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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Katy Trail and/or Rock Island Trail.
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Rode the whole 237 - Oct
Will from Columbia on 10/24/2013 06:25 PM
I had the pleasure of riding the whole 237 miles of the Katy Trail in 5 days. I did it solo, but met a lot of good folks along the way. And the places I stayed were very accommodating. I stopped in Boonville, Jeff City, Hermann and Defiance. And I'm planning on doing it again next year, but with friends. Thanks for all the info you guys gave me before my ride. Oh, ya, I did not have a flat and the last part of the trail from St Charles is a good ride, curvy, small hills, but smooth riding. But when you reach the end, there is no parking, just a toilet building, no water. The Closest road was Ell Rd and Hwy 94. I was extracted from there! Good riding to you all.

Will from Columbia on 10/24/2013 06:27 PM
Forgot to put the dates I rode: 14 - 18 October. from Clinton to Machens.

El Toro on 10/24/2013 11:22 PM
Nice ride. Congratulations.

Pseudio on 10/25/2013 08:30 AM
Will, you are correct after going through St. Charles, Machens is a bit of let down. But the ride to get there is pretty nice along the river. Maybe additional services will be put there in the future. Congrats on the full distance.

JAL on 10/30/2013 10:45 PM
Thanks for posting, I plan on doing the same type of ride next spring. Did you camp or do Hotels/B&B's? I'm trying to determine if I want to try this method or do the annual ride in June and camp with them.

Will from Columbia on 11/02/2013 10:00 PM
JAL, I stayed in both Hotels and one B&B. I rode From Clinton to Boonville, 70 miles and stayed at the Island of Capri Hotel and Casino (39.00), it was cheap since I go there from time to time and on this nite I went into the casino for an hour and won 180.00, so I left, this paid for most of the stays for the rest of my trip! I was lucky! I then rode to Jeff City (51 miles), stayed in Capital Plaza Hotel 59.00 plus tax and I had to ride 2.8 miles from the trail and over the bridge but on a pedestrian walkway. Nice room and they had a free hot breakfast at 6am. I then rode to Hermann (43 miles), and stayed at the Harbor Haus Inn (just on the second block on left after you come across the bridge) it was 49.00 plus tax, small room, clean and they had breakfast at 8am, was very nice small room and very friendly family staff. I left there and rode to Defiance, about 41 miles and stayed at the Parson's House B&B, Norm is the owner, he was very friendly and helpful. The house and room is an old house, but very accommodating and the bed slept nicely. He had coffee and breakfast casserole waiting for guess the next morning. This was the most expensive and the only place I had not made reservations for on my trip (109.00 total) I then rode from there to the end of the trial, Machens, about 33 miles. I took about 600 pics and really enjoyed my ride. I will be riding again in the spring, with friends but probably just a 2 day trip. The main reason I did not camp was because I would have to buy a tent and carry it along, also. I had never done this before, so it was all new to me. I brought some saddle bags from Walmart, and they work for small cargo, but I was told to go online and buy better ones for same price. I am looking for those now. Pack light, carry rain gear and extra inner tube, just in case. I didn't have a flat or any kind of bike problems.

JAL on 11/04/2013 12:02 AM
Great info ! I appreciate the follow up post with the lodging details.

Boyd from Yukon, OK on 11/24/2013 01:06 PM
Thanks, Will. The info you gave is quite helpful. Planning on doing the Katy one of these days.

Jon from Farmington on 12/26/2013 01:56 PM
Will, and you others, THANK you for great info; I'm planning full distance this Spring/Summer. You mentioned and annual trip (organized) in June? Is this the MO DNR trip? How do I find out about it? And has anyone used any of the trip organizing firms listed? How are they?

MidSouth from Rogersville, MO on 12/26/2013 07:24 PM
Here is a link to the 2013 DNR ride with lots of info: http://mostateparks.com/2013-katy-trail-ride. The 2014 ride will most likely go in the opposite direction and registration doesn't open until March. The Katy is an easy trail to do on your own. Just spend a little time on the Mileage Chart, Trip Planner, and Towns and Services pages above to plan your trip. The DNR trip and other organized trips may have a day or two longer than you might prefer.

El Toro on 12/26/2013 11:20 PM
If you want someone else to organize everything, I am sure the DNR trip would be great...but I agree with the previous comments...the KATY trip is about as easy to organize on your own as any bike trip I can imagine. Literally, a change of clothes that allows me to comfortably go into a restaurant for nice meal in the evening, a credit card, a tooth brush, about 3 tubes, a patch kit and a multi-tool and I'm good. Wash out the bike clothes every night and get up in the morning and repeat the process. Love it. Miss it. Can't wait to ride the KATY again.

Pseudio on 01/01/2014 01:30 PM
The June DNR organized ride is limited to 300 riders and sells out fast, Jon. It is well organized but it's a group ride and does last a few days longer,5 I believe. It has 2 good long days and the rest are 25-30 mile days. You can camp out with the group or stay in hotels too. It is a good introductory ride for the KT. If you are in good shape 3-4 days on your own is more flexible. There are other more pampered and more expensive organized rides. Spring and fall are better times since the summer is pretty hot and crowded.

boomhauer from kc on 01/03/2014 12:38 AM
Hey Will! Good to see you made it. I meet you on my way back from St. Louis. Kc to St. Louis and back no problem and no planning. I had camping equipment. I appreciate the Missouri DNR for making such an easy, close to home trip possible.

Will from Columbia on 01/09/2014 07:50 PM
Thanks Boomhauer! Yes I did! And was good talking to you! I think I'm hooked on this cycling stuff now! Lol. I'm thinking I'm going to ride 2014 Katy Trail Ride in June? I want to see what's it like to ride with 300 other bikers.
Also, when you got to Clinton, the end of the Katy Trail, what route do you take back to KC?

Mike brennan from Tebbetts on 10/14/2019 07:54 PM
Left Clinton 5pm on a Friday oct 11, camped in Windsor that night. Next day rode 100 miles to Hartsburg and camped in a baseball field. Sunday rode somewhere past gore and camped on the river. Monday woke up at 4am and pulled into st Charles at 10:15am. Found ways past every detour and took no shuttles!

Michael from Camdenton on 10/29/2019 06:57 AM
Nice push Brother!!????

CurtM-FTW from Fort Worth TX on 10/30/2019 09:29 PM
Congrats on riding the trail, and it's great to see the trail open all the way again. I rode the trail end-to-end in 2018, and actually started in St Charles, and did an out and back to Machens the first day. As mentioned elsewhere, not much in Machens, but it is the beginning/end and one can ride to Portage des Sioux from Machens to see the Mississippi River. Hope to ride again in 2020. By the way, don't think one can go wrong with any lodging anywhere on the trail, but can certainly recommend the B&Bs in Pilot Grove, Hartsburg and McKittrick.

Dave from Imperial on 11/07/2019 01:25 PM
It was a bucket list thing, i did the round trip, from beginning to end and back, it was the week of fathers day 2017. One of my fellow rugby players Pat rode with me to coopers landing, where my son-in-law joined me to Clinton, I turned around and rode solo back to the beginning(Machens) 9 days on the trail no flats, scenery awesome. Total of 490 miles. Highly recommend it, can't wait to do it again.

HAPPY TRAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Return train
WBA from Kansas City on 11/05/2019 01:55 PM
We have a group wanting to bike from Clinton to hermann and train back to kc. Amtrak says only 4 spots for bikes. Does anyone know is there room for more bikes? Thanks

Dave from Kirkwood on 11/05/2019 02:23 PM
My impression is NO, there are only 4 slots. The slots are inside the passenger car, with 2 on either end (between outside door and sears). One could probably squeeze two bikes in one slot and not have them in the way, but I don't think Amtrak will sell more than 4 bike tickets per train.

PTM from Stl on 11/05/2019 08:41 PM
There is room for many bikes on the trains
It has frustrated me for years why Amtrak limits each train to 4 bikes
Write your congressman!
Safe travels

Doug from Bluffton on 11/06/2019 06:59 AM
Depending on the size of your group it might be cost effective to get a shuttle. Then you have the added benefit of door to door service at a time you pick. A stop along the way might even be possible.

Any snow on trail?
Connie from St Charles on 10/30/2019 01:45 PM
My husband is thinking about heading out to Sedalia this weekend and do some riding on the trail out there and on the Rock Island Spur. I was wondering it there has been snow or if there will be by then on the trail? I'm thinking it may not last long even if there is?

Kim Henderson - Kim's Cabins from Windsor on 10/31/2019 07:41 AM
Windsor and the area had a little snow overnight. Looks like will be melting and Katy and Rock Island both good for the weekend

Marna from Boonville on 10/31/2019 07:59 AM
YES! SNOW ON TRAIL IN BOONVILLE (all be it very little) GET OUT YOUR FATTYs (Very Fat Tire Snow Bikes) We are going to get ours out in a minute here, just for the fun of it.

Connie from St Charles on 10/31/2019 11:48 AM
Thanks for the responses. He thought it would be fine but I wanted to check!

G & G from Sedalia on 10/31/2019 01:21 PM
Snow this morning here in Sedalia, but sun is out and I think most is gone.

Wanting to do about 150 miles in April 2020
Brenda from Melbourne, FL on 10/12/2019 04:39 PM
We have several couples that are planning on riding the Katy Trail next April, 2020. We plan on riding about 150 miles. Are there any suggestions on the best part of the trail to ride?

Anonymous on 10/12/2019 08:12 PM
Best part of the trail. Based on what Brenda? It’s very doubtful that anyone here knows you, your likes, dislikes, and so on. How on earth could anyone possibly tell someone that they know absolutely nothing about, what is best for them or what they would prefer? Perhaps you should have a look on theTrip Planner and read about the towns along the way. Or read on this forum some to pick the park of the trail that best fits your group.

Michael from Mountains from London, England on 10/13/2019 05:18 AM
Dear Anonymous and Brenda

Might be more helpful to ask the question:

'tell us more about your cycling ability and experience, distance you want to travel each day, type of accommodation'.

Referring Brenda to the TripPlanner is, of course, a good idea.

Brenda, you might also try speaking to Todd at Katy Bike Rental or Steve at the bike shop in Boonville, or look at what Wilderness Voyageurs offer in the way of tours. You don't have to use them for a tour (although they are very good in my experience), but they give you ideas and information.

Mark from Strafford on 10/13/2019 01:11 PM
Brenda: sorry for “anonymous” previous post. You were simply looking for information. Answer to your question, we most enjoyed the section from Rocheport to St. Charles. Bluffs on one side, river and farm fields on the other side. Katy Trail experienced severe damage from Spring and Summer 2019 flooding. Follow this forum for trail updates while planning your trip. It is a great ride!!

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 10/13/2019 03:26 PM
I agree with Mark about staying near the river. I'd say Boonville to St. Charles would be about 150 miles. If the Missouri River floods badly in 2020, there's Boonville to Clinton plus The Rock Island Trail from Windsor to Pleasant Hill and back. Not as scenic but flooding shouldn't be an issue.

Marna from Boonville on 10/14/2019 08:25 AM
Clinton to New Franklin is more remote, for miles, very remote....and we LOVE that! Augusta to St. Charles is busier and you cross and ride next to FAR MORE ROADWAYS.

So, you will have to decide what type of ride you are looking for.

One thing to keep in mind, you might have rain, and or, Thunder Storms in April. Riding the St. Charles end would give you more areas to 'ditch' from.

Gary from Near Tebbetts on 10/14/2019 09:46 PM
To all of those seeking advice about the “best” part to ride, it reminds me of our trip to float the Rio Grande. We pulled out to survey the rapids below and after much discussion by the old men of the best way to navigate the rapids below, the nephew spoke up and said, “let’s just do it”. We all looked at each and said, “ok yeah let’s just do it”.

The moral of the story, don’t fret over the planning, just do it, you’ll enjoy whatever you decide to do and have stories to tell.

Michael from Mountains from London, England on 10/16/2019 04:01 AM
Yep, Gary's right, just do it.

But unless you are regular cyclists and used to a day in the saddle, it's definitely worth a few practice runs beforehand to see how you feel about the distances, in particular if you are carrying panniers with your stuff and extra weight.

Factor in potential delays:

- flat tyres - we had three in a day, but none on the other five days;
- rain, wind, tempest (well, rain and wind at least);
- stopping to talk to people and smell the roses.


Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/16/2019 12:33 PM
Yeah, riding a wider-tired bike on gravel with 20 pounds of cargo is different from a short ride on a paved trail. It feels uphill the whole way. Just plan to take it easy and enjoy it.

Terry O'Toole from St. Louis on 10/25/2019 11:32 AM
Last week I rode the trail from St. Charles to McKitttrick. The stretch from Treloar to McKittrick was especially lovely. The trail is only 25 yds from from Missouri River on one side and beneath 70-100 ft limestone bluffs on the other side. It was a Thursday and I encountered very few other bikers. It was mid to late afternoon on a fine October day. If youo like quiet, serenity and the beauty of nature all around, that stretch is a wonderful experience. I think there are similar parts of the trail east of Rocheport. Happy Biking.

Jim from St. Thomas on 10/25/2019 08:48 PM
If I was going to do 150 miles I would probably do from the Pilot Grove/Boonville area to somewhere in the Augusta/Defiance area. A lot of variety in the scenery and plenty of lodging and dining options.

CurtM-FTW from Fort Worth TX on 10/30/2019 10:05 PM
An interesting trip would be from Sedalia to McKittrick/Herman. You could bike from either point to the other, and take the Amtrak on the return leg to the starting point. Depot is right in Sedalia; the trail goes through McKittrick, but the Amtrak depot in Herman is only a couple of miles across the Missouri River. Very good lodging at either location. This might be a bit shorter than your goal of 150 miles, but does have the train connections. I think what you're going to find as you plan further is that you'll want to do more of the trail. In that case would recommend Windsor to McKittrick/Herman, going west to east. You have some great opportunities in FL for shakedown trips, like the Withlacoochee Trail. It's more urban than the Katy Trail, but would give you a good idea of a 45-50 mile day. Probably preaching to the choir, since I'm guessing you're familiar with FL bike trails.

Carol Dalton from Park City on 10/31/2019 12:49 PM
Brenda, Send me an email and I will forward you our itinerary. We (6) just did 7 days from Clinton to St Charles, and you can see the mileage, and where some good restaurants are! Carol at daltonpc@comcast.net

Carol Dalton from Park City on 10/31/2019 12:03 PM
One of my favorite things about biking- is stopping at restaurants who have good food! Beer is nice as well. Our group just finished the Clinton to Columbia to St Charles ride on October 24.

Our favorite places we ate: Hotel Bothwell for dinner in Sedalia.

Katarina's Homestyle Cafe in Pilot Grove, great burgers! Great staff!

The Frederick Hotel's restaurant had good food and friendly service! Loved the trout! Cocktails in the bar were good too !

Lunch at Abigails in Rocheport was our favorite meal on the trail ! http://www.rocheport-mo.com/abigails.html

Columbia,MO had amazing choices, we stayed at the Tiger Hotel (loved it) and walked to the Broadway Brew Pub, enjoyed the beer and casual food.

In Hartsburg, the Claysville Store is ranked highly, serves home made fried chicken dinners but it is only open on Sat and Sundays! We were so disappointed! and could not find an open restaurant that day... until we reached Jefferson City.

Prison Brews in Jeff City has great service, beer and comfort food ! Delicious pulled pork sandwiches. Steak salad was lacking in steak.

Hermann: Stone Hill Winery has excellent dinners, wine and service but last seating is at 630pm.

Dutzow certainly is the best deli ! The Reuben was amazing ! Closes at 2pm. Good thing we ate big because.....

there is no dinner food in Augusta ! We bought cheese salami and crackers, and wine! at the Augusta Winery to get us thru. Stayed at Acorn BnB. Kate's Coffee House serves breakfast and lunch, and we took advantage and ate a BIG breakfast. Service there was slow for the 6 of us and our (delicious) burrito and croissant sandwich orders. Augusta ! you need a food truck ! Bikers need dinner, and this is a lovely town with many BnB's. where do people eat?

Bike Stop Cafe in St Charles has a healthy full lunch menu with great soups, salads and sandwichs. Wine and beer as well !

Boonslick Guest House in Boonville
Regan Kelley from Troy MO on 09/25/2019 09:47 PM
This is a great stop for riders who are not supported. Full kitchen set up, parlor with games and books. Can do laundry too!

Kathy M from Pittsburgh, PA on 10/30/2019 06:59 PM
We also stayed there and loved it. Very convenient to the trail. A couple of restaurants close by. Owner stocks a number of food items for guests.

Karl Brand from Missouri City, TX on 10/29/2019 01:51 PM
My wife, brother, sister in law, and I stayed at the Bluffton Barn on Oct 24th. Doug treated us to a great meat and taters supper, per our request, and a hearty breakfast that included persimmon bread and wild pears.

We enjoyed our stay here.

Frisco Trail
Craig from SPRINGFIELD on 10/29/2019 01:33 PM
Doesanyone know a good route from Bolivar to Clinton?

Dormitory at School House B + B in Rocheport
Lynn and David from Overland Park, KS on 10/28/2019 04:53 PM
This was our third stay at the Dormitory at the School House. We continue to be highly pleased with every aspect of the Dormitory. They think of everything. The room was very clean and everything was in its place. The beds were as comfortable as bunk beds can be and the food for breakfast was fresh and more than adequate. We will be back.

Joey's Bird House B&B in McKittrick
Terry O'Toole from St. Louis on 10/25/2019 11:38 AM
My wife and I stayed there 10/17/19. Joey runs a fine B&B. Accomodations are large and commodious. Breakfast in the morning is delicious and filling. Convenient to the Trail and to Hermann (just 2 miles north). We highly recommend the Birdhouse.

Sedalia Trailhead - Depot in Sedalia
John from Dallas on 10/23/2019 12:27 PM
Stopped by the Sedalia Trailhead Depot and, specifically, the Champion Bicycles shop.

Bought a drink and candy bar and talked with the owner. Great location. Shop/owner can definitely address any cycling repair issues as well as tips/suggestions on Sedalia or the Katy Trail.

New Franklin
John from Dallas on 10/23/2019 12:24 PM
Had breakfast at Miracle Cup Coffee in New Franklin.

From the Casey's General Store in the "downtown" area, just go west past the neighborhood and school and this place will be immediately on your right.

Good breakfast menu. I think they do lunch as well.

Katy Roundhouse in New Franklin
John from Dallas on 10/23/2019 12:20 PM
Solid facility. Can't miss it from the Katy Trail ... although I certainly tried cycling after night fall.

Primitive camping is slightly separate from RV camping but they share a small building for bathrooms and showers.

Fitter's 5th Street Pub in Sedalia
John from Dallas on 10/23/2019 11:57 AM
Had dinner here after a morning ride and watched Sunday football. Hot ham and cheese sandwich and a few beers. All good.

Located in downtown area.

2-3 blocks from Katy Trail Sedalia depot.

Hotel Bothwell in Sedalia
John from Dallas on 10/23/2019 11:54 AM
Stayed at the Hotel Bothwell. Great hotel. Complimentary morning breakfast. Great rooms.

They do offer a Katy Trail discount, so be sure to request that when you check in.

I was there on a Sunday night, so I was unable to try their bar/restaurant which are closed on Sundays.

They can store your bike for you or you can keep it in your room.

2-3 blocks from Katy Trail Sedalia Depot.
2-3 blocks from Amtrak station.

On the downtown square, so short walking distance to restaurants, bars, stores.

What Bike is Besy
Trail rider on 10/22/2019 06:30 PM
I have a question for the folks that have ridden the trail, what bike would you suggest for the trail, would a hybrid or a mountain bike be best , the rental place there recommends the jamis citizen 1 I think, any opiinion on bike tires and gear would also be appreciated.

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 10/22/2019 07:15 PM
A knobby tire mountain bike with suspension is overkill for the Katy Trail. A hybrid with at least 700x32 tires will work better. That Jamis would an OK choice.

ArkyKenny on 10/22/2019 08:28 PM
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to your question: One probably doesn’t want a skinny tired road bike for the Katy (because Katy is not paved, because there are rough spots, because there are soft spots, because there are gravel roads to cross, etc). I’d pick a hybrid over a mountain bike (even if I put semi slick tires on the MTB) because a hybrid is more stable and likely to be more comfortable than a MTB (that is usually made to be agile/quick turning). There is no need for front or full suspension. So I’d pick something that is comfortable for straight line riding for as far as you plan to ride it. MY CHOICE is either a touring bike or a gravel bike with about 40mm wide gravel or touring tires.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/23/2019 08:13 AM
Whatever feels most comfortable after hours in the saddle, and definitely one that won't get a ton of flats.

Marna from Boonville on 10/23/2019 09:13 AM
My husband and I ride the KATY all year. We have ridden about EVERY TYPE of bike on it. We do like our 29ers/Mt. Bikes best for all sorts of weather/trail conditions. But on snow our FATTYs. When it is really dry and we are in a hurry, Road Bikes. Some days our Tandems. My BEST advise is the bike you are MOST COMFORTABLE on. "My" bike fit, and the Bike Shop "Experts" bike fit, are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT FITS! I prefer MY fit to theirs! ;-) Also, if you are packing, a bike that can not only hold all the packs, but handles well when packed.

G & G from Sedalia on 10/23/2019 11:02 AM
I commute to work twice a week, with half the ride on the Katy. I am riding a Trex hybrid. It's so much lighter and easier to ride than my old Wal-mart mountain bike. I even upgraded my 12 year old grandson's bike to a Trex. He now rides twice what he did on his Wal-mart mountain bike.
The trail is usually pretty smooth so the suspension and extra weight that comes with that suspension of a mountain bike really isn't needed.
Like state in other posted. A comfortable bike and you can ride a length of time is probable the key. I enjoy the lightness of my hybrid and the ability it gives me to ride longer.

Pleasant Hill Trailhead in Pleasant Hill
Trikerider22 from Saint Charles on 10/22/2019 11:50 AM
Would it be safe to leave my truck parked at this trailhead overnight? I want to ride to Windsor one day, spend the night, and then ride back to Pleasant Hill the next. I would consider doing this trim the opposite way, except apparently lodging isn’t an option in Pleasant Hill.

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The Frenchtown Inn B&B, St Charles MO

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