The 10 Best Branson Hiking Trails for Every Type of Adventurer

Mar 01, 2024

The 10 Best Branson Hiking Trails For Every Type of Adventurer
By Westgate Resorts

Where to Find the Best Hiking Trails in Branson MO

Discover the top 10 Branson hiking trails perfect for every type of adventurer. From scenic family-friendly walks to challenging treks for the experienced hiker, explore the natural beauty of Branson with our comprehensive guide:

  1. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail

  2. Dogwood Canyon Nature Park Trails

  3. White River Valley Trail System

  4. Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area

  5. Roark Creek Trail

  6. Henning Conservation Area

  7. Dewey Bald Trai

  8. Mark Twain National Forest Trails

  9. Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

  10. Hercules Glades Wilderness Trails

Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, Branson, Missouri, is a treasure trove of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. With its rolling hills, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes, the area offers some of the most picturesque and diverse hiking trails in the Midwest, many of which are conveniently located near your favorite Branson resorts. So whether you're looking for things to do in Branson for adults or the whole family, there’s a trail for everyone on our list!

The Best Branson Hiking Trails to Try for the Ultimate Adventure

Hiking in Branson is not just about the exercise; it's an immersive experience in the natural world. The area's unique landscapes and biodiversity provide a perfect backdrop for memorable adventures. Furthermore, hiking offers numerous health benefits and is an activity that individuals of all ages can enjoy, making it a perfect family outing.

Check our list of the top 10 trails, including a variety of factors including the trails' difficulty levels, the scenic views they offer, and their accessibility to hikers of all abilities.

1 | Table Rock Lakeshore Trail | Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is a gentle, paved path that offers stunning views of Table Rock Lake. Stretching approximately 2.2 miles with minimal elevation gain and well-maintained paths, this trail is perfect for those looking for a leisurely hike or as a starter trail for beginners of all ages.

Hiking highlights: The trail is accessible year-round and provides numerous spots for picnicking, fishing, and bird watching. Its accessibility makes it a favorite among those with strollers or wheelchairs.

WHERE: 4600 Historic Hwy 165, Branson, MO 65616 | WHO: (501) 340-1950



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2 | White River Valley Trail System | The White River Valley Trail System is designed for the more experienced adventurer. It spans over 11 miles of trails divided into four loops, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience for seasoned hikers. With varying elevations and rugged terrains, these trails are best for those in good physical condition with hiking experience.

Hiking highlight: Each trail segment offers a different experience, from serene walks along the river to steep climbs with panoramic views. So try multiple trails for the ultimate Branson hiking experience!

WHERE: 5325 Historic Hwy 165, Branson, MO 65616 | WHO: (417) 334-4704


3 | Dogwood Canyon Nature Park Trails | Dogwood Canyon Nature Park offers a series of trails that weave through the park's 10,000 acres. These trails vary in length and difficulty so you can pick the path that’s best for you, but all provide a close-up view of the park's waterfalls, creeks, and wildlife.

Want to see the sights, but don’t want to hike? You can explore Dogwood Canyon via bike trails or tram tours, plus it has some of the best horseback riding Branson MO has to offer.

Hiking highlight: The highlight of Dogwood Canyon is undoubtedly the many waterfalls that dot the landscape. So DO go chasing waterfalls.

WHERE: 2038 State Hwy 86, Lampe, MO 65681 | WHO: (800) 456-4812


4 | Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area | This wilderness area features over 4 miles of trails that navigate through dense forests and limestone bluffs, leading to breathtaking views of Lake Taneycomo. Though some parts of the trail are challenging, the views from the top are well worth the effort, making it a satisfying hike for those looking for a bit of adventure.

Hiking highlight: Explore the remnants of a historic homestead and a hand-built staircase of 315 stone steps, adding a touch of history to your hike.

WHERE: 412 Owen Ln, Branson, MO 65616 | WHO: (417) 335-2368


5 | Roark Creek Trail | Roark Creek Trail is a multi-use path that combines natural beauty with urban convenience. The trail offers a unique experience as it runs through both natural landscapes and parts of the city, providing a diverse hiking experience.

Hiking highlight: Stretching 3.2 miles, the trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, making it accessible for strollers, wheelchair users, and young hikers.

WHERE: 1501 Branson Hills Parkway, Branson, MO 65616 | WHO: (417) 335-2368


6 | Hercules Glades Wilderness Trails | For those seeking a more rugged and remote hiking experience, the Hercules Glades Wilderness offers over 12 miles of trails that navigate through rocky terrain, open glades, and past natural springs.

These trails are less developed and offer a true wilderness experience, ideal for experienced hikers looking for a challenge. Once you’ve conquered the trail, consider treating your sore muscles to a nice, relaxing massage in Branson.

Hiking highlight: The presence of natural springs provides a unique feature to these trails, offering beautiful spots to rest and enjoy the natural surroundings.

WHERE: Kissee Mills, MO 65680 | WHO: (573) 364-4621


7 | Henning Conservation Area | The Henning Conservation Area offers a serene hiking experience with well-marked trails that meander through wooded areas and open glades. It's an excellent spot for bird watching and enjoying the tranquility of nature.

The best time to explore the Henning Conservation Area is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the foliage offers a spectacular display of colors.

Hiking highlight: As a conservation area, it’s home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, offering hikers a chance to connect with nature on a deeper level.

WHERE: Branson, MO 65616 | WHO: (417) 895-6880


8 | Mark Twain National Forest Trails | The Mark Twain National Forest encompasses a vast area with numerous trails that offer everything from leisurely walks to challenging treks. It's a haven for hikers seeking solitude and immersion in nature.

Hiking highlight: For those looking to extend their adventure, several trails in the Mark Twain National Forest offer camping sites, allowing for multi-day hiking experiences.

WHERE: 401 Fairgrounds Rd, Rolla, MO 65401 | WHO: (573) 364-4621


9 | Dewey Bald Trail | As one of the shortest trails in Branson, the Dewey Bald Trail offers a quick yet fulfilling hike leading to a historic fire tower. Despite its brevity, the trail ends at a tower that provides panoramic views of the surrounding Ozarks, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers.

At just 0.4 miles round trip, it's perfect for those looking for a short daytime adventure before catching one of the best shows in Branson.

Hiking highlight: The trail is well-maintained and accessible to most hikers, and has parking and restroom facilities available at the trailhead.

WHERE: Dewey Bald, Branson, MO 65616 | WHO: NA


10 | Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area | Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area features over 18 miles of trails that traverse through forests, glades, and along creeks. The area is known for its diverse ecosystems and is a fantastic place for hikers interested in exploring a variety of landscapes.

Hiking highlight: In addition to hiking, Busiek State Forest caters to outdoor enthusiasts by offering additional activities including horseback riding, mountain biking, and even has a shooting range.

WHERE: Highlandville, MO 65669 | WHO: (417) 895-6880


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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the best time of year to go hiking in Branson?

The best time to hike in Branson is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the natural scenery is at its most vibrant. However, many trails offer unique experiences year-round, with each season bringing its own charm.

Q: What is the longest trail in Branson?

The White River Valley Trail System offers the longest continuous hiking experience in Branson, with over 11.75 miles of trails.

Q: Are there any entry fees for these trails?

Most trails in Branson are free to the public, but some, like Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, require an entry fee.

Q: Can I bring my dog on the trails?

Many trails in Branson are pet-friendly, allowing dogs on leashes. However, it's always best to check specific trail regulations beforehand.

Q: What are the kinds of wildlife should I look out for?

Hikers can encounter deer, turkeys, and even eagles. Be on the lookout for tracks, nests, and, in some areas, signs of bears.

Q: How do I choose the right trail for my fitness level?

Consider the trail's length, elevation gain, and terrain. Start with shorter, flatter trails if you're a beginner, and gradually work your way up to more challenging hikes.

Q: Are there guided tours available for beginners?

Yes, several parks and nature areas in Branson offer guided tours that provide an excellent introduction to hiking for beginners.

Q: What do I pack for a hike?

Packing the right gear is crucial for a successful hiking trip. Essential items include appropriate clothing for the weather, water, snacks, a map, and a first aid kit. Depending on the trail, additional gear such as hiking poles or waterproof boots may be recommended. Don't forget to consider all of your planned activities when you're making your vacation packing list!

Q: What locals want you to know:

When hiking in Branson, it's essential to follow the Leave No Trace principles, respect wildlife and plant life, and adhere to safety guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Take a Hike

Exploring Branson's hiking trails offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, challenge oneself physically, and create lasting memories. Whether you’re looking for a short stroll through the woods or you’re ready to test your limits, grab your trail mix and hiking boots and get ready for an adventure!

Find more locally recommended spots to find the best food, hiking, and entertainment in Branson on the Westgate Travel Blog!


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* Westgate Resorts is in no way affiliated with the attractions featured in this article. Items or places listed are current as of the publishing date of this article. Please call or visit the respective website for the most up-to-date offerings and details.

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