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Autumn in the Ozark Mountains. There’s simply no better time to experience the natural beauty near Branson, MO where fall foliage explodes in an extraordinary array of reds, yellows, and oranges. Experience the sights as leaves throughout the Ozarks burst into a kaleidoscope of amazing hues and colors.
While the leaves turn and the temperatures cool, the Branson area is filled with seasonal events, craft shows, music festivals, and outdoor fun. But one of the best ways to experience Fall in the Ozarks is by exploring the spectacular Branson Lakes area.
Three beautiful lakes - Lake Taneycomo, Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake - all offer pristine waters where you can swim, water ski, wakeboard, sail, jet ski, kayak, and fish! Though cool, the waters never freeze, and the lakes offer up some of the nation’s best fishing. Whether you bring your own boat, or choose one of the many boat rental options, Branson’s gorgeous lakes offer some of the area’s best fall foliage viewing.
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If you don’t want to take your own boat out on the water, Branson also offers several scenic boat tours that provide 360-degree views of the area landscape. With a variety of ash, hickory, maple and oak trees, the Ozarks foliage typically reaches its peak and most vibrant colors by mid-October.
Of course, you can also find plenty of great areas to view the foliage from land – and still get your fix of the lakes. One great spot is the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail. This 2.2-mile paved pathway starts near the Dewey Short Visitor Center and offers incredible views of both the leaves as well as the lake.
Another great option is a visit to the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area where a forested trail leads you right to Lake Taneycomo in all its glory.
You will also find a beautiful combination of forest and lakefront by walking the boardwalk at Branson Landing. While the Landing is home to many shops, restaurants and entertainment options, the boardwalk path leading away from the shops offers epic views of the fall colors along the Lake Taneycomo bluffs. Near the Landing, you can also catch a bird’s eye view of the Lakes area from atop the 150-foot-high Branson Ferris Wheel.
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By vehicle, you can traverse the twisting roads along highways 165 and 265 for a little higher perspective, enjoying ridge top views of the trees and Table Rock Lake and Dam.
Another popular attraction for viewing the fall colors is aboard the Branson Scenic Railway – with a 40-mile ride providing exceptional views of the Ozarks foothills and tunnels.
No matter how you choose to experience and explore the Branson Lakes Area, you might want to start at the Branson Welcome Center (U.S. Hwy 65 and State Hwy 248) where you can pick up free maps of the area.