Location: Fall Creek Road (just 2 blocks south of Highway 76, near Dixie Stampede). Entrance on left.
This is a FREE Branson attraction!
The Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area is a 140-acre Branson city park featuring rugged hiking trails, a scenic observation deck overlooking Lake Taneycomo, two miles of the Lake Taneycomo shoreline and 315 hand-lain stone steps that descend to the lake. This is a designated wilderness area, set aside to preserve a portion of the natural Ozarks.
- Trail 1 – this trail is 1/2 mile (one way) and the more challenging of the two trails at Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area. The Branson Parks & Rec website offers this description: Trail 1 starts through an upland forest. Here, mature trees dominate and the fairly level terrain makes for an easy walk. Once you have passed through the woodlands, you will come to an overlook deck overlooking the magnificent White River Valley and Lake Taneycomo. The trail then follows the hard work of Dr. Lyle Owen, who once made this property his home. A set of 315 stonework steps lead down toward Lake Taneycomo. Fairly steep in design, this part of the trail takes some agility, along with a good pair of lungs and comfortable walking shoes. Finally, the trail ends at a grotto formed by the slow erosion of the rock from a wet-weather waterfall.
- Trail 2 – this trail is 1 3/10-mile long and less challenging with more level terrain. Here is the Branson Parks & Rec description: Trail 2 winds its way through forest and glades complete with a grove of uncommon Ashe Juniper trees. The 1 3/10-mile trail is fairly level, accommodating families with children and folks who desire an easier stroll. A picnic area can be found halfway down the trail. Oak-Hickory forest makes up most of the Ozark's woodlands. During spring, blooming eastern redbuds and flowering dogwoods enhance the woodlands with their striking contrast to the stark forest. Depending on the time of year, you may see any of a vast array of flowering plants along the trails, as well as many species of animals.
In September 2010, the City of Branson purchased the 7.4-acre Owen Enclave inside the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area. The city will preserve and restore this old homestead. The property includes a small home built in 1911, an old barn and hand-laid stone walls constructed over 75 years ago. Once restored, the homestead, which is the old home of Lyle Owen, will be open to the public.
Things you should know:
- The park is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm during the summer months; and from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm during the winter months. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year's Day
- Not allowed: skateboards, bicycles, motorcycles or any other motorized vehicles
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- Keep pets on leashes and clean up after them. This keeps parks attractive, and shows consideration for others. Besides, both of those are required by City Ordinance!
- The water area is a popular fly fishing spot. Please be courteous near the water and keep children from throwing rocks or sticks in the water near anyone fishing. Be careful approaching a fly fishermen from behind – the line with a sharp hook attached can reach very far back while they're casting. They can't see you coming if you're in back of them!
- The stone steps lead down to a natural waterfall, Owen's Falls. Look for two caves just past Owen's Falls
- The park is accessible to those with disabilities
- 2013 park improvements include a new driveway entrance, a new 6,000 square-foot parking lot, entrance gate, and signage.