One of the many things I love about the Blue Ridge Mountains is the treasures hidden in valleys between the peaks and ridges. Not just the gemstones beneath the rocks of Western North Carolina, but also the waterfalls, grottos, wildflowers, and a particular piece of paradise called Pearson Falls.
A member of CarolinasAdventures directed me to Pearson Falls shortly after I joined the group in early 2006. As it turns out, my husband and I happened on this attraction earlier that winter while exploring the backroads near Tryon. Unfortunately, the falls were closed due to damaged sustained in an ice storm. After receiving the recommendation, we tried again in fairer weather and found a delightfully picturesque spot perfect for family outings, flora expeditions, or romantic marriage proposals.
Pearson Falls is located off Highway 176 between Tryon and Saluda, North Carolina. Privately owned and operated by the Tryon Garden Club, who purchased the area in 1931, this nature preserve consists of a quarter-mile trail that runs besides Colt Creek in a shady narrow valley or what I later learned is a glen.
Main Entry*: glen
Function: noun Date: 15th century
: a secluded narrow valley
The entrance to the park is off a small, though much-traveled, dirt road. After we went through the gates, we drove beneath a canopy of leafy branches that stem from trees on both sides of the path, and parked in a small, gravel parking lot (that did nothing to detract from the beauty of the area.) Then we began our trek to the falls.
The "hike" is more like a stroll in the woods. The pathway is mainly dirt/mulch, with stepping stones and a bridge over Colt Creek. We walked fifteen or twenty minutes, taking pictures of various plant life, trees, and rushing water along this incredibly picturesque trail. I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful.
At the end of the trail is a majestic waterfall cascading over layers of rock ledges that captivates thousands of visitors each year. Picnic tables are available near the falls and at the entrance, and visitors often spend time reading, spending time with family or friends, or taking photos of the falls or the over 200 plants that bloom in the area.
To reach Pearson Falls from Greenville, travel up Hwy 14 to Landrum, and turn left on 176 toward Saluda. The road will turn/branch to the left at one point. Turn/branch with it. You'll see the sign for Pearson Falls on the left several miles up the road. Pets and camping are not permitted.
Because the falls is privately owned, there is a small entry fee. But the visit and the drive to Pearson Falls are worth the price. For more information, including operating hours and ticket prices, go to www.pearsonsfalls.org/
For an update on Pearson Falls, go to http://carolinatrails.blogspot.com/2014/03/pearson-falls-updated-over-years.html
*Websters Dictionary at www.m-w.com