What is the Katy Trail?
The Katy Trail is a 200 mile long route that traverses the state of Missouri, from St. Charles to Clinton. Actually a state park, the entire path covers almost 3000 sq. acres of land. While most commonly a bike trail, hiking, roller blading, and even horseback riding are permitted.
What is the Trail Like?
The Katy Trail is relatively new, acquired only in 1987. As such, it is up-to-date and extraordinarily well-maintained. It is mostly flat, with a surface of gravel in some areas or simply hard-packed dirt in others. Most areas of the trail are tame, with only gentle dips, which makes it ideal for the beginning biker or families.
Besides its ease, the trail passes through some of Missouri's most verdant farmland, lovely hills, and quaint villages. Many of the towns on the route have a strong German heritage, such as Augusta, a small community famed for its wine, and Hermann, home of the Deutschheim State Historic Site. Others offer a glimpse into the life of a river-town, the Missouri River being only a stone's throw away for most of the trip. In the western quarter of the route, the traveller can see a multitude of wildlife areas being reverted back to natural prairie. Katy also passes through Jefferson City, Missouri's capital.
The History of the Trail
The Katy trail occupies the former route of the Missouri-Texas-Kansas railroad, accounting for the typically flat grade and wide corridor. When the MTK closed this portion of the route in 1986, the National Trails System Act put the land in the hands of the state. With a donation from trail enthusiast Edward D. Jones, the old railway was converted into a recreational trail, named the Katy. In 1991, the Union-Pacific railway donated another 33 miles of old railroad to the Katy Trail.