Katy Trail Home  The Katy Trail and Rock Island Trail Rock Island Trail Home

FLOOD CLOSURES: Some sections of the Katy Trail east of Boonville are closed due to flooding. Check MO State Parks website, Trail Conditions Report from trail users, and Katy Trail Forum discussions for the latest details.

Katy Trail Forum

Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Katy Trail and/or Rock Island Trail.
FORUM DIGEST / ALERTS: click here to receive an emailed copy each time someone enters a Forum note, or a daily digest summarizing all Forum discussions for the day.
Display format:
Expanded (see all replies)
Contracted (starting posts and reply counts)
Page: 1 2 ... 518
the best way to ride the trail
Opedaler from Northeast Nebraska on 11/17/2019 11:46 AM
We're trying to find new rails-to-trails to ride, and since retirement is edging closer I think we will be able to make it happen.

The Katy trail is either #1 or #2 on our list for next year. I will read the forum more closely after I post this, but what is the best way to ride it from end to end? We would especially be interested in sagged rides.....or even shuttle service back to our original starting point.

Any tips, recommendations or directions on this site to certain thread will be much appreciated.

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 11/17/2019 08:17 PM
I've done the fully supported Katy Trail Ride 8 times and plan on doing it again in 2020. Unfortunately it was cancelled due to flooding this year. However you can read up on the ride at this link:


For 2020 it should start in St. Charles which is closer to St. Louis. It includes shuttle service back to your car for an extra $70 a person. They drag your bags for you. Most people sleep in tents but there are hotel options for extra costs. I use the Padres Cycle Inn tent service where you rent their tent and they even set it up and break it down for you each day.

Michael from mountains from London on 11/18/2019 03:42 AM
Hi Opedaler
I posted some thoughts in the Katy Trail Forum thread 'Next July' and also in other posts about shuttles. We used Todd at Katy Bike Rental/Katy Shuttles tel: 314 578 7300. His base is Defiance about 10 miles west of St Charles, but he offered to pick us up from our hotel - the Holiday Inn Express in St Charles (recommended) and shuttle us west to Sedalia. I'm sure he'd take you further west to the end of the Katy.
We prefer to ride quiet times and just the two of us, so we booked our own shuttle and cycled late September/early October when it was supposed to be cooler (it wasn't). As Jerry points out, there is an annual big ride which got cancelled due to the flooding this year.
I'm interested in your thoughts on other trails. We have cycled the entire Allegheny Passage/Cumberland and Ohio over three years. It's a really beautiful ride with lots of interest along the way. We've also done two stretches of the Erie Canal trail. The part west from Rochester is all off-road and lovely, but going east involves some significant bits of highway which is ok, but not a lot of fun, and it's more difficult to find the way on these stretches. We also struggled to find B and Bs and hotels on this part of the Erie. The ride through the outskirts/suburbs and centre of Syracuse is most interesting. We got lost quite a bit, but didn't find the traffic a real problem. However, we are used to roads, although we avoid them when we can.
Which other trails are you considering? Michael

John Hutchins from Pacific on 11/18/2019 10:26 AM
The direction to ride the Katy is west to east. With prevailing winds and down river, so down hill. What is the other trail you are considering? I've ridden the Katy several times and it it great. Last spring I rode the C & O Canal Towpath and the Great Alleghany Passage. The GAP is a rail trail like the Katy but is in fantastic shape since it doesn't suffer annual flooding like the Katy. The C & O is challenging. Rocks, roots, mud, etc. but worth the ride with the right tires and attitude.

Opedaler from Northeast Nebraska on 11/19/2019 07:36 PM
Thanks so much to all. I (make that we) have many things to think over. It'll be a go now for sure!

Opedaler from Northeast Nebraska on 11/21/2019 11:01 AM

We are just entering the rails-to-trails lifestyle. Work has precluded much until now, but it is becoming our go-to preference. We have done several group rides (ie tour de Nebraska, seven cities etc....all sagged road rides) but are looking for more leisure and scenic rides.

We have ridden the Cowboy trail in Nebraska extensively and we love it, but a few things......the flooding this year has really taken its toll, and it is a different type of trail in that a lot of it is focused on open range land. The eastern part is farm land with more trees and goes along the Elkhorn river, it was quite nice, but many repairs are still needed from last years flooding. The western portion is open and could use some upkeep. As more people find interest in this type of trail it will be a very nice ride. I would recommend from west (Valentine) to east (Norfolk). There is a loss of 1000' elevation and the winds are primarily west to east. Keep it in mind once it is fixed up. I should mention if you do have issues there is a good road all along the trail (Hw 20 and then Hwy 275) with shoulders. A lot of traffic tho so we prefer the trail.

We have also done the Mickelson trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota twice. We did the "Trail Trek" and would highly recommend it. Even though the last two years also saw some water damage they have worked hard to keep it up. The Trail Trek is limited to 600 riders and it fills up within a week often. Each year there have been a few "accidents" because of trail issues, but most could have been avoided with a little effort on the riders part. The "Trek" is somewhat complicated so I'll direct you to their website for a complete itinerary.....suffice it to say, it is unique and you always have your car for site seeing at night. You must get your own lodging....we just get hotels (two nights in Custer, and two in Deadwood. If you ride it on your own (ie unsagged I'd recommend going from North (Deadwood) to south (Edgemont). It can be done in a day (109 miles) but we prefer the more leisurely ride of the Trek.

Recently talked to a gentleman who does the Erie canal ride (sagged) every year and said it's a must-do. It won't be this year for us as retirement is still a year away, but it's on our bucket list as is the Coeur d'Alenes trail in Idaho, and the Beaver trail in Iowa.

Next July
Trail rider on 10/21/2019 06:47 AM
Planning to bike the entire Katy Trail next summer maybe mid July, I am an older gentleman in mid 60s, is there anyone that might be interested in joining me, we have plenty of time to plan this.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/21/2019 09:02 AM
How many miles per day?

Hotels/hostels or camping?

ASJ from Little Elm, TX on 10/22/2019 08:07 AM
I'd be interested in doing entire trail in 2020. I tried it in May of 2019, but ended up road riding due to the flooding. Are you planning on camping or hoteling? I'm flexible on mileage, big days don't bother me. I'm late 50's.

Marna from Boonville on 10/22/2019 08:26 AM
I could be interested. Are you tent camping or credit card camping? How many miles were you thinking per day? Carry All or SAG Wagon?

Trail Rider on 10/22/2019 12:17 PM
I am not sure I am think maybe try to travel light and stay in motels or what ever that’s available, at this point without a lot or research maybe 25 or so miles a day, what do you think.

G & G from Sedalia on 10/22/2019 03:05 PM
I planned a trip with my 11 year old grandson doing 25-30 miles a day. It will take about 2 weeks to ride the entire trail. The plan has a mixer of camping and hotels due to availability at each stop.
We were unable to ride this summer but hoping to try again next summer.

Trail Rider on 10/22/2019 03:09 PM
Be sure and add any input, like I said this is in the research and planning stage and it’s great to have it in the future to look forward and prepare for.

janine on 10/23/2019 07:23 PM
I’ll do it but it would hafta be over 2 days I’d cc camp and take the train back.

Marna from Boonville on 10/24/2019 10:06 AM
I was thinking 5 or 6 days of riding.....25 miles per day sometimes gets you to nothing and nowhere,

Trail Rider on 10/24/2019 02:41 PM
I don’t think I could do the trail in 2 days but 25 miles a day was just a number I guess a more realistic number would be from inn , b&b or hotel to the next if possible, it’s gonna be a lot of fun planning, For sure gonna have to have a new bike and some light weight gear, what few trails I ride now are usually around 10 miles so I also have to work up some distance endurance.

Michael from Mountains from London, England on 10/25/2019 03:37 AM
Dear Trail Rider and Marna

We've made a six-day trail ride, about 200 miles in total, each autumn for the last six years. This year it was the Katy; previously the Allegheny Passage/Cumberland and Ohio, and the Erie Canal Trail.

You pays your money and you takes your choice: is it a race (100 miles a day), or is it a journey (25 to 40 miles a day)? We've found 40 is plenty, 30 is good, and sometimes we just do 20. We rent bikes so they are ok but not always the best, and we take all our stuff with us, travelling as light as possible. And we stay in hotels and B and Bs. I might say that's so we don't have to carry camping gear, but really it's because we like a hot shower or bath, a comfortable bed and a good breakfast!!

As G&G says, we plan the ride around the places to stop and stay. A word of advice: find places as near to the trail as possible. If you are tired at the end of the day, the worst thing is to have a five mile up-hill country-road ride to your B and B. Believe me, we've done it, in the rain.

Also, check out where there is to eat in the evening around the hotel or B and B. People are inclined to tell you "there's a great place to eat just 5 minutes down the road". But that's 5 minutes by (fast) car, not on a bike or walking.

In terms of fitness, through the year we usually do up to 20 miles locally or in Derbyshire, England; often it's 10 or 15 miles. We don't do special training for the ride, just walk a lot, garden, are active, fix stuff and keep generally fit. And we are both of an age - 70 and 68.

Good luck


Trail rider on 10/25/2019 06:53 AM
Thanks Michael, excellent advice, you mentioned several things I will pay attention to as I plan my trip.

Marna from Boonville on 10/25/2019 08:21 AM
Hello Michael,

Thanks for your note. I agree with what you have said. I have done the KATY in 5 days in the past.

Right now my husband and I are doing the whole thing, Section by Section, and have almost finished it again. (section by section, driving to a Trail Head, riding out to whatever next Trailheads we want, spend the night, and or ride back to vehicle and come home).

I would LOVE to find a group of folks just getting together to CC Camp it end to end...that is without it costing $1000 each, so I am very interested.

This Fall when you rode through Boonville, did you notice a yard with Vintage Bikes w Skeletons riding them? That's our home. We are so Blessed to be able to ride the KATY about every single day. We moved here FOR the Katy. ;-)

Michael from mountains from London on 10/27/2019 03:19 AM
Hi Marna, and of course Trail Rider

We did see your cycling skeletons! I like wide and open trails like the cornfields around Treloar, but it's also really interesting to ride past back gardens and houses - that applies to all trails.

If you want a treat on your travels, stay at les Lavandes B and B about two miles above Rhineland in Starkenburg. Myrta is a wonderful host and her husband will collect you and bikes from the trail. Highly recommended for the hospitality and for the lift up to les Lavandes, as the ride up is steep. But it makes a lovely start to the following day when you cruise a couple of miles downhill and onto the trail.

We also loved the Victorian Manor in Boonville. We were greeted with a spread of delicious nibbles and the breakfast was excellent.

Neither of these places are cheap, but they make a great treat on the trail.


Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 10/27/2019 08:43 AM
Ditto on the Lavandes B and B about two miles above Rhineland in Starkenburg. It's been a few years since I last stayed there, but it was wonderful.

Marna from Boonville on 10/29/2019 11:02 AM
Thanks for this information.

I'm not really a B&B kinda person. I like a clean Hotel Room, that I can take my bike into with me, has a Hot Tub, not too expensive, kinda person.

Luckily, there are some of these along the Trail....and they also include Breakfast.

CarolD from Park City in Utah on 11/10/2019 08:56 AM
Marna! We loved your skeletons on bikes! Took several pictures! Thank you for that!

It also gave us calls to interact with a group who found out they had gone the wrong way. They had left Boonville heading towards garage port. Not! Thankfully your skeletons made everybody stop and talk.

Michael from mountains from London on 11/11/2019 04:25 AM
Hi CarolD

Great to hear that you and others are still out there riding the Trail. I guess the weather isn't 95 degrees anymore!

It really makes the ride worthwhile when you make time to stop and talk to people along the way, and particularly if you can help them go the right way. I have had that sinking feeling when, after several miles, I thought: "Hmm, this doesn't seem right, wrong direction".

I wish you smooth and puncture-free riding.


Marna from Boonville on 11/11/2019 09:14 AM
Thank You for your kind words.

We have met so many NICE People/Cyclist on the Trail and in front of our home. Even with all that went on with the Trail Closings this year, SOOOOO Many Bikepackers!

I have ridden the Trail end to end, years ago. We look forward to doing THIS again. Right now? My husband and I are riding it Section by Section. That is, with work schedules, few folks to care for our animals, and life in general....we are going when we can, and riding out and back 12 to 50ish miles, Trail Head to Trail Head, and doing the whole trail this way. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TO THOSE THAT LIVE IN MO AND CAN NOT TAKE A WEEK OFF TO RIDE THE WHOLE TRAIL!

Anyway, we are VERY Interest in riding with a/this Group in July. If it can get organized and planned or even if loosely planned. It should be fun!

Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/11/2019 11:29 AM
Marna, riding segments like that is a great way to see the trail. So many neat little towns to see, and so many little restaurants serving up great cheeseburgers and stories of the floods and previous interesting events.

And people like you who live on the trail and make an effort to brighten up your segment of the trail are very much appreciated.

Here is the photo we took of you and your husband on Easter!

And your skeletons feeling festive!

Marna from Boonville on 11/12/2019 09:32 AM

Riding the Trail End to End is GREAT! And we are planning this. But right now, doing the Section by Section (the same way we rode the whole Mickelson Trail in SD) is a LOT of fun, and you get to see and visit so much more.

You can see much more w/o needing to ride 50 miles in a day, every day. We rode to Sedelia, for example, spent the night and rode home. We went to the Train Station and ate our 'picnic' (food carried) at their tables in, I think they call it, The Women's Room.

We have two Sections (four Trailheads) yet to ride and we have done the whole Trail, little by little.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS FOR FOLKS THAT LIVE NEAR! It's a GREAT way to see the whole Trail, it fun to plan, and there is no big hurry of riding the miles.

I sure hope this "Next July" Ride can work out....sure sounds like fun.

Trail rider on 11/13/2019 06:11 AM
I really appreciate all of the info and suggestions for my July Ride. I am really excited about getting started, I really hope I can find places such as B&B, hostels, and hotels along the route that are spaced close enough to hit one without traveling to far each day, I really want to enjoy the trip and keep my daily distances between 25 and 30 miles but as I research more I will know if this is possible, I would really love to camp some but just don't really want to drag all the camping gear along. Right now I am just riding some different bikes an trying to decide what I bike I want to get. I really do enjoy making warm plans on these cold snowy days.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/20/2019 05:53 PM
TrailRider, we stopped made the following stops, and were pretty close to your daily mileage number.
Sedalia (first day was pretty long)
Pilot Grove
Jefferson City
St Charles

I liked those stops. But there are many many good ways to do it!

First time KT ride
KT Newbie from Oakville, MO on 11/20/2019 08:45 AM
I haven’t been on the trail and looking for a nice flat 20 mile ride. I would like to know where the best place is to start, trail conditions, beginner friendly? I’ve been riding Cliff Cave and Castlewood, also attempted Greensfelder (which is not beginner friendly). I can handle hills, mud and water, beginner to intermediate. Thank you for your input.

Connie from St Charles on 11/20/2019 11:03 AM
Welcome to the Katy Trail! Once you've been on it you'll want to come back over and over.
From Oakville I'd suggest to start at Dutzow which is near Washington and ride out to Treloar. Round trip will be 21 miles. At the top of this page you can find a map and also a mileage chart to help you get started but I think that will be an easy drive for you to get to it and a nice ride.
Have fun!

Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/20/2019 05:42 PM
Good burgers and friendly people in Treloar. Definitely a good midpoint.

Wanting to do about 150 miles in April 2020
Brenda from Melbourne, FL on 11/19/2019 07:56 PM
We have done several rails to trails and have thoroughly enjoyed them. We are thinking about doing the Katy trail in April 2020. We only want to do about 150 miles. Could someone give me some insight on the best part of the trail if we aren't going to do it all?

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 11/20/2019 08:35 AM
I recommend anywhere between Boonville and St. Charles. It's the most scenic and flat.

Between Boonville and Clinton is somewhat hilly and a combination of forests and farmland. Nice but not all that memorable.

As far as St. Charles to Machens, that section of the trail is usually a mess from flooding.

Marna from Boonville on 11/20/2019 08:59 AM
I guess that it is just an opinion......but I rather like the different Farms, Woods, Fields, No Traffic, Different Terrains, from Clinton to New Franklin better than the more crowed areas next to the Roadways and River....on the other half.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/20/2019 05:40 PM
I think that I liked the west end better as well. But maybe it's because we started there and were fresher.

150 miles from Clinton gets you to Mokane or a little past. In that stretch there are a lot of places to stop, and less worry about things not being open on Mondays and all that stuff. The bigger towns are fun, and give you a little more choice as far as where to rest or eat.

You could also take the side trail up to Columbia (and back), and end your trip at Jeff City, if that seems better to you.

WS to Machens
Matt from Wentzville on 11/18/2019 09:07 AM
Has anyone recently ridden the trail from Weldon Spring to Machens? I’m thinking of a day trip one day next week but don’t see any recent info on the rider reported trail conditions. Thanks for any help!

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 11/18/2019 10:09 AM
From St. Charles to Machens is still a mess in a few places. I recommend starting at Defiance and turning around at St. Charles instead for a similar amount of mileage.

Maxine's Rooms for Rent in Sedalia
Pierre from TN, India on 11/16/2019 12:49 PM
Maxine and Pete were wonderful hosts, their house is located in a beautiful area of the town. It is away from all the traffic yet located very close to the town. They both went out of their way to make my stay very comfortable. I can vouch that you will enter their home as a stranger but will leave as good friends of Maxine & Pete. My rating is 10 out of 10.

Kim's Cabins in Windsor
Denise from Lees Summit MO on 11/13/2019 05:52 PM
We have stayed at Kim's on several occasions, usually while riding on the Katy or Rock Island Trails. Recently, we stayed at Kim's for a fall getaway that did not include biking. The following weekend, my son and his wife spent a night at Kim's for a getaway. What a fantastic place. The cabins could not be more immaculate. The towels and linens are great. The kitchen is well stocked. The cabins could not be cleaner or more well kept. They are sparkling. Kim meets you when you arrive and is welcoming and personable. There are fire pits, wood for the fire, charcoal grills, comfy tables and chairs.There is a secure barn to keep your bikes AND there are even horse corrals! Best of all, Kim is a great advocate for the Missouri Rail-to-Trail systems.

Kim Henderson - Kim's Cabins from Windsor on 11/14/2019 12:40 AM
Thank you so much Denise! Love having you all and love that many are enjoying the comfort of the cabins at the crossroads of the Katy and Rock Island!

E bikes
Shannon from Granite city on 11/06/2019 03:18 PM
Can a bikes go on the trail

Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/08/2019 07:19 AM
Yes. "Electrically assisted pedal-powered bicycles and tricycles (maximum speed of 20 mph) are allowed."


Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 11/08/2019 08:38 AM
According to the Missouri DNR Katy Trail web site, you can use electric bikes but only up to 20 MPH.

Anonymous on 11/09/2019 12:32 PM
You may ride an e-bike on the Katy according to the Missouri State Parks website. There is a 20 mph speed limit though.

Page: 1 2 ... 518

The Frenchtown Inn B&B, St Charles MO

Please support our advertisers -
they help make this website possible

Katy Trail merchandise