Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in Missouri

April 15, 2024  •  2 Comments

DogwoodCanyonBuildingsDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - BuildingsPhoto by Kathy Alexander.

 

Near the small town of Lampe, in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is a privately owned venture started with one intention: connect Missourians with Nature while preserving it. 

 

Osage - Camp, 1906Osage - Camp, 1906Osage camp, by O. Drum, 1906.

 

The area that encompasses Dogwood Canyon has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with evidence of Native American presence found in the region.

 

DogwoodCanyonCliffsDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - CliffsPhoto by Dave Alexander.

 

Tribes such as the Osage and Delaware are known to have inhabited the Ozarks. Archaeologists have discovered artifacts here, including arrowheads, pottery fragments, tools, and ceremonial objects in natural caves throughout the canyon. 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Waterfall Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Waterfall There were numerous waterfalls throughout the park. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

Described as one of the oldest landforms in North America, Dogwood Canyon's geological formations contain layers of ancient sedimentary rock that have preserved fossils from prehistoric times. Fossilized remains of plants, animals, and marine creatures have been found in the area, providing valuable information about the ancient ecosystems that existed millions of years ago.

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Eagle in TreeDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Eagle in TreeAn Eagle is perched at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

In 1990, Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, purchased a couple thousand acres in Dogwood Canyon with the intention of preserving its natural beauty and wildlife habitats. 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - TroutDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - TroutThere's an area not far from the entrance where you can feed the trout next to a waterfall. They looked pretty happy. Photo by Dave Alexander.
You can fish here without a license but can't keep your catch.  The trout were plentiful during our visit. 

 

DogwoodCanyonStoneBridgeDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Stone BridgePhoto by Kathy Alexander.

Under Morris's ownership, Dogwood Canyon was transformed into a nature park open to the public. Extensive efforts were made to maintain and enhance the canyon's natural beauty while also making it accessible to visitors through the creation of hiking trails, bridges, and other amenities. It has grown to 10,000 acres.

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Stone Bridge WaterfallDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Stone Bridge WaterfallLoved the way they created the stone water crossings. Photo by Kathy Alexander.

 

Under Morris's ownership, extensive efforts were made to maintain and enhance the canyon's natural beauty while also making it accessible to visitors, like this natural stone bridge that also acts as a waterfall. 
 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Elk Bison Area EntranceDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Elk Bison Area EntrancePhoto by Dave Alexander.

 

Alongside developing the park for recreational purposes, Morris and his team have placed a strong emphasis on conservation. They've implemented various initiatives to protect and restore the natural habitats within Dogwood Canyon, including habitat restoration projects and wildlife conservation efforts.

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - WildlifeDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - WildlifeDogwood Canyon Nature Park is a stunning natural area located in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri. The Elk and Bison Area are part of the 10,000-acre park that crosses into Arkansas. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

A portion of the park crosses into Arkansas and includes Bison, Elk, Longhorn cattle, and other wildlife.  

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Bison & ElkDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Bison & ElkBison (Buffalo) and Elk intermingle at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in SouthWest Missouri. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

During our visit in early April, we took the Tram Tour, a two-hour guided tour that covered a large part of the Nature Park. There are several tram tours scheduled throughout the day to choose from. Our tour guide, Rachel, was a hoot and very knowledgeable. 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - ElkDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - ElkElk at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

The park also offers guided wildlife tours and guided horseback riding tours for visitors with all riding experience levels, and you can even rent a bike and take in the beauty on the many bike trails. 

 

DogwoodCanyonAnimalsDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Stuffed AnimalsPhoto by Kathy Alexander

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park remains a popular destination for nature lovers, offering hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, and more. It serves as a model for how private ownership can preserve and protect ecologically significant areas while also providing educational and recreational opportunities for the public.

 

DogwoodCanyonWaterWheel-2Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Water WheelPhoto by Kathy Alexander.
Educational programs and events for all ages range from nature hikes to conservation workshops. 

 

DogwoodCanyonMountainLionDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Mountain LionPhoto by Dave Alexander.

Dogwood Nature and Conservation Center features table top displays of live local creatures and learning activities. Don't fret, this isn't one of the live ones. 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Dogwood StreamDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Dogwood StreamDogwoods in bloom in early April 2024 at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

The park features designated picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy a meal while taking in the scenic landscape. 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Waterfall - 6Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Waterfall - 6Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

We timed our arrival at the park during the early days of the Dogwood Bloom.

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Dogwood TreeDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Dogwood TreeDogwoods in bloom in early April 2024 at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

These beautiful white-flowered trees grow wild here, but another species of Dogwood has also been planted throughout the park along the trails. 

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Glory HoleDogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Glory Hole - 2Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

You can visit Dogwood Nature Park during every season and see and experience something new. The park hosts special events such as festivals, outdoor concerts, and seasonal celebrations throughout the year, providing additional opportunities to experience its beauty and charm.

 

DogwoodCanyonWaterFall-5Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, MO - Water Fall - 5Photo by Kathy Alexander.

 

You should consider planning ahead for this visit. We purchased our admission and tram tour tickets online a couple of days before. They scanned the email confirmation from our phone, so there wasn't a need to print anything; however, beware: wireless signals aren't the best here, so you may want to save the PDF confirmation attachment to your phone beforehand. I noticed that the park has wifi, but we didn't use it.  Although it is a bit expensive to enter and take a guided tour, we think this park was well worth the admission price. 

For more information, see their official website: Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.

 

Dogwood Canyon Nature ParkDogwood Canyon Nature Park

Also, See our Dogwood Canyon Nature Park Photo Collection

 

Make it a multiple-day stay and enjoy nearby Branson, Missouri!

Til next time, safe travels and adventures to all. 

 

For RV'ers and Campers 

LOA at Mill Creek Campground Lampe MOLegends of America at Mill CreekMill Creek Campground, Table Rock Lake, MO

 

While visiting Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, we stayed on Table Rock Lake just outside of Lampe, MO, at Mill Creek Campground. Run by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, we secured our senior discount staying here by using our America the Beautiful National Park Pass.  There are 67 reservable campsites here, showers & Bathrooms, electric and water hookups, and a dump station.  It's a great place for a family to get away with a travel trailer.  We enjoyed this 3-night stay, although if we were to do it again, we would push further into late April.  Missouri is too iffy between winter and spring, from March into April. 

You can see more and make reservations via their website here

 

 

 


 


Comments

Mesa Tree Removal(non-registered)
This post is a fantastic introduction to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park! The pictures capture the beauty of the Ozark landscape perfectly, especially the crystal-clear streams and cascading waterfalls. The variety of activities offered, from tram tours to horseback riding, sounds like there's something for everyone.

The mention of the park's conservation mission is great to see. Are there any specific programs or initiatives that visitors can participate in to learn more about the park's conservation efforts? Perhaps volunteering opportunities or educational talks about the park's wildlife?
M. Reyna(non-registered)
Much Gratitude For Sharing Thy Trips W/Patriots. Love ALL Photos Great Beautiful Avenues
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