Quad-State Trail and Missouri Statewide Trails System, version 3

The Quad-State Trail plan has long been a vision of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation, our partners across Missouri, and similar partnerships in the five states the Trail Plan touches.

The overall vision is an interconnected trails system that connects portions of four states, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska--though with recent additions the trails system touches Illinois as well. 

With the recent announcement of Missouri's first ever trails census, moving towards the state's first ever comprehensive trails plan, and the recent announcement of Missouri as Best Trails State, it's time to take a look at the plan again.

Here are the latest additions to the plan--trails that are in progress, possible, or have been conceptualized by regional leaders:

  • Perhaps most exciting of all, extending the Katy Trail from Clinton to Nevada is a very real possibility in the next 5-10 years.  The rail line between Clinton and Nevada is still an active rail line, but the railroad runs only once a week at most. The track and bridges are deteriorating, and when a major bridge or other infrastructure update is needed, the economics of the line will almost certainly dictate abandonment rather than rebuilding.  This could easily happen in the next several years--and the city of Nevada, which has recently launched an extremely ambitious Healthy Nevada Project, supported by Cerner Corp., is certain to be interested in this key extension of the Katy Trail.

    For details, see the Katy Depot-Sedalia's summary of the MKT Railroad's history, under the "Operations Today" heading.
  • The entire Rock Island Line from Windsor (on the Katy Trail) through Versailles, Eldon, Gascondy, Belle, Owensville, Union, Labadie, and other towns has been added to our conceptual map. Trail projects are under construction in Eldon, under discussion in Owensville, and there is no reason the entire line could not be converted to a rail-trail corridor of similar scope and economic impact to the Katy Trail.  Having two statewide trails running parallel but some distance from each other across different landscapes of Missouri opens up numerous possible trail loops, tourism possibilities, and economic development possibilities.
  • Potential routes connecting Warsaw to Clinton and Sedalia have been added to the map. An "Old Hwy 65 Trail", mostly on sections of Old Hwy 65 would connect one of Missouri's best small towns for bicycling to the Katy Trail.
  • Warrensburg has recently launched a significant trail connecting the city to nearby Whiteman Air Force Base.  Could this trail eventually connect with the Katy Trail, which is not far away?
  • A Columbia-Centralia trail connect is easily possible using the right-of-way of the COLT Railroad, owned by the City of Columbia, and used for occasional rail traffic.  This would be an ideal "rails-with-trails" project.
  • The Chillicothe-Brunswick connection is easily possible using an currently unused railroad right-of-way owned by the City of Chillicothe, the Chillicothe-Brunswick Short Line.  Could that connect, somehow, to the nearby Katy Trail?
  • Work on the FLATS Trail in Kirksville is underway.

For now, we have restricted the map to multi-use trails that connect directly to the Katy Trail system, or have potential to connect into the system, or are fairly major in extent within their own local areas.

However . . . numerous other trail projects are underway or under consideration around Missouri.  Those trails are all currently being inventoried and mapped as part of the Missouri Trails Alliance's statewide trail census program.

Will these trails be able to be linked together to created a connected statewide system?  That is one of the questions that will be addressed by the Missouri Trails Plan--now underway.

Original 2013 Map

The map above shows the current version of the Quad State Trails and Missouri Statewide Trail Vision map as it is continually updated over time. 

To the right is the original 2013 Version 3 trail map, unchanged.

See how the Quad State and Statewide Trails Vision has changed over the years:


Creating a world-class bicycle, pedestrian, and trails transportation network across Missouri is one of the four major goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Creating, promoting, and encouraging the implementation of the statewide trails vision is a vitally important part of that plan.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help turn our Vision into reality!