Biking the Katy Trail – Clinton > Machens, MO

This May, Ryan and I biked the entire Katy Trail from Clinton to Machens, Missouri (and then some). The official Katy Trail is 239.6 miles long, here is a blog recap of our trip.

Day One

On day one we road from Clinton to Pilot Grove for a total of 62.41 miles. We parked our truck at the Clinton Community Center at no cost after filling out some paperwork inside letting them know how long our trip was planning to be.

Towns:

Clinton
Calhoun
Windsor
Green Ridge
Sedalia
Clifton City
Pilot Grove

Key Stops:

Lunch: El Espolon Authentic Mexican Restaurant (right off the trail), Sedalia
Dinner: Casey’s, Pilot Grove

Clinton, MO water tower.
Clinton, MO.
Clinton, MO train depot.
Clinton, MO.
Old building along the Katy Trail with two bikes parked against it.
Old building along the Katy Trail with two bikes parked against it.
I just loved this old building. I’m sure it’s a very popular photo spot!
Old train parked at Windsor trail head on the Katy Trail. Windsor, MO.
Windsor, MO.
Iris at trail depot on Katy Trail.
Windsor, MO.
Cyclist on the Katy Trail.
Two bikes at the train depot in Sedalia, MO.
Sedalia, MO.
Train depot in Sedalia, MO.
Sedalia, MO.
Katy Trail.
Train bridge converted to bike bridge.
Trail between rocks.
Lamine River bridge.
Lamine River Bridge.

You can actually camp for free at the Pilot Grove City Park on Vernon Street. You must check in with the Pilot Grove Police Department at 660-834-4300.

Tent setup under shelter in Pilot Grove, MO.
Camping in Pilot Grove, MO.

Day Two

On our second day we rode from Pilot Grove to Jefferson City (or as the locals say Jeff City) for a total of 67.08 miles.

Towns:

Boonville
New Franklin
Rocheport
Huntsdale
(Columbia – off trail)
McBaine
Easley
Hartsburg
North Jefferson
Jefferson City

Key stops:

Photos: Historic tunnel before Rocheport
Breakfast: Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop, Rocheport
Next time, we still stop at Cooper’s Landing.
Dinner: Italian food delivered by Imo’s Pizza, Jefferson City

Old train depot in Boonville, MO.
Boonville, MO.
River view along Katy Trail.
View of train bridge from Katy Trail.
Katy Trail tunnel near Rocheport, MO.
Tunnel outside of Rocheport, MO.
Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop, Rocheport.
Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop, Rocheport, MO.
Katy Trail along river near Rocheport, MO.
Katy Trail along river near Rocheport, MO.
Katy Trail along river near Rocheport, MO.
Katy Trail along river near Rocheport, MO.
Old boats coming out of the ground like at stone-henge.
Boat-henge.

It started raining during the last 10 miles and the trail became very wet and tacky. By the time we got to the hotel in Jefferson City, we were soaking wet, my bike was covered in mud (Ryan has fenders) along with the back of my legs, shoes, bags, etc. We pulled into the overhang at the hotel and used the stream of water running off the roof to wash everything off before heading inside. It was quite the adventure.

Bike path entering Jefferson City, MO.
The bike trail to get into Jefferson City.

Day Three

On day three we left Jefferson City and rode the the absolutely adorable town of Hermann for a total of 48.30 miles.

Towns:

Tebbetts
Mokane
Portland
Bluffton
Rhineland
McKittrick
(Hermann – off trail)

Key Stops:

Lunch: Holzhauser’s Bar & Grill, Portland
Dinner: Tin Mill Restaurant, Hermann

Two bikes leaning against the Mokan, MO trail depot.
Mokane, MO.
Female cyclist on the Katy Trail.
Rock formation on Katy Trail.
Spiderwort.
View while crossing the bridge into Hermann, MO.
Hermann, MO bridge.
Crossing the bridge into Hermann, MO.
Entering Hermann, MO.
Pink roses in Hermann, MO.
Near the river in Hermann, MO.
Buildings in Hermann, MO.
Hermann, MO.
Hermann Star Mills building in Hermann, MO.
Hermann, MO.
Decorative Inn, Gasthaus, Hermann, MO.
Hermann, MO.
German style residential unit in Herman, MO.
Hermann, MO.

Day Four

On day four we rode from Hermann to St. Charles for a total of 64.66 miles. On the way, we heard tornado sirens, watched flashed flooding and got rained on… again!

Towns:

Treloar
Marthasville
Dutzow
(Washington – off trail)
Augusta
Matson
Defiance
Weldon Spring

Key Stops:

Lunch: Terry & Kathy’s Inn, Defiance
Next time, we will stop in Augusta for a long period of time!
Dinner: Bar Louie, St. Charles

Bikes parked next to large rock cliff.
Storm brewing near Defiance, MO.
Near where we heard the tornado sirens.

Defiance, MO was barely on the Katy Trail maps but was a great stop for us due to timing of the storm. In town you will find a bar, restaurant, brewery and many bed and breakfasts.

Flash flooding in Defiance, MO.
Flash flooding in Defiance, MO.
Flash flooding in Defiance, MO.
Flash flooding in Defiance, MO.

Day Five

On day five, which would have been our last day, we rode from St. Charles to Machens (the very end of the Katy Trail).

Towns:

Machens

Key Stops:

Lunch: Mission Taco Joint, St. Charles
Beers: Good News Brewing Company, Defiance
Dinner: Applebees, Washington

Old train depot in St. Charles, MO.
St. Charles, MO.
Nearing the end of the Katy Trail.
The end of the Katy Trail in Machens, MO.
Machens, MO.

But, we decided to start riding back toward Clinton and see how far we could get. We didn’t have to be back to work until Tuesday (and it was Friday). We made it to Washington for a total of 64.31 miles.

Chips and salsa.
Creek along Katy Trail.
Two bikes leaning against bridge near Katy Trail.
Sour beer at Good News Brewery in Defiance, MO.
Sour beer at Good News Brewing Company in Defiance, MO.

Day Six

On day six we rode from Washington to Hartsburg for our longest day at 85.89 miles.

Lunch: The Corner Restaurant Bar, Rhineland
Dinner: Hartsburg Hitching Post, Hartsburg

Cyclist on Katy Trail.
Bike parked in front of large rock formation.
Cyclist paused on bridge at dusk.

We pulled into Hartsburg and found a bar that served pizzas. We enjoyed a few beers and Ryan ordered a pizza. I ended up waiting to eat and used my Jet Boil to heat up a back-packer meal at camp which was in the gazebo of the park.

Day Seven

On our last day, we rode from Hartsburg to Rocheport for a total of 25.05 miles. My brother picked us up in Rocheport in his truck and drove us back to Clinton.

Key Stops:

Breakfast: Dotty’s Cafe, Hartsburg
Lunch: Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop, Rocheport

Pancakes with a smiling face, hashbrowns and orange juice.
Breakfast in Hartsburg, MO.
River view near Rocheport, MO.
River view near Rocheport, MO.
River and trail view near Rocheport, MO.
River view near Rocheport, MO.
Cliff view near Rocheport, MO.
Rocheport, MO.
Cliff view near Rocheport, MO.
Rocheport, MO.

To plan this trip, I used the following resources:

  1. Book: Rail-Trails Iowa & Missouri: The definitive guide to the state’s top multiuse trails
  2. Website: bikekatytrail.com

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