Written by Klaire Bruce
Posted by Mark Ruda
Inspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills
Anyone who has ever visited Branson, Missouri, knows that there is LOTS to see here. But if you want to really see ALL of it, head on up to the Inspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills. You’ll have a truly inspiring 360 degree view of the Ozarks at the second highest point in Missouri – why, on a clear day, you can see all the way across the state line into Arkansas. How high is this tower? When was it built? What can you do there? And WHY is it called the Inspiration Tower? Read on to find out!
The Inspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills is tall enough to be seen from many locations around Branson – it’s truly awe inspiring to round a curve on the Ozark Mountain Highroad and see the tower rising up high above the hills with Old Glory snapping in the breeze from the very tip top of the tower roof. Or perhaps you might be cruising down Shepherd of the Hills Expressway early in the morning and see the top of the tower shrouded in a gray layer of the foggy haze that so often lingers over the Ozark Hills. Regardless of when and where you see it, the 230 foot tall Inspiration Tower will surely leave you speechless!
The Inspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills was built in in 1989. Its opening was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Harold Bell Wright’s (the author of the famous book, ‘The Shepherd of the Hills’) first visit to the 160 acre historic homestead. This ‘landmark on the horizon’ stands tall over what is known as Inspiration Point; Inspiration Point is what Harold Bell Wright deemed his very first campsite on the homestead. How fitting that the Inspiration Tower be constructed there! Visitors to the tower’s observation deck can get a first-hand look at the beautiful Ozark hills that Wright found so inspiring.
The tower was a massive construction project – it cost roughly $1.5 million to build, it weighs 3 million pounds and it contains over 92,000 pounds of structural steel. The tower’s sturdy foundation holds five miles worth of rebar weighing in at 34.5 tons. Enough glass to cover a third of a football field was also installed. This mighty tower can hold up in a constant wind of 172 miles per hour, and can withstand wind gusts of up to 224 miles per hour! There are two glass elevators in the tower that lead up to the observation deck – hold on to your stomach as you ride up!
The Inspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills is open year round from 9am to 5pm. During the holiday season, the tower is lit up like a Christmas tree with thousands upon thousands of Christmas lights. A great view is not all that the Inspiration Tower has to offer – on the ground level, there is a specialty gift shop, featuring both tower themed souvenirs and other Shepherd of the Hills merchandise. A snack shop and restrooms are also available here. And up top, you will find the starting point of the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider! (Tickets can be purchased down below in the gift shop) From the observation deck of the tower, riders will be strapped in and sent down a half mile zip line at 50 miles per hour. Be prepared for a fantastic view on the ride down!
The Inspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills has been inspiring folks for more than twenty years. If you want to be inspired too, be sure to visit this amazing Branson landmark!