facilities can accommodate various groups. You can reserve their picnic shelter, host a wedding, and hold a memorial service here.

Area garden clubs and horticultural groups are also welcome to a courtesy visit and meeting in the Garden House.

For more info, email pearsonsfallsinfo@gmail.com in advance of your plans.

Is Pearson’s Falls and Glen Worth Admission?

Pearsons Falls Dam

Home to the wonderful combination of a waterfall and a short, wildlife-filled trail, we’re not surprised at how popular Pearson’s Falls and Glen is! Considering all the work and care that goes into maintaining it, the price of admission is absolutely worth it.

If you live in the area, an annual membership is reasonably priced. We’re neither paid nor sponsored to write these opinions!

We hope you’ll make it out to this preserve at least once; Pearson’s Falls and Glen holds a special place in our hearts, and we’d love to share it with you!

If you’re familiar with this beautiful space, we’d love to know about your experiences here or in our Facebook Group. If you haven’t visited yet, please share what you see when visiting for the first time.

Places Nearby

As we mentioned, there are quite a few places within a couple hours’ drive of Pearson’s Falls. Here are the most convenient gateways to Pearson’s Falls in Polk and Henderson counties, respectively.

They’ve all been included in our guide to the best small towns in North Carolina.

Tryon

Nina Simone Mural Tryon NC

Tryon is known for a lot, but its International Equestrian Center is probably the area’s biggest name. There’s a vibrant arts scene here, too, that we can’t leave out.

The Fine Arts Center hosts performances and has collaborated with artists for many years. Tryon is also the birthplace of the famous musician Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon). Nina Simone Plaza in Tryon commemorates this legend’s contributions to the world of music.

Saluda and Columbus

Saluda is another lovely Polk County town that you’ll regret not using as a base to visit Pearson’s Falls. A visit to Pace’s General Store is a must, but you can also spend your time exploring the nearby Green River Gorge.

We’ll definitely come back to Saluda for more adventures since the area is just so wonderful.

You should also know about Columbus before moving on from Polk County. It’s an exciting town known for Russian Chapel Hills Winery (makers of sweet and dry wines), the roadside Shunkawauken Falls, and the Polk County History Museum.

Flat Rock

Flat Rock NC Carl Sandburg Home
Carl Sandburg Home.

The town of Flat Rock is just across the Henderson County line from Pearson’s Falls. The famous Carl Sandburg Home is a great place for a walk and looks at the goats, the house itself, and the beautiful scenery all around.

There are some delicious restaurants here as well. Grab great meals at Honey and Salt, the seasonally open Hubba Hubba Smokehouse or its sister restaurant Campfire Grill, and many more spots.

Hendersonville

Downtown Hendersonville NC Early Spring

We love hanging out in Hendersonville for more reasons than I can name here. Head into town for a meal at Shine and window-shop at the various shops along Main St.

Hendersonville is also known for wineries, one of their best being Burnt Shirt Vineyards. If you’re in the area during late summer or early fall, head to one of the area’s orchards for apple picking.

For more outdoor adventure, check out the roadside Jump Off Rock, the incredible Bearwallow Mountain, and of course, the awesome DuPont State Forest.

More Waterfalls in North Carolina

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