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Katy Trail

Whether you’re an avid bicyclist, hiker, nature lover or history buff, Missouri’s Katy Trail State Park offers the visitor an opportunity to explore Missouri’s natural beauty and rich history.
The long-distance hiking and biking trail, which traverses more than 200 miles along the Missouri River, welcomes people of all ages to discover the heart of the Heartland.

The Katy Trail State Park runs 225 miles from St. Charles to Clinton. Although the trail’s scenery changes often, the hard-packed gravel trail remains fairly level and constant as it meanders through the countryside. Trailheads, which provide bike rentals, refreshments, restrooms and parking are located periodically along the trail.
The trail is handicapaccessible and many of the bike shops offer a variety of bike types—for sitting down, standing up, two people—you name it. No matter what the season, the Katy Trail’s scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. A trip along the trail affords views of Missouri’s diverse landscapes—from sandstone and limestone bluffs, dense forests and pristine river views, to wetlands, gently rolling farm fields and remnant prairies. Visitors will enjoy many scenic stretches with the mighty Missouri River on one side and towering bluffs on the other.

With so many types of habitats, wildlife is abundant along the trail. Because of its location along the Missouri River flyway, bird enthusiasts are likely to see and hear many species of migrating birds and waterfowl along the trail. Soaring above the trail visitors can also see red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures and bald eagles, which make their homes in the bluffs along the trail in the winter. Chickadees, nuthatches, robins, orioles, great blue herons, sandpipers and many types of woodpeckers are also common. The Katy Trail weaves through dozens of small towns that once thrived along the railroad corridor offering visitors a rich slice of rural history. These small communities, which sprung up along the river and the railroad, are now welcome stopping points for the Katy’s trailblazers. Antique shops, quaint historic districts, cafes, craft shops and delightful bed and breakfast establishments invite weary guests to stop off and explore awhile.

For a real treat, travelers can follow the Katy Trail as it weaves through Missouri’s wine country, from Marthasville to St. Charles. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to sample a wide assortment of sophisticated tastes at 11 of the state’s renowned wineries, which cluster along the banks of the Missouri River. With wineries and wonderful towns spaced at 10-mile intervals, a day-tour of the region is extremely enjoyable.

History buffs will enjoy exploring the longest non-motorized public portion of the entire Lewis and Clark Trail. The section of trail between St. Charles and Boonville has been designated as an official segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, and markers designate campsites and landmarks noted in the Corps of Discovery journals.
Near Rocheport, travelers can view one of the rare surviving pictographs left by Native Americans. The pictograph was mentioned in the journals of Lewis and Clark.

Every fall, the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, along with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, brings “Artists Along The Katy Trail” to the park. The event draws more than 200 artists to the area to interpret the beauty of the 225-mile Katy Trail State Park over a four-week period. The artists spend their days transferring sites along the trail onto paper, using techniques ranging from watercolor and acrylic to oil and pencil sketches. Artists gather along the trail at various locations and trailheads to paint on location.

Bicycling along Katy trail in Fall
Bicycling along Katy trail in Fall

The Lewis & Clark Center in St. Charles
The Lewis & Clark Center in St. Charles



Document Information
Source: Missouri Tourism, MODOT
Last modified: 20050118
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