New MO Hwy 36 Bicycle Route under development - St Joseph to Hannibal

Northern Missouri has some amazing potential for bicycle touring. Think about miles of low-traffic roads, beautiful rural vistas, welcoming small towns, and some interesting history.

Highway 36 - photo courtesy MoDOT, FlickR website
Highway 36 - photo courtesy MoDOT, FlickR website

But until now, the region has had few--you could even say no--bicycle touring routes identified, mapped, signed, or commonly used.

The Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance wants to change that, and has worked with cyclist and author Dave Fiedler to develop a bicycle touring route that parallels Highway 36 between St. Joseph and Chillicothe:

Cyclists keen to develop a bike route along the "Way of American Genius" in conjunction with the Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance pedaled a planned bike route across the state to verify its suitability for two-wheeled travel.

The group pedaled the route the last week of September. Maps of the route are now available for download at the Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance website.

"It's awesome that Highway 36 has an audio driving tour; it only makes sense that there would be a bike tour, too," said Dave Fiedler, who drew up the route with the help of area cycling enthusiasts. "There are so many interesting places to see along MO Highway 36, both natural and historical attractions; it's a perfect fit for bikers."

Fiedler points to the popularity of Missouri's Katy Trail and believes that the Highway 36 bike route could one day have the same appeal to cyclists from Missouri and beyond.

"It's got everything a biker could want," Fiedler said about the route, which generally parallels the highway on secondary state and county roads as it goes from Hannibal to St. Joe, approximately 240 miles across the state. "Beautiful scenery, low traffic and lots of fun and interesting stops along the way."

The project is a partnership with the Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance, which actively promotes the region and its natural, cultural and historic attractions.  Beth Carmichael, the board member who heads up this project for the Heritage Alliance said, "We are thrilled to work on this project with Dave. He has combined his cycling experience with our Highway 36 experiences and stories!" 

In addition to learning about iconic Americans such as John "Black Jack" Pershing, J.C. Penney, Walt Disney, Mark Twain and Jesse James, all who lived along the route, you will also hear the stories that built the United States to greatness like the Pony Express, the beginning of Sliced Bread, and the development of osteopathic medicine, which all happened here in north Missouri!

"Believe it or not, there are lots of cyclists who will travel specifically to visit places like this," said Fiedler, who is among the group of four riders giving the route a final test before it is officially released and promoted. "I believe this bike route simply offers another way to highlight the terrific people and places along Missouri's Highway 36, and to draw folks who will visit and enjoy the attractions found in the towns along the way."

For more information on Missouri Highway 36 or the bike route, contact Beth Carmichael at the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau at 816-233-6688 or You can also visit our website

Read about the trip in the Chillicothe News.


 Highway 36 photo courtesy MoDOT on FlickR, license: CC BY-NC-CA 2.0. 


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