Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Biking and Camping the Katy Trail


The Katy trail is an old rail road that has been transformed into a bike trail in Missouri. It stretches across over half the state going from Clinton, MO to Machens, MO. From start to finish the trail is a total of 237 miles. A large part of the trail follows Lewis and Clark's expedition along the Missouri River. It is truly breathtaking.

Laura and Grant starting their adventure in Pilot Grove

In October 2015, Grant and I took a three day weekend to bike and camp along the trail. We rode our bikes from Pilot Grove to Huntsdale and back. Which totals 32 miles one way making it a total of 64 miles in two days. One day, when we have the time and are in better biking shape, (I am much newer to biking than Grant) we plan to bike the entire trail.

Planning the Trip
Originally we learned about the trail from a brochure at a local bike shop. I started doing more research and the best website for information was bikekatytrail.com. The website has tons of information about the trail and really helped us plan our trip. 

What to Bring
The key to a successful biking trip is to pack light because everything you have has to be carried on your bike or you. This is what we took with us:

  • Bike (of course!)
  • Bike shoes 
  • Regular shoes
  • Flip flops for showering 
  • Riding clothes and sleep clothes
  • Clothes for layering (we went in October so nights were chilly)
  • Lightweight tent and sleeping bags
  • Lightweight pillows
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • First Aide kit
  • Toiletries (travel size) 
Everything we brought fit in two backpacks and on our bikes. We did not purchase bike bags due to the price but we will be getting them before the next bike adventure we go on! Our backs and shoulders were extremely sore by the end of the trip. I would highly recommend them, your back will thank you! 

Where to Stay
We decided to camp along the trail but there are many other sleeping options if camping is not your style. The night before we started our biking excursion we stayed at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sadalia, MO. It was very reasonably priced at $10. The facilities were nice and the campgrounds were well lit. We also saw other tents with bikes, so we felt safe. The second night, after a day of biking the Katy Trail, we stayed at Katfish Katy's in Huntsdale, MO. This campsite was $20 but had hot showers. The showers were hot but if bugs are a deal breaker, then find another place to shower! Overall, this campsite was worth it because of the view. We camped right next to the Missouri River and the view was breathtaking.

Katfish Katy's Campsite

What to Eat
The first day we ate lunch at Breadeaux Pizza in Boonville, MO. It was a short distance from the trail and they had an amazing lunch buffet. The pizza was great and reasonably priced. For dinner we ate at Rocheport General Store in Rocheport, MO. The food was great and on Friday and Saturday nights they even have live music. They also serve delicious ice cream, which we got for a snack the second day. For breakfast we packed fruit and granola bars to eat since it was more convenient than biking to find food. We ate lunch at Les Bourgeois Winery & Bistro. The restaurant was about 1/4 mile hike up to the top of the cliff from the trail but was absolutely worth it. The view of the Missouri River Valley was absolutely stunning. We got to eat and sample wine from the patio to enjoy it! I would highly recommend going! For dinner that night we stopped at a gas station in Boonville, MO because we were running short on time.

The Adventure 
Our day started in Sedalia, MO where we stayed the night. We then drove to Pilot Grove to start our biking trip along the Katy Trail.

Between Pilot Grove and  Boonville

Tunnel between Pilot Grove and Boonville

The old railroad station in Boonville 

Railroad car near New Franklin 

Rocheport is an extremely neat town. If  only biking a few miles of the Katy Trail interests you, this is your place. You can rent bikes from the bike shop right on the trail as well as see some pretty
amazing views. During this portion of the trail, near Rocheport, is where you can see exactly where Lewis and Clark's expedition took them. There are also some really neat hieroglyphs on the cliffs surrounding the area.

Tunnel near Rocheport 

Rocheport 

View while biking to Huntsdale on the Katy Trail

We stayed in Huntsdale and headed back to the car the next day. To start the day, we met a man that was camping next to us that had a dug out canoe and was traveling down the Missouri in it. He was awesome! We biked some more, drank wine, and had an ice cream snack all before mid afternoon!  We had intended on camping in New Franklin that night, but then Grant accidentally left his phone on a bridge. Before we realized we had already biked 7 miles away and had arrived in New Franklin. Grant unloaded his bike and went back to look for it. He never did find it. After that we were a little discouraged and decided to head back to the car. We still had a ways to go and nighttime was quickly approaching. We did not make it back to the car before sunset and found ourselves biking in the complete dark. To be frank, I was completely terrified and exhausted. Thankfully, Grant stayed strong for the two of us and we made it back safely. It was truly an adventure to never forget!
Wine sampling at Les Bourgeois near Rocheport 

Going back through the tunnel near Rocheport 

                                                
The bridge where Grant lost his phone

Grain elevator along the trail





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