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Planning a Katy Trail Vacation

Stretching across 240 miles, the Katy Trail lies along some of the most scenic vistas in Missouri. We’ve all been cooped up too long and could use a getaway. It’s time to step out and start planning a Katy Trail vacation in Hermann, MO.

Whether you enjoy the exercise of a vigorous hike, or pedaling your way through the trail on your bike, or trotting over the miles riding horseback, you will be rewarded with a relaxing way to unplug and unwind. It’s a trail that captures the attention of just about everyone from history buffs, to nature lovers, or exercise enthusiasts. While you’re planning, be sure to contact Hermann Hill to be your host on your getaway.

Hermann Hill dropping off couple and their bikes to ride the Katy Trail

East of Hermann MO

Stretching across over 230 miles, the Katy Trail lies along some of the most scenic vistas in Missouri. We’ve all been cooped up too long and could use a getaway. Whether you enjoy the exercise of a vigorous hike, or pedaling your way through the trail on your bike, or trotting over the miles riding horseback, you will be rewarded with a relaxing way to unplug and unwind. It’s a trail that captures the attention of just about everyone from history buffs, to nature lovers, or exercise enthusiasts. It’s time to step out and start planning a Katy Trail vacation in Hermann, MO.

Katy Trail State Park

From the east you can enjoy the amazing Katy Trail State Park. It was built on the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad, also known as the Katy. Operation of the railroad ceased in 1986. It was a generous donation from Edward D. “Ted” Jones that provided the means to develop the Katy Trail in 1987. This Rails to Trails project piqued his interest and he was rewarded with the opening in April 1990, only a short time before Ted passed away.

Whether you enjoy the exercise of a vigorous hike, or pedaling your way through the trail on your bike, or trotting over the miles riding horseback, you will be rewarded with a relaxing way to unplug and unwind. It’s a trail that captures the attention of just about everyone from history buffs, to nature lovers, or exercise enthusiasts. Let’s get started on the easternmost section of the trail.

Machens to Marthasville Section

This region called “Missouri’s Rhineland” due to the number of Germans who settled there, is filled with lush vineyards and rich in German tradition. We begin in Machens, also known as Texas Junction because it was the junction for both the MKT and the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy (CB&Q). This junction allowed the Katy to travel the rails of the CB&Q all the way to St. Louis.

Just a short distance away, you’ll visit the French settlement of St. Charles. This historic town was the first capital of Missouri. As you continue west, you’ll enter the Weldon Spring Wildlife Area and the limestone bluffs that border the trail.

Moving through Augusta you’ll encounter dolomite and sandstone bluffs. Interesting to note that the St. Peter sandstone has been used to manufacture glass. Don’t miss out on visiting Daniel Boone’s home (in Defiance, MO) or some great wineries in the area.

On the western edge of this section is Marthasville and Dutzow. As you stroll through the town you’ll see ornate stamped metal on the store fronts, a small glimpse of the industrial age. Just a mile off the trail, you can visit Daniel Boone’s gravesite.

From Marthasville to Hermann

Traveling the trail, you’ll see more farmland and small rural towns. It’s a nature lover’s paradise with an abundance of birds and wildflowers. The bluffs along this section are spectacular, some towering over 250 feet above you. Take time to soak it all in as you continue on the trail.

While in Hermann, you’ll definitely want to visit the Deutschheim State Historic Site. With its rich German heritage, Hermann has preserved two homes that reflect life in the mid 1800s. In that tradition, you’ll also encounter some of the most scenic views of Missouri. The bountiful vineyards are also part of its German heritage. And, of course, allow us to host a luxurious stay at Hermann Hill.

 

Bikers looking at a map of the Katy Trail

 

West of Hermann

There’s so much more to see on the Katy Trail! Scanning Missouri from Machens to Clinton, over 230 miles, the Katy Trail is a scenic historical trail great for hikers, bicyclers, and equestrians alike. We’ve covered sites east of Hermann. So, let’s work our way west on the Katy Trail.

Heading West to Jefferson City

Just west of Hermann you’ll experience some of the best areas for horseback riding with the Mokane trailhead being the designated parking area for horse trailers. Along the river are several small towns where you can stop for a little shopping or a rest.

Heading into Missouri’s capital, Jefferson City, trail blazers have a vast array of things to do. Jefferson City offers the Capitol atop a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, museums, parks, historical sites, and of course, amazing eateries from coffee shops, to casual dining, to fine dining establishments.

On Our Way to Boonville

Lewis and Clark traveled this route and wrote about the native American rock drawings. You can see one drawing above the Lewis & Clark Cave (entering the cave is not permitted). Near Columbia, you may want to take a detour to see a nearly 400-year old oak tree called the McBaine Burr Oak. It has an enormous 287-inch circumference and stands 90-feet tall with a 130-foot spread. Amazing!

Continuing on to Rocheport you’ll be able to walk through the only tunnel on the trail. A fully restored MKT depot is located in Boonville. Now the home of the Boonville Chamber of Commerce, this depot shows the change from a mere river port to a booming railroad town. This entire section has multiple historical sites you won’t want to miss.

Continuing West to Clinton

Heading toward Sedalia, about halfway to Clinton, you’ll encounter a wonderful variety of landscapes. Rolling plains, farmland and forestland may make this section a little more strenuous. But the reward is seeing another restored MKT depot in Sedalia. Depending on when you’re coming through, you may experience the Missouri State Fair in action. Another not-to-miss attraction is the Trail’s End Landmark that provides insight into the history of Sedalia.

The trail from Sedalia to Clinton is under restoration to its native prairie landscape. This is another section where you can hike, bike, or ride horseback. The natural beauty and vegetation help to draw a wonderful selection of birds. Actually, the entire trail is a birdwatcher’s delight. Don’t forget to take your bird checklist with you.

A Pleasant Hill Trail End

Winding down to the end of the Katy Trail, you will experience much of the same terrain with farmland, rolling prairie grass, and some dense forests. This section is called the Rock Island Spur, which was once Rock Island Line’s trail. Most of this area is designated for hikers and bikers, along with a small stretch where you can also enjoy horseback riding.

Plan Your Stay at Hermann Hill

Start planning your Katy Trail vacation in Hermann, MO now and allow us to host your stay! Enjoy a soothing massage or relaxing soak in a hot tub after a day on the trail. Then treat yourself to the delicacies at one of the great restaurants in Hermann. End the day with a luxurious rest in one of our exceptional rooms. Begin the next day with our satisfying gourmet breakfast choices, and continue your adventure on the trail. Experience a rejuvenating getaway on the historic Katy Trail with a stay at Hermann Hill. It’s an adventure you won’t forget. Book now.

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