Hiking in Branson

As soon as the weather starts to warm and the trees start to bloom, it’s time to get out and enjoy the beautiful terrain of the Ozarks. Check out these hiking trails that are the perfect start to your vacation in Branson!

Waterfall Trail

Located in Branson near the intersection of Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Roark Valley Road, the Waterfall Trail—named for the several waterfalls you will see along the way—is an easy 1 1/3-mile round trip hike that follows a tributary of Roark Creek.
Wear your waterproof shoes! This trail crosses the creek several times, and the path can become quite muddy after rain, but it’s a lovely little hike that’s easy to enjoy.

Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area

Also located in the heart of Branson, the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area is a great place to visit in the spring, especially because the chances are quite good of seeing the amazing waterfall at the bottom of The Bluff Trail, one of five trails to choose from in this area.

The Bluff Trail navigates down 338 hand-lain stone steps to the Grotto, a partial dome carved into the side of the bluff above Lake Taneycomo. If it has rained recently, you will be able to see an impressive waterfall flowing over the top. But even if it hasn’t, this hike is worth it!

Table Rock State Park

Just outside of Branson proper, you will find a network of hiking and biking trails at Table Rock State Park. For a lovely stroll along the lake, try the Lakeshore Trail, a wide paved pathway that stretches from the Dewey Short Visitors Center to the State Park Marina.

For more traditional hiking, try the Chinquapin Trail (1.5-mile) or the White River Valley Trail system (11.75-miles of trails) that is appropriate for either hiking or biking.

Murder Rock Road Trail

The Murder Rock Road Trail is located just south of Branson within the Communities at Branson Creek. This 5-mile roundtrip hike is perhaps the most unique in the area, as it takes you on a historical adventure through the Ozarks.

Along the way you will pass through the abandoned town of Melva, Missouri—once a booming lead-mining and railroad town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—where you will see all three of the town’s mines along the trail.

Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area

Like the Murder Rock Road Trail, the trails within the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area also traverse land that is historically significant—the setting for Harold Bell Wright’s famous novel, The Shepherd of Hills. The novel was based on the author’s real-life experience with the Ozarkian people and landscape, and its publication in 1907 initiated a wave of interest in the Ozarks that continues today.

Choose from several hiking trails that range from 0.4 to 3.4 miles and vary in difficulty. For a great panoramic view of spring blooming around you, take the short Dewey Bald Trail from the main parking lot to the 40-foot lookout tower. It will be worth the climb!

Busiek State Forest

Located about 15 minutes north of Branson off of Highway 65, Busiek State Forest offers two trail systems (west-side and east-side) that extend more than 18 miles through the rugged, yet beautiful, forest.

Each trail system contains three looped trails, ranging from 2 to 4 miles each. Experienced hikers love the trails at Busiek because most are fairly difficult to traverse. However, the east-side Red Loop is a good option for all skill levels.

Looking for more outdoor adventures? Click here to see camping in Branson!

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