Best Hiking in Branson - Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area

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Cost: FREE
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, year round

I’d call this an Ozark adventure hike - filled with history, steep drop offs, stone steps, and some slippery areas! As the signs say, don’t hike it if you aren’t in good health! It’s a beautiful workout in a piece of local history. 

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I hear “The Grotto” is home a great waterfall when it is very rainy - here, it is the end of June and quite dry, but fun to see anyway!

 Some of the directional trail markers are a bit hard to follow as to what direction which trail is going, but as long as you have a map on your phone, you'll figure out pretty quickly if you took a wrong turn. 

Some of the directional trail markers are a bit hard to follow as to what direction which trail is going, but as long as you have a map on your phone, you'll figure out pretty quickly if you took a wrong turn. 

This is the “non-historical” cave - a good stop on our walk!

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Be sure to check out the other of the two caves in the park, which is the “Old Soldier’s Cave”. A picture of the plaque is below, detailing the cool story of the spot! (Can you imagine getting married at ages 14 and 15? Or hiding in a cave as a gunsmith at age 38 during the Civil War for months on end while your wife supplies you with food, manages the farm, and cares for the children?

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My brother, Silas, and I brought along cookies and milk from The Johnson Strings to enjoy along the way… so good and worth every bite! (Click here to find out how you can get some cookies of your own!)

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Check out the 338 hand-laid stone steps from homestead down to Lake Taneycomo built in 1937-1938 that say in the mortar, “Let those who tread here not forget, that these steps were not made of stone and mortar alone, but of sweat, blood, and agony.”

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Tip: After finishing the hike, check for ticks! We didn’t have any, but it’s a good idea to make sure since this is Missouri.

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There is a small kids’ play area and a few picnic tables by the parking lot and public bathrooms at the trail head.

Location: Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area
412 Owen Ln, Branson, MO 65616 (Just off 76 on Fall Creek Rd. (Opposite side of the highway as Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Fritz’s Adventure Park)

Reviewer: Laura Johnson

The local experts: The Johnson Strings - Performers in Branson, MO!

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The Johnson Strings artfully combine extreme musical talent, funny moments, stunning video, and family stories to create an evening of pure JOY! Their Branson theater show is chock full of fun surprises and unique musical twists. (Have you ever heard Stars and Stripes on the banjo? Or seen a comedic Scott Joplin rag that squeezes 6 people onto just two pianos?) This close-knit family is sure to tug on your heart strings with soaring musical renditions of favorite movie theme songs like Fiddler on the Roof and Magnificent 7 interspersed with hilarious thoughts and true family stories. If you like singing, you’ll love their a capella rendition of The Lord’s Prayer and the many other famous vocal numbers sprinkled throughout The Johnson Strings Show. How about some smokin’ hot trick fiddling? Let’s hear it for the fans of the Orange Blossom Special! Got a sweet tooth? Be sure to check out their amazing made-from-scratch concessions! Chef Karen makes Missouri Mud Cookies, Chocolate Chip with Toasted Almonds, and Amish Sugar Cookies for each show!

The Johnson Strings: one family working together, living the dream, and capturing the hearts of those they meet. Visit their theater in Branson, MO! Get your tickets now at http://www.thejohnsonstrings.com/purchase-tickets/ 

Watch The Johnson Strings music videos here: http://www.thejohnsonstrings.com/music-videos/ 

Laura Johnson

Located in Iowa, we specialize in family wall portraits – creating artistic, fine art masterpieces designed specifically to fit your home and personal tastes. We'll help you feel relaxed and natural in front of the camera, letting your inner personality shine. I carefully plan your unique portrait session and craft poses that make you look your best. Family portraits are a priceless investment! They lock a moment in time. - Laura Christine Portraits - When Family Matters - Striking. Stylish. Studio in a Barn.