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WEEKEND GETAWAY: Enjoy a unique getaway at bison ranch

WEEKEND GETAWAY: Enjoy a unique getaway at bison ranch

Elkhead Ranch herds are treated with respect and dignity and are free to roam on the ranch, providing a unique backdrop for visitors.

Elkhead Ranch has a lot of history, scenic views and roaming bison and elk. It’s an adventure for those who enjoy spending time enjoying nature and wildlife.

The Bruner, Missouri area ranch was purchased in 2012 by Randy and Jane Miller of Nebraska. The ranch is home to their Missouri bison operation. The Millers have been raising bison since 1995 from their home ranch in Nebraska.

Bison herds in America are growing and thriving. While it’s true that at one time bison were near extinction due to westward expansion and recreational killing of the American Bison during the days of the Wild West, there has been a resurgence in recent years, putting the iconic American symbol well out of danger of extinction.

The roaming bison and other animals provide a unique backdrop for a day or a weekend. The ranch is named after a road that once cut through the property. Guests will find an old cemetery, as well as remnant from old homesteads.

Miller Bison at Elkhead Ranch is home to a wide variety of native Ozarks wildlife across its 1,200 acres. This includes deer, wild turkey, bobcats, coyotes, turtles, birds from Bald Eagles to Indigo Buntings and even the occasional black bear.Whether hiking down the wooded trails or even just down the main ranch road, you are bound to see some of the amazing creatures that live here, as well as the bison and cattle.

Miller Bison at Elkhead Ranch boasts two main water features – a creek which runs through the property and a small fishing lake.

Depending on the season and rainfall, the rock-bottomed creek may run dry or quite full. When it is running, the water is crystal clear, pooling in small springs along the way. Little fish swim throughout and crawdads have been known to peek out of their holes along the wooded areas of the creek.

If you go

Tours are available by appointment and include views of the bison herd, the corral system, Elkhead lake and the ranch guest cabin.


Dependent on age, the price of tours range from $7 to $12, with children under 5 and under admitted free.


Go to http://millerbisonatelkheadranch.com/


The ranch is located about 45 minutes southeast of Springfield.

The fishing pond, Elkhead Lake, is a great place to kick back, relax, fish and enjoy your surroundings. The pond is full of catfish, bass and bluegill which guests on the ranch are welcome to fish for during their stay. One of our bison pastures overlooks the pond from the opposite end and on days when bison are in that pasture, you can enjoy the sight of the bison roaming in the distance while sitting on the dock. The pond is a perfect place for watching the sunrise or sunset and a great place for kicking back at the end of the day.

There is plenty of plant life throughout and the Miller’s have planted and maintained native grasses (both summer and winter season) throughout the pasture lands to ensure animals have a habitat they can thrive in.

There are at least four caves on the ranch property. The larger cave contains a cool spring and waterfall in the back. Depending on conditions, these caves may be available for exploration during your visit.

Visitors are able to drive up close to the entrance of the larger cave, however, not all the way up to it. You’ll have to leave the vehicle and take a short hike through a wooded area to the cave’s entrance. To enter this cave, you have to hunch down a little to crawl through the entrance. But once you are in, you can stand up and walk. You’ll notice the temperature decreases significantly when you’re inside-even on a hot summer day! The walls, ceiling and ground are made up entirely of mud and clay. A small stream may be trickling through on the ground, so be prepared for your shoes and pants to become muddy and wet.

There are two coves inside the cave — one takes you to a small waterfall where a trickle of water drops from above. You can stand completely upright in this cove. If you look upwards from here, you will see formations that continue and spiral upwards. The other cove contains a small spring of water which may vary in depth from time to time. It is about 10-15 feet in diameter.

Keep in mind, it is pitch black once you get inside the cave. You’ll need flashlights or head lights to go through. This adventure is not for the faint of heart. It takes stamina and lots of hiking/walking. But when the conditions are right, it can be an exciting experience!

Get close to nature with a tour or cabin rental. The ranch is full of trails and plenty of wildlife to make a day trip worth the drive.

If a weekend getaway is more to your liking, check out the lodging. The guest cabin is a rustic private cabin on a hilltop near the entrance of the ranch. It will comfortably sleep up to 6-8 people, but is also well suited for smaller parties. The cabin comes fully furnished with a kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. The cabin contains one bedroom with two sets of bunk beds and a loft with a double bed and futon.

Information provided courtesy of http://millerbisonatelkheadranch.com.

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