We love riding our bicycles. Wanna feel like a kid again? Ride a Bicycle. Wanna CLEAR YOUR HEAD!? Ride a Bicycle. Need a little time away from reality? Ride a Bicycle. Wanna lose a few pounds or 100 or more? Ride a Bicycle. Wanna get or stay healthy? Ride a Bicycle.
When we decided to move away from SD one of the Big Things on our list of, 'here's what we would like for our new place to have', near enough to ride our bicycle to the Katy Trail without loading them up to get there. We now live RIGHT on the Katy Trail. Our Road and Driveway both cross right over the Katy Trail. I love to also sit out on our Big Front Porch (another of those things on the list) and watch other riders go by, riding down the Katy Trail. We arae so Blessed!
We bought and set up the 'Bicycle Crossing' Sign, and the Antique Bike, for our Driveway coming in to our place.
Our Property Line STARTS right at the KATY Trail. From the KATY Trail toward the house is ours.
Riding our Bicycles down the driveway to the KATY is a Big Deal for us. We love it! We often ride to the next towns and further just for our Morning Rides. We have met such nice folks out there! Bicycle/Trail Use People are SUCH NICE FOLKS! You very rarely run into a crabby person using the KATY Trail!
We 'run errands' on our bicycles too. We have panniers for Groceries as well as anything else we need to carry to or from town. This is especially fun on our Tandems. We often ride our Bicycles to Church and home on Sunday Mornings.
Deron and I have ridden the whole Trail both directions since moving back to MO and plan to do it again, this time on a Tandem, see page on this site.
We see so many nice folks out here! Most on Bikes, but walkers and joggers, and flat out runners too. Deron and I also Snow Shoe and CC Ski on the Trail. We have the Fat Tire, known as Fatties, Snow Bikes too. It would surprise a LOT of people how many folks use the Trail all year. We see 'regulars' often.
PLEASE NOTE WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
Deron and I have not only ridden the Katy Trail End to End, a few times, we currently ride it almost daily in our area. We talk to Bikepackers as we see them on the Trail all the time. Conversations always lead to 'The Trip', 'The Experience'. So we have a good idea of not only our own perspective, but others as well.
Katy Trail IS Missouri Crowned Jewel! It is so refreshing to ride along for as few or as many miles as one would like to go on the day they enjoy the Trail. Visiting Small Towns along the way is so much fun for those, especially those, that live in the Cities.
I wanted to make a few notes for folks riding the Katy, things you might not know and should. There are small things to see, to do, that many people pass by not knowing about. And there are a few Dangers along the Trail that could be harmful to your health.
I'm just going to list them here, not have a real writing theme or writing way, or in fact, any order of towns or writing here:
Many people have the wrong idea about Katy Trail before riding it, and some are disappointed. Katy Trail goes through the RURAL parts, the Farming Areas, of MO. There are only Walmarts and Big Grocery Stores, and in fact Coffee Shops in Sedalia and St. Charles, that is without riding several more miles as you would have to to find them in Colombia, Boonville, and I am sure a few other towns.
Dollar Generals are your friend while on the Trail. They have many things you may need, above and beyond food and drinks. Dollar Generals are reasonably priced. I have never been in one that does NOT have very friendly employees. If you break something on your bicycle, they might even have a screw or nut or tape or zip tie you need to ride on.
There is a LOVELY Koi Pond at the Boonville Casino with a Fish Food 'Gum Ball Machine' near it so that you can feed them for .25. Some are QUITE Large and everyone Beautiful!
Boonville also has a Bike Shop right along the Trail, if they are closed, there is a telephone number in the window. On that note: The Bicycle Repair Station in Boonville is NOT at the Trail Head, it is located across from the Caboose. There is also an overhead 'shelter' there with a Grill and Picnic Table.
Boonville and Augusta, I believe, or at this writing, are the only two towns with Bike Shops ON the Trail. Most towns do not have Bike Shops, however, if you ask in towns, some do have Hardware Stores that MIGHT have that Parts and Pieces you might need for Bike Repair. St. Charles, Sedaila, Columbia, (that I can think of off hand) do have Bike Shops, but you will have to ride a few miles to find them.
OFTEN we see people riding their bicycles, usually FULL PACKED, <read = heavy loads> that thought they could resupply in Clifton City, between Sedalia and Pilot Groves, the most hilly part of the Trail. MANY OF THESE FOLKS DEHYDRATED! YOU CAN NOT RESUPPLY IN CLIFTON CITY! NOT EVEN WATER!
Fill your Water Supplies each and every time you are able to, and carry more than you think you need.
The Katy is harder to ride when it is wet. In some areas it is like Quicksand. Do not ride in the middle of the Trail (ever really) but when wet, there are areas that 'open up' with deep ruts.
We have seen numerous Copperhead Snakes on the Katy Trail. When taking photos, be careful. Yes. Copperheads ARE poisonous Snakes.
You might not find many businesses open in most of the towns, and barely a thing on a Monday, however, Due to BRILLIANT Marketing, many small towns now have Casey's and Dollar General. Both have Food and Water and cool or warm air. We often, on a hot (or cold) day, run our errands to Dollar General. It is AMAZING the things they carry!
Katy Trail has many, at this writing (2020), Detours. You will be riding on the Roadway. Black clothing is not only Hot on Summer Days, It will blend right in with the Pavement and Drivers will not see you as quickly as they will a Cyclist wearing bright clothes.
Pick Up A Trail Map
At each of the Trail Heads there are Free Maps. You will want one, not so much for the Trail Map, but the Information there in. There are telephone numbers you may need, lists of campsites, trail rules, mileage from Trailhead to Trailhead, some roadway maps you may need, a bit of Katy Trail History and more. We pack a map on our bicycles. You never know when you might need it.
Deron and I were both born and raised in St. Louis County, MO. For us, we LOVE the four seasons of MO. We have cycled, camped, backpacked, snow shoed, and so much more, enjoying the outdoors all of our lives.
MO, like so many States, can change in a couple hours, with little to no warning.
While some days in the Summer can be very Hot and Humid,
Thunder Storms in MO can become sever, with Tornado Watches and Warnings very fast. Lightening on a Bicycle is NOT like Lightening inside a Vehicle with a shield and four rubber tires on pavement. Your bicycle tires do NOT protect you from Lightening.
MO wind can bring in Cold Weather within several minutes.
MO rain is usually a Cold Rain. That can sound delightful on a Hot Summer Day, but for some, it can mean Hypothermia. Having a Water Repellent Jacket really is important on long Katy Trail Rides.
much more and photos to come
The Katy Trail is 238 miles long. However. When planning your trip, you need to know...
There are Detours (several at the 2020 writing). You will be leaving the Trail and riding further on either Highways or Biways. Often in very hilly areas.
If you are staying overnight in Towns, if you are resupplying your foods and waters, some towns are further off the Trail than one might think from reading what is printed in written information. Many of the attractions are UPHILL.
So while the TRAIL is 238, plan on riding further. When you plan your daily mileage, ASK on line about Detour areas and how far your overnight accommodations will be from the Trail.
Know that your 238 Miles Bike Ride, is really going to be several more miles longer than this.
There are Camping Opportunities along the Trail. Some towns, such as Pilot Grove, offer FREE Camping. Most Camping is very reasonably priced along the Trail.
If you pick up a Trail Map at any of the Trailheads, there is a list of Public Camp Grounds with phone numbers and emails listed. That will help you in your planning or in a pinch.
Keep in mind that the Katy Trail is only State Park ON THE TRAIL! Scamp Campers, those that just 'pull over and throw up a tent' are on Private Property. There are no, "in the woods", Land Belongs To Someone. Most Land Owners do NOT want Scamp Campers using their land as toilets and tents set up on their yards or in their fields or woods.
Call ahead and make your Camping Arrangements before you head out for the Trail.
Flyers and Tourists
We have found, from talking to people, and riding the Trail ourselves, there seem to be two types that Ride the Trail End To End. The Flyers, those that ride it as fast and hard as they can to 'get it done', and those that Meander. There are a few in between, but not too many.
We have also found some that have done, or are doing both. Maybe they Toured the Trail a few years back, and have come back to take their time and enjoy the Sites and Festivals along the way.
One type of riding is not better than another. It just depends on, many times age of the riders, or what they want to accomplish.
But for those of you that do not know. There is MUCH to see and do along the Trail. You just have a lot of miles between events and attractions. Check small town websites along the way, most of these small towns host some sort of Festivals in the Summer and Fall. Many are worthy of visiting, if only for the Kettle Corn.
Trail Head Notes
We ride this trail often, from our home and locally, several times per week, every week. These are just our notes that you might find helpful about Trail Heads.
Deron and I are 'Out Doors People'. If it sounds like I am being prudish about some of the Trailheads, I am not. Do I see NEEDS for improvements? Yes. I am here, just telling you the truth about how I/We found these Trailheads and or Towns. I think it is important that people do not have too high expectations before arriving. We also think that some websites 'over play' some areas. Just our opinions.
under construction, more to come:
CLINTON: This Small Town is not at the Trailhead. There is a Pit Toilet, Trailhead Pavilion, and a short ride 'in the other direction' to thr Roadway that you might want to ride down to for that 'full ride feel'.
SEDALIA FAIRGROUNDS: Large Parking Lot, Horse Water Trofts, Pavilion with Picnic Tables,
SEDALIA DEPOT: Indoor Flushing Toilets. Heated in the Winter. The old Depot is fun to go into and has not only a Gift Shop, but an area to sit indoors and eat....but bring your own food.
CLIFTON CITY: NO WATER, NO FOOD. A Pit Toilet and a Picnic Table, as well as the Trail Head Pavilion.
PILOT GROVE: Very Small Town, but will have most of what you might need. While the Diner is not always open (we find rarely open) there is not only a Casey's near the Trail Head, but also a Dollar General just down the main Road. There is also Water at the Trail Head as well as a very nice Bike Station (that is tools, a stand for lifting your bicycle onto and tire pump) as well as a Laundrymatt, and if your bike is especially dirty, a Car Wash, all of this either at the Trailhead or just blocks away.
BOONVILLE: Trail Head Pavilion, Flushing Toilets. There is a Bike Shop right on the trail just up a block from Pavilion, across from the Caboose. Just after the Pavilion the Trail leaves the Chat, to take you to the new Bridge put in a few years back. You can ride up onto the Old Bridge, we love it and it is worth looking at. Then. Follow the markings on the Roadway for Katy Trail, and off to a short concrete ride. After the Bridge you will be making very sharp turns to get back onto the Trail, watch for it, RIGHT as the Bridge ends. Boonville is a lovely little town. We call it home. You can find about anything you might be looking for.
ROCHEPORT: Touristy. Flushing Toilets and Water. Trail Head Pavilion. Restaurant and Bike Rental. We can not tell you, however, how many times we have heard people say they could not get ANYTHING on Mondays. And. Some other days too, depending on time of year. Coffee? Do not plan on it.
NORTH JEFFERSON: Water, Toilet (Out House in Winter), Picnic Tables.
MARTHASVILLE:Trailhead Pavilion, Flushing Toilets, Picnic Tables and a small Gas Station right at the Trailhead. There is a Restaurant within a block. But. Like all small towns along the Katy Trail, not everything is always open.
AUGUSTA: VERY over used Pit Toilets! They STINK! Year Round, they STINK! Augusta is a very busy area of the Trail. Many people ride between Augusta and St. Chas. There is a Restaurant right at the Trail Head as well as a Bike Shop. Neither have Rest Rooms, so everyone uses the Pit Toilets. There are often special events making the Pit Toilets even more busy....nice town, lovely town, but those Pit Toilets are the WORSE! THIS is the Toilet that will make you wish you had carried wet wipes....mostly, but not only, for your hands.
WELDON SPRINGS: Stinky, Overused Pit Toilets. Trailhead Pavilion.
ST. CHARLES: This used to be 'the end of the line' for the Katy Trail. Some folks still end their End to End rides here. You will find everything you might be looking for, but you may have to ride around town to find it. If you are riding on to Machens, FILL ALL YOUR WATER BOTTLES before leaving St. Chas.
BLACK WALNUT: Pavilion Trailhead.
MACHENS: I would venture to say that most people, when riding End to End, end their trip here, starting that is, in Clifton. When you arrive to this Trail Head there is a small Trail Head Pavilion, and Pit Toilets. No Water. And a VERY large pile of rocks tall and wide on the end of the Trail.
The contents of this page for Katy Trail is still under construction. Please check back later.
-- The MKT Farmhouse Team
Tue, 07 Aug 2018 09:58:21 -0400