“For about four to six weeks in the fall of every year, ‘Mother Nature’ provides the greatest show in Branson as the foliage covering its surrounding, hills, valleys and lakeshores turns into a kaleidoscope of beautiful colors,” said Tammy Johnson, the General Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. Johnson points out that precisely when the leaves turn, how fast and how long the season lasts is based on the weather, but, based on the average year, here are five answers to common questions our customers commonly ask about viewing Branson’s Fall foliage:
1. When does the Fall foliage season start and end? In southwestern Missouri it generally starts around the third week of September and runs for four to six weeks depending on the weather.
2. What are the first and last trees to start changing color? According to the Missouri Department of Conservation “sassafras, sumac, and Virginia Creeper” are the first to start changing color followed by “black gum, bittersweet, and dogwood” and “maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories” later in the season.
3. What is the “peak” time to view the most colorful foliage in Branson? That is difficult to predict, but typically the peak for Fall color, again depending on the weather, is around mid-October when maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories are displaying their most vivid colors.
4. What is the best way to view the Fall foliage in Branson? Just get outdoors and enjoy all that Branson has to offer. From Silver Dollar City to the Lake Taneycomo bluffs that are readily visible from Branson Landing and just about anywhere else you would travel in and about Branson you will be surrounded by the beauty of the Ozark Mountains dressed in their Fall colors.
5. Do you have any recommendations on the best spots to view the Fall colors? Yes, here are a few of our favorites:
Shepherd of the Hills Inspiration Tower – The 230 foot tall tower located at The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead on top of Inspiration Point, one of the highest points in southwest Missouri, provides an unparalleled panoramic view of the Ozark’s foliage. Glass elevators transport guests up to the enclosed Observation Deck from which, on a clear day, they can see over 90 miles and hundreds of square miles of foliage presenting a spectacular panoramic view of the Branson’s Fall foliage that is not available anywhere else.
Scenic Lookouts – A number of “Scenic Lookouts” provide a superb panoramic view of the Ozark’s Fall foliage. These include the Lookouts on State Route 165, about a mile south of its intersection with State Route 265; the Table Rock Dam Overlook, located on the south end of Table Rock Dam across the road from the Visitors Center and the Henning Conservation Area Lookout located about a mile west of the junction of State Route 76 and State Route 376 on the north side of the road.
“Point Lookout – ” Located on the Campus of the College of the Ozarks on top of a bluff overlooking Lake Taneycomo “Point Lookout provides a breath taking and unique view of Branson’s Fall foliage not available anywhere else with Lake Taneycomo winding through it. While at the college you might want to plan to eat at the Keeter Center and visit the “Edwards Grist Mill” and the “Ralph Foster Museum,” called the “Smithsonian of the Ozarks.”
Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson also points out that a cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle, on Table Rock Lake, or a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway also provide unique views of Branson’s Fall foliage. She says that the Fall foliage season, coupled with Silver Dollar City’s National Craft Festival, is a busy time and recommends that advanced reservations be made for shows, attractions and lodging. For more information on the Fall foliage in Branson or assistance with information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.