When I was young, my family went on vacations yearly so I am fortunate to have an abundance of great memories hiking, camping, sightseeing and exploring areas of the country I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. But one memory I will never forget was my first time horseback riding in Wyoming. Horseback riding is a one-of-a-kind activity that your kids will never forget and Branson, Missouri is one of the prime places to pick up a trail ride.
Uncle Ike’s Trail Ride has been taking visitors on trail rides since 1970 and a visit there is accompanied by a history lesson. Uncle Ike is the only non-fictional character described in Harold Bell Wright’s “Shepherd of the Hills” novel. He was the postmaster of Notch, MO, back in the 1800’s when the mail was still delivered on horseback. Many of Uncle Ike’s shaded, old trails date back to that time period and the skillful guides will lead you down them for an adventure back in time. Uncle Ike’s Trail Ride is located at 8393 W. Hwy. 76, Notch, MO, between Branson and Branson West about 1/4 mile west of Indian Point Rd. on Hwy. 76. Hours are Monday-Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended. For more information, visit http://uncleikestrailride.com/index.php.
Depart on a one or two hour, scenic trail ride and explore ridges and hollows that aren’t clearly visible from the park’s walking and biking trails. Big Cedar Lodge’s Dogwood Canyon offers guided tours for your family to experience some of the breathtaking views of the Ozark Mountains from the saddle. You and the kids will even get to see some of the natural wildlife that populate the Branson area like buffalo, longhorn cattle, white tailed deer, bald eagles and more. For the ultimate cowboy experience, round up a herd of Texas longhorns and drive them to a pasture with the guidance of Dogwood Canyon staff. A five to six hour advanced horseback ride is also offered every Friday at 9 a.m. until October 30. Dogwood Canyon is located at 2038 W. State Hwy. 86, Lampe, MO. A trail ride schedule is available at http://www.dogwoodcanyon.org/Page/Horseback-Riding.html. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Ride a gentle-mannered horse through the beautiful countryside as your tour guide answers questions and offers interesting facts along the way. Bear Creek Trail Rides is perfect for inexperienced riders and first-timers because the trails are all walking trails, there’s no trotting or loping. You’ll travel over hillsides, rocks, logs and across water and one or two hour rides are available. Bear Creek Trail Rides is located 7 miles north of Branson off Hwy. 65. Hours are Monday-Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There are no reservations needed, but if you have a large group it’s suggested you call ahead of time. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bear-Creek-Trail-Rides/106405766109527.