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Katy Trail review

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Old 09-24-16, 12:05 PM
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mstateglfr 
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Katy Trail review

Overall- meh, not sure why its so hyped.

Sedalia is a really nice tourist town.
Hermann is another really nice tourist town.
The Amtrak ride is impressively easy. Simple as rolling the bikes on then off. Really impressed with Amtrak's setup.

Hermann's city campground is in a huge park. Nice park. Terrible showers. Tents are next to the main truck route in town. Just be aware so you know going into it.

Cooper's Landing in Easley us...unique. had a band and 75 people mulling around. 25 camped.
40% were over 50, 20% were Mizzou students, a handful of cyclists, and the rest were neo-hippie/transient stoner.
There is a Thai family who comes there everyday to make thai food which is cool since you are in the middle of nowhere on the river. Decent food. Cheap beer was nice.


The trail is in brutal condition. Its 3mi of perfect, then a washout. 3mi of perfect then a washout. Repeat that for the entire day. From Jefferson City westbound it was significantlynbetter condition.

35mm or 32mm tires are plenty, though larger wont hurt.

Ridong east is downhill overall...though its mostly flat since its in a river valley.

Stock up on snacks and water when you can. Its long between towns at times.

Besides the rock cliffs, i coulda stayed home and gotten the same sights. Plus ridden paved trails.

Overall it was a fun few day adventure, but more because of company i was with.
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Old 09-24-16, 02:11 PM
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robow
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Sorry to hear of the trail condition, last time I rode it was in October of last year and the trail was in excellent condition, very well groomed. I agree with many of your observations. Cooper's Landing is not my kind of campground, too congested but my friend enjoys the Thai food. We always like staying just to the west at Katfish Katy's, by chance did you notice if it is still open. Last fall it was up for sale but it's a really quiet and scenic spot along the Missouri River. I like the Katy, it's laid back but it's important that one knows what they're getting and yes, stock up on supplies when you can because many of the eateries and small stores have closed over the past 15 years that we've riding it. Now you need to consider the 550 mile Grand Illinois Trail which would not be a long drive for you to start, far more variety of scenery such as tooling along Lake Michigan right thru Chicago and it's a mix of canal trail, paved bike way and small county roads. But as you said, the company can make or break any tour.
Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by robow; 09-28-16 at 08:39 PM. Reason: they're vs. there vs. their : )
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Old 09-24-16, 04:37 PM
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Katfish is closed this year for renovations. Thats what their site and locals said.

I grew up in the north burbs of Chicago, ill have to look ip the grand tour route you mention and see if any of the trails we used are part of that.


How often do you ride the Katy?
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Old 09-24-16, 04:44 PM
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In a few weeks, my wife and I will ride the Katy from Sedalia to STL. I'll be on a Salsa Mukluk (fat bike) w/rack and panniers. Claudia will be on a Specialized Stumpjumper. We'll motel it when not staying with friends.

I look forward to the ride.

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Old 09-24-16, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by engineerbob View Post
In a few weeks, my wife and I will ride the Katy from Sedalia to STL. I'll be on a Salsa Mukluk (fat bike) w/rack and panniers. Claudia will be on a Specialized Stumpjumper. We'll motel it when not staying with friends.

I look forward to the ride.

Bob
West to east would have been better for sure...i bet we would have averaged 1.5mph faster between breeze and incline.
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Old 09-24-16, 05:05 PM
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It has been about 5 years since I've been on the trail, but I always found it to be in excellent condition. Mainly riding between St Charles, Creve Coeur, Weldon Springs, Defiance, Augusta, and Marthasville, although I did ride around Jeff City once.

I wonder if something has changed? Were there some big Mississippi/Missouri river floods recently? Wasn't flooding part of what did in the Katy railroad?

I agree, nothing too exciting... lots of long flat straight pea gravel trail, but perhaps the nice thing was the extended mostly car-free route through the middle of Missouri.

I never have been big on Alcohol, but I think there is some wine tasting around Defiance or Augusta.
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Old 09-28-16, 07:04 PM
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I've ridden the entire Katy the last 5 years. For the most part it's in good condition, but sometimes local flooding messes it up. From what I gather, there's a 4-mile stretch near Augusta that's closed. There's also a closed section around mile marker 35 between St. Charles and Machens. It is walkable.

You can find the latest Katy information in this forum. Plus the web site is very informational.
Katy Trail Forum - questions, answers, and discussions about
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Old 09-28-16, 08:09 PM
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I think that a lot of people ride it for the first time with sort of a Disneyland bicycling expectation. For me it's more of a pleasant interlude between busy roads and city's.
I've ridden it both ways about nine times over the last ten years, both ways all but once, so have tried many of the restaurant options and almost all of the campgrounds. Some are better than others. Coopers is not my bag, but I have had a pleasant time there at least once. The owners are just nice hippy types. They actually stock non alcoholic beer there, and I had a few while exercising my fluency in different idioms.
Hartsburg is the one town I don't care for, and others love it.
Riding off the end of the trail and over into Illinois is a nice dose of post trail reality. I use the trail for longer trips to break them up. After the 200 mile slog to Clinton it's nice.
Since I ride alone I get to meet a lot of great people, folks who have never done a trip before to cross country travelers from around the world to our very own
Robow. Some people hate the trail, others love it. What can you say. I even like when it's sort of rough and the rivers are overflowing.
It's not standard bicycle touring to me, but a meditative ride across a state with good and bad.
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Old 09-28-16, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
West to east would have been better for sure..
I like west to east as well since it gets the most boring part of the trip out of the way early, that being from Clinton to Sedalia. And logistically it's easier for me since I live 4 hours from the most eastern end and I can get the train ride over with at the beginning. Shipwreck's comments, as usual, are spot on.

Wasn't it about 7 or 8 years ago that someone attempted to put together a small group ride on the Katy from this forum? I don't remember the details and I may be wrong but I don't think it came off yet they talked about trying it again, so who knows, if you're not too soured on your experience, maybe a bikeforums group tour on the Katy is in your future.
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Old 09-28-16, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
It's not standard bicycle touring to me, but a meditative ride across a state with good and bad.
Well put.
I drink almost the entire way across. Sometimes I take the train back, sometimes not....
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Old 09-29-16, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
if you're not too soured on your experience...
Yeah, it probably sounds like I am soured, I guess it got laid on a little heavy in the early posts.

I think I was figuring better scenery? What we rode past was nice, absolutely. I can get riding alongside a river and fields of soy all around me though and dont need to drive then hop a train for that.

With that said, I could absolutely see spending 2-3 days down there doing the b&b thing with trips to the wine/beer area and the kitschy antique shops where riding is only part of the trip and distances are more limited. It was worth trying out and I am sure Ill be back down most likely next year.
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Old 09-29-16, 08:16 AM
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David Bierbaum
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This has been a bad few months this year, with the waves of heavy rain that rolled through. About two months ago, we got 11 inches of rain in two days. I was welded to my shopvac for three days straight! Just last month, we got another 5 inches in one day, and west of us was 7 inches and more. All the resulting flash flooding is sure to have carved it's mark all along the crushed limestone trail this year.

Say Shipwreck, when you rode off the end of the trail to go to Illinois, was that at Machens? I thought that trailhead was out in an inaccessible area. How did you get to IL from there?

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Old 09-29-16, 09:14 AM
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David,
Shipwreck may give you other ideas but if you magnify the following route that I use below, you will notice Machens is only 3 miles from Portage Des Sioux, which has an old small town marina where we park before riding into St. Louis to catch the Amtrak. There is nothing at Machens other than the trailhead, that's it. You will notice on the map that you can cross the Mississippi on route 67 into Alton, IL or if you travel further south along this route on the St. Louis River trail, about mile 21.5 you will see the old Chain of Rock Bridge, which if open is an excellent way to cross over and onto the IL system of bike trails. Highway 67 into Alton can be really busy so try not to cross during rush hour. Yes it has a shoulder but it can be littered with stuff to eat your tires. The Mckinley bridge is another opportunity to cross over into IL and here St. Louis Jerry can give you more information, a nice fellow on this board who is always willing to share information.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/12321040

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Old 09-29-16, 10:52 AM
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Sigh. For the life of me, I never saw that machens road crossing the railroad tracks to the machens trailhead, all the previous times I've looked there. I'd always hoped that I could get to the machens trailhead by crossing the clark bridge from the confluence trail, then taking the west alton trail (which was too overgrown to get through, the last time I tried to ride it from one end to the other) then finding a suitable route from west alton to the machens trailhead. Yet now that I googlemapped it, there it is, running right over the tracks and to the trailhead, such as it is.

Either my eyes are blind, or my brain is on vacation in the Bahamas, (in which case, I'd kind of like to be where my brain is, just now...) for me to have missed that. I previously thought the machens trailhead just buried you in the middle of floodplain farm fields.
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Old 09-29-16, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I think I was figuring better scenery? What we rode past was nice, absolutely. I can get riding alongside a river and fields of soy all around me though and dont need to drive then hop a train for that.

Have you done the Mickelson Trail? Some very nice scenery that changes as you head south. It sounds rougher that the Katy. It's more of a dirt/gravel surface, except for a bit of pavement in Deadwood and Custer. There are also some noticeable grades. When I did it last year there were a few washouts on the final southern segment caused by the insane amount of spring rain in the Black Hills, but nothing I wasn't able to skateboard through. The first day I had to lift by bike over a downed tree.


This image up to No. 140-0043 were taken from the trail:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349...7655263744881/


The next two were taken in the small town of Edgemont at the southern terminus. Former uranium mining town. It's also a crew change point for the BNSF Railway. Massive coal trains coming out of Wyoming's Powder River Basin would rumble by the town campground every hour or so. They had at least three lead locomotives and two or three helper locomotives at the rear of the train. Not the ideal sleeping situation.


Because you don't pass through a lot of towns along the way they have water and shelter stations at various points along the trail.
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Old 09-29-16, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Have you done the Mickelson Trail?
Actually its tentatively planned for next year. When depends on if its just me or the family going.
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Old 09-29-16, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Actually its tentatively planned for next year. When depends on if its just me or the family going.

I can give you some details once your plans are more set. I did most of the trail as part of a loop tour in the Black Hills from/to Rapid City. Did a little bit into Deadwood the first day heading north and then picked up the trail heading south at the Englewood trail head after riding up Spearfish Canyon to Cheyenne Crossing from Spearfish, which I highly recommend if you don't mind climbing. (Not to sound snobby, but the town of Spearfish was a "breath of fresh air," and it has the nicest municipal campground I have ever experienced.) Stayed in Hill City the first night on the trail and then made it Edgemont the following day.
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Old 09-29-16, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
I previously thought the machens trailhead just buried you in the middle of floodplain farm fields.
It basically does. Once you hit the trail head or "the end", you have to walk your bike back up the trail 25 yds and walk it across the grass or pick it up to avoid goatheads, and carry it over the few yards to the road and then you can continue riding east and across the tracks.
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Old 09-29-16, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
Sigh. For the life of me, I never saw that machens road crossing the railroad tracks to the machens trailhead, all the previous times I've looked there. I'd always hoped that I could get to the machens trailhead by crossing the clark bridge from the confluence trail, then taking the west alton trail (which was too overgrown to get through, the last time I tried to ride it from one end to the other) then finding a suitable route from west alton to the machens trailhead. Yet now that I googlemapped it, there it is, running right over the tracks and to the trailhead, such as it is.

Either my eyes are blind, or my brain is on vacation in the Bahamas, (in which case, I'd kind of like to be where my brain is, just now...) for me to have missed that. I previously thought the machens trailhead just buried you in the middle of floodplain farm fields.

Yeah, its pretty sketchy at the end of the trail! I pretty much use the rought on Robows map to 67 into alton. From there I just get on the trail by the river, and ride down to Collinsville(I go to an event called Archon ever couple of years, its a comic/nerd fest, and its this weekend, so I am missing it this year). One year I did go down to the chain of rocks bridge. I like the 67 route better.
I took that west alton trail once, and man, is it overgrown! Was standing ten feet from it at the end of 94 and could not find it. Called a buddy, dropped him a pin and had him look for it on google maps. He told me to walk ten feet to your right idiot, and hung up. Still makes fun of me about that. I actually walked the trail because the spiders were so damn big, and every four feet. Then there was a major washout at that campground. All in all it was sort of fun.
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Old 09-29-16, 09:42 PM
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I don't understand why they don't pave the #$% trail. Look at (some) of the surrounding states, IA, IL and AR. Missouri is so far behind as far as bicycles are concerned. I should know I've lived here for 48 years. Lucky folks up near Des Moines got it made. They don't know what they have!

Some of the trail is in the floodplain. Much of it is not, including the additions they are making in the future. Asphalt or concrete it. Everybody else is doing it.
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Old 09-29-16, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
I don't understand why they don't pave the #$% trail.
Obviously cost, 250 miles of asphalt would be some significant coin. It would be sweet though.
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Old 09-30-16, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
I don't understand why they don't pave the #$% trail. Look at (some) of the surrounding states, IA, IL and AR. Missouri is so far behind as far as bicycles are concerned. I should know I've lived here for 48 years. Lucky folks up near Des Moines got it made. They don't know what they have!

Some of the trail is in the floodplain. Much of it is not, including the additions they are making in the future. Asphalt or concrete it. Everybody else is doing it.
One of the reasons I left Missouri 30 years ago for Minnesota. Missouri was even then racing to the bottom on infrastructure, education, etc.
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Old 09-30-16, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Obviously cost, 250 miles of asphalt would be some significant coin. It would be sweet though.
Des Moines, IA has well over 250 miles of concrete and asphalt trails. I bet traffic would double on the KT if they paved it.
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Old 09-30-16, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
One of the reasons I left Missouri 30 years ago for Minnesota. Missouri was even then racing to the bottom on infrastructure, education, etc.
MN is great, I've been all over MN. Minneapolis is really nice. I rode the Paul Bunyan trail in July. Nice! I have several other trails I want to ride in your state, next year.
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Old 09-30-16, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
MN is great, I've been all over MN. Minneapolis is really nice. I rode the Paul Bunyan trail in July. Nice! I have several other trails I want to ride in your state, next year.
If you get map sections 5 and 6 of Adventure Cycling's Northern Tier route you can do a 485 mile loop in MN (that also goes through Fargo, ND) that incorporates several trails. It also has a spur into Minneapolis. I just ordered the maps this week for a possible trip next year. Here is the link:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/cyc...il-trail-loop/
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