The Glade Exploration Trail is one of the five trails at the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area. This trail is mostly forested with a few scenic glades and spectacular views of the beauty of nature. The Glade Exploration Trail is about 1.1 mile only but if you pass by all the loops and the adjoining Homesteader’s Trail its total length could be 6 miles. Creeks and waterfalls along the trails offer a panoramic view of nature after spring time.
The Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area which is located in the White River Hills on the west side of Branson is maintained by the Missouri Department of Conservation and free for public use. This conservation area in Branson consists of 1,543 acres of wooded forests, streams, hillsides, and a series of glades. The glades in the area also referred as balds that make up the historical White River Balds Natural Area where vigilantes used to gather after the Civil War. If you have visited the Ozarks before, you probably have heard the term “baldknobbers”, where its name derived from this plot of land.
The five hiking trails that both can be found at The Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area include Dewey Bald, Glade Exploration, Steamside, Shane’s Shortcut, and Homesteaders that course through the heavily-forested vast of land. The Dewey Bald Trail can easily be spotted upon reaching the parking lot of the conservation area, just off Highway 76. This is one of the first trails that hikers easily see. It is only about 0.4 mile in length, although it is a paved path, this uphill trail leads to a 40-foot observation tower, offering visitors a picturesque view of the beautiful landscape of Branson.
Next to Dewey Bald Trail, you will find the 1.1 mile Glade Exploration Trail that offers an easy and moderate hike. The Steamside Trail which is only about 0.4 mile in length also offers an easy and moderate trail to hike. The Shane’s Shortcut Trail which also measures 0.4 mile is a bit more difficult to hike. This trail connects to Steamside Trail and Homesteader’s Trail. The longest of all the five trails and one of the most difficult trails to hike is the Homesteader’s Trail that has a length of 3.4 miles with a hiking time of 3 hours.
Several features of The Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area were immortalized in Harold Bell Wright’s famous book, Shepherd of the Hills including Boulder Bald, Dewey Bald, The Signal Tree, and Little Pete’s Cave. The conservation area was donated by Paul Henning who is best known as the creator of the Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction television series, and Green Acres. It was his wish to keep the beauty of nature be enjoyed by every visitor coming to the area.
If you want to see the fascinating beauty of nature of the Ozarks, try a hiking adventure in some of the beautiful hiking trails at the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area in Branson.
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