Katy Trail State Park is the nation's longest continuous rail-trail, offering nearly 238 miles of scenic trail from Clinton east to Machens on the outskirts of St. Louis. The Katy Trail is in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame and is designated a Millennium Legacy Trail. It's also part of the American Discovery Trail.
The trail occupies a segment of rail corridor that once carried trains of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (a.k.a., the Katy). In 1986, the railroad ceased operations along this route, paving the way to creating the extraordinary recreational opportunity it is today. A remnant of this history can be seen in Rocheport, where you'll find a 243-foot railroad tunnel built of stone and brick in 1893. Rocheport, as well as Sedalia and Boonville, also feature railroad depots, and some towns have old train cars at their trailheads.
Many of the towns along the way offer services to trail users, and you'll find many access points. Trail users can also reach Columbia, one of the state's largest cities, via a connection with the 9-mile MKT Nature and Fitness Trail just north of McBaine.
In Windsor, the trail connects to Rock Island Trail State Park, which spans 47.5 miles and continues northwest to Pleasant Hill, a suburb of Kansas City. Future extensions of the Rock Island Trail will head east from Windsor towards the community of Washington, where it will again connect to the Katy Trail, forming an impressive trail loop.
The Katy Trail passes through some of Missouri's most scenic areas. In particular, much of the trail follows the mighty Missouri River, which feature amazing bluffs. In fact, the segment that passes between St. Charles and Boonville is an official portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The trail includes other landscapes as well, such as forests, wetlands, valleys, remnant prairies and rolling farm fields. Despite the changes in landscape, the Katy Trail is relatively flat.
The trail is open during daylight hours only. Equestrians are allowed to use the western section from the state fairgrounds in Sedalia to Clinton, as well as a section in the middle between Portland and Tebbetts.
Directions to Katy Trail trailheads:
St. Charles Trailhead: From I-70, take Exit 229 for Fifth Street. Once on S. Fifth Street, it’s 0.3 mile to the intersection with Boone’s Lick Road; veer right onto Boone Lick and follow it for 0.5 mile to the large parking lot near the south end of Frontier Park.
Greens Bottom Road Trailhead: From MO-94, turn south onto Jungs Station Road. Turn east (right) onto Greens Bottom Road.
Weldon Spring Trailhead: From MO-94, follow highway sign and turn south to trail head.
Defiance parking lot: The lot is immediately southeast of MO-94 in the community of Defiance.
Matson Trailhead: The trailhead is immediately west of MO-94 in the community of Matson.
Augusta Trailhead: From MO-94, turn south onto Jackson St. Turn east (left) onto Main St. Turn south (right) onto Public St.
Dutzow Trailhead: From Hwy. 47, turn northeast onto MO-94. From MO-94, turn northwest (left) into trail head immediately south of community of Dutzow.
Marthasville Trailhead: From Hwy. 47/MO-94, turn north onto First St. Turn west (left) onto Depot St.
Treloar Trailhead: From MO-94, turn north onto Koch Creek Rd./Rt. N.
McKittrick Trailhead: From MO-94, turn north onto Hwy. 19. Turn east (right) onto Main St. Turn south (right) onto Sterling St.
Portland Trailhead: From MO-94, turn south onto Market Street.
Mokane Trailhead: From MO-94, turn north onto Route C.
Tebbetts Trailhead: From MO-94, turn north onto County Road 485.
N. Jefferson Trailhead: From Highway 54, turn west onto Rt. W/Cedar City Dr. Turn north (right) onto Oilwell Road. Turn east (right) onto Katy Road.
Hartsburg Trailhead: From Highway 63, turn southwest onto Route A.
McBaine Trailhead: From Highway 63, turn west onto Hwy. 163. Turn south (left) onto Route K.
Rocheport Trailhead: From I-70, take exit 115 to Route BB, to Rocheport. Turn south (left) onto Pike St. Turn east (left) onto First Street.
New Franklin Trailhead: From Highway 40, turn north onto Highway 5. Turn east (right) onto E. Mokane Street. Turn south (right) onto Howard Street.
Boonville Trailhead: From Highway 5, turn south west onto Spring Street. Turn lsouth (left) onto 1st Street.
Pilot Grove Trailhead: From I-70, take Exit 98 for Highway 135 South, towards Pilot Grove. Turn west (right) onto Roe Street. Turn north (right) onto Main Street.
Clifton City Trailhead: From Highway 135, turn onto Route BB.
Sedalia Trailhead: From Highway 50, turn north onto Engineer Avenue. Turn east (right) onto E. 3rd Street.
Sedalia Fairgrounds parking area: From Highway 50, turn onto Highway 65 S. Turn west (right) onto Route Y. Turn south (left) onto Clarendon Road.
Green Ridge Trailhead: From Highway 65 S, turn west onto Route B. Turn south onto Highway 127.
Windsor Trailhead: From Highway 65 S, turn west onto Highway 52. Turn north (right) onto Route 2.
Calhoun Trailhead: From Highway 52, turn north onto Olive Street.
Clinton Trailhead: Enter the northeast corner of Clinton from MO 52; at the roadway’s intersection with state highways 7 and 13, you’ll see the parking lot on your right next to a green caboose labeled MKT. (The trail itself continues slightly farther to E. Sedalia Avenue, but parking isn’t available there.)