The Rock Island Trail Connects KC to the Katy - Missouri Life Magazine

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The beauty of trails is found in the slow pace, which allows riders to truly experience places. The Rock Island Trail, connecting the greater Kansas City area to Missouri’s Katy Trail system, is an experience to savor whether you are walking, cycling, or on horseback.

For decades, this western Missouri connection has been a holy grail sought by trail advocates. Officially dubbed the Rock Island Spur of the Katy Trail State Park, the 47.5-mile addition carves a path from a new trailhead in western Pleasant Hill to Windsor, a city-stop along the Katy. Thus, the Katy is one step closer to stretching across the entire state. With the westward connection complete, trail zealots have set their sights on expanding the Rock Island Trail to St. Louis, creating a more than 400-mile Katy Trail loop that would cover nearly all of middle Missouri.

The Katy is the nation’s longest “rail-trail,” a trail birthed from the ruins of a railroad. The Rock Island Spur, often called “the Rock,” was formed from the Rock Island railway system and adds more mileage to Missouri’s rail-trail systems. There are scattered reminders along the Rock that the path was once an important railroad. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which manages the spur, has maintained the evidence of the bygone railroad era with adornments such as light boxes, switches, grain elevators, and other equipment.

MoBikeFed comment: This article was published soon after the 47-mile Rock Island "Spur" was opened, connecting the Katy Trail at Windsor to the outskirts of the Kansas City metro area in Pleasant Hill.

The article is still a great read about the importance of the trail connection and what you'll see along the way.