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Missouri's Ozarks Have an Epic Can't-miss Bloom That Rivals Cherry Blossoms — Here's the Best Time to See It

Big Cedar Lodge and the neighboring Ozark nature park have become synonymous with the springtime blooms.

<p>Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge</p>

Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

This time of year, everyone seems to be talking about Japan’s cherry blossoms, but a lesser-known bloom is blossoming much closer to home. Across the Ozark Mountains, flowering dogwood trees put on their own colorful show in the spring, rivaling (if not surpassing) the revered cherry blossom.

The flowering dogwood trees are unique in that the blooms are so dense that the trees appear to be laden with a heavy coat of pink and white flowers. The trees can be spotted all over Missouri (it’s the state tree!), but one wilderness destination has become synonymous with the spring blooms.

The flowering trees welcome guests to Big Cedar Lodge, a wilderness retreat perched on the edge of Table Rock Lake south of Branson, Missouri. The lodge is open year-round but shines in the spring when the vibrant dogwood blossoms coat the trees.

<p>Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park</p>

Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

The goal of the family-friendly resort is to unwind, unplug, and reconnect with nature. There are activities like archery tag and tie-dye for the kids along with cocktail classes and game nights for adults. There are also five golf courses, designed by pros like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, and an award-winning, 18,000-square-foot spa. Eleven onsite restaurants provide casual to fine dining — often paired with a view.

Big Cedar Lodge was dreamed up by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, and as such, boasts great bass fishing and plenty of opportunities to get out on the water — including cruises on the 1920s-inspired Lady Liberty yacht, which can be enjoyed with high-end dinner or brunch.

For more flowering dogwoods, guests can plan an excursion to Big Cedar Lodge’s sister property, the aptly named Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. The nature park is under 30 minutes from the lodge, by car, and boasts 10,000 secluded acres — including plenty of flowering dogwood trees. The annual Flowering Dogwood Tour is completely dedicated to the blooms, which are found along the backroads of Dogwood Canyon. To get there, you’ll hop in an off-road vehicle and travel along four miles of old logging roads. In addition to plenty of flowering dogwoods, you might also glimpse some of the nature park’s wildlife — including bison and elk.

<p>Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park</p>

Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Previously, the Flowering Dogwood Tour took place in early April. Dates have not been released for 2024, but typically, the Missouri dogwoods begin to bloom in mid-April and start to fade in early May. The two-week blooming window is completely dependent on the temperature, with blooms coming earlier if it’s warmer and later if it’s colder.

Beyond bloom spotting, the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is a true Ozark adventure hub, with trout fishing, horseback riding, and miles and miles of hiking and biking trails.

<p>Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park</p>

Courtesy of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Both Big Cedar Lodge and the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park operate with a mission of conservation. Education and an appreciation for nature are part of the brand’s ethos, and they practice what they preach through mindful wildlife and habitat management, responsible chemical product use, water management, energy efficiency, and waste management.

The Big Cedar Lodge is located 10 minutes south of Branson, Missouri. The Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is another 30 minutes to the west. Both properties are set in southern Missouri near the border with Arkansas. 

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