Branson, Missouri is a very popular getaway for many people I know. If polled on the activities they enjoy while there, I am almost certain numerous answers would be given, including Silver Dollar City, outlet mall shopping, shows, the Branson Belle, and Branson Landing. If asked about my favorite activity, I would, without hesitation, wholeheartedly say, “Dogwood Canyon.”
Dogwood Canyon is actually located in Lampe, Missouri, about twenty six miles southwest of Branson. Touted as a 10,000 acre paradise, it is a gorgeous natural area, owned by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, where one can view streams, waterfalls, wildlife, and caves.
The Dogwood Canyon Foundation manages the property. The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the canyon’s natural plant and wildlife environment. They maintain the park and provide an unspoiled setting for the public to explore.
Visitors can choose to walk or bike the 6 1/2 mile, down and back, very easy and level trail. Segway tours are also available on this part of the property. Some may want to venture a bit farther, taking a tram tour in order to get a glimpse of the bison, elk, and longhorn grazing on the nearby pastures.
I have both walked and biked the trail. I prefer walking because it’s slower paced, enabling me to discover many small details I may not see otherwise. One very interesting thing about this trail is that hikers cross the state line from Missouri into Arkansas at around the three mile mark.
The cool spring fed water is a wonderful breeding ground for rainbow trout. Many come to fish in these turquoise waters, but some, including me, just enjoy looking at the multicolored fish.
There are numerous waterfalls and cascades throughout the park. At the Glory Hole, visitors are able to actually hike behind the waterfall for a different view. (Note the trout in the foreground of this pic!)
There are fees associated with entry: $14.95 for walkers and $22.95 for bikers. That may seem a little pricey to some, but, in my opinion, it is well worth it. Kurt and I spent more than three hours there on that crisp November day last year. I’m sure I would have spent a lot more at the mall in the same time!
To get to Dogwood Canyon from Branson, take Highway 65 south to Highway 86 W. Follow Highway 86 for about twenty miles. Dogwood Canyon will be on the left. It’s very easy to find. Additionally, it’s a wonderful, tranquil escape from the Branson crowds. A beautiful safe place for both old and young alike, Dogwood Canyon is one of those attractions that is sure to create many lasting memories.