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Explore the best rated trails in St Charles, MO, whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail and MCT Schoolhouse Trail . With more than 54 trails covering 592 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
I rode this trail in late 2023 from Russell Commons in Alton to Chain of Rocks bridge. The surface is old but well-maintained. A lot of filled cracks along the asphalt portion, views of the industrial use of the river (barge facilities, chemical plant), and several places where the trail comes down from the levee top and crosses a road, then climbs back up. I didn't find these hills to be particularly steep (and they're always short). The chip-and-seal surface of the next part of the trail could use fewer chips and more seal, although it was perfectly flat and smooth.
I left the trail at Chain of Rocks bridge, and did not ride the remaining 5 miles. The detailed MCT map shows after a few more miles it changes briefly to stone, then is paved & alongside city streets to its end.
Construction at the Missouri end of the bridge has led to some closures. There is a new park and trailhead facility being built in 2024; I haven't seen what the plans are to keep the bridge and connecting trail open during that phase. Parking on the Illinois side is plentiful.
This was a very nice addition to a ride along the levee in Illinois when I first rode across it around 2012. A decade later the displays are showing their age though the information on them is still readable and worthwhile, as is a ride along the original Route 66 surface that's almost 90 years old!
I rode from Alton, IL along the Confluence Trail, across Chain of Rocks Bridge (pedestrians and bikes only), then the full length of the St. Louis Riverfront trail to Gateway Arch and a little beyond. This made a very pleasant 55 mile round-trip.
The trail surface is generally quite good, but as an urban trail I preferred to mount my road bike with the wider tires I use on stone trails (I was also passed by fast riders on narrow tires). A new trailhead is being developed at the north end in 2024, but just a mile or so down the trail there are city parks with full facilities. As I continued south the landscape became more commercial and industrial (barge facilities, railroad terminal, auto graveyard). Rather than detracting from the ride I found it interesting to see what activities still remain from the Mississippi's heyday as a working river. Throughout this section the trail runs along the levee- on top, or along either side of it. There are a few "rest stop" facilities along this stretch, and painted arrows with an arch symbol reminded me of my destination.
Towards the south end the trail came to an abrupt end between 2 brick buildings. A one-block ride next to the building and through 2 open gates in a chain-link fence brought me onto a recognizable trail again. A long-term project has closed the trail from here to the Eads Bridge, but the detour is simple (go 1 block west and take the cobblestone street). The trail resumes at Gateway Arch National Park as a wide path along the river and past the statue of Lewis and Clark (and Seaman the dog), who are looking west through the Arch toward the vast new U.S. territory they have just returned from exploring.
The trail continues about a half mile further south, then ends with a flourish.
Trail is almost completely overgrown now. All access to confluence was closed. Too bad.
I rode this trail from Elsah to Pere Marquette. Several reviews say the paving is in bad shape. There are a few bumps that you would want to lift up off the seat, but they are not that bad. Going on and off some of the bridges are also a little rough. The scenery is great. Watch out for walnuts on the trail in the fall.
Great walk/jog some areas along lake are shaded by trees. Good paved easy trail.
It is a lovely trail. Nicely maintained and easily walkable on a nice day. Good views right next to the golf course, and a few creeks to view over bridges.
Sure the Katy Trail is very long with some scenic parts but it is no GAP/C&O Canal Towpath. I rode every mile as part of my Astoria to Pittsburgh cross-country ride. Clinton to Boonville had interesting ups and downs but the surface needs a resurface all too much of the way, especially on slopes. Seems they use a different crushed limestone than they do in the east and it just doesn't compact as well. If you ride Boonville to Jefferson City, you've seen the best part. Jeff City to the eastern end is just more of the same for another 150 miles. Access to services was a problem, especially in the east although a do strongly recommend staying at Joey's Birdhouse in McKittrick. If you play the internet right, you can get a cheap room at the plush casino hotel in Boonville.
My Grandson and I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon on this trail. First we went towards the river, only to find a washed out dead end. So we went to the other end of parking lot and rode along the levee, into the shaded forest to the washed out dead end from the “other” side. Turned around and enjoyed every bit of the trail back to parking lot.
Here is a summary of the southern part of this trail from my wife to a friend: “Well I would NOT recommend the bike trail …… took me on next to the river. It smelled like human excrement, couldn’t see the river because of flood walls, felt extremely unsafe, got a flat tire, it was hot as hell, and may lead to a divorce.” Needless to say, I would not recommend it. The city or park district (or someone) should either close it or improve the conditions/safety and remove the glass and metal shards from the path.
In my opinion this is really one of the benchmarks that other trails in the Midwest and nation should look towards when designing their own trails. Not everything on the KATY trail is perfect but when you combine the length of the trail with the services and available activities it is really hard to beat a few days riding the KATY trail. Not many trails in the nation are able to provide an experience like the KATY.
Monitor trail closures / conditions ahead of time and be sure to plan for gaps in water. You get spoiled thinking all trailheads will have water but some do not.
I love riding this trail with my husband! It is super smooth and paved the entire way—also very quiet. Very few people are riding or walking and there is always lovely wildlife to see. We ride it to and around Creve Coeur Park and back to the water park—if I lived closer to it I would ride it every day.
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