Waterfall Trail in Branson, MO

Much of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas is currently experiencing record flooding after weeks of heavy downpours. Our power has been in and out, and when the city utilities crew showed up in our front yard this morning, we decided to drive around and see how bad the flooding really was (from safe distances).

We visited the James River first, which had flooded our favorite bike trail just past the bridge. The water was moving at a dizzying speed, and covered the trail shortly after the bridge.

After that short walk, we visited the Ozark city park, which was so flooded the whole part of town was closed down.

We looped back to see the river crossing at Linden. I didn’t get a picture because I was driving, but the state highway was closed just north of there due to a pond overfilling into the road.

We went home to check on the power, then headed down to Branson to see the dam. All of the gates were open, and as we were leaving, they began evacuating the hatchery area before opening the gates further. Taneycomo below the dam would rise three feet within minutes of the gates being opened, and would rise further still as they opened the gates more that evening.

We then drove down to the new state park area, hopeful to hike a nearby trail, but encountered closed roads again.

We stopped and looked around at the Sycamore Log Church and the nearby falls in the creek.

Our last and most impressive stop was a 2 mile waterfall hike on a city maintained trail. The trail follows a tributary of Roark Creek, and includes a series of waterfalls. However, the falls were exceptional today with the recent rainfall.

We crossed over the creek a couple of times, with the trail being wet and muddy for most of it. The city’s trail map online shows the trail stopping at the falls. But we walked up to the top and across the falls and continued along a well traveled path quite a bit further upstream before it disappeared into the creek.

The natural beauty, falls, and landscape of this trail really surprised me. The trailhead is in front of a gated community, and towering condos border you for a brief part of the trail. However, the hike was great, wet, muddy, and not a light and easy walk through a park. I’m sure we will be back again.


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