Pearson's Falls, just a few miles from downtown Saluda
A must visit: Pace's General Store
Shops fill the few blocks of downtown Saluda
The fabulous Heartwood Gallery with plenty of contemporary art and craft
Wilderness Cove provides a variety of options for fun on the Green River, including tubing rides (1-6 miles), kayak rentals, fishing and a campground.
Saluda, a tiny town of 570 residents located just off I-26, boasts a downtown with a surprising selection of restaurants, shops, and live music wrapped in beautiful scenery. Saluda's most popular attraction is Pearson's Falls, a beautiful 90-foot waterfall. See our Pearson's Falls guide. Nearby is another quaint town to explore, Tryon.
Just 35 miles from downtown Asheville, the one-street downtown hasn’t changed much since it was founded in 1878. Most buildings on Main Street were added to the National Register of Historic places. The Pace's General Store is worth the visit. This old-fashioned hardware and general store was founded in 1899 was featured on Our Vanishing Americana. Inside you will find everything from Pointer overalls, jams and jellies of every variety, garden items, hardware and much more.
Just down the street since 1892 is Thompson's Store and Ward's Grill dining. They have a great deli, the perfect place to pick up a picnic to take to Pearson's Falls!
Restaurants include The Purple Onion with an emphasis on the Mediterranean's simple, healthful cuisine and a focus on freshness, with live music and outdoor dining. The Saluda Grade Cafe menu encompasses a large number of options, ranging from steaks to seafood. Green River BBQ is another delicious choice.
Wineries nearby include Rockhouse Vineyards and Green Creek Winery. See our Winery Guide for more!
Green River Adventures has several options for adding a whitewater adventure, including inflatable kayak trips, full-day Kayak Instruction, guided hikes to some of the areas coolest waterfalls and swimming holes along the Green River, Stand Up Paddleboard rentals, and more! They offer two options for guided trips on the Green River – one perfect for those looking for a relaxed float with several fun, safe rapids, and one for adventure seekers. Guided waterfall hikes in the Green River Gamelands.
Tubing down the "calmer" section of the Green River is a great way to cool off on a hot summer's day. This section of the Green River is appropriate for all ages and you can choose from one to six mile float trips. It's great for beginner kayakers too. But you should be a decent swimmer and bring a life jacket. Tubing companies provide transportation. It's only six miles from I-26 East (just 38 miles from downtown Asheville). From I-26, take exit 59 toward Saluda for 2/10 mile. Turn right onto Holbert Cove Road for 6/10 mile. Turn left on Green River Cove Road and go 5.2 miles to Wilderness Cove and Green River Cove Tubing companies.
The Narrows section of the Green River is considered an extremely difficult portion of whitewater, as it contains nine class IV rapids, an eight class V rapids (very difficult). The first official descent of the Narrows was made in 1988. It should be attempted by only very experienced whitewater kayakers, since this stretch can be deadly. This technical section of water is home to the Green River Race that is held every year on the first Saturday of November. Many consider the Green River Narrows race to be the pinnacle of whitewater racing in the southeast.
Saluda came about when the Spartanburg and Asheville Railroad arrived, at the crest of the Saluda Grade, the steepest mainline standard-gauge track in the eastern United States. Businesses moved in, summer homes were built and tourists from South Carolina filled local boarding houses to escape the hot summers. Saluda developed the reputation of a cool mountain resort town that offered health benefits to those who came.
Major Annual Events
Saluda Arts Festival (May 18, 2013):
See 80+ fine artists and skilled craftspeople from all over western North Carolina and South Carolina. They will exhibit and sell oil, watercolors, acrylic paintings and drawings, woodworking, photography, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, stained glass, metal working, and more.
Coon Dog Day (July 6, 2013):
Don't miss Saluda's 49th Annual Coon Dog Day, a celebration for dogs and their people! Great food, live music, parade, crafts, street dance, and more. Come enjoy this homecoming event in downtown Saluda. What began as a chicken supper fundraiser for the local Coon Club has grown into an event that attracts over 10,000 people each year. Jump start your morning with the Coon Dog Day 5K run through historic downtown. Find many food and craft vendors and with live entertainment on the main stage beginning at 9 AM and continuing until the end of the street dance at 11 PM. The parade is a favorite every year and consists of mostly homemade floats, tractors, fire trucks, horses, motorcycles, dogs, and the reigning Coon Dog Royalty Court. The parade begins at 11 AM and marches down Main Street for over an hour. Parking for Coon Dog Day will be at the Party Place & Event Center at a cost of $10 per vehicle. The parking fee will include shuttle transportation for everyone in the vehicle to and from the festival.
Saluda Tailgate Market:
Downtown every Friday, 4:30-6:30 PM, May through October