Thursday, June 12, 2014

KATY Trail - Day 4 - Matson to Machens (terminus)

A foggy early morning, giving way to sunny skies for a short ride to the end of the KATY trail. Today's ride was still rural (as it has been from the start at MP 264.6 in Clinton) until MP 49 when entering the outskirts of St. Charles. The next ten miles contained some nice riding along the Missouri River and a few of the least attractive sections of trail, at one point detouring around a cement plant. After MP 39 the ride became rural again, entering the river bottomland of the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers. Gone were the limestone bluffs and trees, replaced by rich farmland growing corn and soybeans.

The KATY trail ends in the remote hamlet of Machens at MP 26.9, where the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (MTK or KATY) Railroad connected with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad which continued on to St. Louis. The MKT Railroad stopped running on October 4, 1986 with the line converted to the KATY trail between 1990 and 1996. After Machens, the railroad is still active, hence the KATY trail terminates there.

The KATY trail was an enjoyable ride for me. It was well maintained, and on average I saw two maintenance crews per day on the trail cutting brush, mowing grass, or cutting downed trees. Trailheads were well signed with water and clean bathrooms. Cell phone service (we texted) was pretty good except for some spotty areas between Rocheport and Jefferson City. If you are looking for a long distance, serene ride in a beautiful country setting, the KATY is for you.

A foggy start

Weldon Spring Conservation Area

St. Charles Depot along the Missouri River

Black Walnut

River bottomland

Trail's end

Today's ride:

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