Labor Day weekend in Branson brought plenty of visitors out to Table Rock Lake. 

Labor Day is over.

That means summer is officially over, despite the weather’s best efforts to insist otherwise.

The end of summer is a beautiful time of year. By now, most of us are tired of the heat and ready for those days when we wear our jacket to work and then forget it there because it’s so nice outside when we head home.

Fall is also a great time of year to be in the Branson area. There are numerous wonderful hiking trails in the area, all of which are much more enjoyable when it’s not hot, and when one does not have to worry about ticks and snakes and such.

There is a Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area that offers a spectacular view of Lake Taneycomo. It also features “the steps” (if you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about) on one of its trails, in case you like to work a little stair-climbing into your hike.

There is also the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area. There are several trails to choose from, but my favorite is the Homesteader Trail, which takes hikers along a route where one can see the remnants of where several homes once stood. It’s also a nice 3.5-mile hike mostly in the forest.

I also enjoy the White River Valley Trail System near Table Rock Dam. This series of trails takes hikers through a variety of terrain, and is great for mountain bikers, as well as hikers.

Of course, you can also enjoy some paved hiking trails, for a more casual walk, or if you need wheelchair access. There is the Lakeshore Trail, near the Dewey Short Visitor Center at Table Rock Dam. There is also a paved trail at Stockstill Park in Branson.

There are also hiking trails in Branson Creek area, including the Murder Rock Trail.

You can also make an easy drive outside Branson for many other hiking trails. There is the Busiek State Forest Area on U.S. 65 north of Branson, in Christian County. There is also the Hercules Glade in eastern Taney County. And there are good trails by the Roaring River Fish Hatchery in Barry County.

Summer has been nice, but I’m ready for it to be over. If you’re like me, you aren’t ready for winter to start either, so get out and enjoy the fall weather.

When it gets here.

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