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7 Picturesque Trails In the Ozarks That Are Perfect For Horseback Riding

Whether you’re an experienced rider or a first-timer, these scenic trails and parks are some of the best for horseback riding in the country.


Rimrock Cove Ranch

PONCA, ARKANSAS

Rimrock Cove is 180 secluded acres located in the upper Buffalo National River area in the Arkansas Ozark mountains. So close to everything, yet tucked away just enough to be your quiet, peaceful little haven in the woods. It offers log cabin lodging and guided horseback riding.

Take in the quiet wooded trails flanked by boulders, cross a meandering stream and venture out into an open meadow where you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the mountains.

This secluded ranch is kid-friendly and fun for the whole family!

Guided horseback riding $35 per hour per person plus 10% AR sales tax. (Minimum charge per trip $70 plus tax)

Image Courtesy of Toni Albers Photography

Explore the scenic river bluffs along Buffalo National River.

Websitehttp://www.rimrockcoveranch.com/


Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

WALNUT SHADE, MISSOURI

Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve is a one-of-a-kind experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers of all ages. Covering 10,000 acres of pristine Ozark Mountain landscape, the park has miles of crystal-clear trout streams, dozens of cascading waterfalls, ancient burial caves, unique hand-built bridges, and bottomless, blue-green pools.

Image Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Horseback riding at Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve allows you to explore the Ozarks through the eyes of early settlers, discovering areas of the park not seen by the tram or from walking and biking trails. Located right along Little Indian Creek, the new Little Indian Stables has 24 stalls and gives guests the chance to meet the horses before setting out on their horseback adventure.

Image Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

The walls of the jagged ravines frame a dramatic valley bursting with hardwoods, evergreens and of course, the park’s namesake – Dogwoods, which are especially spectacular in the spring. The streams hold record trout, and the high meadows that reach into Arkansas provide pasture for small resident herds of long-horned cattle, American bison and elk.

PARK HOURS
8:30am – 5:00pm Daily

Park Admission
Access to Dogwood Canyon Mill, Canyon Grill, Artifact Displays, Treehouse, and Nature & Conservation Center

Adult: $10
Children: $5

Reservations are required

Website: http://www.dogwoodcanyon.org/


Cross Country Trail Ride

EMINENCE, MISSOURI

The best equine vacation in the United States at the most affordable price!

Set on the banks of the beautiful Jack’s Fork River, Cross Country Trail Ride is an experience to remember. Explore 500 miles of trails and a 63,000 sq. ft. indoor riding arena open 24 hours! You provide your horse and camp gear, Cross Country Trail provides meals and entertainment!

Horse shows, dancing, swimming, horse sales, tack sales, and Nashville entertainers are provided throughout the year!

horse

Catch a glimpse of Missouri’s Wild Horses while trekking the scenic wooded trails along the Jack’s Fork River.

Websitehttps://crosscountrytrailrides.com/


Big Ceder Lodge

RIDGEDALE, MISSOURI

Embrace the rustic elegance of a by-gone era at Big Cedar Lodge, a remote haven of natural beauty and contemporary luxury in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Steeped in history, the area has provided shelter to native Indian tribes, solace to wealthy business tycoons, and pleasure to outdoor adventure seekers.

Big Cedar Lodge overlooks the sparkling 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake and features a collection of lodges, cottages and cabins rooted in rustic elegance that come with all the modern comforts. The resort also offers four restaurants, a world-class spa measuring 18,000 square feet, five swimming pools, more than 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, and dynamic land and water adventures, ranging from bass fishing, water skiing to campfire wagon tours and horseback riding.

Whether you are a first time rider or you are looking for a day-long trip on the trails, this 10,000 acre nature paradise provides the perfect backdrop for any trail ride. Join us for a scenic ride and experience the breathtaking views that the Ozarks have to offer.

Photo Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Constructed of rough-hewn logs, these private cabins offer the ultimate in personal space and seclusion after a long day of adventure.

Websitehttp://www.bigcedar.com/


Bear Creek Trail

WALNUT SHADE, MISSOURI

All horses are provided for customers and equipped with western tack. We suggest closed toed shoes and jeans when riding. Every horse is gentle and easily ridden by the inexperienced rider.

The age limit and weight restricts are strictly enforced for safety of both our guests and our horses.

We are by reservation ONLY so please call or TEXT us at 417-337-7708.

The guides all work for tips and love to interact on the trails so please ask questions and get engaged with your guide and the beautiful Missouri countryside.

All guests are required to sign a release paper that states the Missouri Equine Law and the rules of the Ranch.

Trails & Pricing

1 hour – $30 per person (every age is the same price)

2 hour – $60 per person (experienced riders ONLY please) Offered in fall and winter months only

The trails are up and down the Missouri hill sides, over rocks, logs, and water crossings. We are a walking only trail ride due to the nature of the trail, it doesn’t allow for trotting or loping. Please call for more questions or contact us through Facebook!


 Lake of the Ozarks State Park

KAISER, MISSOURI

Lake of the Ozarks State Park has a little bit of something for everyone.

Crave water adventure? Lake of the Ozarks has a full complement of boating options. Want a quiet place to hike or mountain bike? The park’s thousands of wooded acres have lots of places to get away from it all, with 12 trails that wind through the park.

HORSEBACK RIDING TRAILS

Hidden Springs Trail goes through native Missouri woodlands to bluff tops above the lake.

The longest trail in the park, Trail of Four Winds travels through almost every type of natural community in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. This diversity provides stunning views of the lake, rock outcrops, breathtaking overlooks, seasonal streams, ponds and woodlands.

White Oak Trail is a quiet, shaded trail that follows along a ridge top where various woodland animals such as northern fence lizards, three-toed box turtles or eastern chipmunks may be seen.

Image Courtesy of https://mostateparks.com/park/lake-ozarks-state-park

Cozy cabins and yurts make the park a welcome place for families looking to enjoy the lake but escape the hustle and bustle of some of the nearby towns.

Website: https://mostateparks.com/park/lake-ozarks-state-park


Mount Magazine – Huckleberry Mountain Trail

LOGAN COUNTY, ARKANSAS

Mount Magazine State Park is on the state’s tallest mountain, the 2,753-foot Mount Magazine.

The park is a place to enjoy hiking, sightseeing, exploring the mountain and nature study. It’s also a destination for outdoor sports and extreme adventure enthusiasts that offers rock climbing, rappelling, hand gliding, mountain biking, horseback riding, backpacking, and ATV adventure.

The highest peak in Arkansas is the site of Huckleberry Mountain Trail, one of several multi-use Arkansas horse trails spanning 34 miles used for ATV riding, mountain biking, backpacking, and horseback riding in Arkansas. The trail can be accessed at the northeast rock quarry. There are three loops that cross creeks and connect Mount Magazine with Huckleberry Mountain. Camping on Mount Magazine is allowed on the portions of these Arkansas horse trails that are within the Ozark National Forest.

PARK HOURS
6:00am – 10:00pm

Park Location

Ozark National Forest, 577 Lodge Dr, Paris, AR 72855


 

7 Incredible Hidden Gems To Discover In The Ozarks

From serene mountain trails, to medieval castles, explore these dreamy locations hidden throughout the Ozarks.


Image Credit: Darrell Miller

T.R. Pugh Memorial Park

T. R. Pugh Memorial Park (or The Old Mill) is a re-creation of an 1880’s era water-powered grist mill located north of Little Rock, Arkansas.

The “Old Mill” was shown in the opening musical credits to the film “Gone With the Wind”, and is believed to the be the oldest structure that was shown in the film to still be standing. In 2010 the park was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.


Whitaker Point

NORTHERN ARKANSAS

Radiant with wildflowers and a waterfall in the spring, and then graced with the crimson and amber foliage of turning maple leaves in the fall, this trail winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

This region was also featured in the opening scenes of the Disney film Tuck Everlasting.


Big Bluff/Goat Trail

BUFFALO WILDERNESS AREA

Breathtaking river bluffs combined with a world-class geologic experience makes this trail unique. This area also features the tallest sheer bluff face found between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains.

The trail’s destination is the Big Bluff overlooking the Buffalo River. It is considered the tallest along the Buffalo, over 500 ft. tall. The side trail that leads to an outcropping on the bluff is called the Goat Trail, which is about 350 ft tall. It is not for children, the weak, or those afraid of heights.


The Arkansas Grand Canyon

JASPER, ARKANSAS

Actually a collapsed cave, the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks is a wide-valley carved by the Buffalo River. It’s located along gorgeous Scenic Byway 7 and is only a few miles from the town of Jasper. Along Scenic Byway 7 you’ll find places to pull off the road and gaze out at the vast Big Creek Valley. There’s also a lookout tower and spots where you can book a stay. From the overlook, look 130-feet down the sheer rock walls and take in the views of the surrounding forest and Boston Mountains. Get a closer look via the 119 steps that bring you down 70 feet — just make sure you have the energy to climb back up.


Dogwood Canyon

LAMPE, MISSOURI

Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve is a one-of-a-kind experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers of all ages. Covering 10,000 acres of pristine Ozark Mountain landscape, the park has miles of crystal-clear trout streams, dozens of cascading waterfalls, ancient burial caves, unique hand-built bridges and bottomless, blue-green pools.

If you enjoy horseback riding, you’re in luck. The park offers a 24 horse stable and guests can reserve a horse to ride through the park.

The walls of the jagged ravines frame a dramatic valley bursting with hardwoods, evergreens and of course, the park’s namesake – Dogwoods, which are especially spectacular in the spring. The streams hold record trout, and the high meadows that reach into Arkansas provide pasture for small resident herds of long-horned cattle, American bison and elk.

Step into the park’s treehouse which was featured on the Animal Planet TV show, “Treehouse Masters.”

The treehouse is home to the education center, where visitors can learn about the importance of protecting, conserving and preserving the great outdoors.

One of Dogwood Canyon’s greatest appeals is the sparkling, spring-fed water that is home to our magnificent rainbow trout. There is no place better suited to introduce a young person to fishing than the streams of Dogwood Canyon.

PARK HOURS
8:30am – 5:00pm Daily

Park Admission
Access to Dogwood Canyon Mill, Canyon Grill, Artifact Displays, Treehouse, and Nature & Conservation Center

Adult: $10
Children: $5

Website: http://www.dogwoodcanyon.org/


Image Credit: Keith Yahl

Taum Sauk Mountain

IRONTON, MISSOURI

This flat-ridged mountain is supposedly named after Piankeshaw chief Sauk-Ton-Qua and his tragic tale.

Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter, Mina Sauk, fell in love with a warrior from a hostile tribe. When the chief killed his daughter’s lover by throwing him off of a nearby cliff, Mina followed him over the edge. This incurred the wrath of the mythical Storm King, summoning a hurricane to wipe out Sauk-Ton-Qua’s entire tribe. A lightning bolt struck the ground and caused a waterfall to appear, wiping away the blood of the lovers.

The Ozarks region is full of vertical reliefs and jagged mountains, a good portion of the terrain caused by sedimentary strata erosion. The St. Francois ridge, which Taum Sauk Mountain is a part of, is much, much older than the surrounding Appalachians. While much of the United States started out underneath the waters of ancient seas, Taum Sauk may be one of the very few peaks which would have jutted from the Paleozoic waters as an island.

The mountain’s peak, which is also the highest point in Missouri is marked by a granite plaque from the Missouri Association of Registered Land Surveyors.


Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins

Imposing architecture and breathtaking scenery combine to make Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of Missouri’s most treasured spots.

Located on the Lake of the Ozarks, the park features the stone ruins of a castle.

REMINISCENCES OF A DREAM

The ruins of a man’s manor appear to belong to a bygone fairytale kingdom, but are really the remains of grief and despair.

Wealthy Kansas City businessman Robert Snyder had a dream to construct a European-styled castle right in his beloved Missouri. To this end Snyder purchased 5,000 acres of land, including his very own lake, and began work on the evocative mansion in 1905. The businessman even imported stone masons from Europe to achieve the correct style, but unfortunately Snyder would not live to see his dream house to completion.

In 1906, Snyder was killed in one of Missouri’s first car accidents; however, Snyder’s dream castle would not die with him. After his death, Snyder’s sons continued work on the building and were able to complete the castle. After completing construction, one of his sons took up residence in the huge castle until the family’s money ran out due to land rights lawsuits surrounding the castle’s property.

In 1942, the entire building was utterly destroyed by a fire.

The state purchased the property in the 1970’s and has worked to preserve the crumbled walls of Snyder’s dream home as a feature in their state park.


 

12 Events You Can’t Miss This Spring

The Ozarks erupts into fiery celebration during spring. As winter fades, the region ushers in the new season, flourishing with an abundance of fun festivals, carnivals, fairs, live music, and endless fun!


2017 Heber Springs Spring Fest

HEBER SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

Swing into spring with a weekend stay in spectacular Heber Springs for the 30th annual Springfest. This free festival is packed top to bottom with great family fun, starting at noon on Friday and continuing all day Saturday.

In Spring Park, you’ll find an extensive arts and crafts show, featuring handmade items like jewelry, soap, leather work, furniture and toys. You’ll also enjoy classic festival-food favorites, such as corn dogs, onion blossoms, ice cream and kettle corn. Live music from local and regional names keeps things hopping at the Band Shell. Nature-loving kiddos will have plenty to explore, including pony rides, a petting zoo, train rides, bouncy houses and the immersive butterfly experience at the Butterfly Pavilion, sponsored by First Electric Cooperative. Transportation buffs can spend the day admiring the exhibits at the Classic Car Show at the Heber Springs Municipal Airport from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Enjoy the beautiful sights of the area by participating in the Ride Like a Mountain Man cycling challenge. The Greers Ferry Lake Trails Council hosts both a social 20-mile and a more challenging 55-mile ride. Both rides begin at 7:30 a.m. at Sulphur Creek Outfitters, with the ride-survivor’s and cook-out party starting at 10 am. This year’s event is sponsored by McDonalds, XTO Energy, Timeless 106.1 KFFB, Sherwood Urgent Care, First Security Bank, Heber Springs A & P Commission, 101.9 The Lake, and the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

April 28, 2017 – April 29, 2017

8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Free Admission

301 East Sugarloaf St.
Heber Springs, AR 72543

Venue: Spring Park

Website: http://www.heber-springs.com

Renaissance Fair of the Ozarks

SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS

Thou would be wise and certainly entertained to attend the annual Renaissance Fair of the Ozarks! Immerse yourself into medieval times with historical reenactments, food, music, and fun. This event is a great way to learn about the history and environment of the era. It’s family friendly, so bring your little squires!

April 15, 2017 – April 16, 2017

Parsons Area, Rodeo of the Ozarks

1423 E Emma Ave Springdale, AR

Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival

MARSHFIELD, MISSOURI

The sight of a blooming cherry blossom tree means the harsh Midwestern winter is over and the spring is just beginning. The rosy, pinkish flower gives Marshfield, Missouri, a beautiful glow that creates a wonderful setting for dozens of wholesome family activities. This fun-filled weekend offers original arts and crafts, delectable food, an energizing 5k run, celebrity sightings, and many more colorful activities.

“Here in this tiny town, one weekend a year, meet celebrities, noted authors, humanitarians, presidential descendants, historical luminaries from all over the world. They share with attendees their lives, their struggles and achievements, encouraging and entertaining. This most unusual place and event should be on everyone’s bucket list to attend at least once. However, once you attend, you will be drawn back to return, again and again.”- Joseph Yakovetic

April 27, 2017 – April 29, 2017

Website: http://www.cherryblossomfest.com/WordPress/


Spring Greening Festival

CLARKSVILLE, ARKANSAS

The 2017 Spring Greening Celebration in conjunction with the opening day of Johnson County Community Farmers’ Market on the square downtown!

Fresh, locally grown produce, artisan items, vendors, live music, and free fun for all ages!

April 22, 2017

8:00 a.m.

Free Admission

Venue: Johnson County Courthouse Square

215 W. Main St.
Clarksville, AR 72830


Surf The Bay

FAIRFIELD BAY, ARKANSAS

Arkansas’s premiere lake water sports festival. Try wake surfing, fly boarding, standup paddle boarding, kayaking and more. Live music, food truck alley with a kid zone.

June 16, 2017 – June 17, 2017

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Free Admission

Venue: Fairfield Bay Marina

4350 Hwy. 330 South
Fairfield Bay, AR 72088

 

The Color Run

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI

This kaleidoscopic 5K was established in 2011 and takes place in numerous cities throughout the world. The event isn’t timed so there’s no pressure.

By the end of The Color Run, you’ll look like you finally reached the rainbow and busted through it like a ribbon at the end of a race. You’ll be covered in colorsRun, laugh, listen to music, dance and be doused with colors along the way.

The start-line window will open at 9:00 AM with waves going every few minutes until 9:45 AM! Make sure you plan your day with plenty of time. At The Color Run, the start line is its own pre-race party with music, dancing, warmup stretching and giveaways!

The color powder used at The Color Run event is all certified non-toxic and free of any heavy metals. Our bright colors are a combination of cornstarch, baking soda, and FD&C dyes.

The Color Run has raised donations for more than 80 local and national charities since 2012. To date, The Color Run has donated more than $5 million to charity since its founding in 2012.

April 22, 2017

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.

Springfield Expo Center
635 E St. Louis
Springfield, MO 65806

Pricing Varies (See website for more info)

Website: http://thecolorrun.com/locations/springfield/


Bald Knob Strawberry HomeFest 2017

BALD KNOB, ARKANSAS

There will be a carnival, music, food, and fun. The carnival will open with Armband Night on Thursday at 6 p.m.

There will be live music in the courtyard on Friday when the carnival opens at 6 p.m.

The grand parade will begin at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m. the Homefest Car Show will get underway, across from the Train Depot, as well as an all-school class reunion in the school cafeteria. The day will also include a cake walk, carnival, silent auction, games, rides, live music, and more for the whole family!

May 11, 2017 – May 13, 2017

Multiple locations in Bald Know, Arkansas

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/Bald-Knob-Strawberry-Homefest-167573026737770/


55th Annual Arkansas Folk Festival

MOUNTAIN VIEW, ARKANSAS

Handmade crafts, frontier life demonstrations, parade, mountain and bluegrass music, dancing on the Courthouse Square, and window decorating contest!

April 13, 2017 – April 15, 2017

Venue: Downtown

311 W. Main
Mountain View, AR 72560

Free Admission

https://www.yourplaceinthemountains.com/

Wakarusa

OZARK, ARKANSAS

Wakarusa. It’s a fun word to say, but what does it mean? The exact etymology is unknown, but it’s rumored to be a local Native American tribe’s unit of measurement meaning “knee deep in mud”. When the Wakarusa Festival organizers adopted the word for their music festival back in 2004, it made a lot of sense: That inaugural event took place right along the banks of Wakarusa river in Lawrence, Kansas. As it turned out, this four-day festival of jam bands, electronic dance parties, wild art, and vendors didn’t last long there; Lawrence is a hip college town for sure, but it isn’t Santa Cruz, and the chemistry wasn’t quite right for this free-spirited gathering.

It’s for the best though. After careful research, the organizers found their sweet spot atop Mulberry Mountain near the City of Ozark in Arkansas. The fans are reverent about this 650-acre campground, which, aside from offering hiking trails and waterfalls, is on private land. This makes it much more permissible to rock out to VibeSquaD at the all-night ‘Interstellar Meltdown’ sessions. Although the festival’s days on the Wakarusa river-grounds are history, the organizers have kept the name, now invoking a looser, more metaphoric spirit of the word.

West Coast Vibe Meets Mid-America
Wakarusa is a sort of High Sierra Music Festival “East,” featuring a round-the-clock procession of similar bands: String Cheese Incident, Thievery Corporation, Ben Harper, and Sound Tribe Sector 9, to name a few. And like High Sierra, this festival is nestled in Mother Nature and maintains that same mid-scale size that makes for an intimate atmosphere. The vibe is all summed up with one of the festival’s mottos: “Never corporate, always progressive. Forever your home away from home.”

June 2017

4118 Mulberry Mountain Loop Ozark, AR

Website: https://www.everfest.com/e/wakarusa-ozark-ar


Bee Branch Spring Fest

BEE BRANCH, ARKANSAS

Join the fun with James Ray’s famous BBQ dinners, hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, a silent auction, a gun raffle, and vendors with baked desserts, crafts, sporting goodsboutique items, and more.

Proceeds benefit the Volunteer Fire Department and South Side/Bee Branch Scholarship Fund.

April 29, 2017

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Venue: Bee Branch Fire Department

Free Admission

11214 Hwy 65 S
Bee Branch, AR 72013

Website: https://www.arkansas.com/event/bee-branch-spring-fest/148929

Cosmic Reunion Music & Art Festival

FRENCH VILLAGE, MISSOURI

Join us for Camping, Live Music, Interactive Art Installations, Conscious Workshops, Yoga, Healers, Theatrical Performers, Sacred Bonfire, FREE Craft Vending, Cosmic Camps, Gifting Culture, Drum Circles, Live Painters, Tasty Culinary Delights, Family Friendly, 230+ Acres to Explore, Hiking Trails, Caves, Creek & More!

May 25, 2017 – May 28, 2017

10298 Koester Springs Rd French Village, MO

Website: https://www.cosmicreunion.com/home


Festival De Mayo

CLARKSVILLE, ARKANSAS

The day includes live music, food vendors, traditional dances, taco eating contest, talent show, Festival de Mayo Pageant, pinatas, and kid zone.

May 6, 2017

4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Venue: Johnson County Fairgrounds

1586 West Oakland St.

Clarksville, AR 72830

Admission: $1

Website: https://www.arkansas.com/event/festival-de-mayo/144486


 

The Elusive Wild Horses of Missouri

 The Elusive Wild Horses of Eminence

For nearly 100 years, a group of feral and semi-feral horses has roamed within the lush forests of the Ozarks region in Southwest Missouri. With unknown origin, this secluded herd is thought to haveaccording to local loredeveloped from foundation bloodstock consisting of domesticated “ranch-bred” horses produced from the horses of local Native Americans mixed with Spanish horses.

In the early 1990’s, these feral horses were unofficially labeled by the National Park Service as an invasive species, and were said to be causing harm to the indigenous fauna and flora of the region. They were nearly removed by the National Park Service, but on October 3, 1996

President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law noting that the horses had become a permanent part of Ozark National Scenic Riverways and could not be removed. The Missouri Wild Horse League was then authorized to look after the health and welfare of the herd.

The same bill also authorized the Missouri Wild Horse League to look after the health and welfare of the herd. As a compromise with the Park Service, the herd’s size was capped at 50 horses to keep it from becoming too large and causing problems with local landowners and motorists.

When the herd exceeds 50 animals, the Wild Horse League, based in Eminence, rounds up some of the younger horses, especially stallions, and adopts them to horse lovers around the country.

The Early History of Indigenous Horses in America

Based on fossil records, the genus of Equus appears to have originated in North America about 4 million years ago and spread to Eurasia (presumably by crossing the Bering land bridge) 2 to 3 million years ago. The last prehistoric North American horses died out between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago. Given the suddenness of the extinction and because these mammals had been flourishing for millions of years previously, something quite unusual must have happened, and the cause has not yet been discovered.

Thousands of years later, horses returned to the North and South American continents. The first horses to arrive were brought by the Spanish Conquistador who led the expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire, Hernán Cortés. These domesticated horses were the ancestral stock of the group of breeds or strains known today as the Colonial Spanish Horse. They predominated through the southeast and western United States from 16th century until about 1850, when crossbreeding with larger horse breeds changed the phenotype and diluted the Spanish bloodlines. Later, some horses became strayed, lost or stolen, and proliferated into large herds of feral horses that became known as mustangs.

Where to See Wild Horses in the Ozarks

The Ozarks wild horses have traditionally divided themselves into four or five bands which range on the Salem Plateau along the Current and Jack’s Fork rivers in Shannon County, Missouri. Each band is traditionally named after the local range area they claim for themselves: Round Spring, Broadfoot, Shawnee Creek, etc.

The best places for viewing the horses are the Broadfoot Fields, located north of Eminence, the Shawnee Fields, east of Eminence, or the fields above the two Rivers on Highway V (also east of Eminence). If you have difficulty locating these spots, check with the Missouri Wild Horse League, or just ask any of the townspeople. They are proud of their famous wild horses, and will gladly give you directions!

References

Vialkely, M.K. (June 2008). “Do You Hear the Call?” (PDF). United States Equestrian Federation. p. 51. Retrieved February 15, 2017.

LeQuire, Elise (January 4, 2004). “No Grass, No Horse”. The Horse, online edition. Retrieved March 15, 2017.

Guthrie, R. D. (November 13, 2003). “Rapid body size decline in Alaskan Pleistocene horses before extinction”. Nature. 426 (6963): 169–171. doi:10.1038/nature02098. PMID 14614503. Retrieved March 15, 2017.

Rittman, Paul. “Spanish Colonial Horse and the Plains Indian Culture” (PDF). Retrieved April 5, 2017.

“Colonial Spanish Horse”. Livestock Conservancy. Retrieved April 5, 2017.

 

8 Ways to Celebrate Easter in the Ozarks this Spring

Celebrate Easter in a big way this year with an assortment of family-friendly events in the Ozarks.

Easter

3rd Annual Osage Beach Easter Egg Hunt

LAKE OF THE OZARKS

A fun filled family event including egg hunts for 4 different age groups, local 4-H animal displays, face painters, and bounce houses.

April 15, 2017

11:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Osage Beach City Park
950 Hatchery Road
Osage Beach Missouri 65065

Phone: 573-302-2000

Website:  http://www.osagebeach-mo.gov/index.aspx?nid=950

 


Hollister Easter Egg Hunt

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Join us Saturday, April 15, at noon for an Easter Egg Hunt in Hollister!

Bring the children and Easter baskets and buckets! There will be face painting, inflatables, a duck pond, and much more. Festivities can be moved inside in case of rain.

April 15, 2017

Phone: 417-334-3050

Hollister High School Football Field
2112 State Hwy BB Hollister, MO 65672

Website:  http://www.explorebranson.com/family-friendly/hollister-easter-egg-hunt

 


Easter at Orchards Park

BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS

Join Bentonville Parks & Recreation along with Arvest Bank for a fun filled afternoon at Orchards Park! Activities begin at 2:00pm with fun inflatables for the kids as well as several food vendors. At 3:00pm, our egg hunt will begin with over 40,000 eggs. There will be 3 separate egg hunts broken up into age groups for children 12 and under.

April 15, 2017

Begins at 2:00pm

Downtown Activity Center: 215 SW A Street Community Center: 1101 SW Citizens Circle

Website:  http://www.bentonvillear.com/departments/parks-and-recreation/upcoming-events/easter-at-orchards-park/

Timeline:

1:00pm-Children with Special Needs Egg Hunt

2:00pm-Inflatable & Food Vendors

2:30pm-Egg Hunt (Ages 7-12)

3:00pm-Egg Hunt (Ages 4-6)

3:30pm-Egg hunt (Ages 0-3)


Easter Egg Hunt

WEST PLAINS, MISSOURI

An exciting annual Easter Egg hunt featuring activities for all ages!

Civic Center

April 14, 2017

10:00 a.m.

West Plains Civic Center
110 St. Louis St.
West Plains, MO

Website:  http://wpchamber.com/event/easter-egg-hunt/?instance_id=12019


Easter Egg Hunt in the Park

LAKE OF THE OZARKS

On Easter Sunday the Laurie Easter egg hunt attracts children from tots to teens to find 14,000 eggs “hidden” throughout the fair grounds.

The Easter Bunny always makes an appearance to the delight of everyone.

April 16, 2017

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Laurie Fairgrounds
134 N Fairgrounds Road
Laurie MO 65037

Phone: 573-374-8776

Website:  http://www.funlake.com/10th-annual-easter-egg-hunt-in-the-park

 

Easter 2017

Top of the Rock Easter Brunch Buffet

BIG CEDAR LODGE

Join us at Osage Restaurant to experience an unforgettable Easter Brunch. Our Culinary Team will prepare plenty of traditional favorites along with a few surprises. Adults: $46.95; Children (4-12 years): $18.95. Children three and under are complimentary. Offered on Sunday, April 16th from 9:30am-2:00pm.

Reservations required.

April 16, 2017

150 Top of the Rock Rd Ridgedale, MO 65739

Phone: 417-335-2777

Website:  http://www.bigcedar.com/dining-en.html

 


Easter Brunch at Chateau on the Lake

BRANSON, MISSOURI

At Chateau on the Lake, we love Easter time and have dining specials that will make your festivities extra delightful! Enjoy a leisurely brunch at Chateau Grille from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm to include breakfast items, carved meats, salads, fruits, dessert and much more!

April 15, 2017

415 N State HWY 265 Branson, MO 65616

Phone: 417-334-1161

Website:  http://www.explorebranson.com/food-drink/easter-brunch-chateau-lake


Easter Cruise on the Landing Princess

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Main Street Lake Cruises

Enjoy lunch with a view of Lake Taneycomo! Your Easter meal will include: tossed mandarin orange salad, roasted turkey and baked ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, seasonal vegetables, dinner rolls, and dessert. Tea, coffee, soda and water will also be included.

Price is $57.00 + tax (adult or child)

Historic Downtown Branson

April 16, 2017

11:00 pm – 2:00 pm

9 South Boardwalk Branson, MO 65616

Phone: 417-239-3980

Website: http://www.explorebranson.com/general-events/easter-cruise-landing-princess-0

 


5 Art Festivals in the Ozarks You Can’t Miss this Spring

 

Immerse yourself in a myriad of artistic expression this Spring by exploring vibrant festivals featuring live performances, musicians, traditional artists, and more!


Artsfest on Walnut Street

THE LARGEST FINE ARTS FESTIVAL IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI

Featuring 130 Artists From 16 states & Over 80 Performances

Springfield – Missouri

Historic Walnut Street

Recurring daily beginning May 6, 2017 through May 7, 2017

Admission: $5.00 – (Free for children 5 and under)

Website:  http://www.springfieldartsfest.org/

OVERVIEW

Artsfest is the largest fine arts festival in southwest Missouri featuring 130 artists from 16 states, over 80 performances, food from some of Springfield’s favorite restaurants, and a kids hands-on area with activities including Chalk-It-Up and the Claymobile, a mobile ceramic arts workshop.


Artosphere

ARKANSAS’ ARTS + NATURE FESTIVAL

Presented by Walton Arts Center

Fayetteville – Arkansas

May 4, 2017 – May 20, 2017

505 W. Spring St

Fayetteville, AR 72701

Admission: Free and low-cost tickets for all festival family events and performances

Website:  http://waltonartscenter.org/artosphere/

OVERVIEW

Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts and Nature Festival celebrates artists influenced by nature, who inspire us to live more sustainable lives.

We invite the entire community to join us in the celebration by attending one or all of our free and low-cost family events and performances!

May Festival of the Arts

Eureka Springs – Arkansas

May 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017

Phone: 479-253-7333

Contact: Eureka Springs CAPCdrgd

Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Website:  http://www.eurekaspringsfestivalofthearts.com

OVERVIEW

To say that Eureka Springs is a colorful community is an understatement. There’s an overall creative vibe running through our historic arts village driven by more than 350 working artists in all mediums. During the month of May, we show it all off. Our 30th annual May Festival of the Arts is packed with one-of-a-kind art exhibits, demonstrations, performances, culinary arts, free music in the park, and the wildest street party thrown by artists – The White Street Walk.


Art of Wine

Fayetteville – Arkansas

June 8, 2017 – June 10, 2017

Admission: Tickets start at $80

Phone: 479-443-5600

Contact: Walton Arts Center

505 W. Spring St.
Fayetteville, AR 72701

OVERVIEW

It’s a celebration of the senses! Art of Wine features three days of enticing events with the opportunity to sample some of the world’s finest wines and an array of artfully crafted local cuisine in a unique atmosphere.


40th Annual Old Timers Day Arts & Crafts Festival

Van Buren – Arkansas

May 19, 2017 – May 21, 2017

Admission: Free

Phone: 580-467-6377

704 Main Street
Van Buren, AR 72956

Website:  http://www.oldtownvanburen.com/

OVERVIEW

2017 welcomes the 40th Annual Old Timers Day Arts & Crafts Festival featuring hundreds of exhibitors from more than seven states covering six closed-off blocks on Historic Main Street. Carnival, food, and entertainment Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday, and Sunday. Arts & crafts Saturday (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) Event will be held rain or shine.


 

 

8 Trails in the Ozarks That Will Lead You to Unforgettable Places

From serene ancient mountains to lush oak forests, the Ozarks holds a pristine beauty that you can witness while exploring these trails.



Hawksbill Crag/Whitaker Point Trail

Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip, 2.5 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

(479) 284-3150

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/whitaker-point-trail-hawksbill-crag

Radiant with wildflowers and a waterfall in the spring, and then graced with the crimson and amber foliage of turning maple leaves in the fall, this trail winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

This region was also featured in the opening scenes of the Disney film Tuck Everlasting.



Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area

Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/pedestal-rocks-loop-trail

(479) 284-3150

 Visitors can view picturesque rock bluffs, swim in crystal clear streams, and hike wooded hillsides. This scenic area consists of two hiking trails, Pedestal
Rocks and Kings Bluff. Pedestal Rocks is 2.2 -miles and Kings Bluff is 1.7-miles long. Although there are some steep sections, the trails are easy to hike with abundant resting places.


Whispering Pines Trail

Southeast Missouri – Hawn State Park

Distance: 9.75 Miles

Difficulty: Hard

Hawn State Park Website: https://mostateparks.com/park/hawn-state-park

More Info: https://mostateparks.com/trails/hawn-state-park

(573) 883-3603

This trail is arguably the best, most scenic trail in the state. It has a little bit of everything, unusual rock formations, beautiful creeks, old forests, panoramic views, and wildlife.

Whispering Pines Loop Trail is a 9.2 mile loop trail consisting of two loops: the north loop is approximately six miles long and the south loop is approximately 3.75 miles.

The trail provides the opportunity for day hikes of varying lengths or a longer backpacking trip. It meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest, which is home to a variety of animals such as bobcat and wild turkey. Extensive exposures of sandstone and granite can be explored along the banks of Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases. Mosses and ferns create a luxurious effect on the moist overhangs that occur along the two streams. The entire trail should take no more than 9 hours and 45 minutes to complete although more experienced hikers may complete it in a shorter time.



Sam’s Throne Trail

Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

Sam’s Throne Recreation Area
AR Highway 123
Jasper, AR

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/sams-throne-trail

Sam’s Throne Trail is a 2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Judea, Arkansas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.


Lost Valley Trail

Buffalo National River – Northern Arkansas

Distance: 1.9 miles

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/lost-valley-trail

Lost Valley Trail leaves the parking area and gently winds up the box canyon passing beneath groves of American beech trees. The trail leads you to an turquoise-blue pool of water with an 8-ft waterfall flowing out of a small opening in the bluff, known as the Natural Bridge. The gem of the hike is Eden Falls. The picturesque Eden Falls cascades 53 ft over towering cliffs offering visitors a firsthand view of what the Ozark Mountains have to offer.

Wildflower and medicinal plant folklore enthusiasts will enjoy the trail immensely as it features a wide variety of species, including bloodroot, crested iris, columbine, mayapple, comfrey and Ozark trillium, just to name a few.



Centerpoint to Goat Trail

Buffalo National River – Ponca, Arkansas

Distance: 6.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/goat-trail-to-big-bluff

Breathtaking river bluffs combined with a world-class geologic experience makes this trail unique. This area also features the tallest sheer bluff face found between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains.

The trail’s destination is the Big Bluff overlooking the Buffalo River. It is considered the tallest along the Buffalo, over 500 ft. tall. The side trail that leads to an outcropping on the bluff is called the Goat Trail, which is about 350 ft tall. It is not for children, the weak, or those afraid of heights.


Triple Falls Trail

Buffalo National River Wilderness – Northern Arkansas

Distance: 0.3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/triple-falls-trail

Triple Falls is a simple hike along the trail on the north side of the creek that heads west from the parking to the 48 ft. tall falls, arguably the most scenic in Arkansas with this ease of accessibility.

It is a 0.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jasper, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.


Glory Hole Waterfall Trail

Ozark National Forest – Northern Arkansas

Distance: 1.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/glory-hole-waterfall-trail

Displaying one of the most unique waterfalls in the Ozarks, this trail leads to a hidden gem that has fascinated geologists for decades.

Glory Hole Waterfall Trail is a 1.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Deer, Arkansas that features a waterfall. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.


 

Don’t Miss These Beautiful Experiences in 2017

Whether it’s Stargazing in the mountains, ziplining over oak forests, or exploring ancient caverns, the Ozarks presents a plethora of experiences to introduce more excitement into your life.

Every New Year brings a sense of newness into our lives, introducing us to unique elements of life that we have never experienced before. Start 2017 with a fresh start, create precious memories and accomplish personalized goals that encourage compassion, happiness, and peace.


Discover Ancient Caverns

Several million of years ago, shallow seas that covered much of the Ozarks deposited layers of sediments, forming the limestone and dolomite bedrock that dominates the region today. Over time, the dissolving action of water eroded away the sedimentary rock, creating hundreds of cave systems throughout the Ozarks.

CAVERNS & NATURAL WONDERS

Onondaga Cave State Park

7556 Hwy. H
Leasburg, MO 65535-9136

(573) 245-6576

Onondaga Cave is one of America’s most spectacular caves because of the great abundance and quality of its speleothems or deposits. Stalactites, stalagmites, rimstone dams, flowstones, draperies, soda straws and cave coral extensively decorate the cave. Because of this, Onondaga Cave was designated as a National Natural Landmark.

The Vilander Bluff Natural Area located 7 miles northeast of the main body of the park harbors unique natural communities, most notably a dry dolomite cliff with over 200 ancient red cedar trees that range in age from 200 to 500 years.

Old Spanish Treasure Cave

14290 AR-59, Sulphur Springs, AR 72768

(479) 787-6508

Somewhere in the depths of the cave, lies a hidden treasure that, to this day, no one has been able to find.

Legend has it that treasure was buried in the cave by Spanish Conquistadors before they were killed by Native Americans over 350 years ago.

 Neither these maps nor the treasure—estimated today at 40 million dollars—have ever been found.

The cave has never been fully explored, and new territories are charted every year.

Bridal Cave

14290 AR-59, Sulphur Springs, AR 72768

(479) 787-6508

Rated as one of the most scenic caves in America.

Centuries ago, the Osage Native Americans discovered the pristine beauty that lies beneath Thunder Mountain. Local folklore tells of a legendary Native American wedding ceremony held in the cave in the early 1800’s. Today this magnificent natural wonderland is called Bridal Cave. In keeping with the tradition of the Native American legend, the cave can be reserved for a romantic wedding chapel.

Explore Castle Ruins

Imposing architecture and breathtaking scenery combine to make Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of Missouri’s most treasured spots.

Located on the Lake of the Ozarks, the park features the stone ruins of a castle.

REMINISCENCES OF A DREAM

The ruins of a man’s manor appear to belong to a bygone fairytale kingdom, but are really the remains of grief and despair.

Wealthy Kansas City businessman Robert Snyder had a dream to construct a European-styled castle right in his beloved Missouri. To this end Snyder purchased 5,000 acres of land, including his very own lake, and began work on the evocative mansion in 1905. The businessman even imported stone masons from Europe to achieve the correct style, but unfortunately Snyder would not live to see his dream house to completion.

In 1906, Snyder was killed in one of Missouri’s first car accidents; however, Snyder’s dream castle would not die with him. After his death, Snyder’s sons continued work on the building and were able to complete the castle. After completing construction, one of his sons took up residence in the huge castle until the family’s money ran out due to land rights lawsuits surrounding the castle’s property.

In 1942, the entire building was utterly destroyed by a fire.

The state purchased the property in the 1970’s and has worked to preserve the crumbled walls of Snyder’s dream home as a feature in their state park.

Beautiful young woman standing in the meadow of violet flowers a

Wander Through Fields of Wildflowers

Immerse yourself in a dreamy landscape blanketed in wildflowers in the Ozarks. As the sun shines between bare winter tree branches, wildflowers resurrect from their slumber. Trek a variety of trails and discover activities including guided wildflower walks, children’s programs, lake and river cruises.

TRAILS & STATE PARKS TO SEE WILDFLOWERS

Whispering Pines Trail at Hawn State Park

12096 Park Dr, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

(573) 883-3603

Whispering Pines Loop Trail is a 9.2 mile loop trail consisting of two loops: the north loop is approximately six miles long and the south loop is approximately 3.75 miles. It meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest, crossing through streams and over scenic ridges.

This trail is arguably the best, most scenic trail in the state. It has a little bit of everything, unusual rock formations, beautiful creeks, old forests, panoramic views, and wildlife.

“There’s no other park where you’ll see a large population of wild azaleas like you can at Hawn, last year, they bloomed around the second and third week of April. The azaleas are found in the uplands along the Whispering Pines Trail.” – Allison Vaughn

Swimming Deer and Missouri trails at St. Francois State Park

8920 US Highway 67 North
Bonne Terre, MO 63628-3598

(573) 358-2173

Just as outlaws sought refuge from the law during the Civil War, visitors today can seek refuge from everyday life in the beauty of the Pike Run Hills at St. Francois State Park. The forested ridges and hollows of these hills offer visitors a chance for unconfined solitude in a wilderness setting.

Mid-April brings an explosion of phlox and bluebells to the park. “These trails have one of the best bluebells shows in the state, they literally carpet the woodland floor. People come from all over the state to see them.” – Jamie Hubert

Coakley Hollow Trail at Lake of the Ozarks State Park

12096 Park Dr, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

(573) 883-3603

Coakley Hollow Trail is a 1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Linn Creek, MO that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking.

This self-guiding interpretive trail meanders through one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Six different types of natural communities, including dolomite glades, fens, spring-fed streams and several types of woodlands, can be seen.

Go Parasailing

Soar above the emerald blue water of the Lake of the Ozarks!

Enjoy breathtaking bird’s eye views of the Bagnell Dam and Osage River, with Paradise Parasail, Inc. Experienced USCG captains will give you the safest and most adventurous flight on vessels that speed along miles of shoreline.

MEMORIES FOR A LIFETIME

During the adventure, professional photographers will accompany you on board, capturing every moment which will include 40 to 60 adventure pictures and a Go Pro video from your point of view!

Website: http://www.paradiseparasail.com/1100

Bagnell Dam Blvd.
Lake Ozark MO 65049

573-365-6757

9:00 am – 5 pm

7 days a week

munich-1220908

Attend a Festival

Enjoy summer events, street fairs, music festivals, and fireworks by attending a local festival this year!

UPCOMING FESTIVALS

Artsfest on Walnut Street

Artsfest is the largest fine arts festival in southwest Missouri featuring 130 artists from 16 states, over 80 performances, food from some of Springfield’s favorite restaurants, and a kids hands-on area with activities including Chalk-It-Up and the Claymobile, a mobile ceramic arts workshop.

Recurring daily – May 6, 2017 through May 7, 2017

Historic Walnute Street

Amission: $5 (Free for children 5 and under)

81st Annual Ozark Empire Fair

Join in on the fun with all the great food and fun, carnivals rides, games, concerts and more. For 81 years, the Ozark Empire Fair has been a time for community celebration and 2017 promises to carry on the tradition.

Recurring daily – July 27, 2017 through August 5, 2017

Ozark Empire Fairgrounds

3001 N. Grant Ave. – Springfield, MO 65803

Admission: $8 for adults $4 children

Japanese Fall Festival

Celebrate Springfield’s Sister City – Isesaki, Japan – with artists, performers, martial art demonstrations, special guests, vendors and more!

Recurring daily – September 8, 2017 through September 10, 2017

Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park

2400 S. Scenic Ave. – Springfield, MO 65807

(417) 891-1515

milky way at dawn and silhouette of a telescope

Go Stargazing

Since time immemorial, the glittering river of stars called the Milky Way has dominated the night sky, influencing humanity and inspiring the imaginations of thousands.
Now, it has become a faded memory to one-third of humanity and 80% of Americans, according to a new global atlas of light pollution produced by Italian and American scientists.

Many people around the world go their entire lifetime without witnessing a clear night sky. Light pollution–caused by artificial light sources–is one of the most pervasive forms of environmental alteration. It creates a luminous haze that swamps the constellations and stars.
In the Ozarks, the sky has minimal light pollution, creating exceptional conditions for viewing the Milky Way.

2017 METEOR SHOWERS

Perseids Meteor Shower

July 17 and August 24 (Peaking on August 9-13)

While the skies are lit up several times a year by other meteor showers, the Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers. This is because, at its peak, one can see 60 to 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.

Draconid Meteor Shower

The 2017 Draconid meteor shower is expected to reach its peak on October 8.

Draconids are also known as Giacobinids.

The best time to see the shooting stars from this meteor shower is right before nightfall.

Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminids are known to be quite prolific, with rates as high as 60 to 120 shooting stars an hour at peak times. This year’s event will be special because sky-watchers will only have to contend with the waning crescent moon until about local midnight. Once the moon sets, the best viewing will be in the predawn hours of December 14—exactly when the shower is predicted to reach its peak performance.

Witness a Solar Eclipse

 On Aug. 21, 2017, people from all over the world will travel to the United States to see the rare and spectacular celestial show — the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in nearly four decades.

For those of us who already live here, but have never seen an eclipse, this is the opportunity of a lifetime – to see the one of the most beautiful occurrences on the planet, and maybe not even have to get on an airplane to experience it!

“Though the rest of the continental U.S. will have at least a 55 percent partial eclipse, it won’t ever get dark there, and eye-protection filters would have to be used at all times even to know that the eclipse is happening. The dramatic effects occur only for those in the path of totality.” – Jay Pasachoff

HOW TO WATCH THE ECLIPSE

If you do plan to observe the August 2017 eclipse, remember: never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, serious and permanent eye damage can result.

“Proper eye protection” includes specially made solar filters, eclipse glasses, or No. 14 welder’s glass.

The Total Solar Eclipse will only be visible in the North Eastern region of the Ozarks, only a partial solar eclipse will be seen throughout the rest of Missouri.

Maps courtesy of geology.com / Xavier Jubier / Google Maps / Eclipse2017.org

10 Things to Experience in the Ozarks This Winter

Experience the winter season in the Ozarks, with traditional and delightful holiday events that fill the air with anticipation and excitement. Whether you’re home for the holidays or are traveling, the Ozarks invites you to join the seasonal festivities and spread holiday cheer.


An Old Time Christmas

Silver Dollar City

December 14, 2016-December 30, 2016

399 Silver Dollar City Parkway Branson, MO 65616

Website:  http://www.explorebranson.com/festivals-fairs/old-time-christmas

OVERVIEW

Silver Dollar City presents one of the nation’s most acclaimed Christmas festivals hosting a variety of festivities including:

•Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, led by the most famous reindeer of all, with musical lighted floats with 200,000 lights accompanied by 33 costumed characters

•Two original musical productions: It’s a Wonderful Life, adapted from the Frank Capra classic, and the acclaimed production A Dickens’ Christmas Carol

•The Christmas on Main Street light & sound show featuring the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree

•5 million lights, holiday shows, a musical Living Nativity, rides, shopping, and dining


Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village

Branson-Springfield Area

December 14, 2016-December 30, 2016

558 Buena Vista Branson, MO 65616

417-335-8860

Website:  http://www.ozarkmountainchristmaslights.com/

OVERVIEW

Immerse yourself in thousands of glittering light displays by horse-drawn carriage with your family and friends to celebrate the holiday season. Afterwards, explore the Christmas Village (Thursday – Sunday nights) and experience the beautifully-decorated 6,000 square foot Christmas marquee filled with sweet holiday aromas; sounds of Christmas; The North Pole Express Train ride; “Selfies with Santa”; crafts; Holiday Treats and flavors and so much more!

Over 12 ways to create a memory of a lifetime at the Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village!

Tour includes tuning into a Christmas music station to feel the sounds of Christmas while driving by the displays.


The 12 Memories of Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village

1. New Location: Magical Mile of amazing light displays with music by North Pole Productions

2. Light tour in a Clydesdale horse-drawn carriage or wagon

3. Light tour in a two-seater scooter

4. Photos with the Clydesdale horses

5. North Pole Express: Kids & adults Christmas train ride

6. Animated Life-Size Nativity Scene (Free)

7. Christmas story-telling at a campfire (Free)

8.Family Photos by professional photographer

9. Selfies With Santa (Free)

10. Gourmet Hot Chocolate and Cider

11. Fresh made Kettle corn / Bavarian nuts / Food choices available

12. Hilarious Cacklin’ animated chickens sing Christmas songs (Free)


Springfield Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Landers Theatre

311 E. Walnut Street – Springfield, MO 65807

Admission: $18-$65

(417) 862-1343

Website: http://springfieldballet.org/Tickets

OVERVIEW

 Springfield Ballet is celebrating its 40th anniversary by introducing a brand new design, directed by Roger LaVoie. Immerse yourself in the magic and the excitement as this year’s production features a new set–unveiled for the first time! You and your family will be awed and inspired by the breathtaking new details that will heighten the beloved story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. Follow along as they dash from an extravagant Christmas party to a fierce battle with the evil Mouse Queen, then on a magical journey through the Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets. Celebrate this holiday tradition with Springfield Ballet and the ones you love!


Hughes Brothers Christmas Show

Hughes Brothers Theatre

December 19, 2016-December 31, 2016

3425 West 76 Country Blvd Branson, MO 65616

Website: http://www.hughesbrotherschristmasshow.com/

OVERVIEW

Awarded Best Christmas Show 8 years in a row by BransonShowAwards.com

USA Today says, “The Hughes Brothers Show owns the title of World’s Largest Performing Family!”

During Nov. and Dec. step back in time as the Hughes Brothers -Marty, Jason, Ryan, Adam & Andy- and their families create a Christmas wonderland filled with the season’s best vocal harmonies, exciting dances, inspiring instrumentals, and of course, the charm that everyone loves about these five multi-talented brothers. The show is filled with festive surprises, extraordinary performances, and treasured family traditions. You’ll see Santa in a new light when he explains the symbols of Christmas in the most moving Christmas presentation you’ve ever witnessed.

It’s a triumph of everything you want to feel at Christmas time!


C-Street Lights Up the Holidays!

C-Street Historic District

Commercial St. between Washington Ave. and Grant Ave. – Springfield, MO 65803

Free Admission

Recurring daily now through Dec 25, 2016.

5:00pm – 9:00pm

Website: https://www.facebook.com/HistoricCStreet

OVERVIEW

Explore a winter wonderland of over 10,000 twinkling lights and displays this holiday at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park!


Festival of Lights

Downtown Springfield

Occurring at various downtown locations

Recurring daily now through Dec 31, 2016.

(417) 864-1105

Website: http://www.itsalldowntown.com/

OVERVIEW

Join this ongoing celebration of the winter holidays featuring fireworks, free ice skating, light displays, and more!


New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball

Springfield-Branson Area (Savoy Ballroom)

December 31, 2016

8:00pm – 1:00am

Address: 224 E. Commercial Street – Springfield, MO

(417) 869-6789

Website: http://www.cstreetsavoy.com/events.html

OVERVIEW

Combination of Live and DJ’ed entertainment featuring the Bel Airs! Midnight revelry, complimentary champagne, countdown to midnight ends with our signature ballroom drop, where the balloons hold over $1,000 in cash and prizes!


Winter Solstice Tour

Smallin Civil War Cave

Recurring daily beginning Dec 14, 2016 through Dec 28, 2016.

Admission: $16.95 Adult ticket, $8.95 Children (4-12 years old)

(417) 551-4545

Website: http://www.smallincave.com

OVERVIEW

Winter Solstice Mystery: The Sun’s Alignment With An Ancient Petroglyph Inside Smallin Civil War Cave 300 feet inside of the shadowy 10-story wide arched entrance of Smallin Civil War Cave, lies a mystery. Carved on the side of a huge flowstone formation named “The Indian Ladder”, a strange petroglyph could be a silent legacy left by ancient Native American astronomers.

During the shortest days of the year (December 14th through December 28th), a remarkable phenomenon occurs at the entrance of Smallin Cave. Due to the winter tilt of the Earth and the south-facing position of the massive entrance of the cave, the rays of winter sunshine stream far back into Smallin’s depths. Reflecting on the floor and the walls of the cave, the morning rays of sunlight shine across the sun-shaped petroglyph (sometimes known as a “sun-glyph”), and cause the cave to take on a remarkable glow at around 10:00 A.M.

On sunny mornings during this Solstice period, between December 14th & December 28th (with the exceptions of Dec. 18th & Dec. 25th) the Solstice effect is on full display….come for the “Solstice Tour” at 10:00 A.M. and be amazed!


Lights of the Ozarks

Fayettville, Arkansas

November 18, 2016 – December 31, 2016

21 S. Block Ave.

Fayetteville, AR 72701

Website: www.thelightsoftheozarks.com

OVERVIEW

Enjoy the amazing winter wonderland of lights on the Downtown Square. The lights illuminate the square each evening from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Nightly carriages and pony rides, fresh hot chocolate, and festive holiday music make the Lights of the Ozarks an event that cannot be missed. The romantic and breathtaking display of a half-million twinkling lights is cherished by the locals and visitors alike that stroll or drive through the Lights of the Ozarks each year.


Viewing Of The Trumpeter Swans

North-Central Arkansas

November 26, 2016 – February 1, 2017

Heber Springs, AR 72543

Website: www.heber-springs.com

OVERVIEW

A wintering population of trumpeter swans descends on Magness Lake every November. It is a scientific mystery why more than 100 of these birds flock to Heber Springs from their mid-western homes, but their arrival makes for an exciting birding experience. To view the swans, drive east on Hwy 110 from its intersection with Hwy 5 and Hwy 25 just east of Heber Springs. Go 3.9 miles from the intersection, turn left on paved Hays Road; the road sign is very small. Magness Lake is about a half-mile down Hays Road.


Hidden Natural Wonders of the Ozarks: Mammoth Spring

Marvel, Explore, Discover

Emerging from hundreds of underground caverns, the turquoise water that creates Mammoth Spring is fueled by rivers spanning across the North American continent, making it the seventh largest natural spring in the world. The cold water that surfaces from the spring creates excellent trout fishing conditions and sufficient flow for water sports on the Spring River.

Ancient Geology of the Ozarks

During the Paleozoic Periodwhich spanned from about 542 million years ago to 251 million years ago—the Ozarks was submerged beneath a shallow sea. After several millennia, the limestone deposits left from the ancient sea bed were eroded, forming hundreds of caverns throughout the Ozarks. Many Pre-Columbian artifacts have been discovered in these cave systems, suggesting that early Native American cultures utilized these underground chambers for shelter, food, and storage. For thousands of years, Native Americansparticularly the Osageinhabited the area of Mammoth Spring. Leaving a small ecological footprint, this ancient culture utilized the land and left behind artifacts and relics that can still be unearthed today.

The History of Mammoth Spring

Intrigued by the lush oak forests, azure springs, and abundance of wildlife, travelers from around the world began to flourish to the Ozarks. The early settlers prospered by exploiting the river fed by the spring, creating a mill, train depot, and a hydroelectric plant. Winding through mountains carpeted in forest, golden plains, and river valleys, the railroad connected to several cities spanning from St. Louis, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee; eventually, increasing the population of Mammoth Spring.

Attractions and Events

Although no longer in service, the time-worn train station stands as a historical treasure, reminiscing the memories of the past. Formerly providing a connection to the nearby city of Mammoth Spring, the 1886 Frisco train depot is one of many pieces of history located in the area. The former hydroelectric plant and mill nearby allows visitors and locals to understand the economic importance the spring had to the early development of the early settlers of Mammoth Spring. A pavilion, picnic areas, baseball field, and playground are available for visitors as well. Seasonal boat rentals on Spring Lake can be obtained at the visitor center.

Visitor Center:
Jan. – Dec. Sun. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
With the following exception:
May 22 – Sept. 6 Sun. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Museum:
Jan. – Dec.
Sun. 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Tues. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Monday (except Mon. holidays)

Boat Rental:
Apr. 1 – Sept. 30 Sun. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

References

  • Springer and Scotchmoor (2010); “Paleontology and geology”.
  • “Meramec Caverns”. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 2007-05-24. p. 60. An hour’s drive from St. Louis down Interstate 44, Meramec Caverns packages 400 million years of history and science into hour-long tours of five layers of underground caverns. It’s Missouri’s largest show cave.
  • Bailey, Garrick Alan (ed.). 1999. The Osage and the Invisible World: From the Works of Francis La Flesche. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • USGS Surface Water for Arkansas: Peak Streamflow”. Nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  • A. G. Unklesbay, Jerry D. Vineyard. Missouri Geology — Three Billion Years of Volcanoes, Seas, Sediments, and Erosion, University of Missouri Press, 1992.
  • Rafferty, Milton D. The Ozarks: Land and Life, University of Arkansas Press, 2nd ed., 2001.