Polk County

Year Established: 1855

  • At A Glance
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Polk County, the "First Peak of the Blue Ridge," welcomes flatlanders to a higher altitude, with elevations ranging from just under 800 feet at the Green and Broad Rivers to over 3,200 feet on Tryon Peak and Wildcat Spur. Most of Polk's 20,000 residents cluster near the county's three main towns of Saluda, Tryon, and Columbus. Tryon International Equestrian Center, a sprawling, $100-million equestrian center and luxury resort, operates nearby in Mill Spring.

Properties in the area

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Live the life you choose

Come See the First Peaks of the Blue Ridge!

Polk County is divided into two regions: the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western third of the county and Piedmont of the eastern two-thirds. Since it is in a transition zone between the two regions, Polk County is often referred to as being in the North Carolina Foothills.The elevation of Polk County ranges from just under 800 feet near the confluence of the Green River and Broad River to over 3,200 feet on Tryon Peak and Wildcat Spur.

Welcome to North Carolina’s Horse Country!

Did you know that Polk County has been one of the South’s top equestrian destinations for more than 100 years?

Polk County’s long and storied equestrian history started in 1917 with the Pine Crest Inn in Tryon, a renowned spot where northerners could come and ride their horses during the winter. The Tryon Horse Show began in 1929 (the third oldest of its kind in the country) and the Block House Steeplechase in 1934. In 1956, the US Equestrian Team trained in Tryon for the Olympics.

Tryon still offers world-class equine veterinary, boarding, and training facilities, as well as more than 100 miles of private trail systems. The town has probably been best known for its Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE), a 390-acre educational and recreational center that provides programs in nature study, outdoor recreation, and equestrian competition.

The $100 million, 1,450-acre Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) takes a love for horses to the next level. TIEC features 10 riding arenas, over 1,000 permanent stalls, elevated and shaded viewing decks, restaurants, family activities, boutiques, and more. TIEC was chosen as the host of the 2018 World Equine Games.

Explore Polk County’s Historic Districts

Today, downtown Saluda is recognized as a National Historic District. Stroll leisurely among tree-lined streets of lovely Victorian homes and browse the many distinctive shops, art and craft galleries, and delicious restaurants along historic Main Street. Walk into its century-old general stores, and get a whiff of glossy oil-stained, heart pine floors stirring up memories of times gone by.

Get Outside and Enjoy the Community

It would be a shame not to enjoy all the outdoor adventures Polk County has to offer, including parks, walking tours, hiking, road biking, swimming, fishing, camping, ziplining, and whitewater adventures in the Green River Gorge.

Every June, the Blue Ridge Barbeque Festival held at Harmon Field attracts thousands of visitors from around the country. The festival is the largest in Polk County and was named by the Travel Channel among their Top 5 World's Best Barbecue Contests. Beyond barbecue, the two-day festival includes artisans, live music, and a variety of food.

More Adventures are Just a Short Drive Away

Polk County is conveniently located a short drive from many of the Southeast’s top cities and destinations. In addition to being just a short drive from Asheville and Hendersonville, the town is less than an hour from the Greenville-Spartanburg region of South Carolina. Charlotte, Columbia, and Atlanta are just a few hours away.

Learn more about Polk County on their county website or via their Chamber of Commerce.


Community Amenities

  • Mountain Biking/Cycling
  • Outfitter/River Pro
  • Kayaking/Canoeing
  • Walking/Hiking Trails

Nearby Activities

  • Lake Fishing
  • Fly Fishing
  • Running
  • Walking/Hiking
  • Kayaking/Canoeing
  • Boating
  • Mountain Biking/Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Shopping
  • Dining
  • Entertainment
  • Art/Culture
  • Secondary Education
  • Continuing Education
  • Golf