The Katy Trail runs East and West, almost completly crossing the state of Missouri. At 225 miles (currently) in length, the Katy Trail is the longest developed rail trail in the country. The trail is composed of pug (fine packed gravel) but there are a few areas of larger, loose gravel where the trail had recently washed out. A majority of the trail follows the Missouri River, offering breath taking views of the Mighty Mo.Following the old MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) railroad line, the Katys grade is rarely more than 5 degrees. However, the secton from Boonville (mile marker 191.8) to Clinton (mile marker 264.6) has some long inclines. There are several areas of the trail with no shade so take the heat into consideration during the summer. Several of the towns along the trail have bike rentals, food, lodging, and lots of shops.We recently had the opportunity to ride the full length of the Katy Trail over a five day period.
We began our ride in St Charles (mile marker 39.5)Missouri's first state capitol and the starting point of Lewis and Clarks famous expedition. The historic down town area of St. Charles offers many quaint shops and wonderful restaurants.
During this first leg of the journey, you will be traveling through Missouri's wine country.You will find numerous wineries offering tours, samples, and souvenirs in several towns.Herman (mile marker 100) is a great German town with several B&B's and wineries. (They host wine festivals in May and October)
At mile marker 143 you come to Jefferson City, Missouri's state capitol. There is an excellent view of the capitol building from the Katy Trail.
The town of Hartsburg (mile marker 153) is one of the friendliest places in the world. Stop by the Cycle Depot for a sandwitch or any biking needs. (Don't miss Hartsburgs pumpkin festival in October)
Mile marker 178 brings us to Rocheport, take some time to explore this town, lunch or dinner at Abigal's is a must. The Lewis and Clark Cave (noted in the explorers journals) is a few miles East of Rocheport on the Katy Trail.
Booneville (mile marker 191.8) to Sedalia (mile marker 229) is one of our favorite parts of the trail. Well-established trees provide a beautiful green canopy to shade bikers and hikers alike. Both Boonville and Sedalia have restored their train depots, stop in and take a step back in time. These buildings are incredible.
Our last day on the trail was from Sedalia (mile marker 239.2) to Clinton (mile marker 264.6). Where as our main priority was getting OFF the bikes, we didn't spend as much time exploring the towns along this section of trail. Green Ridge (mile marker 239.2), Windsor (mile marker 248) and Calhoun (mile marker 255.5) are all located next to the Katy Trail and offer anything you could possibly need.
If you like to bike and/or hike, make this trip! Lots of history, lots to see and do, and lots of good people to meet.
And always remember, helmets are optional....but clothing is not.