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“More Challenging Than I Was Led to Believe”

Kansas City, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“More Challenging Than I Was Led to Believe”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

Perception is partly a function of expectation. After reading other reviews that said these trails weren't that hard even though some where identified as "difficult" by the Missouri Department of Conservation, I was expecting some tree roots and occasional, gentle inclines and declines. What I found were plenty of tree roots, stretches of very rocky trail, and while the overall incline/decline may not have been huge, it was noticeable.

Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed my hike at Henning CA. I hiked all the trails, starting with the paved .4 mile Dewey Bald Trail to the observation tower. While the trail climbs the entire way to the tower, it isn't a terribly steep incline, plus the smoothly paved trail makes this one relatively easy. As another reviewer said, though, I would NOT want to be in a wheelchair on this trail. Climb the 55 steps to the top of the tower for an interesting view of the surrounding area.

After a quick stop at the privy - which definitely smelled like a privy in mid-July but got the job done - I made my way to the viewing platform where the 1.1 mile Glade Trail departs.

I followed the first half or so of the Glade Trail to where it connects to the .4 mile Streamside Trail; went right on the Streamside Trail to Shane's Shortcut (a .3 mile connector to the 3.4 mile Homesteader's Trail) and then did the entire Homesteader's loop before returning to Shane's Shortcut to reconnect to the rest of the Streamside Trail and from there to the last half of the Glade Trail.

Other reviewers have written well about plants and wildlife you might see here, so I won't repeat. I especially recommend the review written by Greenfireflygirl.

Be aware that some areas of the trails require rather significant steps up or down - 15 inches or more - so I strongly recommend a trusty hiking stick. Some parts of the trail, especially the Glade Trail, have medium-sized rock which I find difficult to walk on. Gravel is small enough to crunch together beneath my boots, and large rocks are big enough to step from one to another. But this rock, anywhere from 2 to 6 inches and NOT flat, provides a workout for your ankles. Be warned.

Ruth and Paul Henning did a wonderful thing when they left this land to the Conservation Department. Whether you hike all the trails or just one, whether you start at the Homesteader's Trail access on Noland Road or simply enjoy the view from the viewing deck off of Hwy 76, you will not regret visiting this beautiful area.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
7 Thank Tmae54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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102 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Lookouts & trails galore”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

We came here to go Geocaching. Don't know what Geocaching is? If you like being in nature and are looking for a fun, fairly inexpensive family (or adult) activity, look it up. This park starts off with a nice observation deck right off the parking lot overlooking Branson. There are plenty of loop trails to choose from varying in length & terrain. There are spots that open up to view the valleys & "balds." The Dewey Bald Trail is completely paved with only minor grades. At the top is a steel observation tower about 50 ft. tall (requires some stair climbing) and offers another great view in all directions. Was hoping to see a scorpion or tarantula, but no luck. My son was quite thankful for that. Nice place to stop for a quick look off the parking lot observation deck, or a longer hike to be with nature.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank tab1075
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Londonderry, New Hampshire
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Nice summer day-hike on Homesteaders Trail”
Reviewed June 30, 2013

Though rated "difficult" at the Missouri Dept of Conservation web site, the 3.7 mile Homesteaders Trail was a moderately easy summer walk (for a pair of 60-ish couples). Just make sure to wear some sturdy shoes; some sections of the trail have rocks and roots. Other sections are abandoned roads -- quite wide and airy, yet shaded. At the trail head we found some 8-page guides to the trail; these have 15 "selected sites" identified and described, along with the distance from the trail head. The sites are well marked on the trail. It's nice to have your progress measured using the markers and guide.

I suspect that in spring there may be some wet sections, but the waterfalls and creeks were low or dry in late June. We saw a few ticks on our clothes, but the breeze kept the other flying insects at bay. The bird songs were delightful.

The walk took us three hours at a leisurely pace.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank doug_03053
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laramie, Wyoming
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great day hike!”
Reviewed June 17, 2013

You will need to bring your camera for this one. If your physically capable, do the whole thing, including climbing to the top of the lookout tower. You will not regret the view!

The trail up to the lookout tower is paved. We went in the fall the first time, and it was really glorious, leaves all over everything underfoot, and the view with all the trees changing colour was well worth it. Easy trail to walk, very hard to climb up and down, not for anyone scared of heights.

The second part of the trail takes you out into the balds. There is a lot of dolomite rock everywhere, and while it's fairly flat for the most part, it is not for anyone with balance issues. On my first trip here I saw a tarantula crossing the path, and a spotted skunk. Tons of wildflowers grow on the balds. Still easy level hiking here.

The third part of the trail is very short, just links you up to the fourth part. Totally worth going for, lots of little streams rushing over rock. Beautiful in the fall and the spring, especially when the dogwoods are blooming, it's full of them here. The trail is a little harder in areas, a little steeper.

The fourth part of the trail has a few open areas that are flat and easy to travel, quite beautiful. Tons of cedars twisted into weird shapes over the years. Some areas are very narrow, hilly, awkward to climb. Some trails are difficult to see, and you can easily find yourself following a stream bed instead of the trail. This is the most difficult part of the trail, but still just moderate.

A fun all day hike! Bring water, and take only pictures, leave no trace!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Greenfireflygirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denison, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great view at the outlook!”
Reviewed May 28, 2013

We drove up here to the outlook and got some great pictures. Lots of parking, and nice and quiet too!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Eriisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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