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About the Saluda Grade Trail

Across the United States, inactive rail lines have found new life as vibrant rail trails. Now, we have the opportunity to create a beautiful new trail along the historic Saluda Grade rail line!

This new trail would be similar to the popular Swamp Rabbit Trail or Virginia Creeper Trail, both outstanding success stories. In each case, the trail has become the heart of the community—treasured by local residents and a destination for visitors. Rail trails like the proposed Saluda Grade Trail grow local economies, expand opportunities for outdoor recreation, and improve people’s health.

The proposed Saluda Grade Trail would run for approximately 31 miles, from Inman, SC to Zirconia, NC. The trail would welcome folks out for a stroll, as well as bikers, hikers, joggers, wheelchairs, strollers, and other forms of exercise and play. There is also potential for an equestrian path.  However you like to get around, the trail would invite you to enjoy the beautiful countryside of Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina.   

Along the length of this famous rail line, you could experience the pastoral countryside of the rolling Piedmont, the Pacolet River gorge with its plunging waterfalls, and the spectacular scenery around the Green River. You could also enjoy small town charm and unique local businesses in historic downtown Campobello, Inman, Landrum, Tryon, and Saluda. 

Explore the Saluda Grade Trail

This is Our Chance to Build the Saluda Grade Trail  

A coalition of nonprofits in North and South Carolina are working together to create the Saluda Grade Trail. The three nonprofits leading this effort are Conserving Carolina, PAL: Play, Advocate, Live Well and Upstate Forever. Right now, we see a window of opportunity because Norfolk Southern wants to sell the line. In fact we have an agreement with Norfolk Southern on the terms of a future purchase of the rail corridor. We are excited about bringing the Saluda Grade Trail to our communities! 

Will you help create the Saluda Grade Trail? Our elected leaders need to know that there is overwhelming public support for this new rail trail. Sign up for emails about the Saluda Grade Trail and we’ll let you know how you can support the trail. We’ll also follow up with updates about this project.

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Benefits of the Saluda Grade Trail 

The Saluda Grade Trail would make our communities better places to live in so many ways. It would:  

  • Expand outdoor recreation, providing a 31-mile linear park where people can easily get out to exercise and play. 
  • Improve health by encouraging physical exercise in the great outdoors.  
  • Grow local economies by strengthening local businesses and attracting tourists. 
  • Keep local history alive as people engage with the Saluda Grade railroad—which took feats of engineering, daring, and will to cross the steep Blue Ridge Escarpment. 
  • Support wildlife by creating a corridor that links protected natural areas. 
  • Provide transportation options, so people can bike or walk instead of always driving. 
  • Connect to more trails, as part of a vision for a network of hiking paths and greenways spanning hundreds of miles. 
  • Improve quality of life—where we can all enjoy good health, economic opportunity, community, and a connection with nature.

Learn More about the Benefits of the Trail

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