As of September 2nd, Hikers and Bikers have a new Table Rock Trail to call their own. This was the date that the White River Valley Trailhead was officially dedicated near Branson, Missouri, adding more than 10 miles of trails around Table Rock Lake.
The White River Valley Trail system is now open for use although construction is still ongoing in some areas. Missouri State Park officials indicate that these trails will be a fantastic addition to the Table Rock Trail system; it adds 10.25 miles of rugged, challenging hiking and biking through some of Missouri’s most scenic country. Where the current Chinquapin and Table Rock Trails are relatively flat and easy, the new section of the Table Rock trail system is a natural surface trail that is rugged and can be quite challenging. The trail is a cooperative project with the US Army Corps of Engineers, with the majority of the trail traversing land that was used in the 1950’s during the construction of the Table Rock Dam on the White River.
Although sections of these trails follow roads that were used for the dam’s construction, plenty of this new area of the table rock trail system is off road. There are several scenic areas that wind past waterfalls, an abandoned farmstead, and have views of Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. There are significant elevation changes; the lowest point at 710 feet and the highest 1,200 feet above sea level.
The White River Trail system is comprised of four loops; The Red, Blue, Orange and Green, they offer distinct levels of challenge, and are designed to stand alone or be combined, depending on the skill and stamina of the individual.
Wildlife is abundant and diverse; with wetland species such as beaver and the great blue heron in abundance along the rivers and lakes, and desert species such as the road runner, tarantula, and collared lizards in the glades. Plant and tree species are as diverse as animal life, with sycamores and cottonwoods flourishing at the river bottoms; and oaks, hickories, shortleaf pines and ashe junipers in the mid elevations. Rocky dolomites are present in the upland forest regions; most notably on the Red Loop.
Hikers and bikers desiring a challenge will find that this section of the table rock trail system meets their needs. Obstacle areas on the Red Loop, nearly 400 feet of elevation change on table Loop, and the 1200 ft summit on the Green Loop combine for an experience that will test the abilities of most advanced hikers and cyclists, yet can be enjoyed by most individuals who wish to try these Trails, thanks to the White River Trail System’s 4 distinct Loops.
Hikers and bikers will find the main trailhead for the new trails just north of Table Rock State Park’s main entrance on Highway 165. For more information, visitors may contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.