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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Ending in Machens

Plan on doing a two day ride from Jeff City to Machens, staying overnight in St. Charles. I would like to go to official east end of trail on day 1 and curious how the trail ends in Machens. I see there is not access by car. Is the trail very scenic from St. Charles to Machens? Urban sprawl? Please forgive my ignorance, not from MO originally. Thanks!
posted Jan 26 2017 11:31PM - Jeff

A round trip from St. Charles to Machens is only about 25 miles. It is also one of the least interesting parts of the Katy except a few times when it is right next to the Missouri River. It also has a section around MM 35 which is usually closed due to flooding or debris from floods.

Jeff City to St. Charles is quite ambitious as it's over 100 miles. For a two-day between those two cities, I recommend that you stay at Hermann. Plenty of B&Bs there.
posted Jan 27 2017 9:03AM - Jerry Whittle, Belleville Illinois

While the Machens trailhead is not technically accessible by car, you can certainly have someone drive there to pick you up or drop you off. There is just no place to park there. It is adjacent to a still-running freight line and the 1/10 mile access road (which is private property of the railroad) is dirt/gravel that is messy depending on the precipitation. Just take the car to the point where Machens Road crosses the freight line. Park on the side of Machens Road, walk your bike the 1/2 block over to the trailhead. Take pictures, say your hello's or goodbye's and be on your way. You cannot leave a car at or near the Machens trailhead.

As for the scenery, that's a matter of taste. That section looks much more like the middle part of the Katy -- rural with a few glimpses of the river. However, it can be a rough ride depending on the last rainfall or the seasonal flooding. My philosophy is that if you want to say you did the whole Katy Trail, the minor inconveniences of getting to/from Machens are worth doing at least once.
posted Jan 28 2017 11:12AM - BikerBoy, Maryville, L

The above comments are pretty accurate from my experience. I went to the end at Machens just to do it. It is not the most interesting section, at least not to me.

One note that may be worth remembering, the wet sections down by the river which are about 5 miles or so from the end can be a pain to ride, especially after heavy rain. As an alternative, while I have not done it, I have considered taking the levy which is elevated and drier for the couple of miles that goes around the wet portion. It appears that others have as there is some minor wear that would suggest someone has been biking/running/walking it at times. I am not sure if there are any meaningful easement issues with the use of this levy portion. Good luck with your ride and be safe!
posted Feb 5 2017 2:35PM - KATY Trail Runner and Biker, Webster

I went to Machens then turned around and went back to the Black Walnut parking and met my ride. Yes that was not the most exciting part except to say I went end to the end of the trail.
posted Feb 9 2017 8:02AM - dc, jc

Thanks everyone for the responses! I appreciate the input.
posted Feb 10 2017 5:23PM - Jeff

Going from St. Charles to Machens, there are some very rocky and sandy parts. I think there is actually some tape and a "trail closed" sign that people have ridden through (including me!) I had to carry my bike several times, to prevent any damage. And its not just small rocks, either!! On the bright side, it provided an arm workout. Does anyone know when this will be repaired? Its been like this for over a year!
posted Feb 16 2017 1:05PM - Jen, St. Louis

Tags: Jefferson City, Machens Modify Tags

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