“It’s a lot easier getting around in Branson than it is in most destination cities,” said Tammy Johnson, Operations Manager of the Branson Tourism Center. “The traffic on Branson’s famed ‘Strip,’ Highway 76, can get a little hectic at times because seeing the Branson Strip is something most tourists want to experience and it is a major east west route providing access to many of Branson’s major shows, theatres and attractions.”
The city of Branson has done an excellent job of establishing a system of alternate routes that make it easier to get around Branson and to many of its theatres and attractions. The big picture is that Highway 76, runs east and west, from historic downtown Branson west to Indian Point, Silver Dollar City and beyond. It is the heavy green colored line in the middle of the the Branson Map illustration. (Click here for enlarged map.) The portion of Highway 76 east of its junction with Branson’s Red Route, Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and west of its junction with the Blue Route, Roark Valley Road, is what is known as the “Branson Strip.”
All of Branson’s color coded alternate routes generally run parallel to Highway 76, with the Yellow Route paralleling it to the south and the Blue and Red Routes to the north. All color coded routes are appropriately signed and provide north south access to Highway 76 through arterial roads.
The Red Route is the one that people coming from the north on U.S. Highway 65 will encounter first. It is the “State Highway 248” or “Shepherd of the Hills Expressway” exit, the first one after you see Yakov’s Theatre and the sign for the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre. If you turn left, east, you will take the Red Route back to its point of origin at the junction of Highway 76 in historic downtown Branson going through the roundabout and convenient access to Branson Landing on the way.
If you turn right, west, the Red Route takes you to its western end at the junction of Highway 76 and Shepherd of the Hills Expressway as it parallels the Branson Strip to the north. Along the way you will pass the Mansion Theatre, home of a number of shows such as “Peter Pan,” “Liverpool Legends,” and “Penny Gilley” and where such legends as Johnny Mathis, the Gatlin Brothers, Debbie Boone, Vicki Lawrence and others will be making limited engagement appearances.
Further west, you will pass the Sight and Sound Theatre with its spectacular productions of “Noah the Musical” and the “Miracle of Christmas; the “Pierce Arrow,” “Hamner Barber Variety Show,” Shoji Tabuchi and the IMAX Complex with its great shopping, Elite III movie theatres, giant screen IMAX theatre, the Little Opry Theatre and dining.
Branson’s Blue Route starts from its eastern end at the intersection of Highway 76 and Roark Valley Road and runs west, roughly paralleling Branson’s Strip to its north until it ends at the intersection of Gretna Road and Highway 76 at Branson’s largest museum attraction, “The Titanic.” It should be noted, as is the case with all of Branson’s colored routes, the Blue Route is simply a routing over existing roads. Although it starts out as Roark Valley Road the Blue Route turns west onto Gretna Road at the intersection of Gretna and Roark Valley Roads and runs past Branson’s newest show, “Legends of Kung Fu, Chun Yi.”
The Yellow Route, also parallels the Strip, but to the south. It runs west from the intersection of Highway 76 and Fall Creek Road near Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, home of the “Legends in Concert” and “Brett Family” shows until it ends at the intersection with Highway 376 and Green Mountain Drive. The Yellow Route goes past the closest golf course to the Branson Strip, the “Thousand Hills Golf Course” on Wildwood Drive before turning west onto Green Mountain Drive.
As it crosses over Highway 165 it provides access to one of Branson’s most unique shows, the incredible “Acrobats of China.” The stretch of the Yellow Route between Highway 165 and its end at Highway 376 provides convenient direct access to shows such as “Jim Stafford,” “Doug Gabriel,” “Rankin Brothers,” “Duttons,” “George Dyer,” “Cats Pajamas” and others.
Johnson points out that the north south routes, off of Yellow Route particularly are very good for getting people close to shows on the “Strip.” He points out that Wildwood Drive, north from the Yellow Route, takes people right to the Branson Variety Theatre where among other shows the “Spirit of the Dance,” “Twelve Irish Tenors” and “Broadway the Star Spangled Celebration” perform or that “Keeter Avenue” takes people north to Highway 76 less than a block away from the Mickey Gilley, Hughes Brothers, and SIX shows. Those traveling on the Blue Route can exit south onto Francis or Rosalee Streets for convenient access to shows such as the Presleys’, Righteous Brother’s Bill Medley, Haygoods and the Baldknobbers.
Johnson suggests that a little time spent familiarizing oneself with Branson’s alternate colored routes could pay big dividends not only in terms of getting to theatres and shows, but to attractions, lodging and shopping as well. For additional information on Branson’s colored routes or any of Branson’s shows, attractions and activities or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.