JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Aug. 24, 2011 — Hikers and mountain bikers have a new reason to celebrate with the official grand opening of the first designated mountain biking trail system in the Branson area. The White River Valley Trail in Table Rock State Park will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2 at a trailhead near Branson.
The White River Valley Trail, a 10.25 mile natural surface trail, is a joint land-use project between Missouri State Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The majority of the trail is within Table Rock State Park with the rest of it on USACE land.
The ceremony will include representatives from Missouri State Parks, which administers Table Rock State Park, the USACE, local and state officials, and many of the volunteer groups that supported and helped build the trail.
The trail was partially financed by two federal Recreational Trails Program grants. Because of the trail’s outstanding use of the federal RTP grants, it was recognized in 2011 by the federal Coalition for Recreational Trails with the award in the Multi-Use Management and Corridor Sharing Category. Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will present the award to the park during the ceremony.
“This trail will provide a great new recreational resource for mountain bikers and hikers and should bring users here from all over the area,” said Bryan. “We are pleased to be a part of a trail that has been recognized nationally and has such amazing local support.”
The trail, consisting of four loops with different characteristics, will provide a challenging experience for mountain bikers and hikers in a rugged and scenic area of the state. Trail users will experience elevation changes ranging from 710 feet to nearly 1,200 feet above sea levels with natural communities ranging from moist bottomland woodlands to dry dolomite glades on the higher areas. The trail will travel near old homesteads and relics of the Table Rock Dam construction during the 1950s with dramatic views of Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo.
Now that the trail has been completed, staff at Table Rock State Park plan to host adventure events and mountain biking races on the trail. The park also includes two other trails, a campground, picnic areas, and a full-service marina with access to Table Rock Lake.
The main trailhead for the White River Valley Trail is located on Highway 165 north of the park’s main entrance. For more information about Table Rock State Park, call the park directly at 417-334-4704 or the Missouri Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). For information on Missouri state parks, go to mostateparks.com.