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Katy Trail Parking near St Louis & KC

From the East
Where should St Louis-area trail users park their cars for trail access? It depends on what part of the trail you like best, and how far you want to drive. If you want to bibike along river bluffs, you'll have to head out past Rhineland, but if you are happy with wooded areas and light suburbs, any of the St Charles or other eastern parking areas will be fine. Here are the parking options closest to St Louis:
The Monarch Levee Trail in Chesterfield offers some easy parking options, right off of highway 64/40, with access to the Katy Trail via a nice bike/pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River.

Just off highway 40/64 in Weldon Spring, Missouri Research Park offers several parking spots and a beautiful 3/4 mile trail connecting to the Katy Trail.

The Page Avenue/364 Bridge lot is just 6 miles from the 270/Page intersection. It's a large lot accomodating 100 cars, but it could fill up on busy days due to its ease of access. There's a 1/4 mile ramp from the parking lot down to the trail - the only hill you'll ride all day! If you park here, you'll be at mile 42.8, which is just over three miles from the St Charles trailhead.

Park at Creve Coeur Park and use the 3.6 mile Katy Trail - Creve Coeur Connector to the Katy Trail. It's a nice trail with a scenic view as you cross over the Missouri River. There's also a nice parking lot on the St Charles side of the bridge (details at the web page linked above).

The St Charles Trailhead is another popular parking spot, especially for those coming from North St Louis County. It has 150-200 parking spots, and it's right next to the Lewis & Clark Boathouse parking lot, offering several hundred slots. Unless there is a major event going on in St Charles, you're almost certain to get a parking spot here with no problem.

When the other lots are full, you might want to try the Greens Bottom Trailhead. It's harder to find than the other parking lots (but you'll find good directions if you click the link), so fewer people go there to park. There is a longer drive involved: if you're coming out highway 64/40, it's 18 miles from Chesterfield Mall to the trailhead. Or, if you're taking Page/364, it's 12 miles from the Page/270 intersection. Greens Bottom trailhead is at mile 45.7, which is about six miles from the trail's eastern end.

Another option for those coming out highway 40 is the Weldon Spring Trailhead, at mile 56 on the trail (16 miles from trail's end). But be aware that the turn-off from highway 94 is not well marked. See the link for details. The section between Greens Bottom and Weldon Spring offers nice views of the river and lots of shade.

Going beyond Weldon Spring, you can simply follow highway 94 south/west and find a new town and another trailhead every few miles. Driving south or west on 94, you'll pass through Defiance (mile 59), Matson (mile 60.6), Augusta (mile 66), and Dutzow (mile 74), all of which have trailheads with parking.
The closest trail access for Kansas City residents is actually on the Rock Island Trail, at the Pleasant Hill trailhead. The Rock Island Trail will eventually extend even closer to Kansas City. From Pleasant Hill, it's 46 miles to the Katy Trail intersection at Windsor.

To drive to the Katy Trail rather than Rock Island, try Clinton or Sedalia. Clinton is at the western end of the trail, and only about 75 miles from KC. Sedalia is also fairly accessible, at a distance of 90 miles from KC.
If you want to see the Missouri River, you'll have to go a bit farther. Boonville is about 100 miles east of Kansas City. But if you're coming here to see the Missouri River, you'll only see it briefly, as you cross it. The trail doesn't link up with the river again until Rocheport, some 13 miles east by trail.

If you just want to travel alongside the river, Rocheport is about 115 miles from Kansas City. Head south/east on the trail from Rocheport, and you'll have the river by your side (though you might want to start with a quick jaunt west of Rocheport to go through the famous Rocheport tunnel).
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