Katy Trail

Katy trail at hwy 364.jpg

Which U.S. state contains the country’s longest recreational rail trail?  It is the state of Missouri and the trail’s name is the Katy Trail which is approximately 240 miles long and runs along the northern bank of the Missouri River in the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.  Open year-round from sunrise to sunset it serves hikers, joggers and cyclists on it’s hard, flat surface comprised mostly of crushed limestone (aka: limestone pug.)  The nickname “Katy” comes from the phonetic pronunciation of “KT” which is a short form of the railroad’s abbreviated name, MKT.  Sections of the Katy are also part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail.’
The Katy Trail currently begins in the town of Machens(mile marker 27) on the Missouri River and runs along the northern bank for most of the trail’s length.  The next major city along the trail is Jefferson City, the state capital.  At mile-marker 169.9 (McBaine) the trail intersects the MKT Trail which leads into downtown Columbia, the largest city along the trail.The Katy then deviates from its original path and crosses the Missouri River at Boonville on the Boonslick Bridge instead of the original MKT Bridge.  From here the trail runs to its terminus in Clinton at mile-marker 264.6
Plans are underway to add another 144-mile unused section of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific to Rock Island Trail State Park, which with the Katy would create a 450-mile trail network.  The extension would run from Windsor to Beaufort, near Washington.  Preliminary plans are to then extend the trail into Washington from where it could cross the Missouri River to connect to the Katy Trail again, completing a cross-state loop.  A “quad state” proposal would connect the Katy and other existing trails in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. (wiki)

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