The Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve preserves a remnant of the mixed podocarp forest that once filled the Pelorus Valley before extensive milling cleared the land. The land is preserved as a scenic reserve due to the foresight of the commissioner of Crown lands in Blenheim, Mr. W. H. Skinner, who made a strong representation to have the area retained as a reserve, which it was declared on October 13, 1912 by the Govenor General.
The reserve includes a DOC camp ground, a popular cafe, and the river is a popular swimming spot in the summer. The reserve also supports a population of endangered long tailed bats, which along with short tailed bats, are New Zealand's only endemic land mammals.
There are a number of short walking tracks through native bush, with interpretive signs in various locations identifying native species and explaining the forest habitat.
The area was featured as a location where dwarves navigated a river in barrels in one of the Hobbit films directed by Peter Jackson.