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Roger from Saint Paul, MN on 3/22/2021 8:51:36 AM:
Hello! Me and 4 friends (all 50-60 years old) are going to bike from KC to STL on the Katy Trail in June. We do similar bike trips every summer (Fargo to Minneapolis; LaCrosse to Milwaukee) and we're wondering about any challenging elevations or trail conditions, especially between Sedalia and Hartsburg and Hartsburg to Marthasville. Any tips or challenges we should know about?

PTM from STL on 3/22/2021 3:00:27 PM:
It is an old train route, so not many drastic hills. Can't vouch for the route between the KT and KC. I think the Sedalia to Booneville stretch is a slow, grinding slight uphill, but others may disagree. It always seems to flatten out for us heading east of Booneville.

Heat can be a problem during June. There are some sections of the trail without shade and we can get hot/humid weather in mid-MO.

Availability of food stops along the trail may be a challenge, please do research on this site and this Forum to check if businesses are still open.

There are some sections that include detours as well.

Good luck and hope to see you on the trail.

Jim from St Thomas on 3/22/2021 5:01:06 PM:
Going west to east the only major elevation challenge for me is the section between Clifton City and Pilot Grove. There is a long (maybe 4+ mile) uphill grade in that section. After you get past that you’ll get to enjoy the long downhill into Booneville and then flat to slightly downhill gradients the rest of the way.

Mark from Lee's Summit on 3/22/2021 8:44:05 PM:
The west half of the Katy Trail has gradual rolling hills just like the rail-trails that I have ridden in Wisconsin. The east half is extremely flat and follows the Missouri River. The Katy Trail is great, but you do need to be prepared for the two major closures/detours. The Salt Creek bridge that is out just east of Rocheport has an easy unofficial detour along the levee and across a low water crossing as long as the weather has been dry (if it has been wet, then it turns into a muddy mess). Unfortunately the officially recommended detour requires riders to take a hilly detour along a busy 2 lane state highway with no shoulders and I don't recommend that route for recreational riders. The second detour is an easy 1/2 mile detour around a large rock slide (just west of Portland). Only 1/4 mile or so of that detour is on a state highway and that section of roadway is completely flat and not heavily traveled. Again, the Katy Trail is awesome, but I want you to be prepared. You will have a good chance in June for an easy low water crossing of Salt Creek, but you still have to be prepared.

Jerry Whittle from Belleville on 3/23/2021 7:01:29 AM:
Many businesses such as stores and restaurants in the small towns seem be to closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Sedalia and Boonville aren't a problem. You might want to schedule your trip with that in mind. If you start from KC on a Monday, you probably won't have to worry.

Brad Hayward from Bolivar MO on 3/23/2021 2:58:16 PM:
I have ridden the trail in it's entirety in both directions. While the elevation change is not extreme it is generally downhill from west to east as it falls toward the Mississippi river. For me, the greatest elevation change is the 30 or 40 miles between Sedalia and Boonville which is downhill as you approach the Missouri River valley.

G & G from Sedalia on 3/26/2021 7:54:22 PM:
I have rode from HWY 135 to Windsor.

East of Beaman are two nice size hills. They slope toward Shaver creek. So you go down hill and then up. That's going east or west. Normal slow grade from Beaman to Greenridge.

It is more uphill going west than east. You don't notice until you turn around and notice you are coasting more.

Rode the Rock Island from Windsor north to PH. Don't remember any big hills. Some up grades as you come to roads.

Be careful crossing the roads in Sedalia. pay attention especially at the Grand, Clarendon road and Ohio/16th streets. There are lots of people are will allow you to cross but others who are so busy on their phones or just not paying attention that they are dangerous.