Pointe Royale Properties, Inc.
The Branson area is full of great outdoor activities for it's visitors: golf, boating, fishing, and my favorite......hiking. The hills, forests, and lakefronts of the Tri-Lakes area make it the perfect environment for all levels of hikers.
My favorite place in the Branson area to hike is at the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation area. It is located just off of Highway 76, near the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. To the right of the parking area is a short, paved trail leading to an observation tower, which overlooks the beautiful Branson landscape, and the hills and glades of the Henning Conservation area. Off to the left of the parking area are more natural trails, unpaved, and perfect for getting into nature. You can take a short, easy hike to the observation deck overlooking the glades. Or you can hike for miles into the heart of the 1,500 acre conservation area, deep enough, believe it or not, to completely escape the sounds of the traffic on 76 Country Boulevard. Seriously. But, be advised, that option is a moderately-strenous, hilly, primitive trail......and therefore fantastic! Be prepared to see and hear lots of birds, squirrels, and the occasional white tailed-deer.
If you're looking for something less primitive, more suitable for power walking, there is a great paved trail at the Dewey Short Visitor's Center at Table Rock State Park. The trail is called the "Lakeshore Trail," and is 2.2 miles from the Visitor's Center to the State Park Marina, 4.4 miles round trip. It is great for speed walking, does go along Table Rock lake, and takes you into the forest around the shore at Table Rock State Park. You will share the road with the occasional cyclist, but there's plenty of room to slide over and let them pass by on this nice, wide, paved trail.
Another favorite of mine is the "Lakeside Trail" off of Fall Creek Road and Hwy 76. This is a very beautiful, thickly forested area, full of wildlife. I've seen deer here many times. The trail is wood-chip for the most part, and that's great. The real challenge here is the 315 stone steps carved into the bluffs over Lake Taneycomo. It is steep and rugged, and you should be in pretty good shape to make the attempt, it's a great cardio workout. The stone steps end at a grotto carved out of the rock by the wet weather waterfall above. But you don't have to brave those steps if you'd rather not. You can stay on the path, if you choose.
There are other hiking areas as well, such as the trail system at the Fish Hatchery. But the 3 above are easily my favorites. Enjoy!