If your idea of a big vacation getaway is to explore small towns, then put the community of Saluda, North Carolina, on your bucket list. Located 35 miles southeast of Asheville, this Blue Ridge town is full of charm and character. Known for being a hub of outdoor recreation, Saluda offers easy access to the Green River Gorge, scenic hikes and drives, and winding bike paths.
The town boasts a quaint downtown featuring locally owned shops, street musicians, and locally made art. It’s also home to numerous annual street festivals including the Saluda Arts Festival, Coon Dog Day Festival, and the Saluda Home Town Christmas Festival.
For the art buff don’t miss the Heartwood Gallery on East Main Street. They showcase beautiful arts and crafts produced here in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
When you get hungry, we recommend you visit the Purple Onion, a farm-to-fork eatery in downtown Saluda. This local hangout features great food, local brew, and live music. In the warmer months you can dine al fresco on their patio.
Due to the dramatic elevation differences throughout the region, Saluda has a number of pulse-pounding outdoor adventures. There’s no better way to see just how tall these mountains are than to soar across the forest canopy riding along The Gorge Zipline.
If you’re looking for an extreme whitewater thrills, then the Green River passes through this region. A mecca for kayakers, this river is known for its intense rapids, and the tricky narrows, which has challenged even the most skilled paddler.
One of the most intense and unique outdoor experiences in Western North Carolina is offered by Green River Adventures. They’ll take you to Bradley Falls where you can rappel down a 200-foot waterfall! Please don’t try this on your own and rely on experienced guides to lead the way.
For those who want to explore the region by foot, there are some excellent hiking trails with sweeping mountain views. Check out Pearson’s Falls, which is located between Saluda and Tryon. There’s a moderate ¼ mile hike and the payoff is a gorgeous 90-foot waterfall. There’s also Little Bradley Falls and Big Bradley Falls trails, each with it’s own beautiful waterfall at the end.
Where to Stay in Saluda
When you come to the mountains you want a place with a view! The Orchard Inn delivers on that in a big way! They have a breathtaking vista you’ll want to sit and stare at for hours. Perched on 20 acres this Inn offers cozy accommodations and fine dining, which is open to the public.
Also in Saluda is Cabin Fever, which offers you the chance to step back in time with one of their rustic, and well-appointed cabin rentals. This is a great place to unplug from technology and enjoy quality time with friends and family. They offer access to local trails, a horseshoe pit, a goldfish pond, a campfire circle for roasting marshmallows, and even a zip line you can ride on site. They pack a lot into this 15-acre escape.