Saluda, a tiny town of 700 residents, boasts a picturesque Main Street packed with an impressive selection of longtime restaurants, shops and galleries surrounded by beautiful scenery. It's been a popular mountain tourist town since the late-1800s and definitely one of our favorite towns to explore. Nearby is Pearson's Falls and the Green River Gorge.
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 have been added to the National Register of Historic places.
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. See a Saluda Grade Diorama in the Depot, open Thursday-Sunday afternoons.
Pace's General Store is worth the visit. This old-fashioned hardware and general store was founded in 1899 and 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. 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, as well as offering live music and outdoor dining. Azalea Bistro, owned and operated by a three times beard nominated chef, offers a French lowcountry menu. Green River BBQ is another delicious and casual choice. A short drive from downtown is the more upscale Newman's Restaurant inside the historic Orchard Inn, serving dinner Thursday-Saturday and Sunday brunch by reservation only.
This is an arts town! Browse many galleries. A must-visit is Heartwood Gallery, featuring 100% American craft for 30+ years in Saluda! And don't miss the highly recommended Saluda Arts Festival each May.
The Green River Gorge offers a big variety of outdoor adventures, including inflatable kayak trips down the whitewater, stand up paddleboard rental, tubing, fishing, camping and even waterfall rappelling. Read more.
Nearby, check out the amazing Tryon International Equestrian Center and the Tryon Foothills Wine Country.
See more of our Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns - including nearby Tryon and Hendersonville.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 East about 35 miles to Exit 59.
Lodging & Things to DO
Cabin Fever, Saluda
Take a trip back in time in a rustic cabin at this secluded eco resort and enjoy a few days away from it all. Pull up a rocker on your screened-in porch. Snuggle by the wood-burning stoves on cool… read more
Tryon Foothills Wine Country
Visit five wineries in the prime isothermal wine growing area in the beautiful foothills near Columbus and Tryon: Parker-Binns Vineyard, Overmountain Vineyards, Russian Chapel Hills Winery,… read more
The Orchard Inn, Saluda
This historic inn is an elegant mountaintop retreat with peaceful views and plenty of amenities. Stay in a B&B room, suite or cottage and dine at their romantic Newman’s restaurant for a… read more
This 90-ft. waterfall is privately-owned by a garden club and requires a small admission fee. Located between Saluda and Tryon, it's a must if you are driving on I-26 to/from South Carolina. Ten… read more
Tryon International Equestrian Center
Watch horse jumping competitions with the best riders in the country at this amazing new world-class equestrian resort south of Asheville. Free admission to many events.
B&Bs & Inns: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find a great vareity of historic B&Bs and inns in the towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, the First Peak of the Blue Ridge. Includes award-winning Pine Crest Inn and Orchard Inn with… read more
Cabin & Cottage Rentals: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find log cabin, condo or cottage vacation rentals by ponds or with mountain views in the First Peak of the Blue Ridge - many options near the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Green River Tubing
Rent a tube and set sail for a lazy day on the beautiful Green River near Saluda. Choose from three- to six-mile float trips. It's great for beginner kayakers, too. Tubing companies provide… read more
Area Events & Festivals
Coon Dog Day Festival
A street festival for dogs and their people with great food, live music, a very fun parade, crafts, street dance, dog competitions, and more in Saluda. Live entertainment until 11 PM. Free… read more
Saluda Arts Festival
Outstanding festival with 100% hand-picked regional artists along Saluda's historic Main Street. See a big diversity of art media and enjoy music representing Americana, blues, folk and … read more
Tryon Block House Steeplechase
A festive day with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating and the sights & sounds of thoroughbreds thundering past in Tryon, at the longest running steeplechase in North Carolina. The… read more