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Riding Amtrak along the Katy Trail

One popular method of getting from point to point along the Katy Trail is to ride Amtrak.  "Roll on" bikes are allowed on the Missouri route, making it easy for you (and your bike) to ride Amtrak to some point on the trail, and then pedal back from there.  For example, St. Louis-based riders and their bikes could board Amtrak in Kirkwood, ride the train to Sedalia, and then pedal the Katy Trail back to St Charles.

Amtrak will not accomodate tandems or recumbents.  Trailers are also a problem, unless your trailer can be broken down to the rather compact carry-on size limit of 28x22x14.

Jefferson City Amtrak Station
Photo: Amtrak Photo Archive Jefferson City Station
Amtrak offers this service to the following towns (see the Trail Connections section below for details about station locations relative to the Katy Trail):
On a daily basis, Amtrak operates two trains in each direction - a morning train headed each way, and an afternoon/evening train each way.  Here is Amtrak's timetable for the Missouri route.

Trail Connections

Kirkwood, in St Louis County, is not on the Katy Trail (not even close).  It’s approximately 15 miles away from the eastern end of the trail.  It can be reached by bike, but only by riders who are comfortable cycling on busy streets.  Follow this link for details on how to get from the Kirkwood (St Louis County) Amtrak station to the Katy Trail by bike.  Shuttles are a great alternative for getting from Kirkwood Station to the Katy Trail (see The Shuttle Option section below), for those who'd rather do their pedaling on the trail.  If you park a car near the Kirkwood station during a trip, be sure to ask a station employee for an overnight parking permit to place on your dashboard.

Washington is about five miles from the Dutzow trailhead, Hermann is about three miles from the McKittrick trailhead, and Jefferson City is just a mile or so from the North Jefferson trailhead. Regarding taking the train to Washington, Hermann, or Jefferson City, see The Bridge Problem below.

The Sedalia Amtrak station is not directly on the Katy Trail; you'll need to travel about 3/4 mile to get there.  From the train station, you'll head south on Ohio (750) about 1/4 mile to 3rd Street. Then head east on 3rd Street; after about 1/2 mile you'll see the old Katy Depot, which is where the trail is located.

Amtrak does not serve Clinton, the western-most point on the Katy Trail.  Riders who really want to take the train and want to ride the entire trail will have to take the train to Sedalia, then ride out-and-back to Clinton.  The trail distance between Sedalia and Clinton is 35 miles.

To avoid double-travelling the Sedalia-Clinton section, some riders may opt to take the train to Warrensburg and then ride on the country roads and highways to Clinton.  Here's a discussion of cycling routes from Warrensburg to Clinton.

Crossing The River

To get from Jefferson City, Hermann, or Washington to the Katy Trail, you'll need to cross the Missouri River.  Hermann has a bike-friendly bridge that cyclists will appreciate, but you will have to ride on a wide highway shoulder for less than a mile to get there.  Jefferson City also has a safe bike/pedestrian bridge, completely separated from automotive traffic.  The Washington bridge is only wide enough for one car in either direction, and is not recommended for cyclists. 

Many of the B&Bs and inns in Jefferson City, Hermann, and Washington offer shuttle service for their guests to and from the nearest Katy Trail trailhead.  Also, some of the Washington B&Bs may offer an escort across the bridge, meaning they follow you in the car to protect you from other cars.

The Hermann page has a list of Hermann lodging options.  For Washington and Jefferson City, here are links to hotel/motel listings:
Click photo for larger view (large file over 1MB)
Bridge to Hermann
Photo: Chuck Morlock
How it used to be: Cyclists on the old bridge to Hermann, which has been replaced by a new bridge with a physically separate bike section

Bike Spaces Are Limited

Amtrak allows only a limited number of "roll-on" bikes, so reservations are necessary (1-800-USA-RAIL).  You will also be charged a small surcharge for bringing a bike.  MAKE SURE you tell the agent that you are bringing a roll-on bicycle, when making the reservation!!  For more details on taking your bike on the train, here is a link to Amtrak's official baggage policy.  Look for the Special Items and Bicycles section.

Occasionally the conductors will ask riders to loosen their handlebars, so be sure to bring a tool for this.  Amtrak does not allow tandems or recumbents.

The Shuttle Option

One of the most convenient ways to get from point to point along the trail is by using a shuttle service.  These "taxi cabs of the trail" transport riders and bikes from one spot to another along the trail, and beyond.  You might consider combining a shuttle with the train help get exactly where you need to go.  For example, a shuttle is an ideal way to get from the Kirkwood train station to the eastern end of the trail.

Always call ahead to check prices and availability.  Here's a list of Katy Trail shuttle services:
cbamshuttle  660-621-3488   Boonville
Katy Bike Rental  636-987-2673   Defiance
A+ Victory Shuttle  660-221-7795   Green Ridge
Old Timers Taxi  660-888-3917   New Franklin
B & L Shuttle  660-221-4406   Sedalia
Bike Stop Cafe  636-724-9900   St Charles
Lococo House III  636-946-0619   St Charles
Show Me MO Tours Shuttle  314-781-0015   St Charles
St Charles Yellow Cab  636-724-1234   St Charles
The Touring Cyclist Shuttle  314-739-4038   St Charles
Bike Stop Cafe Chesterfield  636-735-4422   Weldon Spring
Checker Cab  573-636-7101   Jefferson City
BikeHermann  573-259-4477   Hermann
Hermann Trolley     Hermann

Useful/Related Resources
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