The trail is marked every mile with a signpost that corresponds to the historic railroad mileage system. Mileage will not be exact because the trail deviates slightly from the original railroad corridor in a few sections. Between St. Charles and Black Walnut, for example, the Missouri River floods of 1993 and 1995 washed away a portion of the original railroad, requiring the trail to be built outside of the original corridor and on top of the L-15 Levee. Other similar examples exist in several places along the trail. To determine the approximate distance traveled, subtract the milepost number at the trailhead from the milepost number on the trail or vice versa. Milepost 26.9 is located on the east end of the trail at Machens in St. Charles County and milepost 264.4 is located on the west end in Clinton in Henry County.
Katy Trail State Park has been designed specifically for walking and bicycling. The majority of the trail is accessible to people with disabilities. All motorized vehicles other than official or emergency vehicles are prohibited. Electrically assisted pedal-powered bicycles and tricycles (maximum speed of 20 mph) are allowed. Also allowed are electrically powered mobility devices for people with disabilities, such as Segways and electric golf carts. Gas-powered vehicles, including ATVs and ORVs, are not allowed. No hunting or discharging of firearms is allowed. All state park rules apply and are posted at trailheads. The trail is open only from sunrise to sunset. Horses are permitted from Clinton to the state fairgrounds in Sedalia and from Tebbetts to Portland. Equestrian parking is located at the Henry County Fairgrounds in Clinton and the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia as well as the following trailheads: Calhoun, Windsor, Green Ridge and Mokane.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Katy Trail State Park is open sunrise to sunset.
- Only pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians (only in designated areas) are permitted on the Katy Trail.
- Water and restrooms are not available at every trailhead. From November through March, water is turned off and restrooms are closed.
- Missouri State Parks does not provide camping along Katy Trail State Park. Camping is available at public and privately owned campgrounds adjacent to the trail. Click here for some options.
- Cutting implements such as saws and hatchets are not allowed on the trail.
- All pets must be leashed for their protection and that of other visitors and wildlife.
- All other rules and regulations pertaining to park use are applicable to trail users.
For more information about maintenance issues, contact the following parks:
Machens to just east of Matson Trailhead (MP 26.9 to MP 60.6)
Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park, West Alton, 636-899-1135
Matson Trailhead to just east of Mokane Trailhead (MP 60.6 to MP 125)
Graham Cave State Park, Danville, 573-564-3476
Mokane Trailhead to west of Pilot Grove Trailhead (MP 125 to MP 203.3)
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia, 573-449-7402
West of Pilot Grove Trailhead to Clinton (MP 203.4 to 264.6)
Knob Noster State Park, Knob Noster, 660-563-2463
Safety Guidelines and Trail Etiquette
PARK RANGER CHECKLIST
For your safety and protection, law enforcement services are provided by the Missouri State Park Rangers. These safety tips will help you get the most out of your trail experience:
- Avoid running/walking/biking by yourself.
- Tell someone when you’re going and when you expect to be back.
- Bring a cellphone and ID.
- Carry a whistle and/or pepper spray.
- Avoid using headphones.
- Check the weather.
- Be aware of your surroundings and location.
- Choose appropriate clothing/footwear.
- Secure your vehicle.
- Call 800-334-6946 to report suspicious activity.
- For emergencies, call 911 (or *55 from a cellphone).
For your safety, all cyclists and equestrian users should wear helmets.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
The trail passes through some remote areas and adjoins private property. Adjoining property may be used for commercial or business opportunities, quarrying, farming operations or hunting.
Please respect private property by remaining on the trail. Many sections of the trail are alongside bluffs. Do not climb on bluffs and be aware of falling rocks. Additionally, because the Katy Trail parallels the Missouri River for much of its length, area flooding can close certain sections of the trail. Rough areas, minor debris and downed trees can also occur at any time on any section of the trail due to weather variations. Flooding and other advisories are posted at katytrailstatepark.com.
PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR TRIP
Do not exceed your physical capabilities by planning too long of a trip. For long trips, carry food and water, especially in the summer. Water is not available at all trailheads. Trailheads with modern restrooms and drinking water are winterized from Nov. 1 to April 1. The restrooms are closed and water turned off at these trailheads. Portable toilets are available during the winter.
KEEP PETS ON A LEASH
State park regulations require leashed pets. Be considerate of other trail users and adjoining landowners.
As a courtesy, please notify other users when you plan to pass them from behind. Additionally, when traveling in a group, move to the right when meeting oncoming users.
UNDERSTAND EQUINE BEHAVIOR
Horses have the instinct to run when they feel threatened. For your safety, follow these guidelines when approaching a horse and rider. Bicyclists and hikers should stop to allow the horse to pass when approaching from the opposite direction. When approaching from the rear, announce yourself. Always speak in a friendly tone to avoid spooking the horse. Follow any instructions given by the horse rider. Yield signs on the trail remind bicyclists and pedestrians to yield to horseback riders.
If you have an emergency or wish to report a law enforcement incident, contact a state park ranger by calling the sheriff’s departments in the following counties:
Henry County Sheriff, 660-885-7228
Pettis County Sheriff, 660-827-0052
Cooper County Sheriff, 660-882-2771
Howard County Sheriff, 660-248-3605
Boone County Sheriff, 573-442-6131
Callaway County Sheriff, 573-642-7291
Montgomery County Sheriff, 573-564-3378
Warren County Sheriff, 636-456-7088
St. Charles County Sheriff, 636-949-3000
Special Event Permits
All groups or organizations desiring to use Katy Trail State Park for a special event activity must obtain a special event permit from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Email or call 573-449-7402 to speak with staff at the Katy Trail State Park office located in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park for information on how to obtain a special event permit.
If leaving a vehicle for an extended period of time at one of the trailheads or parking lots, contact the Katy Trail State Park office at 573-449-7402 and provide staff with the vehicle make, model and license plate number as well as contact information. Also include length of stay.