Big Cedar Lodge Gets a Shout Out in Men’s Journal

While Men’s Journal isn’t the first place you’d expect to come across an article featuring Big Cedar Lodge, the luxury resort was indeed featured in the publication’s article “20 Old Hotels That Are Completely New Again.”

Oh, so you didn’t know that Big Cedar Lodge wasn’t always a lavish outdoor resort? Me neither! As you’ll read in the article from Men’s Journal, the beautiful Devil’s Pool Ranch Resort began as two separate homes that were built in the 1920s. The two homes were merged into one and a stable, swimming pool and hunting lodge were added. Johnny Morris picked up the property years later and as we all know, he excels at making things look absolutely gorgeous. So that’s just what he did.

Today, Big Cedar Lodge and the new Top of the Rock expansion provide visitors with endless amenities including a brand new spa, wedding chapel and honeymoon cabin, a history museum, nature trail and a state-of-the-art golf course.

Looking at the luxurious outdoor resort today, it’s hard to believe that Big Cedar Lodge began as just two homes and later, an old hotel from the 1940s.

Want to read more about 19 other beautifully restored hotels? Check out the article from Men’s Journal here.

For more about Big Cedar Lodge, visit


New Spa Now Open at Big Cedar Lodge

The new Cedar Creek Spa at Big Cedar Lodge just opened its doors last week, revealing 18,000-square-feet of ultimate relaxation.

The new world-class spa boasts 11 luxurious treatment rooms, complete with a fireplace in each and rustic, relaxing decor. According to Big Cedar’s website, the full-service salon features massaging pedicure chairs, custom sofas and an old-fashioned barber chair for men’s grooming.

For a full list of services, visit

Big Cedar Lodge is owned by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris and it offers a variety of activities and lodging for visitors of the Ozarks area.

Escape To the Wildlife Paradise of Dogwood Canyon

dogwood canyon

The Ozarks are so full of natural beauty and wonder. It’s one of the reasons Harold Bell Wright became enamored with the area and visitors first began flocking here in the early 1900s. While all the shows, attractions, restaurants and retailers are wonderful, it would be a shame to visit the area and miss out on its untouched, beautiful landscape that has many stories of its own to tell.

Located just a half hour west of Branson in Lampe, Missouri, this breathtaking nature park is an awe-inspiring display of the natural wonders of the Ozark Mountains. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the nature park and take the Wildlife Tram Tour and I’d love to tell you all about it. But first — a little bit of history.

This 10,000-acre park is owned by Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. He acquired the land in 1990 and has since pursued the goal of maintaining its natural environment while making it more accessible for guests to enjoy. It’s managed by the Dogwood Canyon Foundation, a nonprofit organization that protects and preserves its natural plant and wildlife. All the money you spend here goes right back into the park.

This area of southwest Missouri was largely populated by the Osage Indians at one point. They lived in sophisticated villages, hunted wild buffalo and other game and raised crops of their own. When Morris purchased the land, he discovered more than 10 caves spanning the 10,000 acres of land and uncovered human remains within several of them. They were wrapped and buried inside the caves, a traditional burial practice of the Osage Indians. Researchers determined the remains to be hundreds of years old so Morris sent them off to a museum to be preserved. Guests who walk, bike or take a tour through the park will still have the opportunity to see the caves where these remains were found.

I only spent one afternoon at Dogwood Canyon, but I wish I could have spent an entire day. The Wildlife Tram Tour was about two hours long and although the weather was chilly, it wasn’t unbearable. The sun was shining and the tour guide gave us all blankets so it was easy to stay warm.

The tour began at the main entrance and gift shop area and from there, we headed out into the rugged wilderness of the park. The tram took us past several waterfalls, across bridges, through steep canyon walls and over low ground where water from the streams washed across the roadway. There were several children in our group and they kept oohing and aahing each time we went over a stream or bridge. They were completely enamored!

Our guide took us to several different stops and let us get off the tram, walk around and take photos. One of those stops was Hope Chapel, a popular spot in the park for weddings.

The chapel is the perfect destination for a rustic, outdoor wedding and the backside is gorgeous, featuring huge windows and a lounge area where guests can enjoy food and drink against the backdrop of a breathtaking waterfall.


With a view like this, a couple really doesn’t need to do any decorating whatsoever. What do you think?

Eventually, our guide took us over the Arkansas border and into a wide open prairie land where we had an up close encounter with some of the wildlife in the area. Our guide dumped buckets of feed all over the ground, sending an open invitation to the animals to come get a snack. They must know he’s the guy who always has the food because as soon as they spotted his truck they all came running without hesitation.

In any case, it was an incredible experience to watch the elk, deer, bison and cattle run toward the tram. These animals were huge up close but it was awesome to be close enough to reach out and touch them. One of the elk even trotted alongside me in the tram for several minutes! I think he was waiting for me to give him a snack.

Best day of work, ever.

Everything about Dogwood Canyon was absolutely amazing. The wildlife, the scenery, the informative tour … I don’t think it could have gotten any better. This is really just something you have to see for yourself.

Yes, I know the winter season is well on its way. But that doesn’t mean the fun for the outdoor enthusiast has to end. Dogwood Canyon’s tram tours continue through December 31 so you can book yours today! To make your reservation, visit or call 417-335-2777.


Introducing the New Bass Pro Shops Truck

Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops are on yet another business venture. Toyota has teamed up with Bass Pro Shops to introduce the new Bass Pro Shops Truck, a special edition Tundra to be available next month.

The new 2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition truck is available exclusively in the color silver and features a “4×4 CrewMax SR5 configuration, which offers extra space for outdoor gear,” according to the San Antonio Business Journal.

The truck also includes a tow package that allows drivers to tow boats, UTVs or ATVs.

The all new truck will be available for purchase in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma and those who purchase it will also receive their choice of an outdoor gear lifestyle package from Bass Pro Shops valued at about $1,000.

For more information, click here.

Arnold Palmer Visits Branson’s Top of the Rock

Arnold PalmerGolf legend Arnold Palmer made a visit to Johnny Morris’ Top of the Rock golf course where the Legends of Golf tournament was held back in June.

His old barn is on display at Top of the Rock and he spent some time admiring it.

He was unable to attend the Legends of Golf tournament earlier this year because of poor health but he says he plans to visit the Ozarks again soon with his family.

For more, read the article from here.

New Branson Golf Course Planned for 2015

Big Cedar LodgeBass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris and World Golf Hall of Famer Gary Player are teaming up to create another golf course at Big Cedar Lodge in 2015.

A press release from Big Cedar Lodge states, “At the heart of the Morris and Player project, which is set to open in 2015, is creating enjoyment in the game of golf for all ages and skill levels. The course will be designed in a very welcoming , fun and creative way, so as not to intimidate novice players.”

Big Cedar Lodge is also the home to two world-class golf courses that hosted the Legends of Golf Championship tournament earlier this year.

For more information on the new golf course project, visit

Big Cedar Lodge’s Top of The Rock Golf Course Receives More National Attention

Big Cedar Lodge's Top of The Rock Golf CourseBig Cedar Lodge’s 47-acre Top of the Rock Golf Course is becoming a big name in the golf world as it was rated No. 4 on the Top 10 list of most searched golf destinations on Yahoo Search.

The first Jack Nicklaus signature course in the state of Missouri, Top of the Rock hosted the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf Champions Tour back in June along with the Buffalo Ridge Springs course which also made the list, coming in at No. 8. Both Branson courses were broadcast on national television.

According to Yahoo Travel, several other prominent courses also made the list, including:

  • Pebble Beach Golf Course, Pebble Beach, California
  • Harbor Shores Golf Course, Benton Harbor, Michigan
  • Shoal Creek Golf Course, Shoal Creek Alabama.
  • Whistling Straits Golf Course, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • Wade Hampton Golf Course, Cashiers, North Carolina

Big Cedar Lodge's Top of The Rock Golf CourseAccording to a press release from Big Cedar Lodge published by World Golf, one of the winners of the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf, Fred Funk said about Top of the Rock, “There are no comparisons, there’s nothing like this anywhere in the world. It’s unbelievable what Johnny’s passion is for his community and the will he has to want to create something like this. It’s over the top.”

Funk was referring to Johnny Morris, the founder of Big Cedar Lodge and Bass Pro Shops.

For more information about Big Cedar Lodge activities, dining and accommodations, visit