Pearson’s Falls is a 75 foot high waterfall on private property not too far from Saluda, NC. Despite being private, public admission is allowed for a small fee, $5 for adults over 12 and $1 for kids 6-12. Do not let this fee dissuade you. The Pearson Family Trail that leads to the falls is beautiful as is the creek it parallels along with the waterfall itself. Days and hours of operation vary by season so consult their website at www.pearsonsfalls.org.
To get to Pearson’s Falls, from I-26 take exit 59 Saluda/Tryon. If you’re coming from SC, make a left at the base of the ramp following Ozone Drive west towards Saluda. If you are coming from Hendersonville make a right onto Ozone Drive. Follow Ozone Drive until it ends at US176 (about a mile). You can go either way but I made a left and followed US176 2.5 miles to Pearson Falls Rd. Make a right and follow this for 0.9 miles to the entrance on the left. Along the way you will zigzag under a railroad underpass. The entrance is gated and just inside the black gates is a small building where the fee is collected. The parking area is barely 0.1 of a mile past the gatehouse. There are restrooms and a picnic shelter near the main parking area.
Access to the falls is from the upper end of the parking area. There is an info kiosk and a trail marker for the Pearson Family Trail. The trail is graded and fenced to block access to the creek at most points. Along the way there are several picnic areas along the banks of the creek. These area are signed and warnings posted. Please heed the signs and respect the rules set forth. Closer to the falls, a stone bridge crosses over the creek while a trail continues up the river right side of the creek. This leads to a vantage below a small waterfall downstream of the main falls.
After crossing the bridge, follow the trail upstream to the waterfall.There are two places to view the falls, one at the end of the trail by the bench and another to the left. The left location is closer to the creek but the one by the bench gives a better view. The hike is kid friendly and easy enough for most to undertake. The photo opportunities are endless and the vegetation is thick enough to provide a nice backdrop. If you’re like me and you spend your time crashing through the underbrush and creek walking, this will provide a welcome relief as there is little danger of personal injury. 🙂