Lakeside Wilderness Hiking Area

HARD 161 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.

2 days ago

awesome trails. nothing to hard. great views from the top of the water fall. unfortunately no water this time.

7 days ago

This was a pleasant surprise for being in the middle of Branson! The scenery and difficulty took us by surprise! The terrain is definitely rough on most parts of the trail, but not unmanageable. The waterfall is a must see, even when dry. There’s tons of little trails to explore and places to climb. Lots of neat rock fixtures. Negatives: The Rock Bluff Trail, or whatever it’s called is not easy at all. I don’t suggest taking it if you don’t have good footing. My friend slip and cut her knee. Also, the trails are confusing and poorly marked. They’re only marked when you cross paths with another trail. At some points, the actual physical trail doesn’t really look much like a trail anymore.

8 days ago

Great trail!! Could use better markings!

12 days ago

Amazing trail! There is something for everyone here. The yellow and green trails are on the easy side and well marked. The red trail was also well marked, but moderate. I had trouble finding the Tanycomo trail which is more difficult, but it was worth the search when we found it. In late June there was no water on the falls, but still so beautiful and cool in the early morning.

24 days ago

Very nice hike with my 15 and 11 year old kiddos. Took the trail to the grotto and cave, very unique and certainly worth a couple of hours.

1 month ago

My husband and I, along with our 9 year old son, hiked this trail in about 2 hours. Taking numerous stops to admire various beauties of nature, especially the Owen's homestead.

1 month ago

Difficult and hot trail, but great views!

1 month ago

Awesome trail - great for our family. Loved the caves, steps and wildlife. The grotto was definitely the highlight!

2 months ago

Awesome trail. Be in shape if you walk the cliff trail. Great scenery, take pictures.

3 months ago

I’ve been to Branson many times, but this jewel of a trail is hidden in plain sight. Amazingly, it’s just south of 76 at Falls Creek Rd. I’m too embarrassed to say how many times I’ve passed the parking lot without noticing the trailhead. A must stop for all hikers from beginners to old trail hounds like me. Most of the trails are easy to moderate. Very few difficult areas unless you are terribly out of shape.

3 months ago

I love this trail, and you'd never know it's right off the busy Branson strip. I went on a cooler July day, and there were flowers, all sorts of

3 months ago

Caves were a great touch. Well marked, with good inclines. Great access from Branson.

3 months ago

Not marked very well, but a great hike. Wanted to see the waterfall, but it was dry.

3 months ago

So glad we went on this trail. Views were beautiful and the caves were really amazing! I would have given it 5 stars but the trails are not marked well at all! We went off a trail and didn’t realize it for quite some time!

4 months ago

Enjoyable hike, several trails to choose from.

trail running
4 months ago

It’s a short, semi-technical trail that makes for a fun run in town. Some of the back trails are single track, but the highly trafficked areas are wide and even. I’d rate it higher but there’s no access to the lake.

4 months ago

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

5 months 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

8 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
8 months ago

Is this trail good for bikes? Thanks.

8 months ago

the waterfall was dried up.

9 months ago

Love this place...gorgeous and a great workout

11 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.

11 months ago

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

great trail.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Nice hike. Kids really liked it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Not impressive. Trails not marked well.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

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.

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