Branson's location deep within the natural beauty of the Ozarks makes it feel a world away from everyday life... while still having all of the amenities of a big city, of course. Whatever you're up to in Branson, whether you're at a glitzy show, riding an adrenaline-pumping roller coaster, shopping, or relaxing on the lake, you're never far from a quick adventure into nature. And what kind of adventure could be better than a waterfall adventure? There's no better reward than a gorgeous, misty cascade at the end of a trek. Branson's got a few waterfalls to choose from, each more gorgeous than the last!
Kickstart your journey with a stop at the breathtaking Marvel Cave, located just west of Branson, in the theme park of Silver Dollar City. Marvel Cave has the largest cave entryway in the United States, and its gorgeous wet limestone has been evolving since the early 1500’s. Spend an hour or two cooling off from the Missouri heat on the incredibly-popular lantern tour, guaranteed to provide some once-in-a-lifetime camera shots. The Spring Room contains several smaller waterfalls (about which legends have spread; some used to claim that one of these was the Fountain of Youth!), but the Waterfall Room is the most incredible cascade in the cave. It's the lowest room on the tour, 505 feet below the Earth's surface, and can flood up to the ceiling during heavy rains. There are a few other really cool features and rooms in the cave as well, including The Dungeon, the Gulf of Doom, the Cloud Room, the Mystic Pool Room and the Elves' Chasm. All kinds of strange and marvelous geological features are waiting to be discovered here!
Once finished touring the lovely Marvel Cave, make your way to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, one of the Ozarks' best-kept secrets. The 10,000-acre wildlife and plant preserve offers a unique experience for the entire family. With crystal clear streams, a handful of breathtaking waterfalls, and a wide variety of bridges and trails to hike, you’ll find yourself quickly losing track of time. The quiet and reserved Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is the perfect place to deepen your relationship with nature and take a break from the stress of everyday life. If you just want a quick taste of the waterfall beauty here, the day pass will suffice, but there are lots of additional activities and tours you can add on to the pass (including wildlife tram tours, fishing, horseback riding and more) that can take your trip to the next level.
Keep the momentum of your trip going with a stop at one of Branson’s most recently added trails. This short and sweet walk covers 2/3 of a mile of unpaved pathway, crossing the creek in two separate locations. During your short hike, observe the incredible rock formations and dense forest that surrounds you. And, of course, it all ends at a lovely waterfall! Waterfall Trail is a great activity that will give you a taste of Missouri’s beauty while not taking up your whole day. Plus, it's conveniently located in the city of Branson, and is free to explore!
As you begin to slowly wrap up your journey through the Ozarks and all of the waterfall beauty it has to offer, be sure to stop by the breathtaking Table Rock Dam. It was completed in 1958, and towers at over 252 feet. With an excellent observation deck, a small aquarium and fish hatchery, and incredible views from the bridge, this quick stop is bound to become a group favorite. Not only is it fun to watch the water pour over the edge, but this dam also generates hydroelectric power, making the dam super, extra cool. Oh, and we should mention that this is another awesome free activity in Branson!
Head to Top of the Rock's Lost Canyon Nature Trail and Cave for another impressive underground waterfall. You'll board an electric cart and cruise over Amish-built footbridges, past some smaller waterfalls and through the cavern to an impressive four-story cascade. The ride really shows off just how gorgeous the Ozarks are, both above and below ground. Take the tour in the afternoon, then grab dinner at one of the restaurants at Top of the Rock; you'll be wrapped up just in time to watch Top of the Rock's nightly sunset ceremony, where a bagpiper plays as a Civil War cannon is fired, bidding the day farewell.
Branson, Missouri, is world-known for incredible views and unique natural wonders to explore. From Silver Dollar City's Marvel Cave to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, the Ozarks offer the perfect setting for a relaxing vacation that lets you get back in touch with Mother Nature.
Banner Photo Credit: Flickr/Dustin Baker
There’s nowhere like Branson, Missouri. With breathtaking natural beauty, family-friendly shows, exhilarating outdoor activities, world-class golf courses, delicious dining, fun festivals and thrilling attractions, there’s just no shortage of fun.