BRANSON, Mo. It’s known for its outstanding live shows, great attractions, shopping and lakes, but Branson’s newest activity might just put it on the “map” for mountain bikers and hikers. “What a wonderful new attraction for Branson,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center in connection with the recent dedication of the “White River Valley Trail System.”
The trail is intended for hikers as well as bikers and is the first in the Branson area to be designated for mountain bikes. Its Trailhead, with its parking and rest rooms, is located just south of the entrance for the Showboat Branson Belle and north of the main entrance to Table Rock State park on State Highway 165. The natural surface trail is divided into major loops designated by color, a 2.5 mile Red Loop, 3.0 Mile Blue Loop, .6 mile Orange Loop and a 1.25 mile Green Loop with various Connectors Trails that combine to make up the 10.25 mile roundtrip length of the trail.
The 2.5 mile Red Loop starts and ends at the Trailhead. The other Loops start off of Connector Trail 2 located at about the midway point on the loop. The Red Loop is a convenient way for most families to take advantage of the White River Valley Trail System as well as exploring an area of Branson to which most have not previously had convenient access. In addition, if Connector Trail 1 is used,it provides a nice 1.25 mile loop. The trail will take hikers and bikers “near old homestead ruins, relics of the Table Rock Dam construction during the 1950s” and through miles of nature at its Ozarks best.
The trail received a “2011 Coalition for Recreational Trails Award in the Multi-Use Management and Corridor Sharing Category,” earlier this year. Bill Bryan, Director of Missouri State Parks, said, “Our primary goal for this trail is to provide a new recreational opportunity for people who enjoying hiking and mountain biking, which is a growing sport in this area.”
It was partially funded with ” Recreational Trails Program” grants and is a “joint land-use project between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” Part of the trail is on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property and part in Table Rock State Park. In addition, the project received broad community support from the Branson Tri-Lakes and Hollister Chambers of Commerce, “local city governments, Volunteers for Outdoor Missouri, students from Hollister and the College of the Ozarks, Boy Scouts working on Eagle Scout projects, and other volunteers.”
Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson points out the addition of the White River Valley Trail System to the list of outdoor activities available to enjoy in Branson is yet another reason that Branson is such a great travel and vacation destination. Like Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo and all the other outdoor activities Branson offers, it is about ten minutes from the Branson Strip and everything else Branson has to offer. For additional information on the trail or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.