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Katy Trail Forum

Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Katy Trail and/or Rock Island Trail.
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how crowded is the trail?
Marty and Joe from Los Gatos, California on 04/22/2005 12:49 AM
We are planning to ride the trail starting on Memorial Day Weekend and through the first

week of June. Are we nuts? Will there be huge numbers of people on it, crowding the trail

like a "freeway"? Or can we realistically hope for some pleasant, quiet, unpeopled miles?

thanks much for your input,

Marty and Joe

Rick from New Franklin, MO on 04/22/2005 10:35 PM
It will depend on when and where you decide to ride. During the week in my area (central Missouri) I have ridden for hours and seen no other trail users. On the weekends, even holiday weekends, I do not find the trail to be at all crowded where I usually ride.

I have been told that when you get closer to St. Charles there is more traffic on the trail but I have no personel knowledge of this, maybe someone from that area can advise us.

savage24 from KC, MO on 04/23/2005 06:10 AM
I would not be at all concerned about crowded conditions on the trail. You will see more people near St Charles and possibly near Rocheport, but I would not really consider those areas crowded. The farther away from those trailheads you go the fewer people you will see. Be sure to stay informed about weather conditions; carry a radio or ask locals. My niece and I had to wait out a severe thunderstorm with hail and tornado warnings before we could ride on Sunday of Mem. Day weekend 2004. We rode about 10 miles in the late afternoon around McKittrick & Rhineland and saw about 3 people.

Nails on 04/23/2005 07:24 PM
I have ridden every mile of the trail. Most of the trail is lightly used. In particular, Between Jefferson City and Augusta, there have been times when it has been over an hour between seeing other users of the trail. However, within 10 miles of St. Charles, it can become quite crowded. Just take your time, give wide berth/friendly passing words, and be polite. You'll get there with little delay and may just make a new friend.

Paul Knoblock from Florissant, MO on 04/24/2005 10:36 AM
I rode the Katy Trail from St. Charles to Defiance last Memorial DAY and did not find it crowded. You will encounter more people between Page Avenue Extension access and St. Charles. But it is never too crowded in that stretch. The Katy Trail is fantastic! I have only ridden it to Portland and look forward to taking it all the way to Clinton. Happy riding!

Ray (webmaster) on 04/25/2005 06:42 AM
People have posted some great replies to this question. The only suggestion I can add, is to be sure you make your lodging reservations in advance. The B&Bs/hotels/campgrounds tend to fill up on summer weekends.

kimncolumbia from Columbia on 05/03/2005 08:27 PM
Around the popular trailheads you will have some people, but it won't be crowded. I ride

the trail with my friend from California and he is always amazed at how unpopulated it is.

I often hear, "Where are all the people? If this was California it would be bike to bike

traffic." Have fun on the Katy.

camping for through-hiker?
justin from Columbia on 05/01/2005 10:33 AM
Hi. I'm planning on hiking the Katy Trail from end to end, but I've heard that camping is only allowed at designated campgrounds. Problem is, many of the designated campgrounds are spaced 30+ miles apart - too far for an average hiker to make in a day.

Does anyone have experience hiking through and spot camping? I'd love to follow the rules and only camp at campgrounds, but it seems that they are placed with bikers in mind, not hikers. Thoughts?

2005 ride
steven from boonville on 04/19/2005 11:16 AM
anyone know if the 2005 ride sponsored by dnr has reached its 300 person limit?

savage24 from KCMO on 04/21/2005 04:51 AM
Don't know. I mailed my registration a couple of weeks ago, but have not heard anything yet. I don't think it would be full yet though. If I get a confirmation and a rider #, I'll post it here.

savage24 from KC, MO on 04/26/2005 04:17 PM
I received an email confirmation today. I'm rider #230.

steven from boonville on 04/28/2005 10:23 PM
thanks a lot, seems like I should be OK.

DNR Katy Trail Ride 2005
rydeabyke from Indianapolis on 04/27/2005 09:45 PM
I'm part of a group planning a bike trip along the Lewis and Clark trail across to O

regon...Just noticed this group is starting the same day the 4 of us are starting. Yikes!

Will we be able to find a place to camp? Where does the DNR place all of these folks. W

ill we be welcome to mingle in? Chris

Pilot Grove and Polly's Perch
Nurtured by Nature from Kansas on 04/13/2005 05:59 PM
Can someone give me the telephone number for Polly's Perch?

Ray (webmaster) on 04/14/2005 10:05 AM
660-834-6012 - she's open 9AM-2 PM for light lunch and morning sweet rolls daily except Sunday (thanks to "Winky Chesnutt" for this info)

logistics to and from trail
Marty and Joe from Los Gatos, California on 04/11/2005 09:36 PM
We're planning to fly from California to St. Louis in June so we can ride the whole trail. Can anyone recommend the best way for us to get from St. Louis to St. Charles with our bikes, and then after the ride, get from Clinton back to St. Louis to fly home?

Huge thanks for any suggestions--

Marty and Joe

Ray (webmaster) on 04/12/2005 10:17 AM
A shuttle service will get you where you need to go. These services operate like taxis for the trail, shuttling you and your bikes and gear from one point on the trail to another point on the trail (or beyond). Here is a list of shuttle services.

I know that at least the two services based in St Charles (TC Tours & Katy Trail Shuttle) will take you between the airport and the St Charles trailhead, for somewhere in the neighborhood of $30. They generally charge by the vanload, so it’s the same price for one passenger as for two.

Any of the shuttles will take you from Clinton to St Charles. I don’t know what they all charge, but you might expect about $250-350. Again, this is per van so it’s not so bad if you can split it with other riders.

Another option for your return trip is to take the Amtrak train back to your starting point. Amtrak stops at Sedalia, which is on the trail but 35 miles from Clinton, so you’ll have to back-track 35 miles from trail’s end to get to the station. The train does not stop in St Charles, but it does stop in Kirkwood, which is in St Louis County. Either of the two St Charles-based shuttles mentioned above will take you from the Kirkwood train station to Lambert St Louis airport, again for something like $30. Here is a web page with more details on the Amtrak option. Amtrak is a popular option with many trail users.

Wes from Saint Llouis on 04/13/2005 08:24 PM
Another option involving Amtrak, is going to the Saint Louis station instead of Kirkwood, then hop onto Metrolink, ($1.50) to the airport (bike free on Metrolink need to go to the back, or front of each car)

collieflower from KC on 04/08/2005 09:11 AM
Just wondering if all trailheads lead to the katy trail? My sister lives in Columbia and I noticed a traihead north of 70 near her house--so just wondering if I can eventially make it to the trail from there. Is there a map that shows all trailheads to the Katytrail?

Ray (webmaster) on 04/08/2005 09:23 AM
All Katy Trail trailheads are right on the trail - can't miss it. Use this link for a list of all Katy Trail trailheads, actually all trail parking lots, which are mainly trailheads.

The only trail in Columbia that connects to the Katy Trail, to my knowledge, is the MKT Fitness Trail, which is about 9 miles long. This regional map shows how the two trails connect. Sorry, I don't have a more detailed map at this time.

Winky Chesnutt from near the trail at Pleasant GREEN on 04/05/2005 10:21 AM
Polly's Perch -tearoom and has 2 bedrooms and bath for overnights. Paulines a great cook and the place is sooo clean-just accross from the trailhead in Pilot Grove-opened April 1

St. Charles to Clinton
RevSS from Seattle on 03/29/2005 05:26 AM
Am planning the ride in ONE WEEK, plan 3 to 3.5 days to do it. Any tips, suggestions for overnights (hotels or B&Bs), miles per day would be much appreciated. The simpler, the better. Thanks

Jamie A from St Louis on 03/29/2005 10:26 PM
Took Amtrak to Sedalia from stl and rode back. We did the trail in approx. 3.5 days. There is a nice campground in New Franklin that we stayed at the first night. We stayed at the Tebbetts Shelter the second night and the third we stayed at a bed and breakfast. Wow was it nice to stay in the bed in breakfast the third night after all that bicycling.

Jamie A on 03/29/2005 10:28 PM
Oh yeah the Bed and Breakfast was actually in Peers and it is only $100 for the night. Really a pretty good deal for a nice bed, breakfast and hot tub.

Trail Rider on 04/05/2005 09:15 AM
Amtrak from St. Louis to Sedalia let's bikes on for about $10, and you don't have to disassemble them. It arrives in Sedalia in the evening. Then stay at the Sedalia House B&B that night, they cater to cyclists. They will pick you up at the station, and their rooms are charming and reasonable. They are approximately three miles from two trailheads, so you can either ride to one or they will shuttle you there. Next, depending on how far you like to ride you can stop at the Rivercene B&B in Booneville or the KATY Trail Bed & Bikefest just off the trail in Rocheport (which is owned by the Dufur's, author of the KATY Trail guidebook). It's a good way to start the trip.

Katy Bike Rentals (Defiance)
docwasch from Mulberry Grove IL on 08/06/2004 12:08 AM
My girlfriend and I took an out and back from St. Charles to Defiance. The first 8 miles were great then the sky spilt! The farther we went the worse it got. When we pulled into Defiance, the first shop we saw was KATY bike rentals. Todd(I think that was his name) took us in and saved us with knowing grins and HOT coffee. (thanks again) He even let my girl use a trash bag for a rain jacket. He could have made a killing on them that day. Even with the weather it was a great ride. Remember to stop in if you find your self in Defiance.

heidi from St. Louis on 09/02/2004 03:12 PM
I agree with your assessment of this wonderful store/rental spot. George was able to help me out when I called from Augusta in need of a trailer inner tube. When we arrived George had set aside the inner tube for us to ensure it wasn't sold in the interlude! He has a great smile, a helpful demeanor and sells Ted Drewes frozen custard! What more could a bike traveller ask for?

John from Ashland, OH on 04/03/2005 09:54 PM
George at the bike shop is a bonafide "Good Guy". Stop by and support him when you are going through Defiance.

Any comments on the DNR ride?
Karen from Missoula MT on 03/31/2005 01:18 PM
We're coming from out of state to do the entire Katy trail, and would rather not worry about the camping after we get there. We are thinking of doing the DNR ride. Have any of you done it? Any positive or negative comments?

savage24 from KC MO on 04/01/2005 12:58 AM
Hi Karen, I have done the DNR ride every year since 2001! I highly recommend it.

The Positive:

It is a medium sized ride, (300 riders) so you don't spend too much time waiting in line for meals, showers, bathrooms, etc. The shower truck is great! Having a warm shower every day to wash the limestone dust off of your legs is important. I've never had a problem finding a suitable place to pitch my tent. Having the meals (breakfast & dinner) included in the price of the ride is a big plus to me; I don't like being 'nickeled & dimed' all week for food, showers, etc.

(I don't mind helping the local high school booster clubs, but paying

a dollar for a small cup of watered down instant coffee is no way to start the day!)Another great thing about having the meals included is that you don't have to worry about where to eat (except lunch). Sag stops are provided about every 15 miles on the trail with cold water, powdered sport drink mix, and a limited selection of fruit (almost always bananas, sometimes other items).

The Negative:

Riding the trail with a group is not the same as riding it on your own; you miss out on some of the tranquility and peace of being out there by yourself. You will probably not see as much wildlife along the trail either. That is not to say that you are constantly riding among other cyclist, but they are usually not far ahead or behind you. Just like a line of cars going down a gravel road, a group of cyclist will stir up dust on the trail - this is only a problem on very still days with no wind. Sometimes the early sag stops will run out of fruit.

Hopefully other folks who have partipated in this ride in the past and/or are planning to this year will chime in here!

Karen from Missoula MT on 04/01/2005 04:30 PM
Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I think we would much rather do the trail on our own terms, but the challenge of finding suitable camping areas (and showers) each night keeps us coming back to the organized ride option.

Hermann Wurstfest: Poorly organized, nothing to see
The disappointed from Columbia, MO on 03/19/2005 07:11 PM
I had been this festival 4 years ago, and went to again this year to taste a variety of sausages and enjoy the spring weather. However, this time was pretty disappointing. Only 5 sausage producers attended in the festival, (there were some more in downtown, but too tired to be there) and we were on the long long line to taste some samples, but turned out that all visitors interrupted in the middle of the line. It was cold, not many events to see, not much food to eat. I am wondering what the $5 entrance fee is for.

I will never go to the festival again, and save my day.

lostAgain from grove, ok on 03/26/2005 03:25 PM
thank you for the above comment, I feel much better. had planned on attending but could not find the date, will never look again...

Anonymous on 03/22/2005 05:21 PM
I found a nice quiet B&B in Pilot Grove. It was clean and the breakfast very good. A great place!

Columbia to Hermann question!
gh from anytown usa on 03/16/2005 11:27 PM
How many hours do you think it would take to get from Columbia (McBaine) to Hermann. Trip must be done in one day. Not greatly experienced bicycler, but not out of shape.

savage24 from KC, MO on 03/17/2005 11:21 PM
I can tell you how long it would take ME, but since we don't all ride the same speed and take the same breaks, only you can answer that question for YOU. Assuming a starting point of McBaine (not downtown Columbia), you are looking at about 70 miles. Assuming good weather conditions, I would plan on 10 hours for ME; 7 hours of riding + 3 hours for rest stops, lunch, etc.

If you have not already done so, I would recommend that you ride some shorter distances on the trail to determine your average speed and stamina. If that is not an option, I would recommend that you have someone with a support vehicle that you can call on if needed. Good luck & Have fun!

Katy Trail Bed & Bikefest (Rocheport)
Anonymous on 03/16/2005 03:32 PM
Great Place! I highly recommend to families and cyclists. Tawnee cooks a wonderful, simple and satisfying breakfast and the rooms are cozy and comfortable! The outdoor hot tub is a must to sore muscles. A++!

Hartsburg Cycle Depot
Sharon E from Kc on 03/13/2005 09:14 PM
Hartsburg Cycle Depot is now open year round and is a great place. They now have on staff a custom frame builder and certified mechanic. Plus, it is still a great place to stop and have a hot chocolate or smoothie or ice cream bar! The new owners, Pam and Mark, now operate as a full serve bike shop where you can get the spare tube you need for the trail or a full tune-up on your bike or, heck, just have them build you a new custom bike!! They are also stocking Cycle Genius recumbents which are fabulous recumbents at a really good price. It is a great place and I highly recommend dropping by.

Dotty's Cafe
Satisfied Customer from Columbia on 03/08/2005 11:28 PM
Recently, my family and I ate in Hartsburg at Dotty's Cafe. It was a nice family atmosphere. We had a wonderful meal and an excellent waitress, who by the way sings to the music on the XM satelitte radio. (She has a beautiful voice.) As we were eating Dotty and the waitress sang an anniversary song to a couple that was there for dinner.

My husband and I ate prime rib and our son ate a cheeseburger. It was the best prime rib we have ever eaten. We also at blackberry cobbler with ice cream, it was to die for! You have to stop and eat there if you get a chance!

Another satisfied customer from Columbia on 03/08/2005 11:31 PM
I have also eaten at Dotty's Cafe and I would have to agree, the food is wonderful. My favorite is the Jumbo fried shrimp and the roast beef dinner.

Customer from Columbia on 03/11/2005 11:15 AM
My family and I make special trips to Hartsburg just to eat at Dotty's. The food and the service are both GREAT.

Creasons Katy Trail Shuttle Services (McKittrick)
Edna from Waukesha, WI on 02/10/2005 02:53 PM
What is the cost of a shuttle from Clinton to St. Charles for a solo rider, bike and Burley bike trailer? I'm considering riding the Katy from St. Charles to Clinton and camping. Also, any pointers and suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

Ray (webmaster) on 02/16/2005 12:31 PM
I haven't gotten prices from Gary Creason, but I do have a 2004 rate sheet from TC Tours shuttle (based at the Touring Cyclist bike shop in St Charles). Their prices range from $60 for St Charles to Weldon Spring, to $360 for St Charles to Clinton. Note that these rates include 1 to 4 people and their bikes & luggage. So St Charles to Clinton is only $90 per person if you can find three other people to split the ride. For 5 or more, add $5/person and $5/bike (don't know what their maximum capacity is). Again, this is from a rate sheet dated 2004, so rates might have changed, but this gives you a general idea what to expect.

Here's a list of all shuttle services (using the "Plan a Ride" feature):
shuttle list

Regarding camping, here is a list of all campgrounds along the trail : campground list

TR in Jboro from Jonesboro, AR on 02/23/2005 07:03 PM
Another option is the AMTRACK. You can catch it at Sedalia so you will have to ride back to Sedalia from Clinton or have a shuttle bring you from Clinton to Sedalia. I used the shuttle (local cab company in Sedalia) in April 04 and the cost was $50. The AMTRACK will take you from Sedalia to Kirkwood, (about 18 miles south of St. Charles) and you can ride from the station to St. Charles or get a shuttle to take you (the cost for this was $50 in April 04. The Amtrack fare is $22 plus a small fee for your bike and trailer.

Tommy from Lawrence, KS on 02/22/2005 03:57 PM
Uchie's was a good dinner. On the town square.

It was getting dark at Clinton (coming off the trail from St. Louis, pedaling on to KC area and Lawrence). We rode a couple miles west of Clinton on Route 7 (good shoulder) to the Haysler A Poague Conservation Area. Just a little state-owned swampland and a roadside park. Got out into the shrub away from the highway and camped. I've seen conflicting information on whether this was an 'approved' camping spot, but worked fine. The ride into KC worked pretty well from Clinton (up to Blairstown, over to Garden City, etc).

Pilot Grove
Tommy from Lawrence, KS on 02/22/2005 03:46 PM
Camped the night in the City Park (SW corner of town). The toilet in the park looked bad from the outside, and was locked. Fortunately, the trailhead toilet is 60 seconds of pedaling away. The policeman asked our names, and offered us the key to the toilet, but we didn't need it.

More importantly, the city park has a wonderful small swimming pool. This was the most beautiful sight imaginable after 4 days on the trail in July. We rinsed our togs in the bathhouse and swam for an hour (should've charged, but didn't) before they locked up for the night.

Becky's Burgers wasn't bad, either. A good stop.

Downtown Clinton
Paul Marlin from Quincy, Il on 09/19/2004 10:14 PM
The downtown is one of the nicest anywhere. Somehow or another, Wal-mart has not succeeded in killing it. It is too bad the trailhead is out in Bull-mart country rather than near the restored downtown train station.

Don Lewis from St Peters Mo on 02/20/2005 09:54 PM
My sons and I are planning a trip in 05 from Clinton to Machens(if the 3 miles that are in dispute by the property owners is resolved in 05, if not then to St Charles) Clinton is probably the most lovely and friendly little town that you will encounter on the trail! Everything that you will ever need is there, and the people are so nice! If you know someone that is a member of the local elks lodge, have them take you into their club! You will have the time of your life! I am looking forward to the trip! Have always wanted to do it, and Im lucky enough that one of my son's Father and Mother in laws lives in Clinton, so we have a place to stay the night before our departure!

Camping Options
CSCman from Chapin, IL on 01/25/2005 11:12 AM
A couple friends and I will be biking from St. Charles to the Katy Roundhouse and back this coming September. We are looking for a good place to camp about half way in between. Does anybody have any suggestions as to a place. Has anyone used the Steamboat Junction campground in Blufton and if so what were you thoughts. Thanks so much for the information.

Mileage/Direction Questions
Anonymous on 10/31/2004 10:01 PM
I am considering a trip across the trail next spring. I have a couple questions for you veterans.

Is it a better ride east-to-west or west-to-east? Prevailing winds? Uphill/downhill?

I'm excusively a road rider, so given the surface, what is a reasonable amount of mileage to think about per day?

Thanks for any input.

TRinJboro from Jonesboro, AR on 11/01/2004 12:24 PM
I rode the trail in early April this year from west to east. I had hoped to catch a west or southwest wind, but the first two days the wind was out of the east and northeast (headwind), making those days cold and miserable. On the third day the wind changed out of the NW and I had a tailwind the rest of the way. So, I guess what I'm saying is there is really no way to know in the spring in MO, because the weather changes quickly. You don't have to worry about hills, the trail is almost flat all the way. I'm also a road rider, and I went 40 miles the first day (Clinton to Sedelia), 80 the second day (Sedelia to Columbia), 40 the third day ( Columbia to Tebbets) and 85 the fourth day (Tebbets to St. Charles). I guess this again depends on your level of fitness, and your iternary.

Anonymous on 11/01/2004 01:50 PM
That's a very helpful response. THANKS!

If I might ask a couple more questions - what kind of bike did you ride? Road? Moutain? ??? How wide a tire? I'm thinking about a cyclo-cross bike with some tires wider than the road tire I ride.

Thanks again.

TRinJboro from Jonesboro, AR on 11/01/2004 05:22 PM
I rode a mountain bike I borrowed from a friend. It's not the ideal bike for the trail, but it's better than a road bike, because if you get a heavy rain, the trail becomes too mushy for a road bike. I'm told a hybrid is the ideal bike, and I'm going to rent one if I do the trail again next year. If it is as good as I'm told, I'll probably buy one. The best way to get input on this is to call one of the bike shops that cater to the trail, a couple of good ones are The Touring Cyclist, in St. Charles 636 949-9630 and Scenic Cycles in Marthasville 636 433-2909. Good luck, you'll love the KATY !

Paul Knoblock from St. Louis, MO on 12/11/2004 10:18 AM
Hopefully you haven't made your purchase on a bike for the Katy. I ride a road bike and wanted a bike for the Katy Trail and commuting. I purchased a cyclocross ( Lemond "Poprad" ). It is a great bike for the Katy. The tires are 700x32 which are wide enough and they are knobby. The frame is Reynolds 853 steel which will keep the rode "feel" to a minimum (vs aluminum). Comes with Shimano 105 shifters. Great bike!!!!

dwEbersole from Ellisville,MO on 01/13/2005 07:35 PM
Given: 1 full mountain bike, 83# of camping gear, 8 pts of water each

day. Riding in mid-October. Cash to buy food at near-trail venues.

Results: Day 1 Truman Lake State Park Campgounds to Cliffton City 85m

Day 2 Cliffton City to Wilton w\ side exersion up Columbia

fitness trail part way 72m. Camped out at Riverside


Day 3 Wilton to Herman. Went to Octoberfest. Camped in City

Park. 78m which excludes trip into herman from Loutre

Market only.

Day 4 Herman to St. Charles at Blanchette Landing Park. Side

trip about five miles up Lost Valley Trail. 80m.

Conclusion: Fantastic Trip.

In response to a question I read in the replies, It should be noted

that the wind blows down-river almost every summer afternoon at better than twelve knots. You do the math. I have ridden the trail

Clinton to SC as sections at least twice, and have never achieved what others proudly hail as a continuous east-to-west crossing.

Jefferson City to Hartsburg
John P. from Jefferson City on 01/01/2005 05:39 PM
I'm a KATY Trail volunteer, rode from Jefferson City to Hartsburg and return today 1/1/05. Trenching just east of trail head at JC is underway to install flush toilets at last!

Bridge work is complete and cleaning of leaves, limbs, etc. from mm149 to Claysville has been done, don't know if the pipeline that runs under the trail has been removed at mm149. A dock that is not longer in use on the Missouri River exists at this location where fuel was barged in and pumped up the hill through the pipeline that will or has been removed. Trail is rough in the mile or so section.

The folks at Claysville are busy building onto the restaurant and store.

Good ride but did get wet (rain) on the return from Hartsburg.

By the way the work on the Missouri River Bridge from Jefferson City is complete and the bicycle lane has been restriped (you must ride against the traffic going into Jefferson City).

John P.

katying with children
s from Evansville, IN on 09/12/2004 10:27 PM
I may be crazy, but my three children and I are planning to do the stretch either between Bluffton and Jefferson City or Rocheport and Jefferson City sometime in October. They are between the ages of 8 and 14 and we aren't avid cyclists but want to begin somewhere. What is a reasonable amount of distance one could expect to cover given reasonable weather and relatively happy children in a "light" day? Is there a particular stretch of the trail that is best for a family ride? I noticed several B&Bs aren't particularly accommodating to the under 10 set. . .Any suggestions for one such as myself??

Ray (webmaster) on 09/13/2004 12:18 AM
We'd love to have you come visit Missouri, but I highly suggest that you first try out some trail riding closer to home. This gives you an idea how far your kids can ride before they run out of gas. Best to find out while you're still close to home. I'd hate for you to be stuck on a remote part of the Katy and discover that your 8-year-old can't ride any more after 10 miles. You might try the Rails-Trails Conservancy's trail finder at www.traillink.com. You can search for trails by state (try IL & KY too) and probably find something near Evansville.
Having said all that, the Katy is great for kids - it's flat and scenic (esp the sections you mentioned), and you can usually spot some wildlife.

If you plan to split your trip into 2 days, your kids probably will easily handle the distance: Bluffton to Jeff City is 32 miles, so 16 miles / day; Rocheport to JC is 35 miles. The big problem might be finding lodging around the halfway point. As you mentioned, B&B's often do not accomodate kids, but some do. The Tebbets Hostel is midway between Bluffton & JC, but some people don't like the no-frills atmosphere of a hostel (and we heard of one guest who had problems with noise there). Then again, your kids might like the novelty of bunkhouse style lodging. If you come from Rochport, the Globe Hotel is in Hartsburg, 25 miles from Rocheport and 10 miles from Jeff City - not exactly in the middle. There are lots of hotels in JC, though I don't have a list (try www.jcchamber.org).
If you haven't already, you might try the Plan a Ride page - put in a start and end town, select the types of services you're interested in (e.g. Lodging), and you get a customized list. Experiment with changing the start/end towns, to figure out what works best for you.
One more catch - the trail is busy in October (foliage time) so make lodging reservations ahead of time.
Good luck, and have fun!

s from evansville on 09/14/2004 08:06 AM
Thank you so much for your ideas. I do realize that I'm taking a risk not to have done any other "trips" so far (actually, I'm far less worried about my 8 year old petering out than I am the 44 year old). But, I think we're still game and I will check out the hostel you mentioned. I was wondering if you could give me some idea of how the shuttling works. I was hoping to arrange something via Amtrak (I'd read they allow some bikes to be put on) but it's rather far between stops and it sounds as if that fills fast. Can you give me a rough idea what we should expect to pay if we go that route? Thank you so much!

Ray (webmaster) on 09/14/2004 09:42 AM
Amtrak travels to Washington, Hermann, and Jeff City, which are near the Marthasville, McKittrick, & N Jefferson trailheads, respectively (it also goes to Sedalia, but that's beyond the section of trail you mentioned). Unfortunately, the train stations are on the south side of the river and the Katy Trail is on north side of the river, and you won't want to attempt any of those bridges by bike - some experienced cyclists tackle the Hermann or Jeff City bridges, but it can be harrowing with cars rushing past just inches away.

Which brings up shuttles: the shuttle services carry people and/or bikes from point A to Point B along the trail. As far as I know, they will go to the Amtrak stations, so they could probably get you across the bridge. Or if you decide the train is too much hassle, a shuttle service can simply pick you up wherever you end your ride, and drive you & the bikes back to wherever you left your car at the start. This link has a list of the shuttle services along the Katy Trail. Honestly I don't know the cost; but if you contact them I'm sure they'll give you an idea.

I also don't know the cost of Amtrak, but this FAQ question has Amtrak's 800 number, and a link to their website so you can contact them for details. You'll need advance reservations, because fall is a busy time for this Amtrak route. Especially October - Hermann hosts a big Oktoberfest and tourists love to ride the train there from St Louis & Kansas City. And like you said, there are a limited number of bike spaces available.

If all the planning gets to be too much, another option is to use a tour service, which arranges all the transportation and lodging issues for you. It's a more expensive option, but it frees you to just ride and not worry about the details. Right now I'm only aware of one touring company on the Katy Trail.

Hope this helps.

s from evansville on 09/14/2004 08:07 PM
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. We'll see how this goes!

Russ from Jeff City on 09/14/2004 09:49 PM
My family (H&W and 3 kids) ride the Jefferson City stretch regularly. I have a 6 and 8 y.o., and they usually are ready to give it up after about 10 miles.

Amanda from Rhineland on 09/15/2004 08:32 PM
Our B & B is located in Rhineland, and we are happy to accomodate children any age. You can check out our website at www.thedollhousebandb.com


Amanda Schaefer

The Doll House B & B

201 Lewis Street

Rhineland, MO 65069



David from St Louis on 11/16/2004 04:59 PM
I took my 8.5 year old nephew biking. He lasted about 15 miles twice, took around 2.5 to 3 hours. It was 7 miles of flat paved trail and 8 miles of street conditions including a couple of small hills. Good Luck!

Trail Conditions early November
TRinJboro from Jonesboro, AR on 11/04/2004 07:55 AM
Going to try to ride from Marthasville to St. Charles Monday or Tuesday. Anyone been on the trail the last week or so, and if so how has the rains affected it.

Ray (webmaster) on 11/04/2004 11:46 AM
I had heard that it's muddy between Weldon Spring and Greens Bottom (St Charles), due to some construction work they were doing around there that removed a lot of the gravel from the trail surface. Haven't had a chance to see it myelf, so I don't know how bad it is. Talked to the DNR about this on Tuesday 11/2, and they said they would report it to their field people in that region and hopefully have fresh gravel out there within a week. So be prepared to get a little dirty toward the end of your ride.

Please let me know if you run into bad conditions, and I'll try to spread the word, or just post a message here.

Enjoy your ride!

CSCman from Chapin, IL on 11/08/2004 09:18 AM
A friend and I biked from St. Charles out past Augusta and back and did not find any places really muddy. There were some areas close to Weldon Springs that looked like they might have done some work recently but they were very ridable.

troy ratliff from Jonesboro, AR on 11/10/2004 12:19 PM
Rode from Marthasville to Weldon Springs and back on Monday. The trail is in excellent shape in this area. The only problem is everything is pretty much closed this time of the year and there is no water at the rest stops and food and drinks are hard to come by.

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