In 1986, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (also known as the Katy), ceased operation along its trans-Missouri route. After a protracted legal struggle, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources secured the abandoned right-of-way and created the Katy Trail State Park. Starting from the Clinton terminus, the Katy ranks as the nation's longest rails-to-trails corridor.
Why do we find the Katy so intriguing? Scenically, the trail traverses Missouri's most magnificent landscape. For much of its route, it follows the course of the Missouri River to its confluence with the Mississippi. Frequently, we are riding this basically hard-pack crushed limestone trail with the Missouri to the right and the rugged limestone bluffs for which Missouri is famous on our left. At times, we are cycling through an arboreal wonderland. Other times we ride through the incomparably fertile bottomlands and beautiful vineyards of the Missouri wine country.
From the beginning of our journey at the trail's west terminus in Clinton, to the final moments at the landing in St. Charles, we are surrounded and immersed in the rich historical and cultural legacy of this region. The role of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806 was profound in the opening of the West. The Katy Trail traces the early (and final) stages of that expedition as it launched from St. Charles and followed the river across the Missouri Territory. This is truly an adventure of the "Gateway to the West"!