Table Rock Dam and Lake – Keys to Branson’s outdoor activities

Although it was a long time in coming, from an initial proposal in 1906 to its completion and dedication on June 19, 1959, Table Rock Dam and the lake it created, Table Rock Lake, arrived on the scene just in time to provide a needed impetus to Branson, Missouri’s budding tourism industry. Table Rock Dam is located approximately 6 miles south west of Branson, Missouri, has a maximum height above the river bed of 252 feet, is 6,423 feet in length, and has 10 Spillway Crest Gates.

Table Rock Lake has a surface area of approximately 43,100 surface acres, 745 miles of shoreline, and a lake elevation above mean sea level of 915 feet at the top of the Conservation Pool and 52,300 surface acres, 857 miles of shoreline, and a lake elevation above mean sea level of 931 feet at the top of the Flood Control Pool. On the average the lake will be at or below 915 because that is what is used as the guide level for the generation of hydroelectric power.

Although the primary purpose of Table Rock Dam and Table Rock Lake is flood control and the generation of hydroelectric power the lake offers a variety of recreational activities including hiking, sightseeing, hunting, skin diving, fishing, and water sports such as swimming, boating, water skiing etc. People accessing Table Rock Lake from the Branson area will be able to enjoy all that Table Rock Lake has to offer plus the attractions, activities, shopping, shows, etc. that Branson has to offer.

Visitors to Branson can conveniently gain access to Table Rock Lake off of State Highway 165 which can be accessed from its terminus at State Highway 165 commonly called “The Strip.” Just south of the entrance to the Chateau on the Lake is the turn off to Moonshine Beach, a public access area that has a public swimming beach and boat launching ramp. There is another public boat launching ramp located at the Table Rock State park just south of the dam and the Show Boat Branson Belle’s White River Landing. The State Park Marina is a full service marina and bait and tackle shop.

The Dewey Short Visitor Center, normally open seven days a week from April 1st to October 1 of each year is located on State Highway 165 at the south end of the dam between Moonshine Beach and the State Park. In addition to have information about all the public access areas and other information about Table Rock Lake the center has an exhibition area detailing the natural history of the Ozark Mountain region, its earliest inhabitants, and the construction of Table Rock Dam. A 20 minute film entitled, “Taming of the Riviera Blanche” explains the history and construction of the dam itself.

The visitor center is also one of the trail heads for the new 2.2 mile Table Rock Lakeshore Trail. The trail, completed in the fall of 2004 is level, paved, and is suitable for wheel chairs. See the article entitled, “New Table Rock Lakeshore Trail along Branson’s Table Rock Lake,” published in the Branson Courier for further information and pictures on this trail.

For further information contact the US Army Corps of Engineers
Table Rock Lake Project Office by phone Toll Free: 1-877-691-0558, via email at or visit their web site at

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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