I spent a full week in Branson, Missouri in early 2017 to kick off my 6-week tour of the south-central United States. When I originally mapped out my route I planned to stop in Branson for a day or two on my way home but my youngest brother had a week of timeshare I could use and there was an opening for a week in early May so I decided to start my trip there.
This trip was taken before I knew I’d be posting a blog so I wasn’t taking nearly as many pictures as I do now. Branson itself was ok (kind of a mini-Nashville) with many country music themed entertainment venues owned by celebrities. When I was there there weren’t any big names actually performing, although in peak season that may be different.
One nice feature of Branson was the color-coded tourist map to make it easier to find certain music venues, restaurants and attractions.
(Photo credit: branson.com)
Simply determine if your destination is on the Red Route, Yellow Route, Blue Route or the main “Strip,” Route 76.
Branson is located in the Ozark mountains and I will say that the areas surrounding the city are gorgeous. The only deterrent while I was there was that the area had experienced a large amount of rain a little over a week before I arrived and water levels were still high and some roads were closed.
As I approached Branson from the east I had to make a detour down through northern Arkansas because a road which had been open the day before was now closed because water had risen up over a bridge.
This was only a few miles east of downtown at a campground near a river, after the detour but before arriving in town:
And the last full day I was in Branson I drove west about 45 miles to go to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000+ acre facility owned by Johnny Morris, the founder and president of Bass Pro Shops (which bought competitor Cabela’s a few years ago). The park boasted about having a herd of bison as well as numerous longhorn cattle, elk, deer and horses on the property.
When I arrived at the entrance there was a man parked there who told me the park was closed until further notice. Because of the flooding (it rained 10 inches in a day, which exceeded a 30-year record) he told me that every bridge within the park (I forget the exact number but it was alot) was damaged or destroyed, and that they had lost 4 vehicles which still hadn’t been located. Because they had warning of the approaching rain they were able to get all the animals to higher ground but the facility itself was closed for about 5 months.
I found these before & after photos online:
(Photos credit: Dogwood Canyon)
I drove back to Branson and spent the remainder of the day at Table Rock Lake west of town. They have a beautiful Visitor Center and I spent some time out on a deck in the shade highlighting my maps for the upcoming portions of this trip. I’ll be heading down to southern Texas, west to southern New Mexico, drive up to Lubbock, Texas, northeast to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, further east into central Oklahoma and then head for home to rest up for my big Northwest US trip which were the initial posts to this blog.