Traveling Missouri's Scenic Katy Trail

Katy Trail State Park – America’s longest rail-to-trail project – runs across the midsection of Missouri, offering a nearly level route for cyclists. The trail, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is a perfect place for a nature-filled journey that includes many great destinations along the way.

Cyclists can enjoy scenic views all year long: lush green forests and fields in the spring and summer, vibrant colors in the fall, and – once the leaves have fallen – unobstructed views of river banks and towering rock bluffs during the winter.

The 240-mile route takes travelers from tiny bergs to bustling towns – some located just off the trail, others a short ride away. Cyclists can ride along the Missouri River, through wine country and across rolling farm land. They’ll find historic hotels, bed-and-breakfast inns, casual and gourmet dining, shops, and more.

Twenty-six trailheads and four fully restored train depots make it easy to hop on the trail for a short excursion or head out on a multi-day trip.

Here are just few stops you won’t want to miss:

St. Charles – With a 16-block historic district, St. Charles is filled with history and charm. Located just east of St. Louis on the Missouri River, the town – founded by French fur traders in 1769 – was home to Missouri’s first state capitol. It’s also where Lewis and Clark launched their journey to explore the Louisiana Purchase. Visitors will find a wide array of shops, restaurants and lodging options.

Defiance – The unincorporated community of Defiance is a gateway to Missouri wine country. Wineries thrive on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River and the surrounding area. Defiance also has a rich history of Indian, river and railroad lore and is the site of Daniel Boone’s final home.

Hermann – Located across the Missouri River from the Katy Trail, Hermann is a historic 19th century German village and home to a wine trail featuring seven local family-owned wineries, a State Historic Site, and numerous lodging and dining options. Before Prohibition, the area was among the largest wine-producing regions in the world. 

Rocheport – In central Missouri, limestone bluffs and an old railroad tunnel on the trail set the stage for a stop in the tiny town of Rocheport. A number of artists and craftsmen have set up shop in the area, which also is home to bed and breakfasts, several restaurants and a winery with expansive Missouri River views.

Sedalia – The restored historic train depot in Sedalia was once the center of this railroad town. The depot houses a welcome center and is a full-service Katy Trail trailhead with bicycle sales, service and rentals. The town plays host to the Missouri State Fair every summer.

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