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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Planning a Long-Distance Biking/Camping Trip

Hey, so a couple of friends and I have this idea that sometime this summer, we would like to bike the entire Katy trail (or depending on whether or not we actually can, a large portion of it), camping at night to rest. I obviously plan to do research on my own, but just as a general question: Is this something that should be attempted (especially by a group of people who are relatively new to cycling)? What can we do to prepare for such a long trip, and is there a certain type of bike we need or some kind of a device to help carry camping supplies on our bikes? (Is this a realistic goal at all?) Are there any safety concerns we need to worry about (some guy in another post was talking about seeing a dead body on the trail)?

As a last major inquiry: How many miles can we realistically expect to cover in one day? All of us are somewhat fit, although we have SOME time to specifically "train" if needed (we're not planning to do the trip until later in the summer).

Thanks in advance for any advice!
posted May 22 2011 9:37PM - Olivia

Sure you can do it! My wife and I biked the whole trail last June, one year after open heart surgery and only nine monthes after purchasing our first bikes...we are in our upper fifties.

I would recommend hybrid bikes with rear racks and tires of about 32-35c. You will need panniers and a handlebar bag to hold all your clothes and camping gear. We "trained" for about 4 months taking longer and longer day trips on a local rail trail until we were comfortable travelling about 35 miles a day with all our gear on the bikes.

We planned our itinerary to travel 35-40 miles per day and camped every other day and stayed in B&B the other days. Took a rest day in Hermann to tour the wineries and antique shops.

We used the links at the top of this website extensively in our planning to chart out our expected mileage and services available.

It was one of our most memorable vacations ever and still ride the KATY for many 2-3 day trips. It encouraged us so much in cycle touring that we are biking for a week in Colorado this August!
posted May 22 2011 10:40PM - MidSouth, Rogersville, MO

I agree with Midsouth. His idea of camping every other night and staying at B & Bs the others is very good. I'm a bit of a wimp and do fewer miles a day. When my daughter and I biked from Rocheport to St. Charles we did about 25 miles a day. I've seen several people post comments about allowing yourself time to enjoy the towns and things you'll encounter along the trail. 25-30 miles a day allows you to do that. For example, be sure and plan to have lunch at Cooper's landing and take pictures at Boathenge. At Jefferson City add an hour to cross the new pedestrian/bike bridge to town (an hour will allow you to go from the trail to Jefferson City and back to the trail). Actually, you could just plan a night in Jefferson City. And while you're here, plan an extra day, and do a tour of the Missouri State Pennitentiary. That tour is getting reviews that it is better than Alcatraz.

Another thing about the number of miles to do a day, is that you'll need to plan your stops based on the places you can camp.

And don't worry about that dead boby, somebody unfortunately had a fatal heart attack while biking the trail. It happens everywhere.

When my daughter and I did our trip I trained by riding the trail for 2-3 hours a day at least 2 times a week, and one time I road the trail 3 days in a row. That got me in shape.

You will really enjoy this. Be sure and post comments about how your trip went.
posted May 23 2011 12:20AM - Cathy, Jefferson City

Does anyone have an example itinerary of cycling the eastern section or entire Katy Trail? Especially regarding camping. I'm worried about not having enough places to camp.
posted Jul 23 2017 12:11PM - beth, St. Charles

go to the trip planner here:


click on the tent symbol and then "Build my list".

There are quite a few camping facilities along the way, many within a few miles of each other.

I would recommend doing further research on each option. Just to avoid places that are possibly out of business, and to be prepared for a few places that are primitive camping spots.

posted Jul 24 2017 1:52PM - brad wilson

You can use tags to filter comments about camping or use the Trip Planner above to find locations to camp along the trail.
posted Jul 24 2017 3:10PM - Anonymous

Tags: Jefferson City, St Charles, Rocheport, Hermann, Cooper's Landing, Lodging, Camping, Wineries/Breweries, BikeKatyTrail.com, Bikes and gear, Tires Modify Tags

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