Lakeside Wilderness Hiking Area

HARD 117 reviews

Lakeside Wilderness Hiking Area is a 1.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Branson, Missouri that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.9 miles
295 feet

dogs on leash



nature trips







wild flowers



Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area is in the heart of Branson and offers a nature escape with 140 acres of wooded and rugged hill country. Highlights include the 1911 Owen homestead, grotto, two small caves, and 315 stone steps. Trail 1 starts through an upland forest where mature trees dominate and the fairly level 3/10 mile trail makes for an easy walk to the steps. Along this portion you can relax on one of the rough hewn benches built by local the Boy Scouts. 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. Many spots allow passage for only one person. The steps were built from 1937-1938. Inscribed in mortar on a step near the bottom are the building dates and the names of the workers, along with this testament of their hard work, Let those who tread here not forget, that these steps were not made of stone and mortar alone, but of sweat, blood, and agony. While walking the steps, you will see the first of two caves located in the wilderness area. At the bottom of the steps, the 1/5 mile Bluff Trail will take you by a grotto and waterfall and end at the Old Soldier's Cave. The total mileage for Trail 1 is 7/10 mile (one way). Trail 2 winds its way through forest and glades, making a 1 3/10 mile loop. This fairly level trail best suits families with small children and folks who desire an easier stroll. About halfway down the trail is a picnic area with tables. Oak-hickory forest makes up much of the woodlands, and during the spring, blooming eastern redbuds and flowering dogwoods enhance the landscape with their striking contrast to the stark forest. Also, note the large cedar-like trees with multiple trunks called Ashes Junipers. These uncommon trees are unique to the glades.

4 days ago

Our family has done this trail several times. It is our favorite in the area. It is challenging but well worth it.

1 month ago

Very impressed considering it was RIGHT OFF the strip. Felt secluded for the most part but we went during the week. Caves are cool and some climbing, scrambling was possible in a bunch of spots. It was way better than expected you can’t go wrong here since it’s not far off the beaten path and as accessible as you can get

3 months ago

Nice little network of trails but they could use better markings. We apparently took one trail that wasn't even on the map.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Is this trail good for bikes? Thanks.

4 months ago

Love this place...gorgeous and a great workout

6 months ago

Lots of options on this hike, you can hike through this area without taking the steps but taking the steps is an adventure. They are definitely a workout, but doable if you allow yourself to take breaks when needed. This can be a scary hike for someone afraid of heights. The views are great and this is a park that has very easy access. You'd never know you were in the middle of Branson! If this hiking area had more rails on the steps (some parts were without rails) and if the waterfall was not dried up, I would have given it a 5.

7 months ago

This was a fun trail. Not super easy with lots of down then up but nice scenery. I'm a fan!

7 months ago

Gorgeous views at the top and the waterfall and rocks at the bottom are really cool!

7 months ago

great trail.

7 months ago

Nice hike. Kids really liked it.

7 months ago

I really enjoyed these trails. Some were quite easy, on the other hand, some were quite challenging.
The hard ones were the most scenic, beautiful, and interesting.
I took the hard trail up out of there; skipping all those stairs.
This is at the top of my favorites.
The negative is that the trails are not marked well. You definitely need a map; this is the link.

8 months ago

Not impressive. Trails not marked well.

8 months ago

Nice set of trails that have small caves, a waterfall (rainy season), some history and a nice view of the lake. I was hoping for a longer off the beaten path trail system, but it was good 2 hour hike. I just wished that AllTrail had the same colored path system as the park map since phone GPS was spotty.

8 months ago

My cousin and I had a great time exploring out here. It was beautiful. We went out a little further and had fun climbing some of the different terrain. The scenery was beautiful, especially the waterfall.

8 months ago

Wonderful caves and waterfall!

8 months ago

A hidden gem right in the middle of Branson! My husband and I, and our 9 year old son loved it.

9 months ago

We take the dotted trail down along the cliffs. There are two or three small caves and waterfalls. We park a car at sunset park if we don't want to go back to the main entrance. Kids (9&11) love it!

10 months ago

great views. be prepared for alot of stairs! made 100 years ago. I quite enjoyed this stop!

11 months ago

Great hike! We took the blue trail that goes down by the lake and along the bluff. Great for adults and older kids but I would be nervous about taking anyone under at least age 8. There are some pretty steep drop offs where the path is very narrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

fun little hike. nothing to difficult except for figuring out what trail your on.

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