- 10 miles (16 km)
- 20 minutes
- There is no fee to drive the byway but individual attractions may charge.
The Pacolet River Byway begins at the South Carolina state line and traces its way through the Tryon Thermal Belt, an area with an unusual climate that is usually free from dew or frost. The route crosses the Pacolet River several times and runs parallel with the Saluda Grade, the steepest mainline railroad grade in the United States. Old railroad depots, log cabins and other historic buildings can be found in the towns of Saluda and Tryon, while Pearson Falls Natural Heritage Site is a 259 acre botanical wonderland where visitors can hike, bird watch or just enjoy the outdoors. Tryon houses the Polk County Historical Museum, whose 1906 train station was once the center of activity for the area.
The byway ends where US 176 crosses High Bridge in Henderson County. You may travel on from here to Hendersonville or Flat Rock (location of the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site and Flat Rock Playhouse).
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
The 22 room home of the poet and writer Carl Sandburg surrounded by mountainside woodland areas, ponds, and orchards.
Near Flatrock on Highway 25
Harmon Field (NC)
Created in 1927, Harmon Field is a 34 acre recreational area maintained by the Town of Tryon. The park has a multitude of different uses such as equestrian activities, sports(baseball,softball, tennis & soccer) plus a paved greenway for walking.Each June Harmon Field hosts the Blue Ridge Barbeque Festival. The two-day event is the official barbeque contest for the state ofNorth Carolina.
Pacolet River (NC)
The Pacolet River Byway follows the scenic Pacolet River for nearly five miles. Along the route approximately 5.1 miles from the South Carolina stateline you can see Melrose Falls on the left hand side traveling west.
Pearson's Falls Natural Heritage Site (NC)
Located along Colt Creek near the Pacolet River, this beautiful90 foot waterfall is worth seeing. It was discovered after the Civil War by Charles William Pearson as he scouted for a railroad route from South Carolina to Asheville, North Carolina. The hike to the falls is short and relatively easy.
From Saluda, drive south on US 176 and turn right onto Pearson Falls Road (SR 1102).
Founded in 1881 the City of Saluda has a year round population of 577 residents. It is a quaint mountain town with attractive older homes and a historic business district. In 1996 the business district was nominated and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Saluda's claim to fame goes back to earlier railroad days. The rails that climb to Saluda from the Town of Tryon are the steepest standard gauge rails east of the Mississippi River.
Saluda is host to Coon Dog Day festival the first Saturday following Independence Day in July.
On US Highway 176
Tryon Train Station (NC)
The Tryon Train Depot was built in 1906 and later remodeled in the 1950's, Once the center of activity for the area, the depot no longer serves as an active train station.
Today the Tryon Depot houses a local equestrian organization plus the Polk County Historical Museum. Open on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10 am to 12 noon and during special events.No admission fee charged.
The scenic byway cuts through the center of town. Tryon was founded in 1885 with a year round population of 1,855 residents.Long known as a haven for retirees, the Town of Tryon has been the center of equestrian events as well as arts & crafts activities.