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The Beautiful Waterfalls and Trails of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park – Some of the Best Waterfalls in Missouri

The Beautiful Waterfalls and Trails of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park – Some of the Best Waterfalls in Missouri
Dogwood Canyon Photos 1: Waterfalls in Missouri

Gorgeous Scenery in Southwest Missouri:

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park has 10,000 acres of trails and beautiful scenery.  It’s located in Lampe, Missouri and the 6.5 mile walking trail traverses into Arkansas.  This beautifully landscaped park features some of the best waterfalls in Missouri, which you can view by walking, biking, or taking the tram if you prefer a guided tour.

The walking trail is shared with bikers and trams.  Bikes can be rented or you can bring your own.  There’s a wildlife area that includes bison, elk, and longhorn that’s only accessible to tram riders.  Walking the trails is free with admission to the park (which was $16 per person when I visited), but bike rental, segway rental, and tram all have an additional fee.

Activities Off The Beaten Path:

Horseback riding is also available, with either a one hour ride or a longer 2.5 hour (lunch included) ride.  The horse trails are separate from the walking trail.  The horse trail rides are guided and horses will be provided (you can’t bring your own).

Other park activities include trout fishing and kayak tours.  There’s a restaurant, fully functioning mill, and conservation center located in the main building, and a convenience store where you can rent bikes, grab a quick drink, and rest if you choose to walk or bike the entire 6.5 mile trail.

The Beautiful Waterfalls and Trails of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park – Some of the Best Waterfalls in Missouri
Dogwood Canyon Photos 2: Dogwood Canyon Nature Park main building, with conservation center and restaurant

My husband and I visited Dogwood Canyon Nature Park at the beginning of the season, and in some pics you may see that there’s still snow on the ground.  This park is beautiful in spring and autumn, but even in the off-season when I went, the pictures and experience were still breathtaking.

The walking trail is easy to maneuver and most of the main trail is wheelchair accessible, but some areas are only accessible via steps and unpaved paths, and you do need to give right away to bikers, segways, and trams when they come through.  Some of the tram crossings can be under water, but there are alternate paths (usually bridges) for foot and bike traffic. 

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Overall it’s an easy walk, and there’s some really nice features at the beginning of the trail if you don’t walk to walk the full distance.  There are restrooms and vending machines throughout the trail.

Dogwood Canyon Photos 3: The Tram Crossing at Kid's Cove
Dogwood Canyon Photos 3: The Tram Crossing at Kid's Cove
Dogwood Canyon Photos 4: Stairs to Access the Top of a Glory Hole Waterfall
Dogwood Canyon Photos 4: Stairs to Access the Top of a Glory Hole Waterfall

Kid’s Cove is fairly close to the beginning of the trail, and features beautiful waters and bluffs.

The blue waters of this creek make for some really nice pictures.  Benches and other rest areas close to many of the main features in this park make enjoying the area even easier.

Dogwood Canyon Photos 5: Waterfalls in Missouri
Dogwood Canyon Photos 5: Waterfalls in Missouri

The Waterfalls At

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Great Spirit Rock Shelter:

This waterfall is another park feature that’s not too far along the trail.  Great Spirit Rock is easily accessible for viewing from the ground.  Following an unpaved path, you can walk up into the shelter area which has a bench for sitting and enjoying the waterfall from underneath.  This area likely isn’t wheelchair friendly, but it’s worth the short trip if you’re able.

Waterfalls in Missouri: Great Spirit Rock Shelter in the background
Waterfalls in Missouri: Great Spirit Rock Shelter in the background
Waterfalls in Missouri: Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Waterfalls in Missouri: Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Taking unpaved path to Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Taking unpaved path to Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Waterfalls in Missouri: Inside Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Waterfalls in Missouri: Inside Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Waterfalls in Missouri: Inside Great Spirit Rock Shelter
Waterfalls in Missouri: Inside Great Spirit Rock Shelter

Glory Hole:

This waterfall is easily accessible to view from the ground, but there are stairs and a narrow bridge at the top if you wish to go to the top of this waterfall.  The view from the top is beautiful, so I highly suggest making the very short trip if you’re able!

Waterfalls in Missouri: Glory Hole Waterfall
Waterfalls in Missouri: Glory Hole Waterfall
Dogwood Canyon Photos: From the top of Glory Hole Waterfall
Dogwood Canyon Photos: From the top of Glory Hole Waterfall
Dogwood Canyon Photos: Crossing the Arkansas Border
Dogwood Canyon Photos: Crossing the Arkansas Border

Wish Bowl Falls:

After crossing the Arkansas border, you’ll continue on the trail until it becomes an unpaved path, which takes you up to Wish Bowl Falls.  There’s a seating area and a small vending machine for feeding the fish, so take some change if you’d like to do so.

Dogwood Canyon Photos: Wish Bowl Falls, Waterfalls in Arkansas
Dogwood Canyon Photos: Wish Bowl Falls, Waterfalls in Arkansas
Waterfalls in Arkansas: Wish Bowl Falls
Waterfalls in Arkansas: Wish Bowl Falls

You’ve officially made it to the end of the walking trail!  If you took the tram, you’ll continue on to the wildlife area, which is inaccessible to walkers, segways, and bikers due to safety reasons.  While this is the end of the trail, you’re only halfway there – it’s now time to turn around and make your way back!

I’ve both walked and biked this trail, and thanks to the many benches, restrooms, and vending machines, it’s not a bad trip!  It is long though, so make sure you get there early so you can get back before closing.

This isn’t all of the waterfalls, and I plan to update this post with more pictures when I go back!

Visit the official park website.

See more walking trails  ||  biking trails  ||  horse trails!

Have you visited Dogwood Canyon Nature Park?  Feel free to leave a comment on your experience!

Walking Trails: Lost Hill Park Trail in Springfield MO – Missouri Parks

Lat pic above: one of the beautiful water crossings that goes over the walking trail, but be careful as the paths can be under water and slick!

4705 N. Farm Rd 151, Springfield, MO 65803 (North on Grant past Ebenezer, MO)

Next to the trailhead for the Fulbright Spring Greenway trail, Lost Hill Park offers beautiful rock formations and small natural caves along the South Dry Sac River walking trails.  The biking / walking trails are very easy, mostly paved, and it’s not a long hike.  The trail ends at an old cemetery, and with the walk out and back totals less than 3 miles.

Abandoned Structures Along The Walking Trails of Lost Hill Park

For those that follow my blog, you know I love abandoned structures – so I had to include these pics!  While I love parks for their natural beauty, it’s always fun when they include a bit of history such as an old farm, house, or cemetery along the walking trails. This beautiful park includes all the above, along with small river caves and so much more:

About Fulbright Spring Greenway

Starting at Ritter Springs Park, this trail takes you east under Highway 13, past David C. Murray Trailhead and Lost Hill Park, and ends at Truman Elementary school.  This trail is currently just shy of 7 miles on it’s own, but can be increased by taking the different park trails along the route.

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Missouri Horse Trails: Compton Hollow Conservation Area in Rogersville MO

Missouri Horse Trails: Compton Hollow Conservation Area in Rogersville MO

Compton Hollow Conservation Area in Rogersville, Missouri

5.5 trail miles in Rogersville, just east of Springfield MO

This is a nice trail ride, with a bit of human foot traffic and the occasional bike traffic.  Overall, most people are happy to yield to horse traffic and are polite.  I did encounter some leashed dogs, but owners were polite and there were no issues (and importantly, no loose or aggressive dogs when I’ve been there).

I’ve rode Compton Hollow Conservation Area many times!  A lot of the trail consists of a gravel and rock base (basically a small gravel road), but some areas are hard-packed dirt and older, ungraveled road-type surface.  Overall a pleasant ride that most barefoot horses could easily do by staying off to the side of gravel areas if needed, but you may need boots/shoes for the more tender-hooved horses. 

Parking is decent and easy to get to.  Trails can get busy, mostly with hikers, but occasionally with a bike or two on weekends or holidays with nice weather.

Compton Hollow Conservation Area allows hunters during hunting season, so be prepared for the trails to be off-limits during those times.

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*Note – the pic above was taken through the ears of my amazing PSSM horse, Jax – for more info on PSSM and muscle disorders in horses, see my website PSSM – Jax’s Story.

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