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Machens MO on the Katy Trail and Rock Island Trail

Mile marker 26.9
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Machens Trailhead

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Forum Discussions about Machens

greg from Kansas City on 09/30/2017 10:46 PM:
Why does the trail start at mile marker 26.9 in Machens? Why not zero?

Ray (webmaster) on 10/01/2017 08:20 AM:
This goes back to the trail's history as railroad route - the Katy Trail uses the mileage numbering system that the old MKT rail line used. So the actual rail line started somewhere 26 miles east of Machens.

Note that because of this, your mileage won't precisely match the mile markers around Sedalia, because the trail route varies from the old railroad route through there.

The Rock Island trail also uses its old railroad's mile numbering system.

Happy trails!

Paul from Quincy, IL on 10/22/2018 05:14 PM:
Greg has it pretty much right, except for the part about the rail line stating 26 miles east of Machens. Actually the MKT ended at the junction with the CB&Q (Burlington) railroad (now the BNSF) at Matchens. The Burlington line ran North-South between St. Louis and Burlington, IA. The Katy must have had trackage rights via the Burlington into St. Louis, 26 miles away.

Anonymous on 10/22/2018 08:14 PM:
Greg pretty much didn't have a clue. So he came here to ask why.

Clayton from Archie on 05/07/2018 09:49 PM:
I have a group wanting to get to the confluence park from Machens. Is the trail connection to roads so a fellow can park a vehicle on the road and bike onto the KATY and back. I will meet the group and shuttle them to the park when we rally at the trails end.

BikerBoy from Maryville, IL on 05/08/2018 06:57 AM:
I can't tell from your question whether you are asking to leave your car at Machens. There is no place to park at Machens. It's a standard Katy trailhead (signage, restrooms), but is surrounded by private land, mostly railroad property (still active). I usually get dropped off on Machens Road nearby; that's how tight the space is for vehicles. The closest place to park you car overnight is St. Charles.

You can bike from Machens to the Confluence park, where there is car parking. But I suggest taking the back roads, not Hwy 94.

Trail Conditions
mgh from Des Moines, IA on 09/03/2015 03:01 PM:
Hello, my husband and I are planning a round trip from Clint to Machens and back to Clinton in mid October. We have had a lot of rain in Iowa this year and it is a muddy mess. I'm wondering how the trial is right now and maybe what we can plan for.
Thanks in advance - looking forward to discovering this great trail!

Don from Ellisville, MO on 09/03/2015 07:29 PM:
We had a lot of rain through July along the Katy as well, but it has been dry (too dry!) for the last couple of weeks. Combined with the higher temps, I believe there are no problems with mud right now. October is usually a drier month in Missouri anyway. You're going to need to be prepared for the early morning chill followed by the very warm afternoon sun. Temps can swing from 45 to 85 during the day in October.

Anonymous on 09/03/2015 07:55 PM:
Trail conditions a month and a half before your trip are pretty irrelevant. Your concern would be more realistic a day or two before your mid October venture. After rain, the trail dries rather quickly as it is limestone and not dirt path.

Cathy from Jefferson City on 09/03/2015 09:46 PM:
When we do get storms along the Katy Trail DNR does a very good job of clearing trees that have fallen on the trail or washouts. If there are washouts that they can't get fixed in a day they will clearly mark the problem. In most cases you can get by it. If there's a problem that requires a detour they may post something on this site, but they will for sure post something on their State Parks Site. I believe there is a link to that on this site's homepage under trail conditions. October is a great time of year here, unless it's not. I've biked the trail in the last 3 weeks in the central section, from mile marker 159 (east of Easley) to mile marker 115.9, Portland. The trail is currently in great shape in this section. You'll have a great time.

mgh from Des Moines, IA on 09/04/2015 01:35 PM:
Thank you Don & Cathy for the helpful information! We are looking forward to our trip. : )

Anonymous on 09/05/2015 10:02 PM:
I did the 40 miles between Hartsburg and Boonville on September 2 and the trail was hard and fast and very dry. Granted...it's only one small sample.. but you could have ridden on a road bike on that easily. I rode 35s and they were overkill. Kind of wishing I had ridden the bike with 28s...

mgh from Des Moines on 09/14/2015 09:06 AM:
Thanks for the update Anonymous! I've got all of our overnights planned & we are excited! Looking forward to riding this great trail! Thanks again! Enjoy the ride : )

Anonymous on 09/15/2015 08:23 PM:
mgh, I am sure you will love the Katy trail. I am excited for you! I've ridden the entire trail and also spent many hours riding sections and I never get sick of it!

Beth from Newton KS on 09/25/2015 03:14 PM:
Just biked from Clinton to McBaine and back. The trail was awesome! Saw lots of wild life, nice quiet time riding through the woods. Other bikers were friendly. I will be biking the entire trail next year. I know you will have a wonderful time!

CK from St. Peters, MO on 09/30/2015 08:27 AM:
Is the trail still closed between St. Charles and Machens (Mile 35)? There was lots of damage from the flooding there and it was closed when I rode that way earlier this summer.

Anonymous on 10/03/2015 09:09 AM:
QTo Ck in the post directly above this one. As of 9/17/2015 the signs were still present indicating the trail closed between MM 35-34. However, the trail is passable with little difficulty. The surface is currently dirt instead of limestone. (again, as of 9/17/2015)

Locotuss from St Charles on 09/19/2016 03:28 PM:
09/19/16 the red fencing is still up indicating the trail is closed, surface is a sandy mud mix, I guess call it silt. stays a little wet after rain. the 1 mile or so area is passable. that area is the lowest above sea level so stays wet or damp longer than others. there is a levee to the side you can ride on but I'm sure that is private property so at your risk there. was a nice ride from St Charles to Machens, not many riders on a pretty Sunday.

maeg from stl on 09/19/2016 05:00 PM:
your comment 9-19-16 implies that we can start Katy at Machens despite the fact the trail is officially closed? Is seems like the trail is actually rideable in most places, though may require a by-pass on the levee that is probably on private property.

TomWinKC from KC on 09/19/2016 09:05 PM:
I finished the Trail today including a final ride from St Charles to Machens. Officially the trail is closed about 4 1/2 miles from St Charles for about 3/4 of a mile. The ground is very tacky and heavy equipment was working to repair the trails condition but passable around the orange construction netting.

Portage De Sioux Parking
rg from Danville, IL on 09/25/2015 09:06 PM:
Does anyone know of a place in Portage De Sioux where we might be able to leave a vehicle for a few days while we tour the Katy? Thank you for your input.

Don from Ellisville, MO on 09/26/2015 05:35 PM:
I don't know of anywhere in that area. Safest bet is to park in St. Charles, bike to Machens and back (12 miles each way). That only adds an hour to your ride, but your car will be much safer.

LK (local knowledge) from Columbia on 10/06/2015 03:17 PM:
You might try one of the marinas out on the river. They have pretty large parking lots and they are used to having cars parked there overnight when their boaters venture out for a few days. Your vehicle could be hiding out in the crowd.

John on 02/18/2016 03:08 PM:
To be perfectly honest as someone who has rode the entire Katy before, this section of the trail isn't a must see. It's not very scenic, it mostly passes through flat farmland and the trail abruptly dead-ends in Machens, literally into an active railway. For anybody wanting to do the entire trail from east to west I think you'd be better off just starting at St. Charles. Plenty of parking and amenities in that area.

I know this is asking a lot and is unrealistic but it would be awesome if they could somehow extend the Katy in the future to connect to the trail network in Madison County, IL. It's so close right now, only a few miles but I'm sure it's a logistical nightmare with that active railway in the way as well as highway 94 which is not a safe place to ride. Anybody happen to know anything or hear any rumors about possible further expansion of the Katy east in the future, possibly to connect to the Alton, IL area?

steve k from saint louis on 02/18/2016 06:20 PM:
Great Rivers Greenway has a pie in the sky plan to construct a bike trail from where the Katy crosses Highway H(between Machens & St. Charles) and then parallel Hwy H and Hwy 94 into West Alton, MO. From there, there are existing bike lanes that will more or less connect you into the Alton, IL area trails. I would think this would be a priority but not sure of the status. Also, there is a section between Machens and St. Charles around MM 34 that seems to be flooded about once a year so you have to be aware of that if you are planning a ride.

Daniel from St. Chatles on 04/14/2016 07:59 AM:
3 miles west on the trail is Black Walnut right by mile marker 30. There is a state park parking area along with bike repair station.

jim from St Thomas on 04/14/2016 12:46 PM:
I don't know about anyone else, Don, but it takes me more than an hour to do 24 miles. :-)

Don from Ellisville, MO on 04/15/2016 07:17 AM:
Jim, I meant he is adding one 12-mile stretch (he was wanting to start in Portage/Machens). I, too, could not do 24 miles in an hour!

I've gone through that area and connected to the Madison County Trails. I had to do a little planning because I do not like to ride on main roads. But once over the bridge, the trails are spectacular. I am sort of jealous of what they have over there (though not jealous enough to move and pay their taxes)!

Anonymous on 10/06/2015 08:37 AM:
Hubby and I are planning to bike the Katy Trail Oct. 11 to 15, from Clinton to Machens. Trying to decide how to split up the ride and where to stay. Have Plans A, B and C. We know the area of the trail between Rocheport and Jeff City is pretty and interesting, but how is it from Clinton to Rocheport? Thanks. Lois, Knox City, MO

ArkyKenny on 10/06/2015 09:27 AM:
Clinton to Rocheport is more remote (as compared to the rest of the trail) with much of the route covered by "Tree tunnels." Lots of farmland, a few open areas, and some nice but small towns. Be sure to go and see downtown Sedalia--it looks like a 1930's movie set, with old brick buildings and streets.

Anonymous on 10/06/2015 10:08 AM:
Thank you. That was very helpful. Looking forward to seeing Sedalia now.
Lois, Knox City, MO

Ron_S from Overland Park KS on 10/06/2015 10:26 AM:
Rode Clinton to St. Louis (Page Bridge) several years ago. Overnight was (1st) Pilot Grove (nice city park and a restaurant/bar (2nd) Hartsburg (After long breakfast in boonville and lunch in Rocheport) then (3rd) Augusta last night. Have stayed in Portland several times. Weekends the bar/restaurant is open and lively. This was all tent camping.

Sharonbikes from Kansas City on 10/06/2015 08:59 PM:
Clinton to Rocheport is about 90 miles. The first time I rode the entire trail, we did Clinton to Rocheport on day 1 and it was too far. I don't know what your biking skills are, but I would suggest breaking that up with a stay in Sedalia your first night - stay at the Hotel Bothwell. I would suggest a shorter first day, longer days 2 and 3 and then a short day 4. Use the mileage chart and the trip planner on this site to help figure out what will work best for you.

Teresa Johnson from St Louis on 07/18/2015 04:39 PM:
My mom and I are planning on doing a multiple day hike on the Katy. We are wanting to start at Machens but see it marked that it isn't accessible by roads. Is there a close place to get dropped off?

MidSouth from Rogersville, MO on 07/19/2015 10:35 AM:
Click on Machens on the map at the top of the page. There you will see a google map. You can zoom in to see where the trail head is close to Hwy 94 and Machens Rd.

Don from Ellisville, MO on 07/19/2015 02:00 PM:
You can get dropped off right at the trailhead if your driver goes along the gravel access road along the rail tracks. However, that is sometimes in bad condition. Safest bet is to get dropped off on Machens Road where it crosses the train tracks and then walk along the access road to the trailhead (about a city block's length). Do not have the driver cross the tracks because that part of the Machens Road is in very bad shape.

KKWay from Harrodsburg, ky on 01/12/2015 08:03 AM:
I'm planning on riding the Katy in 2016. I see that Machens is an endpoint, but it's mile marker is 26.9. How? Why? Could someone please explain?

ArkyKenny on 01/12/2015 08:45 AM:
The mile markers on The Katy are a remnant from when it was a rail line--29.6 miles from where the original line started. They should be considered more as points of reference, and not as a tape measure from some point because they do not indicate a starting place on the Katy. That is important elsewhere too. The mile markers around Booneville (and Sedalia?) are not correct because of re-routing.

That said, there are long stretches on The Katy where they are a mile apart and sequential. I'm sort of picky about my bike computer being EXACTLY set, and as I go from mile to mile, I often find myself checking the accuracy of my bike computer (because I'm pretty sure that the railroad folks were pretty picky about that too). Others often use the mile markers to remind themselves to stand up every mile. Because the Katy is so flat, you really don't have a reason to stand up to climb, so you need to purposefully stand once in a while. Mile markers are a good tool to remind you to do that.

KKWay from Harrodsburg, ky on 01/13/2015 01:10 PM:
Thanks, ArkyKenny.

Anonoh on 01/14/2015 10:46 AM:
Arky, So you don't stand at all coming out of Boonville going west? Motors don't count on the KT. Max speed is 20 right?

Anonymous on 01/02/2015 05:28 PM:
People are very friendly.Alot to see.Enjoy ur visit.

Anonoh on 01/03/2015 10:24 AM:
Very funny, Joe. Trailhead is nice though. Keep selling those cars.

Tom on 10/10/2014 06:33 AM:
I am getting ready to ride the Katy Trail next week West to East and I would like to know if there is safe place to drop a vehicle for 2 or 3 days near Machens or St. Charles when we finish????

MidSouth from Rogersville, MO on 10/10/2014 08:35 AM:
No where to park at Machens. Many park at the St. Charles trailhead for days at a time. I've not heard of any problems parking in St. Charles.

JR Williams from Colorado Springs on 10/10/2014 04:37 PM:
I understand there are two trains daily from St. Louis to KC. There is a stop in Sedalia where you could leave your car. Ride east and catch the train back. Check on the details to confirm.