Walking (?!) Missouri's Katy Trail - Footpaths of the World

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“Are you walking the entire trail?” asked a gentleman on a bike. After saying yes, he looked at us with a sigh of appreciation. “Well bless your hearts.”

After the summer backpacking and hiking season is over, David and I normally venture afar to the footpaths of Europe and Britain. Here we enjoy something different- hiking on a long-distance trail which does not require backpacking equipment. This experience differs from what we are used to in the US. Trails wind their way across the land, stopping at small towns and villages, sometimes even a larger city, where a cold beer, a hot shower, a hearty meal and a soft bed await. In the morning you rise to the smell of dark coffee and a hot breakfast. Then you’re off for another day on the trail.

Sound good? You may not have experienced anything better.

There are a few true inn-to-inn style footpaths in the US. A couple of these are “rails to trails” like the KATY Trail, spanning 225 miles across the state of Missouri. This railroad bed trail caters more to bikers than hikers and doesn’t possess the lure of the vineyards of Alsace, the Black Forest of Germany or the lakes and dales of England. But in some ways that’s what makes it appealing. I mean, who was the last person who told you they were spending their vacation walking across Missouri?

With Brett Dufur’s, The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook, which includes mileages and available lodging, the trail is easy to plan and book. There is also a helpful on-line resource at www.bikekatytrail.com