3 Signs That You May Be A Leaf Peeper

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Photo by Ed Schipul (link: https://flic.kr/p/5urxW9)

With fall comes the changing of the seasons and with the changing seasons comes incredible beauty at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Dazzling trees, adorned with red, orange, golden, and brown leaves. That short span of time between that last gasp of summer and before the cold breath of winter.

Sure, you’ve probably admired these changing leaves at some point in  your life. We’ve all done it. But there is a more avid group of fall leaf enthusiasts called “leaf peepers”. Now, this might sound a little creepy at first, but we promise — it’s nothing of the sort.

Leaf peeing is the act of traveling intentionally to see the changing leaves. The origins of the term are rather fuzzy, however leaf peeping is a big hit anywhere trees are in abundance…especially in the New England states. But it only takes one visit to the Lake of the Ozarks in the fall to see that we are the perfect destination to get your fill of leaf peeping.

In case you’re scratching your head, wondering if you might be a leaf peeper, here are three signs to look for:

  1. You find yourself gazing out the window, a little too often, while driving. We don’t blame you! The beauty of nature can make it rather difficult to look away. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the road! One tip is to find a rest stop or scenic vantage point to stop and take it all in. These changing trees look even more gorgeous when you can stand still and look at every detail.
  2. Your Facebook page is filled with photos of trees, glistening with orange, red, and gold. Don’t be shy to admit it. As fall arrives, you find yourself taking more photos of trees with your phone and either sharing them on Facebook or sharing them with friends and family. You may also take multiple photos from different angles in order to get that perfect shot!
  3. You stash a pair of binoculars in your purse or glove compartment, “just in case”. This one is for the hardcore leaf peepers. Because there are times when you just can’t get close enough. Thankfully, at the Lake of the Ozarks, there are plenty of walking and hiking trails to get up close and personal with fall foliage.

Whether you’re a proud leaf peeper or just a casual observer of fall, there are few destinations better than the Lake of the Ozarks to see fall foliage in all its glory.

Hiking The Lake of the Ozarks State Park This Fall

We all know the key to hiking is finding the perfect walking stick!

And, of course, bringing along a canteen of water, a fanny pack full of snacks, and a handkerchief in case you work up a sweat.

While the Lake of the Ozarks itself is the star of the show in the summer, the hiking trails at Ozarks State Park provide a breathtaking walk through some of the most gorgeous, colorful foliage in all the nation.

If you’re coming to stay at one of our properties this fall, here are three hiking trails we recommend:

Lake Trail – 1.5 miles long – VIEW MAP
Part of this trail is densely shaded and covered in ferns, while the rest is open and rocky. Between the two extremes, the trail will take you along the shoreline of the Lake of the Ozarks. In addition to the natural history, evidence of the past and present cultural history can also be seen. Lake Trail is a study in what this part of Missouri has become.

Rocky Top Trail – 2 miles long – VIEW MAP
This popular trail climbs to one of the largest glades in the park. Historically influenced by periodic fires, these dolomite glades are becoming rarer as cedars encroach and choke out the native vegetation. Rocky Top Glade is managed by periodic fires to help maintain its natural integrity. Once you have hiked through the glade, native Ozark woodlands with its composition of white oaks, bluestem and asters become the norm. Crossing through the ravine, you will come to a rich north facing slope that gives way to dolomite cliff overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.

This trail is actually two loops joined together for a total of about two miles.  After hiking for approximately half a mile, you will come to an intersection. At this point you can finish the first loop by hiking back along the lakeshore to the parking lot and trailhead for a total hike of about one mile. If you would like a longer hike, cross the small ravine up to the overlook on the lake and loop back. This will be an additional 1.5 miles of hiking.

Bluestem Knoll Trail – 0.80 miles long – VIEW MAP
Settlers arriving in Missouri more than two centuries ago encountered a landscape much different than what is found in the Ozarks today. Widely spaced trees, tall native grasses and large herbivores were characteristic of the natural communities found in central Missouri. Through active management practices such as prescribed burning, removal of exotic species and opening of the canopy, these native landscapes are being restored.  Bluestem Knoll Trail goes through one of these areas actively managed by the park.

NOTE: Lake of the Ozarks is privately owned and the two Missouri State Parks are unaffected by the Federal Shutdown.