Top of the Rock and Dogwood Canyon

The Top of the Rock is a vision of Bass Pro Shops’ founder Johnny Morris, whose love of nature in his home state came together in a combination resort, theme park, dining center, and world-class golf destination, all perched on top of a bluff offering stunning views of Table Rock Lake and the Ozark Mountains. Hop in a golf cart for a tour of the fascinating on-site cave system on the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail. You never have to leave your cart on the 2.5-mile path that winds into a cathedral-like cave with flowing waterfalls, and out the other side over handmade Amish bridges spanning tumbling water and limestone rock formations. It’s a fun tour full of exploration for all ages.

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American history buffs will delight at the truly marvelous collection of Native American artifacts hidden away in the basement in the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum under Arnie’s Barn. This display is a can’t miss assortment of early American history, containing everything from arrowheads to full headdresses, blankets, paintings, sculptures, weapons, and wild west items. Gaze upon President Lincoln’s desk, prehistoric remains of the animals of the area, interactive exhibits, Native American artwork, and more. The museum also displays truly world-class life size dioramas featuring prehistoric animals in their natural setting, all recreated by the same team who recreated prehistoric scenes at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy of Top of the Rock.

Photo courtesy of Top of the Rock.

Spend another day at Johnny Morris’ other creation, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, an even more nature-oriented 10,000-acre park and animal preserve designed to stand the test of time for generations to come. The recreation possibilities here are endless; it all depends on your imagination. Enjoy fly fishing, a wildlife tram tour, horseback rides, Segway tours, and private off-road Jeep tours through the park’s immaculate streams and sheer canyons. Top off your day of adventure with a visit to the education center and treehouse, which was featured on the Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters. Hunger at the end of the day can be staved off at the Canyon Grill, which offers bison burgers and elk bratwurst, as well as contemporary fare.

Dogwood Canyon (39)

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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