RIDGEDALE, Mo. – Missouri’s Ozark Mountains will soon be home to one of the most naturally stunning resort accommodations anywhere in the world. Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris today announced plans for Top of the Rock Lodge, a new signature wilderness resort accommodation poised to dramatically raise the bar for rustic nature-based elegance and world-class golf amenities in a breathtaking location unlike any place else on earth.
Inspired by America’s iconic national park lodges, the soaring timber-and-stone-clad structure will sit directly on the edge of a newly discovered geologic wonder Morris calls, “The Cathedral of Nature” for its sheer size and awe-inspiring grandeur, inviting guests to marvel at dramatic 200-foot canyons and limestone formations from a number of mesmerizing vantage points.
Top of the Rock Lodge is the latest world-class accommodation at Big Cedar Lodge – an award- winning wilderness resort Travel + Leisure has named the “Best Resort in the Midwest” for the past two years. The Lodge will be the first of its kind to be located at Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve, Big Cedar’s enchanting clifftop experience home to golf, nature-based attractions, dining and entertainment. Both come from the visionary mind of Johnny Morris, who is sometimes referred to as “The Walt Disney of the Outdoors” for his signature creativity and passion for connecting people with nature.
“Our guests consistently tell us visiting Top of the Rock is one the best parts of their Big Cedar Lodge experience. This is a very special place and we couldn’t be more excited to further immerse people in the spectacular natural beauty and genuine Ozarks hospitality found here,” said Johnny Morris, who founded Big Cedar Lodge as a fishing resort more than 30 years ago. “Whether you want to play world-class golf, discover the rich history of the Ozarks or just enjoy bonding time with beloved friends and family in a beautiful setting, Top of the Rock Lodge will be the ultimate destination for anyone looking to escape life’s pressures and slow down to absorb nature’s true wonders.”
Offering jaw-dropping views overlooking Table Rock Lake, Top of the Rock is already home to world-class golf, nature-based attractions, dining and entertainment.
A grand wilderness lodge unlike other
Top of the Rock Lodge will undoubtedly become the defining resort accommodation in the region and one of the most stunning anywhere in the world. More than 100 rooms will feature luxury accommodations with handcrafted finishes and layouts designed to take advantage of the breathtaking views offered at Top of the Rock, with every room offering a stone fireplace and southern exposure directly overlooking The Cathedral of Nature and Table Rock Lake. In keeping with the spirit of the Ozarks Heritage Preserve, each detail will be a tribute to the natural beauty, rich history and strong craftsmanship found in the Ozarks region, including the signature touches Morris is known for incorporating into all his projects.
The Lodge and accompanying views will unveil themselves in dramatic fashion. Upon arrival, guests enter a grand living room home to dueling fireplaces, warm rustic features and a variety of guest amenities. All eyes will be drawn up and out as a towering 30-foot window opens onto a cantilevered perch that stretches out over the cliff’s edge, inviting guests to gaze down at the natural wonders below.
The most breathtaking feature and inspiration for The Lodge itself is The Cathedral of Nature itself, an awe-inspiring natural wonder that has been dramatically unveiling itself to the world for the past three years following a small sinkhole collapse under Top of the Rock’s Arnold Palmer- designed driving range. The aftermath revealed beautiful towering geological formations formed more than 300 million years ago and inspired Morris, a lifelong cave enthusiast, to excavate the site in the hopes of discovering a vast system of caverns hidden below. Now 200 feet below the surface, crews have removed 70,000 truckloads of material revealing more of the massive limestone formations.
Guests staying at Top of the Rock Lodge will come in direct contact with the geologic wonder. In addition to multiple cantilevered overlooks and balconies offering direct views, an infinity pool seemingly floating above the behemoth-sized canyons below will bring guests right to the ragged edge and beyond.
Additional amenities include an onsite spa, fitness center, meeting space and more. A handcrafted covered wooden bridge will connect guests to Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve including its variety of dining offerings and nature-based attractions.
America’s Next Great Golf Destination
In addition to natural beauty, Big Cedar Lodge is celebrated for its critically-acclaimed golf offerings including nationally recognized amenities at Top of the Rock. Morris, with the assistance of golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer, spent nearly eight years crafting the Top of the Rock course out of the Ozarks landscape. The first-ever par three course to be included in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, Top of the Rock is one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. Located high above Table Rock Lake with tranquil waterfalls, meandering creeks and lakes and ponds teeming with bass, the course is a true celebration of nature. The course is one of several world-class courses found at Big Cedar Lodge, which Robb Report has called, “America’s Next Great Golf Destination.”
In addition to the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, golfers can enjoy an Arnold Palmer-designed practice facility, and Arnie’s Barn, a beautifully restored 150-year-old barn that was transported from Arnold Palmer’s backyard in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and rebuilt plank by plank, complete with historic photos and memorabilia from Palmer’s career achievements. In addition to a restaurant, Arnie’s Barn houses a world-class pro shop offering top-of-the-line golf apparel and goods.
Big Cedar Lodge is also home to the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament, which brings international attention and some of the biggest names in golf, entertainment and the outdoors to the Ozarks each year.
A new wonder in the making
Construction is slated to start this summer with grand opening dates and additional details will be announced in the months to come. Visit BigCedarLodge.com and like Big Cedar Lodge on Facebook for more information and updates.
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About Big Cedar Lodge
Located in the heart of Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge is America’s premier wilderness resort. A passion of Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, the 4,600-acre lakeside retreat connects families to the outdoors with a variety of nature-based experiences including fishing, boating, hiking, spa and wellness offerings. Signature attractions include Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve, home to world-class golf, dining, and nature-based attractions; and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000-acre nonprofit wildlife preserve. Named “Number One Resort in the Midwest” by the readers of Travel + Leisure, the resort offers genuine Ozarks hospitality and a convenient location just south of Branson. Learn more at www.bigcedar.com.