Bikepacking the Katy Trail in Missouri

Katy Trail Missouri - Katy Roundhouse

I bikepacked the Katy Trail in Missouri in September 2019.

The Katy Trail (for the most part) travels along the Missouri River in a east/west direction, following the old MKT (Missouri Kansas Texas) railroad. The trail is a “rails-to-trails” trail, built on the old abandoned railroad bed. The Katy Trail is a Missouri State Park, and is run and maintained by the Parks Department of the State of Missouri.


I rode with a friend, Bobby Adams. This was his first bikepacking trip, so we rode at an  easier pace than I might have ridden by myself. We rode the trail for five days, from from east to west, beginning on in St Louis, MO. I rode 353 miles (which included extra mileage for many trail detours and extra mileage for riding off the trail to get to local restaurants, grocery stores, and other places of interest located in towns along the trail).

Generally, the trail is an easy, well-marked, and well-maintained trail (a great introductory trail for first time bikepackers). Trees line many parts of the trail, providing a significant amount of shade for riders. As the trail is an old rail line, it is very level and does not have any difficult inclines or declines. There are many small towns along the Katy Trail that allow for resupply (food and water). It is possible to ride the trail and and to stay in hotels and/or bed-and-breakfast type inns along the way. For our trip, we bikepacked and camped in tents at various campgrounds and camping points along the trail.

When we rode the trail in September 2019, the trail had suffered significant damage due flooding from the Missouri River during the  spring of 2019. The river had left its banks and had covered the trail in many places, covering the trail in mud and silt, destroying many bridges, and causing landslides from steep bluffs collapsing and falling across the trail. By September 2019, the river had receded, but was still running high. At the time of my trip, the Missouri Parks Department was still reeling from the devastating impact of the spring flooding and had not completed repairs to the trail – there were many trail closures and many detours associated with the flooding. I anticipate that by summer 2020, most of the trail will be repaired and will be in adequate condition.

I grabbed a free trail map on the trailhead on the first day. Free paper trail maps are available at each trailhead (at the trailhead in each town along the Katy Trail). The paper map was very useful for quick reference while riding the trail.

In addition here are some useful websites for trip planning…

Here is my daily trip report with photos (click on the links)…

Day 1 – Plano, TX to St Louis, MO

Day 2 – St Louis, MO to St Charles, MO

Day 3 – St Charles, MO to Marthasville, MO

Day 4 – Marthasville, MO to Tebbetts, MO

Day 5 – Tebbetts, MO to New Franklin, MO

Day 6 – New Frankin, MO to Clinton, MO to Sedalia, MO

Day 7 – Sedalia, MO to St Louis, MO to Plano, TX