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Dogwood Canyon

posted Oct 16, 2018, 4:42 PM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 19, 2018, 4:18 PM ]

Wednesday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and checked out, then headed to Dogwood Canyon.  Since its kind of a tourist trap, I wanted to get there early and beat the crowds.  We arrived just before they opened and paid admission and the adventure fee to hike.


Entering the Dogwood Canyon Mill, the first waterfall was right through the mill.  Although I think all the waterfalls in here are artificially enhanced, it was really nice, especially with the heavy rain last night.


Indian Cliff Falls was just beautiful.  I got some pictures from the overlook and then went outside to view from a little further.


Then we started hiking down the paved trail with our wristbands.  The trail guide we picked up identified various points of interest along the trail.

The first Long Pine Crossing, a covered bridge constructed by the Amish.  A little further was the Hope Chapel and right behind it was another small waterfall.

We asked an employee if it had a name and he said no, so we called it Chapel Falls.

The hiking trail followed the tram route most of the way, but split up to cross the creek.  The foot trail crossed on a bridge, while the trams crossed the creek at scenic little weirs.

We passed the confluence of Little Indian Creek and Dogwood Creek, starting to now follow the latter.   The next waterfall was Thunder Falls that the park claims is 60 feet high.

I'm not sure about that, but it was rather pretty (but definitely enhanced).  Further on the trail was a cave, but they had it gated off so visitors couldn't enter.


The trail continued through the canyon, crossing Dogwood Creek again.


The next crossing was Bear Bridge.


And then we came to Great Spirit Rock Shelter, a huge rock overhang.  There was a waterfall flowing over it.


A trail and stairs led up and under the overhang so we could get behind the waterfall.


Human remains were found in this rock shelter dating from almost 8000 years ago.  The trail split past here and we went right, planning to hit the other side on the way back.  Fire Pit Cave was along this side with beautiful reddish rocks.


Where the trail came together again, we next passed Glory Hole, an interesting choice of name.  A waterfall tumbled into a deep pool that was a beautiful turquoise color.


The pool extended into a cave, which is what I think the Glory Hole refers to.  The trail crossed Dogwood Creek several more times.


Our next stop was at Emerald Pool, another blue-green pool with a waterfall flowing into it.


Right past Emerald Pool was Cave Spring, another small cave along the trail.


The trail then passes into Arkansas and passes the Trapper's Cabin where they do fly fishing school.


The trail ended at Wish Bowl Falls - a waterfall in Arkansas!


With that, I'm up to waterfalls in 20 states!  Wish Bowl Falls tumbled into another beautiful pool that was full of golden rainbow trout.


They were really beautiful fish.  A tram stopped here and the guide fed the fish so we go to watch them eat.


Then we started making our way back.  At the split, we went right to see Kid's Cave.


The cave is very deep, but at places only 12 to 14 inches high, hence the name.  We also made a quick detour on the short Box Canyon Trail to see the canyon.


Then we finished the hike up back at the start.  Leaving Dogwood Canyon, we wanted to get in one more hike in the Branson area.  We drove to the Coy Bald Trailhead for Hercules Glades Wilderness.  The forest road was a little rough getting in, but we had no trouble.  After parking, we got on Long Creek Trail and followed it down to its namesake.


There was a little water in the creek, though not much, so I was hopeful there would be some at the falls.  The cliffs along the creek were really cool looking.


After crossing, the trail climbed up a ridge a leveled off for a bit.  It was mostly forested; we really didn't hike through any glades.


In a total of about 2 miles, it headed back down to creek level.  We crossed the creek and turned right to follow a trail heading downstream to "the Falls".  However, there was no water flowing over Long Creek Falls.


We talked to a couple guys who were camping near the falls and apparently they didn't get much rain from the storm the night before.  But it was a really cool spot anyway.


We saw a water snake in a pool at the base, so there was some water.


We had a bit of a drive, so didn't stay too long.  Since the creek was dry, we creek walked back to Long Creek Trail.


The uphill part wasn't too steep and it was a pleasant hike back to the car.  From here, we drove north to Lebanon and stayed at the Super 8, definitely not the nicest hotel of the trip.  For dinner, we had sushi again and then went to bed.