Have you cycled the Katy Trail (even better, with kids)?
November 28, 2017 1:41 PM   Subscribe

After getting good AskMe advice on bike adventures in Glacier NP and the Natchez Trace Parkway, I am looking for tips and tricks on cycling the Katy Trail (with kids). Have you done it? How was it? What advice do you have?

We are at the front end of planning this, but it would be 2 families with a combined 4 grown-ups and 5 kids. We'd have a SAG wagon the whole way, so as long as we had a few riders each day it could be an opt-in ride for the kids. We are thinking of riding west-to-east, as it looks like a (slightly) more friendly gradient, and staying at B&Bs along the trail. The hope is that some of us could ride every mile.

Our biggest liability is that we'd need to source 5 bikes (one family would be flying in), and a one-way rental might be tricky/expensive. And I have read that some lodging is not kid-friendly.

If you have ridden the trail, what can you tell me? Was it worth it? Where did you stay? Was it crowded or quiet? Is the trail/signage in good shape? Any can't miss spots?
posted by AgentRocket to Travel & Transportation around Saint Charles, MO (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I did it once about 15 years ago! I started in St. Charles and didn't get very far: the temperature and humidity were in the 90s and before too long I was collapsed on the trail.

However! What I did do was beautiful. And a nice couple put me up for the night until someone could come fetch me and my bike.

So, my advice is, don't do it in August or when it might be hot.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:48 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

At age 40+ I round-tripped Machens - Columbia - Clinton twice without vehicle help and did shorter weekend jaunts. October and April presented beautiful foliage and pleasant weather and no crowds. I would still do it annually if I hadn't messed up my knee.

I found it was wise to know what I could cover in a day and make reservations for lodging. That's particularly appropriate if you want to catch festivals such as the Hartsburg pumpkin festival, or the Sedalia or Columbia ragtime music festivals, or 4th of July fireworks at the state capitol, or Maifest or Oktoberfest at Hermann. With vehicle support you'll have much more flexibility in finding rooms than I did. The roads are scenic too, often adjacent to the trail and river, but sometimes veering way back into the hills.

Between Boonville and Clinton the trail is not along the Missouri river, running through some Amish farmland, but still is fairly flat. The section from Rocheport to Jefferson City rates as most scenic, with bluffs, eagles, the adjacent river, and some nice eating places with live music in season, as at Cooper's Landing.

One consideration is to start at college town Columbia--which has an airport, several bike shops, and Shakespeare's Pizza--and do a round trip via Jefferson City to Marthasville and back to Columbia or nearby Rocheport, around 2 days out and 2 days back. That way you could see the prettiest part from two angles and return rental bikes. The few hours eastward from Jeff are kind of desolate for stops, but the rest has plenty of pit stops and food opportunities. In doing that jaunt several times I did not feel as though I was repeating the same vistas.
posted by gregoreo at 7:19 PM on November 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

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