Katy Trail: St. Charles to Machens

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Frontier Park

Katy Trail: St. Charles to Machens is a 25.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Earth City, Missouri that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length25.3 miElevation gain219 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashWheelchair friendlykid friendlystroller friendlyHikingMountain bikingRoad bikingWalkingBike touringBird watchingRunningForestPartially pavedRails trailsRiverViewswild-flowersWildlife
Description
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Getting There

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 "Missouris Rhineland" that portrays the heritage of the German migrants to the historic town of Rocheport 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. Accessibility: The trail surface is partially gravel and partially paved. It is typically between four and eight feet wide. The grade is gentle (estimated all under 3%) so most wheelchair and stroller users will be able to navigate at least the paved sections.

Numerous trail heads along the trail. Many locations have off street parking, restrooms and most amenities found in small rural towns.

Katy Trail State Park 800-334-6946 www.bikekatytrail.com/

See Missouri state park web site for detailed park information.

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Reviews (196)
Photos (205)
Recordings (207)
Completed (354)
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Sophie Binder
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Cross-country skiingSnow
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Erin Hayes
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Hiking
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Jill Green
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Hiking

I stayed off the trail...I don’t like walking on man made trails...walked through the woods by the river mostly.

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Gary Phipps
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Road biking

Perfect ride to alleviate those COVID anxieties: social distance measured in miles. On a cool December morning Katy Trail is so quiet and serene. Restores the soul. A short detour takes one on a forest path to the St Charles Ecopark with nice views of the Missouri River. Great ride!

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Ashley Bryant
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WalkingGreat!

We didn’t go too far along this trail because we had our senior dog with us. The trail was in good shape, but I don’t like walking along highways or under overpasses. There also wasn’t much to see.

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Steve Mosbacher
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Road biking

The trail was in great shape. Very few rough spots on this section of the Katy Trail

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Erin Hayes
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Hiking

Some broken glass on the gravel, but very nice wide trails.

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Bobby Branham
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Bike touringGreat!

This stretch of the Katy is flat other than a few times when the trail goes on top of the levee. It was a nice ride from St Charles and back. We picked a great weather day for this ride. Once you get out of St Charles there are a couple benches along the way and restrooms once you reach Machens. The fall scenery with the Illinois River Bluffs in the distance was beautiful today.

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Sarah T
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Bike touringGreat!

Took the Katy from the Page Extension parking lot to the end at Machens. Trail is packed gravel and flat most of the way. Riverside scenery gives way to open farm land and it was gorgeous out there today. On the way you pass through tiny Black Walnut with its grain elevator. Machens itself is nothing much, but the journey to and from is well worth the effort. Definitely recommend and will do again

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Doug Haselhorst
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Hiking

Another great evening on the trail!

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Doug Haselhorst
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HikingGreat!

Another great morning on the trail!

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Sarah Niesporek
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Hiking
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John Stone
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Hiking
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Bill Jones
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Hiking

Nice flat dirt/gravel path. Along Missouri River. Couldn't take pictures while riding.

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Andrea Snowden
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Hiking

I haven't been on this section of Katy Trail for a while. Gravel surface, Fairly flat. As I was walking North, I was feeling a little lonely/secluded and I couldn't remember what landmark was ahead, so I went aways and turned and came back. More people on the second 2/3 of my walk. Nice to get out somewhere different.

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Kyle Grant
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Mountain biking
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Sarah T
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Bike touring

After doing Creve Coeur Lake I connected up to the Katy Trail heading towards St Charles. Went about half way to the end at Machens before turning around. The complete distance will be a ride for another day. Conditions were warm, sunny and humid. Quite a few people out in the St Charles area. Trail itself is well maintained hard packed gravel, dry and dusty. A great ride, will definitely be out there again!

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Sarah T
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Bike touring

This trail is always fun to do. An easy ride around the lake. Got an early start to avoid the crowds, glad I did because it was already busier than I've ever seen it. Watch out for people walking up to three abreast in places, makes it a bit difficult to negotiate safely. All in all though, great to see so many out enjoying themselves.

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Doug Haselhorst
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Hiking

Another great morning on the trail!

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Brandon Tobin
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Mountain bikingGreat!

Great views gravel is pretty well maintained in most parts

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Maurice Johnson
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This segment of the Katy features well maintained gravel shade and Sun . a lot of river views depending on your travle distance. also in defiance Mon you will come across eating spots that sit along the trail and welcome trail riders and hikers.

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Steve Mosbacher
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Road biking

Rode from Uncle Joes to hwy 364 and back. Enjoying a cold beer. Btw the trail was in good condition

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Steve Mosbacher
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Road biking

The trail is washed out before you get to Machens. No water was working along the way. It was hot up on top of the levee. Most of trail goes through farmland

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Matthew Creath
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Road biking

Great ride!

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Johnathan Daniels
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HikingBugsClosed

Machens trailhead cutoff

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Melissa Sandler
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Hiking

Nice mostly flat gravel trail along the river. No one around once you’re out of st Charles area

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Douglas Sears
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Hiking

one of the first trails we rode, west of the Mississippi River. Nice trail through forests & farmland .. and alongside the Missouri River, much of the time

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Amanda Hazelwood
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HikingClosed
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Fred Roethler
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Mountain bikingBlowdownClosedMuddy

We enjoyed seeing the river.

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