Best Fall Hiking Trails

Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and beautiful fall color and try out some of Branson’s best hiking trails.

Branson has a great hike for just about everyone! Get up close and personal with the beauty of fall on one of these great hikes:

Located just west of Branson, the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area encompasses the area chronicled in the famed novel, The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright. Choose from two access points for hiking trails:

  • Southern entrance (off of Route 76) - access to several hiking trails—Glade Trail (1.1 miles), Streamside Trail (0.4-mile loop), and the Dewey Bald Trail (0.4 mile, paved) that leads from the main parking lot to a 40-foot viewing tower, the best place to take in the sweeping views of fall color!
  • Northern entrance (off of Route 248) - access to the 3.4-mile Henning Homesteaders Trail, which meanders through the forest and passes several historic homestead sites along the way.


Located off Fall Creek Road in the heart of Branson, the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area is a locals’ favorite. There are five trails to choose from, ranging from easy to difficult. 


For a unique experience through the fall color, try The Bluff Trail. Though it’s only 0.5 miles in length, it contains 338 hand-lain stone steps that lead you down the bluff overlooking Lake Taneycomo. The going-down is not so tough; it’s the going-up that can be a challenge! It’s worth the trek though.


Near the bottom of the trail is the Grotto, a partial dome cut into the side of the bluff. If it’s recently rained, you’re in for a treat—an amazing waterfall spills over the top of the Grotto! Take a moment to enjoy the coolness of the area before climbing back up those 338 steps to the top.


Located just south of Branson within the Communities at Branson Creek, the Murder Rock Road Trail is a gateway to turn-of-the-century pioneer life in the Ozarks. About 5 miles roundtrip, this trail takes you past several pit mines and the abandoned railroad and lead-mining town of Melva, Missouri.


A trip to the Murder Rock Road Trail will not only give you great views of fall color and a hands-on history lesson, but also a peek at some of the area’s top golf courses—Big Cedar’s Buffalo Ridge Springs, Mountain Top Course, and Ozarks National (preview play begins November 1)—on your way to the trailhead. After your hike, take in the stunning views and a great bite to eat at the Mountain Top Grill to round out the perfect fall day.