BRANSON, Mo. It’s a beautiful thing to see as the first blush of color starts to paint the foliage covering the beautiful Ozarks. That first blush gradually paints the entire Ozarks with the colors of fall, one leaf at a time. Although this year’s color might not be as spectacular as some in the past, on any year it is a beautiful sight to see and experience providing one of the best shows in Branson.
One of the questions that is often asked is “What’s the best way to see the foliage?” The general answer would be, “Just keep your eyes open as you experience Branson.” It might be just a couple of trees with vivid color as you drive down the road, a panoramic vista filled with color as you gaze out from one of the area’s overlooks or, as is the case illustrated in the photo taken from the deck of my condo as I was writing this piece this morning, simply noticing the beautiful foliage that can be seen at just about every turn in Branson.
The fall foliage is an inherent part of many of Branson’s outdoor activities and attractions. It would be hard to get better a panoramic view of the Ozark’s foliage than from a cruise on Lake Taneycomo, aboard either the Branson Landing Cruises’ Lake Queen or Lake Princess or on Table Rock Lake aboard the Showboat Branson Belle. Experiencing the fall foliage is an added benefit of golfing on one of the many Branson golf courses or visiting Branson attractions such as Silver Dollar City, zip lines such as the Vigilante, Inspiration Tower, Branson Scenic Railway and others.
Another great way to see magnificent panoramic vistas is from some of the area’s “overlooks. The Overlook on State Route 165, about a mile south of its intersection with State Route 265, and the Table Rock Dam Overlook, located on the south end of Table Rock Dam across the road from the Visitors Center, both provide unique views not only of the foliage, especially if you look downstream from either of these points, but of the general area. In addition, the Table Rock Dam overlook also provides closeup view of the Dam and the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery.
A third overlook is provided at the Henning Conservation Area located about a mile west of the junction of State Route 76 and State Route 376 on the north side of the road. Its view to the north from the parking area is just breathtaking anytime and made even more so when one factors in the fall foliage. As you drive to and from Henning, the view off the south side of Route 76 is also spectacular.
There are many ways to experience to fall foliage “up close and personal.” One is by walking some of the many trails that are available. These include the trails at the Henning Conservation Area, the Shepherd of the Hills Visitor’s Center at the foot of Table Rock Dam, the White River Valley Trail System, the city of Branson’s Lake Side Wilderness Trailand others.
The views available looking along the bluffs across from Branson Landing are another way to get a panoramic view of the fall foliage as it changes. The paved Branson Landing Boardwalk, accessible from either the Belk or Bass Pro Shops parking lots, runs the length of Branson Landing along the Lake Taneycomo shoreline providing convenient level access for everyone to see not only the foliage, but the boats, birds and other activities taking place on the lake.
The foliage and the natural beauty of an Ozark’s Fall becomes an even better experience with its almost seamless integration into the other things that Branson offers live shows, attractions, shopping and dozens of other activities. It is that unique combination of natural beauty, entertainment and fun, combined with its spirit, that makes Branson, Missouri the special unique place that it is to visit and to live.