Katy Trail: Where to Camp and Bikepack Along Missouri's Historic Trail | The Dyrt

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You know that old blues song, She Caught the Katy? The one about the gentleman who’s sad that his girl got on the train without him and “left him a mule to ride?”

The Katy was the nickname given to the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railway until 1988, when it merged with the Missouri-Pacific Railway. That left some old lines available for conversion from rail to trail, and opened up all sorts of possibilities for campers, hikers, and bikepackers. . . .

The real magic of the Katy Trail happens further east, however, where the state of Missouri has converted not just a piece of the Katy, but the whole span into the country’s longest rail-to-trail conversion. It runs for 240 miles at just a three-percent grade from St. Charles, Missouri to Clinton, which is just shy of Kansas City, Missouri. It’s a popular destination for both hikers and bikepackers.

Bikepacking the Katy Trail means following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark as they traveled west — with the benefit of the modern bicycle and moisture-wicking gear. You can also branch off on to numerous side trails that connect, or combine with other routes, like Adventure Cycling’s Lewis & Clark excursion or the American Discovery Trail, both of which overlap with parts of the Katy.

There are 27 official trailheads along the way where you can resupply and rest up. You’ll find plenty of small town Americana, scenic countryside, and the occasional bed & breakfast if you get tired of camping. Many campgrounds along the way are basic dispersed sites or smaller county campgrounds that exist largely to support the Katy Trail.

MoBikeFed comment: Read the rest of this helpful article to see good pitstops and camping locations along the Katy Trail.