One of the best ways to see the Show-Me State is while pedaling a bike across Missouri's Katy Trail, the longest developed rails-to-trails project in the U.S.
Katy Trail (technically Katy Trail State Park) runs 240 miles across Missouri's midsection, and thanks to the recently completed Rock Island Spur, more closely connects the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas.
The flat, crushed-limestone surface is ideal for bicycling and makes for an excellent walking and jogging path. Certain sections also are open for horseback riding.
No matter your method of travel, Katy Trail offers beautiful views of the Missouri River valley as it passes cities of varying sizes and interesting areas to explore.
As you ride along Katy Trail, your encounters include (note, you'll find information on the items below and other Missouri attractions at VisitMO.com):
Missouri's first state capital - Historic St. Charles (population of 68,000), on the eastern edge of Katy Trail, is known as the starting point for Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery Expedition. Brick-lined streets in the downtown area lead to retailers, specialty shops and restaurants.
A destination for wine lovers - A ride through Augusta, Marthasville and Hermann is a ride through historic wine country. Before Prohibition, this area was among the largest wine-producing regions in the world, with Hermann (population 2,400) at the epicenter.
The Show-Me State's capital - Like Hermann, Missouri's capital, Jefferson City (population 43,000), is a short ride south of the trail. A pedestrian bridge spanning over the Missouri River makes it a breeze to access the Capitol and downtown.
The home of the Tigers - You have to make a bit of a detour to visit Columbia (population 119,000) but it's totally worth it. Take the M-K-T Trail spur at McBaine and travel about nine miles northeast to visit Columbia's downtown area and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Small-town charm - A delightful destination along the trail, Rocheport (245 residents) is home to a winery, bed-and-breakfast inns, restaurants and retail shops. It's an excellent location to refuel and rest on your journey.
A little Missouri history - With its founding dating to the early 1800s and hundreds of sites and structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Boonville (population 8,400) has abundant stories to tell.
Fun at the Fair - The Katy Depot in Sedalia (population 21,500) is another excellent place to rest and to learn about the region. Inside the depot, you find exhibits focusing on the area's railroad history and a bicycle shop with the latest gear. If you're riding Katy Trail in August, be sure to stop by and enjoy the fun at the Missouri State Fair.
The end of the line - The trail officially ends a few miles from Truman Lake near Clinton (population 8,900). Don't miss the Henry County Museum and Cultural Arts Center, and the 1893 Henry County Courthouse. As you ride from Sedalia to Clinton, the new Rock Island Spur of the Katy Trail connects at Windsor. From Windsor, the spur leads you northwest to the Kansas City suburb of Pleasant Hill.
To find more information about the Katy Trail and Missouri's outdoor activities, check out VisitMO.com and start planning your adventure today.