Dogwood Canyon: Nature's Adventure Park

by Big Cedar Lodge 13. July 2012 11:06

Are you ready for a break from the big budget theme parks and high-tech roller coasters? Then step aboard the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park tram tour and enjoy an adventure ride of a different kind.

Dogwood Canyon is exactly that—a Canyon with steep cliffs cut into the Ozark Mountains by a constant stream of spring fed waters.  From the moment the towering bluffs come into view, it’s easy to understand why Native people, early settlers, and thieving scoundrels found the area so inviting.  Listen closely as the tram driver brings to life some of their harrowing adventures!

One of the first stops on the tour is the Indian Burial Cave, where a “burial bundle” dating back to 960 AD was discovered.  Next the tram takes Long Pine Crossing, a covered bridge built by members of an Amish community.  Just around the bend, guests find themselves in Ambush Pass.  No need to worry, the hooligans who once lay in wait for unsuspecting travelers have since moved on into the legend and lore of the park.

Further into the canyon, guests are able to view several waterfalls plunging over the towering cliffs.  The crystal clear pools at the base are home to some of the largest trout in the area, making the canyon a Fly Fishing Heaven.  But fishermen are not the only ones drawn to the spring fed waters; the park is rich with animal life including mink, woodchucks, flying squirrels, blue heron, and an occasional black bear.

The highlight of the tour is the beautiful blue-green pool called The Glory Hole.  The unique, natural coloring is created by the water depth and the reflection of light.  Guests can walk up to the observation deck to view the mouth of the waterfall, or feed the fish and take in the majestic setting from the pathways below.   No fishing is allowed in this special place, so the giant rainbow trout grow to unbelievable lengths.

When the tram crosses into Arkansas, the canyon gives way to rolling prairie hills.  Here guests are able to mingle with herds of elk, bison, white tail deer, and Texas longhorn.  If you’re lucky, the king of the Dogwood Canyon Prairie will make an appearance.  Elvis, a hulking American bison, has been known to walk right up to the tram car and proudly pose for a photograph.

Add the Chuckwagon Dinner to your tour, and you’re invited to a campfire dinner complete with singing cowboys, S’mores for dessert, and games for the entire family.  Get ready to duck and dodge because no evening is complete without the epic marshmallow battle between parents and kids.  Afterwards, the trams are loaded while friendly waves and goodbyes are exchanged.

As the trail leads back to the park entrance, it slowly begins to sink in… Before modern day amusement parks, families headed into the closest wilderness area for fun and adventure.  They still do at Dogwood Canyon, and as I overheard several children say when they exited the tram, “It was AWESOME!”  

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park offers guests the thrill and excitement of a themed amusement park, combined with the love and appreciation of our natural resources.  So avoid the long lines and crowded spaces; come to Dogwood Canyon and experience adventure the way Nature intended.


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Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar is tucked into the wooded hillsides of the Ozark Mountains just 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri on Table Rock Lake. This popular vacation paradise - complete with Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park - offers cozy accommodations, delicious dining options and first class service.

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