Katy Trail Home  The Katy Trail and Rock Island Trail Rock Island Trail Home

St. Charles Trailhead

Parking, Restroom
Mile marker 39.5
S Main St at Boones Lick Road

St. Charles Trailhead is located on the Katy Trail, in St Charles MO

Directions: I-70 to Fifth Street exit North. Veer right on Boonslick Rd (first major intersection after McDonalds). Follow this street and continue straight after the stop sign at Main Street. Immediately after crossing Main Street, when the street curves and turns into Riverside, stay to the right and turn into the parking lots.
Show directions from St. Charles Trailhead to traveling
St. Charles Trailhead
Your Current Location (if allowed by browser)
Katy Trail
Rock Island Trail

Forum Discussions about St. Charles Trailhead

New riders
Carlee from Orlando, FL on 10/28/2021 07:26 AM:
I am planning a full day ride on the Katy Trail in about a week to see what it’s all about!
Right now, I am thinking for a 1 day trip to start in St. Charles and go to Augusta and then turn around.
I am wondering if anyone has any advice or comments about this plan? I would love some input on what to expect, best places to stop for wineries/food and also if the distance seems doable for a full day.
Any advice would be awesome! Thanks so much!

Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/28/2021 08:27 AM:
The stretch from Weldon Springs to Defiance is probably the least interesting section of trail. If you have a way to drive west some and start in Defiance or Augusta, I'd recommend that.

JT from TERRE HAUTE on 10/28/2021 06:12 PM:
Depends what you're hoping for: from St. Charles to Defiance there's not much to do, but once you get to Defiance and on to Augusta there's several options for breweries and wineries and bar and grill type places (depending on the day of the week, I'd definitely check to see what's open on what days of the week). Just finished a ride from Clinton to Machens on 10/26 and had a great lunch at Terry and Kathy's in Defiance on 10/26. In the long run I'd say; make your plans and then ride!

St. Charles Trailhead in St Charles
Rita from Cuba on 11/04/2020 11:23 AM:
Is there certain hours that you are allowed. To be biking on the Katy or can you bike anytime in the 24 day?

Jerry Whittle from Belleville on 11/05/2020 08:57 AM:
Technically from sunrise to sunset. Night time riding isn't allowed although there are a few rule breakers doing it at times.

Overnight parking at St. Charles Trailhead
Tom H from Atlanta, GA on 05/22/2018 11:06 AM:
There was nothing recent on this website, so I thought I'd add this update. We plan on parking at the St. Charles trailhead for 5 nights. I called St. Charles police to make sure this was still OK. They said, "no problem". They did suggest putting your name and number on the dashboard if there was any need to contact. I'll report back if there were any issues.

St. Charles Trailhead in St Charles
Christine Drews from Raymore, MO on 10/13/2017 11:35 PM:
We ran into gnat swarms for several miles this evening near St. Charles. Is that an evening thing, or are they going to be out in the morning, too? Will we experience them in both directions from St. Charles?

Anonymous on 10/14/2017 10:47 AM:
Gnats know no time. They have no sense of time and can not differentiate between evening and morning hours. If for them they must socialize, they do.

Having sorted that out for you, gnats have a very distinct and keen sense of direction and abide by very strict 180 city directional rules. For the layman, this simply means that if you "run into gnat swarms" for example on the south side of a town/city/community, gnats will never swarm on the north side of said community. The same applies for the east and west directions. Rest assured if you "run into" gnats east of town, west of town will be very strictly gnat free. Gnats are both longitudinally and latitudenally asymmetrical.

This is pretty common gnat behavior that is well known to the noncity dweller. Steer to the left or right to avoid running into gnat swarms. Or apply the gnat principles of longitude/latitude symmetry to avoid gnats swarms. Your local university extension office may more information or perhaps they offer a class on gnat behavior that may be of benefit to you.

Cathy from Jefferson City on 10/15/2017 12:27 AM:
Wow Anon, you should write an indepth research paper on gnats.

Christine, the key words in your post were "this evening." The only time I've encountered a bunch of gnats was when I was on the Katy Trail after 6 pm ish. Get to your destination by 4:30 pm or 5:00 pm and maybe you'll be ok. But no guarantees.

BikerBoy from Maryville, IL on 10/15/2017 03:41 PM:
This time of year, they are more likely to be black midges, not gnats. They are the same size, but jet black. Whereas gnats swarm in a column (mostly early morning), the black midges swarm more often in the evening and in areas where the setting sun shines through the trees. They have been quite populous this year, to the point where some bike riders are wearing netted face covers while riding.

Parking Question
Edna from Waukesha, WI on 02/10/2005 03:13 PM:
I want to bike from St. Charles to Clinton. Can I leave my car for a week at the suggested St. Charles parking area? If so, do I need to notify the local police that the car will be there, pay a parking fee, etc.?

Ray (webmaster) on 02/15/2005 11:58 AM:
I just spoke to the St Charles Police Dept about this - the officer said that it is NOT necessary to notify anyone before parking on the lot for an extended period. He said that the lot is patrolled frequently, but just be sure to lock the car. Parking is always free at all the Katy Trail trailhead parking lots. If you want to clarify anything with the St Charles Police Department, their non-emergency number is 636-949-3300.

TacticalTed from St louis on 02/20/2005 10:57 AM:
It is probably better to park in the parking lot/garage of the Ameristar casino which is maybe 1.5 miles down the trail. VERY SAFE. They patrol tons and it is well lit and always active. I do it often for my runs on the Katy and they never have a problem. If you felt obligated you could always give them a few dollars at the slot machine

Andy & Linda from Wildwood, MO on 05/21/2006 03:24 PM:
We are planning an overnight bike ride. Does anyone know if we can leave our vehicle overnight at Weldon Springs?

Ray (Webmaster) on 05/22/2006 10:23 PM:
The official word that I've heard, is that overnight parking is fine at any of the trailheads. In the past there had been some vandalism problems at N Jefferson, but that was quite a while ago. I've never heard of any problems at Weldon Spring. Use your judgement and of course common sense stuff like not leaving valuables in the car.

sbikes from Kansas City on 05/24/2006 11:16 PM:
I would check with DNR. I know that for the portion in mid-Missouri I was specifically told by

the Park superintendent of that stretch that overnight parking was prohibited. I was helping

out with the DNR ride and needed to leave my car overnight and was told I could not legally

leave it at the trailhead. But, it may be different for the Eastern end of the trail as that part is

managed by a different park superintendent. And, I have been told there have been some

recent vandalism problems at N. Jefferson, but I don't have any first hand knowledge on this.

Jen from Willowick, OH on 06/21/2007 09:40 AM:
My advice (from personal experience) is to definitely let the local police know if you're leaving your car at a trailhead for a week.

Jon from Missouri on 08/25/2007 08:27 AM:
I called the city of St. Charles PD. I was told overnight parking (or longer) is available and the best place to park is at the lot SE of the Trailhead Brewery, near Boonslick/Riverside (OR Main?). They said that lot is patroled more frequently. I called today, 08-25-07.

Jon from Missouri on 08/27/2007 08:31 PM:
The above post is mine: we parked overnight at the lot just Southeast of Trailhead Brewery. This is the lot across the tracks. We had no problem and noted several other vehicles parked overnight also.

Dana from Sterling on 05/28/2013 12:13 PM:
I see most of the questions and posts on this page are a few years old but I want to know as of June 2013, where is a good place to leave a vehicle overnight and/or three or four days safely?

St. Charles Trailhead in St Charles
Mary from Sedalia on 09/20/2011 12:21 PM:
We have heard rumors that they are opening a building that will have showers. We would be interested, because after our ride we would like to clean up before shopping or eating a nice meal.

St. Charles Trailhead (St Charles)
DDMAINE on 03/04/2009 07:52 AM:
The site says no overnight parking at the St Charles trailhead - is this true? We planned to park there for a week. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

stevie from saint louis on 03/04/2009 09:00 AM:
You may want to check this old thread and/or check with the St Charles Police Department, their non-emergency number is 636-949-3300 to help get an answer to your question.


DougK from Troy on 03/08/2009 09:54 AM:
Park up the hill at the bass-pro parking lot. There's also a commuter park and ride near the trail.

St. Charles Trailhead (St Charles)
Mike from Southeast Missouri on 03/11/2006 04:44 PM:
Hi, I have been to this parking lot before but had a shuttle pick me up and take me back to the train station in Kirksville. I am going to leave my car there for a few days and need to the know the actual address of the lot so I can put it on my GPS. Would appreciate any help. Thanks

savage24 from KC,MO on 03/11/2006 09:11 PM:
If you are looking for waypionts for your GPS see the thread started by brian on 1/10/06:

St Charles Parking
Anonymous on 07/31/2004 11:17 AM:
Where is the safest place in St. Charles to leave a car parked for two nights?

Trevor on 07/31/2004 09:10 PM:
St Charles Trailhead is the best place. There's plenty of parking, and overnight parking is allowed. It's a busy enough area that there are usually people around, since the historic district is right there. And best of all, you're right on the trail!

Anonymous on 08/26/2004 07:50 PM:
Trevor, You were right on! We had no problems leaving our vehicle there for two nights. Just to be on the safe side, I contacted the St. Charles PD to let them know it would be there... Thanx!