Missouri’s Katy Trail and Historic St. Charles

image Hey Meriwether, that’s a damn big dog you have there. I surprised he didn’t sink your canoe! (Lewis and Clark statue, Frontier Park in St. Charles)

I’ve always had a fondness for the name Katie. I wanted to name my second daughter Katie, but since my then-Mother-in-law had a dog named Katie at the time, the choice was vetoed. It would have been weird having two Kates in the family at the same time.

Missouri’s Katy Trail would have to be one of the nation’s best rail-trails, given its great name. At 238 miles in length, it crosses a very large part of the state, following the Missouri River along the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (a.k.a., the Katy) right-of-way. It’s crushed gravel and stone surface is very smooth and suitable for walking, running or biking.

The Katy Trail is conveniently located next to the truck parking lot at the Ameristar Casino (click here for directions); follow the trail just a couple hundred yards north to historic St. Charles, and Frontier Park, the site of one of the earliest campsites in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Downtown St. Charles has many nice restaurants and shops in restored historic buildings, but I would recommend the Bike Stop Cafe. Part bike shop, part restaurant, you can rent a bike and get a delicious breakfast wrap all in one stop.

wpid-20130613180742.jpg

In the other direction, just a couple hundred yards south down the Katy Trail is Bangert Island County Park, with smaller hilly and winding dirt trails suitable for hiking or mountain biking. This area is more densely wooded than the Katy Trail, and reminded me of Huck Finn. Unfortunately, the park was closed due to rising flood waters on the Missouri River this week when I visited, so I don’t have pictures.

I don’t normally enjoy casinos, but the Ameristar has one penny slot machine that I will play. It has a Dean Martin theme and plays “Ain’t that a kick in the head” when you win. The casino floor also offers free fountain drinks and coffee. Diet Coke and fun music are good suppliment to an afternoon of bike riding. As always, remember to gamble responsibly, or not at all. The only sure bet at a casino is the one not made. Save your money for the restaurant or bakery on-site.

imageTruck parking is available at the Ameristar Casino nearby

imageThe Katy Trail runs right alongside the truck parking lot at Ameristar.

imageMissouri River

imageBird houses in Frontier Park

imageHistoric St. Charles along Main St.

image

imageRestored St. Charles train depot

imageSomeone had cut a makeshift path through a fallen tree so others can pass through until the tree is removed.

imageThere are a lot of interesting touristy shops downtown.

imageDaniel Boone

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About kevinmckague

I left my former dead-end job in 2006 in order to become a truck driver. I wanted a career that was recession-proof, and that offered more opportunity for adventure. Now I travel the country with my bike in the passenger seat, and look for new places to visit whenever the opportunity presents itself.
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5 Responses to Missouri’s Katy Trail and Historic St. Charles

  1. Scott Seppala says:

    Glad you are making the most of your job by taking the bike along. I wish I would have thought to do that when I was riding. There is a lot to see out there!

    • kevinmckague says:

      Hey Scott, I see there are some really nice trails out there in western Michigan! You should check them out and let me know what you think. Thanks for the visit!

  2. Todd McCann says:

    Yes Kevin, my home state of Missouri ROCKS! Enjoyed the pics. See now? If you keep doing this blog, I’ll NEVER have to get out and explore. LOL

    • kevinmckague says:

      Hey Todd! Missouri does in fact rock. On my way to St. Charles I drove a small, winding, hilly two-lane highway from a stop near Washington, MO. I think it was state route 93. The scenery was beautiful, and I wish I could have taken pictures along the way. The road ran along the Missouri River and passed the Katy trail several times before I made it to St. Charles where I could park the truck. I love getting off of the freeway once in a while, and that winding road was like a real life roller coaster in the truck. It was a legal road for trucks, but some of the hairpin curves and intersections were dicey, and I had to use both lanes. I wouldn’t want to do that every day, but I had a blast.
      Thanks as always for the comment Todd! Stay safe, and have fun!

  3. Pingback: Exploring downtown St. Louis and visiting the Gateway Arch by bicycle | 18 Wheels and a 12-Speed Bike

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