Katy Trail St. Charles

#7 On Trail Map

NEAREST TOWN: St. Charles (St. Charles County).

DIRECTIONS: The Katy Trail is accessible from dozens of points along its route. St. Charles is the eastern-most trailhead, accessible from 1-70. Take the St. Charles 5th Street Exit. Go north. Turn right onto Boonslick Road. Take Boonslick Road to Riverfront Drive and park. See map for more information. The trail follows Hwy 94 along the Missouri River and currently ends in Sedalia.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: The Katy Trail is the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the country. This is a flat bike trail as opposed to the more aggressive rides highlighted throughout this book. Grades never exceed five percent. The trail is open to hikers and bikers and is wheelchair accessible.

If you’re looking for a long distance cardio workout or just a great easy ride, the Katy Trail is a great trail to explore. The hardpacked, eight-foot-wide trail offers many great views of the scenery along the Missouri River. It also passes through many historic, small communities in the river bottoms.

HIGHLIGHTS: Great stretches of solitude. Gorgeous bluffs and river views.

HAZARDS: The edges of the trail tend to get soft with heavy rainfall. Bring your Skin-So-Soft or insect repellent.

AREA INFORMATION: Call the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1 (800) 366-2427. They’ve got a series of free eco-tourism brochures on everything from birdwatching, to hiking and biking, to wildflower and fall leaf tours.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: The trail will extend on east to Machens perhaps as soon as spring 1999. If you’re looking for camping, there’s a campground in St. Charles called Sundermeier RV Park, 1 (800) 929-0832, that has great hot showers and is a good base camp if you plan on spending several days in this area.

CONTACT INFO: Missouri Department of Natural Resources Information Hotline: 1 (800) 334-6946.

DISTANCE: 185 miles.

TERRAIN: Hard-packed chat surface. Pedals almost like pavement except on soft shoulders and after weeks of soaking rains. I’ve seen mountain bikes, hybrids and road bikes all fare equally well on the trail.

RIDING TIME: A few hours for a leisurely visit. Three to five days to explore the whole length of the 200-mile trail. I’ve heard of several athletes doing the whole trail in two days but what’s the rush?

LAND STATUS: Department of Natural Resources

SERVICES & ACTIVITIES: Restrooms, bike repair and rental, food and lodging. Camping is allowed in designated areas only

Many service locations are available all along the trail, separated by distances between five and 30 miles, making this a great training ride for even the most caffeine dependent bikers (did I hear someone say mocha?). Trailside services in St. Charles are as complete as it gets. They range from luxurious bed and breakfasts and restaurants to cafes and the Touring Cyclist Bike Shop, right on Main Street.

TRAILHEAD: St. Charles, Greens Bottom Road, Weldon Spring Conservation Area, Defiance, Matson, Augusta, etc. Check out DNR’s free Katy Trail maps: 1 (800) 334-6946. Or order The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook ($14.95) from Pebble Publishing 1 (800) 576-7322. It has everything from mileage charts, a pull-out map, services, histories of the towns, listing of all B&Bs, you name it.

RATING: Easy. Flat, smooth gravel trail makes for a leisurely and scenic ride.

Trail description provided by Show Mountain Biking, The Complete Mountain Biker’s Guide to Missouri and Pebble Publishing.