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Machens MO on the Katy Trail and Rock Island Trail

Mile marker 26.9
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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.

Ray (webmaster) on 04/08/2012 07:46 AM:
I met some tandem riders a few weeks ago who said they had a couple of flat tires when riding between St Charles and Machens. My son and I rode St Charles-Machens last weekend, and sure enough we each discovered a slow-leaking flat a few days later. There was a small thorn in each.

This is a nice section of trail, and I do not want to discourage anyone from riding it. But if you do, be prepared with spare tubes and a pump or air canisters (as you should always carry anyway, right?).

Happy trails!

Darrell from Jeff City, MO. on 04/08/2012 11:29 AM:
Kevlar is a wonderful thing! :)

Thanks for the heads up Ray. Have not done that part of the trail yet, plan to within the next month or so though.

Happy Easter everybody!

stevek from saint louis, MO on 04/08/2012 08:48 PM:
I heard that another group of riders(5-10) out of St. Charles in early March went to Machens and back and they all got flats(from thorns). I rode that section a few times last summer after it opened(it was closed early spring due to flooding) and did not have any problems.

I probably ride 1,000 miles/year(started in 1995) on the Katy(already did 180 this year), and only have had one flat tire.

Gene from Indiana on 04/08/2012 11:55 PM:
Let's hope Missouri doesn't have that Texas 'goathead' sandbur like Nebraska has. It loves bicycle tires there. It breaks off the seedhead and looks like a goat head with 3/8 inch thorns. One of my trailer tires had one thorn.

Pam O from Independence on 04/09/2012 07:42 AM:
Is this something Missouri Parks would try to clear or something we just have to worry about on that end of the trail?

Sean Goode from Currently Mascutah Ill on 04/17/2012 08:36 PM:
I lived in TX for 4 years, the goatheads are bad after the tractors mow along side the highways... Maybe the city is cleaning along side the trails with weed eaters or something? I'll be riding this stretch Sunday, going Machens to Marthasville..

Pam O from Independence on 04/18/2012 01:46 PM:
Sean keep us posted of your results.

Joe from MO on 04/20/2012 01:06 PM:
I've been on this stretch of the trail 3 times so far this year and I did get a flat one of the three times. I pulled about an inch long and maybe 1/8 inch thick thorn out of my tire. I was talking to some other bikers and they said the problem seems to be around the Black Walnut section of the trail. Roughly around mile marker 29 or 30 I suppose. Some trees on that stretch are dropping thorns on the trail. My advice would be to either find a detour on roads in the area around that section of the trail in Black Walnut or avoid this section of the trail. It's a shame because this a very tranquil and pleasant area to ride in, but in my opinion it's not worth the risk anymore for me. Even if you ride heavy duty tubes and bring fix a flat etc. that stuff can only do so much and it seems that many riders are catching these thorns in that area. Hopefully there can be some resolution to this problem. If anyone knows the detour route around the thorny section of trail via the local streets, please post that info. It would be greatly appreciated.

ErickM from Hazelwood, MO on 04/24/2012 01:53 PM:
i used to live in Near Bochertown and rode this part of the trail a few times. From St Charles city past the underpass is good trail. the problem comes when you go further down the trail.A gentleman I met outside his home in Machens told me that some of the farmers didn't donate their land to the trail. so use CAUTION from the end of the park to Wiedey road it is private property .the only reason there are trails is because the owners ride there four wheelers. that is why the grass is tall and the big gap is unmaintained. From Wiedey road to Machens it is smooth biking.

BikerBoy from Edwardsville, IL on 04/24/2012 04:31 PM:
Well, no landowner "donated" their land to the Katy Trail, or the trail would not exist! The land was a right-of-way owned by Union Pacific, which bought the MKT. The rights were donated to the State for use as a trail. If the trail is broken up, the deal is off (hence the big fight about the Boonville bridge). Landowners along the trail were not happy about the donation in 1986. Quite a few were upset and feared damage from trailgoers. It has turned out to be quite the opposite, and few landowners complain now. But since the St. Charles to Machens portion is newly converted, we will hear the same fearful comments that we heard in 1986. And we will hear them again as it makes its way to KC.

Becky from Washington, MO on 06/14/2012 11:02 AM:
Has anyone been through this area lately (Black Walnut with the thorns)? We are getting ready to do a 50 mile ride with some Boy Scouts and would like to include this stretch, but not interested in changing a bunch of flat tires.

Seeds from Saint Charles on 06/15/2012 08:18 PM:
I live in St. Charles and I've biked to Machens at least once a week since the middle of May and I have never had a flat tire. I love that section! Maybe all of it has been taken care of since April but the views are spectacular and it is very peaceful. So enjoy this section!

steelnoles from Ballwin, MO on 08/12/2012 02:56 PM:
I rode that section yesterday and it was awful. I got three flats myself. I helped two people who had flats and I saw about four more walking their bikes after riding through there. I used all my patches helping people. It was awful.

Stag Zombie from St Charles, MO on 08/13/2012 06:38 AM:
These things are back from MM36 to Machens. It stranded several riders on Saturday after they ran out of patches. Trail needs to be closed and these Goatheads need to be removed

MidSouth from Rogersville, MO on 08/13/2012 08:21 AM:
There is also ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, snakes, dead branches, rocks, mud, humididy, and heat. I say we close the trail until all of this is eradicated. We don't need to be out in nature, we can just ride our bikes in a bubble!

Cea from Canada on 08/13/2012 08:42 AM:
I was thinking of St Charles to Machens (and back) ahead of the formal start of our ride-the-trail trip in September. But this thread (and others) have me double guessing myself. We will be on Bike Fridays, and changing the rear tire is sort of fiddly. And our chances of buying spare tubes is probably very limited. Are there other rides we could do as out-and-back from St Charles?

Billy from Mokane on 08/13/2012 01:30 PM:
If Horace Greeley was still alive today and lived in the Saint Charles area I think he would advise "ride west young man".

kevin from Jeff City on 08/13/2012 01:40 PM:
So has anyone identified the source of the thorns? I've seen conjecture that they are tree thorns (locusts, maybe?) or the dreaded goatheads, but if someone can send a picture to the ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov with some indication of where it was taken, Conservation should be able to ID the culprit.

Pam O from Independence on 08/13/2012 02:12 PM:
We rode this section in early June and had no flats.

Anonymous on 08/13/2012 02:14 PM:
Has anyone here contacted the DNR? Or has everyone just gathered here to go on about it? Friendly gossip is okay but will likely not solve the problem.

kevin from Jeff City on 08/13/2012 02:53 PM:
Just to follow up, goathead thorns were positively identified in Machens along Hwy 94 back in 1989. MDC hasn't had any confirmed sightings since then, but that doesn't mean that they aren't there. Sounds like caution is called for.

Ray (webmaster) on 08/15/2012 07:27 AM:
I just rode that section of the trail yesterday with my son - it was the final leg of our statewide ride, so we couldn't just skip it. And luckily we did not get any flats. The key, I think, was in staying in the clean, "tire wipe" portion of the trail - the part of the trail where most people have ridden, and where there's the least gravel. Also avoiding the sides of the trails where vegetation, especially vines, are creeping out onto the gravel. It sounds obvious, but it took a lot of focus and concentration to keep in that narrow "clean" part of the trail. Can't guarantee it will work for everyone, but it worked for us. And of course, I brought a load of spare tubes and CO2 canisters, just in case.

Kevin from Jefferson City on 08/18/2012 03:23 PM:
Talked to some DNR people while riding from JC to St. Charles. They have been clearing thorns from Machens and McKittrick and will continue to do so.

The thorns seem to like dry, sandy soil, so they are having a great year. Apparently they can lay dormant for a while until conditions sprout them.

I met a family in McKittrick that picked up some thorns just riding around the parking lot. I've seen DNR spraying the lots, so that may take care of them.

Follow Ray's advice and avoid riding through weeds and you'll do better.

Angi H from House Springs on 08/18/2012 08:49 PM:
We road from Treloar to McKittrick and back. 3 flat tires this week from thorns, 1 was a Kevlar tire. Had another flat from a thorn last week.

Tim from St. Ann, MO on 08/25/2012 02:29 PM:
I have ridden the St. Charles-Machens part of the trail several times a week all summer. Early in August I began to get punctures, and I got about seven total. At just about that time I saw a crew of workers pulling up weeds by the side of the trail one hot morning. This morning I looked Goatshead thorns on the internet, and now I can say that there were lots of those plants at that location, and those were the plants I saw the workers pulling up. I write this in response to the folks who wonder if the DNR knows about this problem of if they're doing anything about it.

Rich from Ballwin on 08/26/2012 06:28 PM:
Just rode thru yesterday and got 3 flats...pulled over a half-dozen thorns out of my rear kevlar tire...I thought they were metal they were so strong! Another biker that passed me while I was under repair mentioned he helped almost another 6 bikers with flats in that area. Most people I talked to decided to turn around. I had only 2 spares with me, but luckily one of my tires was a slime tire that sealed itself and I was able to limp back to Research Park with it. Doubt I'll be riding that part much...

Haank from New Haven MO on 08/26/2012 07:19 PM:
Augusta to St Charles and back this weekend and no flats. Trail is really hard, concrete-y for most of the way.

Buddy from Jefferson City on 08/28/2012 07:08 PM:
I posted a picture on the new facebook page of a thorny plant that punctured my tire at the N. Jefferson Trailhead. It looks like a picture that I saw of the goathead burr. Check it out if you're interested.

viktor from St. Louis on 09/03/2012 06:19 PM:
My son and I started Clinton 12:40 pm on Aug 30, 2012 finished at Machens 11:45 pm Sep 3. First thorn flat 11 miles out of Clinton, second thorn flat 13 miles later. Son made it to McKittrick before first thorn flat. We encountered dozens upon dozens of bikers with thorn flats both sides of Sedalia. But it looks like the recent rains from Issac have washed a lot of the thorns off the trail and perhaps the thorn dropping season is about over. But as we were finishing today we did encounter a biker at Black Walnut with a thorn flat.

Bruce on 09/16/2012 06:09 PM:
I rode the entire trail both ways in fall 2011. Only had two flats. One at Defiance. The other at Black Walnut on the return trip, though not on the outbound leg of the trip.

Dutches from Columbia on 10/05/2012 09:47 AM:
Rode the trail all summer without any thorn problems. We rode Rochport to Boonville last weekend, suspecting the New Franklin area, and we pulled about 6-7 thorns out of each tire on 2 bikes, one went flat. All the tires contained slime. Without it, catastrophic walking event would have occured. Even got another flat in the replacement tube. Lovely day on the trail. We enjoy spending our time repairing flat tires out in the middle of nowhere but we will continue to ride the trail, I guess.

Dion from Raymore, MO on 10/22/2012 10:16 AM:
Have ridden the Katy many miles without flats. Then, last trip, 6 flats between my wife and me.

So, we now use puncture resistant tubes and tube liners. Look into getting them for your Katy rides and you will be glad you did.

Bill P from Ottawa, KS on 10/23/2012 06:22 AM:
I mentioned in the other "thorns on the trail" thread that when my friend and I rode the Clinton-Machens trail a couple weeks ago, we got no flats on what seemed to be the most "dangerous" part (from thorn perspective), around McKittrick area; but that when we arrived in Machens (which was the day after we were in the McKittrick area) I saw a thorn in my front tire. It hadn't penetrated through but it was there; I assume I picked it up somewhere in that final several miles around Machens.

Hank on 09/22/2013 08:58 PM:
I rode St. Charles to Machens and back this weekend and thankfully did not encounter any of the deadly thorns. I saw one person nursing a flat around mm 35 but otherwise all was good. I was pleasantly surprised by this stretch, nice variety and loved the wide-open vistas of the eastern end. Haven't heard anything about thorns this season, which is a good thing.

Tim from St. Charles on 06/15/2014 09:01 PM:
Thanks for the information on this stretch of the trail. I was out riding the trail yesterday, June 14 and stopped and turned around at MM35 and from what I have read it is a good thing I did. Does anyone know if the thorn issue has been resolved? I am wanting to ride this section in the upcoming weeks but don't want to have a flat. If anyone has any updates I would love to hear from you. Thanks. Happy riding!

Marion from St. Louis on 06/17/2014 07:09 AM:
I completed the Katy on 13 June, and after taking some pictures, my front tire went flat.. =( I had to pump up the tire to meet my wife in Portage de Sioux. Seemed strange, that after 250+ miles, I would get a flat right at the end. I haven't investigated the flat yet, but I would be interested if it was one of those infamous 'goat head' thorns.

CK from St. Charles on 06/18/2014 09:20 PM:
My wife, son and I rode St. Charles to Black Walnut on June 8th and all 3 of us ended up with flats. Fortunately, there is a great bike stand / fix-it station in Black Walnut. I was fixing my wife's flat when I realized that I also had a flat. When I got home, my son's Weehoo trailer had a flat. Needless to say, we will not be riding this section of the trail anytime soon.

Jerry from Maine on 06/18/2014 11:17 PM:
Rode it on June 15 2014....St Charles to Machens....no flats, no problems. Could use better signage as to how to find roads from trail's end and where roads go.

kevin from Jeff City on 06/19/2014 12:13 PM:
This is an old thread.

Goathead thorns generally make their appearance in times of drought. They like hot and dry weather. We had a particularly bad drought in 2012. Since then DNR and Parks has done a good job of mitigation, as far as I can tell.

Brad Zumwalt from Lincoln, NE on 09/05/2014 09:04 AM:
Any update on this thread? I plan to ride the Machens to St Charles section at dusk. It may be completely dark as I approach St Charles (reason being I am leaving the St Louis Arch around 2:00pm when my train gets in and am biking to Alton and then to Machens). I was wondering if it was better to take Black Walnut road a ways to avoid the trail in that area.

sharonbikes from Kansas City on 09/05/2014 03:42 PM:
We road that stretch over Memorial Day weekend and had no issues at all. Flats and thorns are just always a risk. Carry a tube or 2 and some kind of inflation device. Have fun!

Desertpig from Tucson, AZ on 09/14/2014 05:44 PM:
Just road out and back from St Charles today with no problems. There were many cyclists along this stretch and we only saw one with flat tire. It was a beautiful day and we thought this segment was awesome!

Anonymous on 10/02/2014 06:17 PM:
We road this section of the trail yesterday...I don't know what everyone is talking about...there are no thorns, nor plants near the trail that could have thorns. We found that section of trail to be smoother, wider and cleaner than any of the other sections. It was lovely, open farmland for most of the 12.6 miles from St. Charles. It's a serene, little used section of trail. We loved it.

Gary from Near Tebbetts on 10/02/2014 07:01 PM:
You have to look at the dates on the previous postings, things changes over the years. Sometimes I go for years without any flats and other years get three or four.