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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.