Pearson's Falls is a 90-foot waterfall characterized by multiple shelves along its descent. Surrounded by a unique array of plant and animal life, it is a bit of an oasis for nature lovers. It's near Tryon and Saluda.
From Charlotte, it's about an hour and 45 minutes (one way); about 90 miles.
To see and do
While scouting for a railroad route through the mountains to Asheville for the Southern Railroad, Charles William Pearson "discovered" the falls. He was so enamored of their beauty and the surrounding terrain, he bought them. Over time, he and his family continued to add land to the holding.
The falls were widely open to visitors until 1931 - when the family sold the tract to the Tryon Garden Club, which has now owned it for 80 years. While ownership is private, the club has gone to great lengths to share this beautiful, 268-acre treasure with others.
The falls, which form from natural springs and Colt Creek, are inspiring, and its cascading waters have a calming effect. The real treasure, though, may be the plant species - more than 200 - in close proximity. The falls lie squarely in the "isothermal" belt, a foothills area where temperature fluctuations and extremes are moderate. You can see a wide range of ferns, mosses, lichens and wildflowers. You can find uncommon species such as jack-in-the-pulpit and lady slippers with the more abundant blood root, violets and mountain laurel. Seasonal changes bring different species to the forefront.
From the parking area, the falls are just a quarter-mile easy-to-moderate hike on a well-maintained trail. Though not steep, it has some elevation change. As you walk the path to the falls, you'll see many tree species.
There are several picnic tables, a few at the base of the falls itself. Rustic restroom facilities and a water fountain are available.