No matter what time of year visitors choose to explore the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area, they are sure to be greeted with beauty and serenity. Located on the corner of Fall Creek Road and 76 Country Boulevard, just across the street from The Dixie Stampede, lies 140 acres in the beautiful Ozark Mountains with scenic views of Lake Taneycomo. Many years ago the acreage was owned by Dr. Lyle Owens. His homestead, constructed in 1911, can still be found on the land. Today it is maintained by the city and consists of two trails with plans to add several more. Parking is allowed at the trailhead, where you will be greeted with a new sign and picnic tables, which can also be found in several places throughout both trails. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed and picked up after.
Trail 1 is a little less than a mile round trip and takes about an hour. Parts of this trail make it a little more on the challenging side. The first section of the trail, suitable for most skill levels, is fairly flat and leads to an overlook offering aerial views of Lake Taneycomo. The next part of the trail is recommended for more experienced hikers and begins with 315 hand-laid stone steps that lead down a relatively steep hillside. Make sure to wear tennis shoes, as the stairs can get slippery when wet and require a lot of stamina to climb back up. Pets are not allowed on this portion of the trail. The last leg includes a small cave and waterfall during the rainy season and makes a dead end at the Old Soldier’s Cave.
Trail 2 is a 1 3/10 mile loop on a fairly flat area of land, making it the longer, but easier of the two trails. This hike is best suited for those seeking a more relaxed adventure and for families with smaller children. While this trail offers less landscape views, visitors will enjoy more exposure to trees, plants and animals native to the region, which can be especially rewarding during the fall and spring seasons.
For more information visit: BransonParksAndRecreation.com