Missouri: Katy Trail State Park|
Posted on Tuesday, January 23 @ 23:00:00 CST by iljiana
HORSES ARE PERMITTED ONLY ON THE WESTERN SECTION FROM THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS IN SEDALIA TO CALHOUN.
Trail History and Features
Katy Trail State Park offers a unique opportunity for people of all
ages and interests. Whether you are a bicyclist, hiker, nature lover or
history buff, the trail offers opportunities for recreation, a place to
enjoy nature and an avenue to discover the past.
Katy Trail State Park is built on the former corridor of the
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better known as the Katy). When
the railroad decided to cease operation on its route from Machens in
St. Charles County to Sedalia in Pettis County in 1986, it presented
the chance to create an extraordinary recreational opportunity -- a
long-distance hiking and bicycling trail that would run almost 200
miles across the state.
The opportunity for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to
acquire the right-of-way was made possible by the National Trails
System Act, which provides that railroad corridors no longer needed for
active rail service can be banked for future transportation needs and
used on an interim basis for recreational trails. Because of a generous
donation by the late Edward D. "Ted" Jones, the department was able to
secure the right-of-way and construct the trail. In 1991, the Union
Pacific Railroad donated to the state an additional 33 miles of rail
corridor from Sedalia to east of Clinton. Additional purchases and
donations have been added. Today, Katy Trail state park is open for 225
miles from St. Charles to Clinton and is operated by the Department of Natural Resources as part of the state park system.
The trail allows users to travel through some of the most scenic
areas of the state. The majority of the trail closely follows the route
of the Missouri River so hikers and bicyclists often find themselves
with the river on one side and towering bluffs on the other. The trail
travels through many types of landscapes including dense forests,
wetlands, deep valleys, remnant prairies, open pastureland and gently
rolling farm fields. In the spring, the trail is brightened with
flowering dogwood and redbud, while the fall is colored with the rich
reds and oranges of sugar maple, sumac and bittersweet.
With so many types of habitats, wildlife is abundant, especially
birds. Chickadees, nuthatches, robins, orioles and many types of
woodpeckers are common. Red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures are often
seen soaring above the trail, and bald eagles are common in the winter.
Because of its location along the Missouri River flyway, migrating
birds and waterfowl can be seen frequently. Watch for great blue
herons, sandpipers, Canada geese and belted kingfishers.
Katy Trail State Park also takes users through a slice of rural
history as it meanders through the small towns that once thrived along
the railroad corridor. From the area known as "Missouri’s Rhineland"
that portrays the heritage of the German migrants to the historic town
that dates from before the Civil War, these towns reflect the rich
heritage of Missouri. These communities make great places to stop and
explore during a ride on the trail.
Although the scenery often changes, the trail remains fairly level
and constant as it meanders through the countryside. Trail heads, which
provide parking areas and other amenities, are located periodically
along the trail. Many communities also offer services to trail users.
The section of trail between St. Charles and Boonville has been designated as an official segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, and the entire trail is part of the American Discovery Trail. The trail also has been designated as a Milennium Legacy Trail.
For more information about the trail, call the Department of Natural
Resources toll free at 1-800-334-6946 (voice) or 1-800-379-2419 (TDD)
For more information: http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/index.html