Missouri Trail Towns

Missouri is a leading trails state, with numerous statewide, regional, and local trails and trail systems.

But many times, cities and towns along our trails do not reap the full potential economic benefits of their trails, because they have not yet fully developed into "trail towns".

What is a trail town?

Simply put, it is a town the takes full advantage of their local trail system and connections to regional, statewide, and national trails to:

  • Welcome more trail users
  • Invite trail users to spend more time visiting the town, local businesses, and local attractions
  • Communicate and market destinations, businesses, and opportunities for trail users to leave the trail and spend more time and tourist dollars in and around their town
  • Have made their town friendlier and more inviting for visitors who arrive on foot or by bicycle

A few specific ideas that many trail towns implement:

  • Kiosks and other ways of communicating local destinations and attractions to trail users what is available to them in and around their town: Businesses, walk and bicycle accessible tourism and travel opportunities, historic and tourist sites, etc
  • Business signage and entrances directed at trail users. For example, many trails run along rail corridors that take trail users along the back side of business and commercial districts.  So trail oriented businesses will place attractive signage in the back to advertise the businesses directly to trail users, and provide entrance ways near the trail to invite trail users inside.
  • Bicycle friendly businesses and attractions: Businesses provide a few bicycle racks or other secure bicycle parking, offer to ship products to bicyclists who may not be able to carry bulky packages home, and simply make it clear that they welcome bicyclists and trail users as customers.
  • Secure overnight bicycle parking:  Hotels, B&Bs, and other places where bicyclists may stay overnight offer covered, secure parking areas for bicyclists, or allow bicyclists to bring their bicycles into their rooms.
  • Targeted marketing campaigns to both advertise the trail to potential visitors, but also to market the community and its tourist and business assets to trail users once they arrive.
  • Implementing local Bicycle Friendly Community and Walk Friendly Community programs, to help bridge the gap between the trail and the rest of the community

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