Saluda, NC, Cool Small Mountain Town

Saluda, NC

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.


Saluda NC

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 Depot

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.

Saluda, NC

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.

Thompson's Store, Saluda

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!

Azalea Bistro Saluda

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.  

Pearson Falls
Pearson's Falls

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

Tryon Wine Country
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, Mountain Brook Vineyard and Green Creek Winery. It's an easy 45-mile drive from Asheville via I-26 East (near SC line).
Orchard Inn
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 delicious farm-to-table dinner or Sunday brunch. Listed on the National Historic Register. 9 rooms, 5 cottages, $150-$315, pet-friendly,... read more
Cabin Fever
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 nights. Near waterfalls, rafting, tubing and zip lines. 7 Cabins, $109-$159, fire pits, outdoor grills, picnic area, fully-equipped kitchens,... read more
Tryon NC
Home to an impressive arts community, with galleries and an arts center downtown. Also boasts a big equestrian community, with many horse-related events, including a Steeplechase each spring. The amazing Tryon International Equestrian Center attracts horse lovers and riders from all over the world. Near Saluda.
Pearson's Falls
Pearson's Falls
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 miles away is the roadside Shunkawauken Falls.
Green River Tubing
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 transportation. Stop at the jump-off rock to rope dive!
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
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.
Inns in Tryon
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 exquisite dining.
Cabin Rental Polk County
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.
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Area Events & Festivals

Tryon Block House Steeplechase
Saturday, April 15, 2023
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 National Steeplechase Association sanctions four of the races.
Coon Dog Day, Saluda
Coon Dog Day Festival
Saturday, July 9, 2022
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 admission.
Saluda Arts Festival
Saluda Arts Festival
Saturday, May 20, 2023
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 contemporary. Watch artist demonstrations. Free. 10 AM-4 PM.
The rugged, deep Green River Gorge is located near Saluda, about 38 miles southeast of Asheville. Find old-growth forests, steep ravines and some great whitewater fun as the... read more
We love exploring our cool, charming small towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Find picturesque historic Main Streets, friendly shops, general stores, farm-to-table... read more
Sample wines at one of these 15 wineries in the North Carolina mountains and foothills, near Asheville! Create your own winery tour for a fun afternoon. Talk to the winemakers and stroll through the... read more
Just 25 miles south of downtown Asheville is one of the country's top apple growing areas. Visit the orchards and farms for free! North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the nation... read more
Flat Rock Playhouse is officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. They present a stellar line-up of shows since they are a Professional Equity Theatre. It's just 30 minutes from... read more