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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Camping along the trail

I am planning to ride from Clinton to St. Charles at the end of March. Since I am poor and also a cheapskate I want to camp whenever I can, and only stay in a B&B as a last resort. (I think they are WAY too expensive!) My question is this... I know they say camping is not allowed except in designated places. But would anyone know (or CARE) if I went off into the woods somewhere by the trail and set up my tent? Just before it got dark and just to sleep. This would be only if I was stuck with no other place to camp. Thank you and I hope this is not a stupid question.
posted Feb 23 2006 10:55PM - Anonymous, Winfield, MO

I set up my tent at Pilot Grove and Hartsburg in the city park and never got chased.
posted Feb 24 2006 12:17AM - Anonymous

Not sure whether anyone would know, but some people definitely would care. Here's an earlier discussion that you might find interesting. Also a list of all camping options along the trail - campgrounds, city parks that allow camping, and some businesses that will let you pitch a tent "out in back". One other inexpensive option ($5/night) is the hostel in Tebbetts. Finally, a little more expensive than camping but cheaper than B&Bs are motels, which you'll find in St Charles, Jeff City/Holts Summit, Columbia (9 miles up a side trail), Boonville, Sedalia, & Clinton. Good luck & have fun!
posted Feb 24 2006 6:19AM - Ray (webmaster)

Okay....wear this hat. You are the land owner. Would you like people going off into your woods and setting up their tent "just to sleep?" If I were to do that on your land without your permission, I am trespassing. You can prosecute me if you choose because I have broken the law. Not a good reminder of that trip for me! And the other side here is....if you don't care and have no intentions of ever prosecuting a trespasser, why don't you have a sign up inviting every "cheapskate" as you say, to come camp for free?

What if something on your place comes up missing. Are you going to think it just magically disappeared....or might you suspect that "someone" who camped in the woods last nite?

What if you had scouted and planned for months to hunt on your own property and when you reached your favorite spot early in the morning you found me there in my tent? Big deal...I ruined your hunt, but all I did was sleep! I'm guessing someone CARES now. Chances are you and I at that point are not going to bond into a lasting friendship.

What if your angry bull (that I have no idea about, because I have not a clue what you have on your land or how you manage it) tramples me in the night causing me bodily injury and I hold you liable? Many lawsuits are driven by the fact that a pocket with money in it exists. And I'm sure to assume that you have money beings you've paid for the land and the taxes on it each year.

For many reasons, it is usually best not to unlawfully intrude on someones land...especially if you do not know that person, their intended use of their land, or the general situation at all.
posted Feb 24 2006 9:46AM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

I can relate to being a cheapskate, but please don't trespass on private property to camp without permission - there is really no reason to on the Katy Trail. Use the tools on this website to plan your trip and pay for a few long distance phone calls to request permission to camp in the city parks. If you like the idea of camping 'in the woods' just off the trail, you can do so at Davisdale and Diana Bend conservation areas near Rocheport. Some free or inexpensive camping options I would recommend: Sedalia Fairgrounds, Pilot Grove city park, Diana Bend or Davisdale conservation areas, Hartsburg Volunteer Park, Tebbetts Turner Shelter(hot showers!), Marthasville community club park. I know I would sleep better camping where I have permission and not having to worry about being 'discovered'. Plus, there is something to be said for crawling out of your tent in the morning and being only a few blocks away from a grocery/convenience store or cafe for a hot cup of coffee and breakfast - especially in late March!
posted Feb 25 2006 12:06AM - savage24, KC,MO

I'm going to add another plea here to PLEASE not camp without permission--many landowners were extremely hostile to the trail before it went in, and a few still are. These are the kinds of concerns they raise, and it makes it much more difficult to convince landowners along future trail right-of-ways to be cooperative if they know of trespassing problems along existing trails.
posted Mar 9 2006 12:30PM - ET, Columbia

Tags: Jefferson City, Clinton, St Charles, Marthasville, Tebbetts, Hartsburg, Rocheport, Boonville, Pilot Grove, Sedalia, Columbia, Missouri State Fairgrounds, Volunteer Park, City Park, Davisdale Conservation Area, Community Club Park, Diana Bend Conservation Area, Lodging, Camping, BikeKatyTrail.com, Bike Shops Modify Tags

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