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“Stunning ride of the KATY TRAIL”

Katy Trail State Park
Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Boonville
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Welcome to Katy Trail State Park, the longest developed rail-trail in the country. Whether you are a bicyclist, walker, equestrian, nature lover or history buff, the trail offers opportunities for recreation, a place to enjoy nature and an avenue to discover the past. The park, built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT or Katy), is 240 miles long and runs between Clinton and Machens with 26 trailheads and four fully restored railroad depots along the way.
Reviewed 4 November 2017

All fun and beautiful views for a wonderful anniversary bicycle trip! We stopped at the Boonville Visitor Center and Taylor's Bake Shoppe. Can't wait for a 2nd trip on the trail.

Thank Karen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"jefferson city"
in 12 reviews
"road bike"
in 3 reviews
"natural resources"
in 3 reviews
"b bs"
in 4 reviews
"corn fields"
in 2 reviews
"crushed limestone"
in 3 reviews
"historical markers"
in 2 reviews
"great ride"
in 4 reviews
"st charles"
in 3 reviews
"great place to walk"
in 3 reviews
"bucket list"
in 4 reviews
"cooper's landing"
in 3 reviews
"rode miles"
in 4 reviews
"beautiful scenery"
in 3 reviews
in 20 reviews
in 45 reviews
in 10 reviews

2 - 6 of 151 reviews

Reviewed 22 October 2017

First of all, the fact that the trail exists would rate it 5 stars, except that the way the land was confiscated from the farmers still really irks me. The railroad made contracts with the property owners that if it ever ceased operation as a railroad, the land would revert back to the landowners. So it ceased operation as a railroad and the state simply confiscated it. I hate that. Nevertheless, that was years ago. (I'm not a landowner along the trail and don't know anyone who is.)

Most of the real bikers we saw had the saddle bags over at least their rear wheels and would stay at B&Bs or hotels along the way. Others got a ride from a shuttle service. We used 2 cars with bike racks from Northern Tool (we paid $40 each on sale, very heavy duty), staging a car at the planned endpoint for the day, and driving the other (preferably the one with the bikes on it) to the start point. Worked great but a little time consuming.

Most of the real bikers had road bikes. On the old forums, some were suggesting that road bikes are a poor choice due to fine, loose gravel that you could almost get stuck in, but that was years ago and it's all pretty firm now I think.

When we rode, there were enough maintenance issues to rob it of 5 stars. The pit toilet at Treloar has a door that won't close all the way, and the other door has bullet holes in it. Both are falling off the hinges. Come on DNR, we pay plenty of taxes. Fix this stuff!

There are signs all over the place warning of a rough surface, but none of those places were rough - the rough places were washed out ruts going across the trail (wherever there's a paved road that slopes across the trail there will be ruts). No signs for those; you come up on them and get jarred pretty good.

Signage at the trailheads that tells about the upcoming segment seems to be written by someone who has never ridden the trail. Example: Sign in Pilot Grove claims that many bikers think the Pilot Grove to Boonville leg (eastbound) is the hardest because of "Lard Hill." However, Lard Hill is downhill into Boonville and you coast all the way down it in that direction.

There are hills to contend with on the western portion from Clinton to Boonville though. Worst one on the trail for a greenhorn like me was between Sedalia and Clifton City (specifically from where the trail crosses Shaver Creek to about 2 miles outside of Clifton City, riding eastbound).

Also, their "temporary" detour via city streets and a country highway in Sedalia (about 3.5 miles long) seems pretty permanent to me. Not sure why.

We rode in late October, when the black walnuts were falling off the trees. Tons of them litter the trail in places - particularly on the west section from Clinton to around Sedalia, and on the eastern section from Treloar - Augusta. (We didn't ride the section between Rocheport and Treloar. Had to go home early to take care of some stuff.) If going fast on a road bike (I go slow on a mountain bike so no problem for me) I'd think that hitting some of those walnuts would be very unpleasant. Very large and hard.

Speaking of riding fast, people have ridden the whole 230 mile trail in one calendar day, starting just past midnight and riding much of it in the dark at a very high rate of speed. I saw stories about that on the old KATY trail website which doesn't seem to be maintained any more. I have to wonder if anyone has done that lately. Most folks who are real bikers will go 40 - 60 miles a day and cover it in 5 days. But I'm not a real biker.

Be aware that many of the restrooms at the trailheads have water and flush toilets; those close in November and are locked up. The pit toilets remain open all year.

About Lard Hill: If you're going westbound, from Boonville to Pilot Grove, the big hill coming out of Boonville is a few miles long and really nasty. It's called "Lard Hill" because of an incident that occurred in the railroad days. A train hit a woman's pig, and she kept writing to the railroad to complain. They offered her compensation that she felt was inadequate, and kept trying to explain that you can't stop a train to avoid hitting a pig (or anything else). After many letters, she and her kids went out to sabotage the tracks every morning by spreading lard on the rails. The trains would get stuck trying to climb the long hill, so the railroad finally had to give in to her extortion demands.

Thank PseudoGeek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2017

My wife and I have ridden the Katy Trail several times. We are always amazed that such a great amenity is available to anyone at no cost in the center of the USA. The trail is remotely located and in many places is right next to the Missouri River. It offers beautiful views and great places to stop and take in the view. The trail is in good condition except when it floods. However, The State of Missouri does a great job in taking care of the trail. There are really neat places to stop and stay in a local B&B and is a ton of fun for those who like cycling and love adventure. Also, you can park your car in some towns, ride to another and take Amtrak back to your starting point. Be advised Amtrak does require reservations for your bike. Go ride this jewel and enjoy!

Thank markrovenstine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2017

My four lady friends and I bicycled the trail from the beginning in Clinton to the end in Machen over six days. The depots along the way were nicely done and a welcomed site. Signage was very good.
The trail is well maintained for the most part, though west of Sedalia was difficult because we got caught in a thunderstorm and the limestone surface turned to mush.
The little towns along the way interested us and most had some sort of amenity, bar, restaurant, or historical buildings.
With 95 degree days, the ride was tough, but water could generally be found.
The people we met, both locals and fellow bikers, were great...very giving and friendly. Though we biked from inn to inn, others camped along the way.
The ride was a great experience. Don't miss the town of Hermann, the wineries, St. Charles. Coordinate your dates so you can catch weekend festivals. Check out Daniel Boone's homestead which is now a B&B.

Thank Jeanne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 September 2017

This is a great trail for walking, running, and biking. The section in Boonville passes by the old Kemper Military School and the Boonville visitor center and museum. Both are worth checking out. Very peaceful, serene, and beautiful.

Thank TerryW2215
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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