This article is presented in partnership with Missouri Division of Tourism.

Hi everyone, Outdoor Mo here. While road trips are a great way to explore Missouri, consider pedaling your way across the state on the Katy Trail – America’s longest developed rail-to-trail route. The 240-mile trail is actually a state park that runs through the midsection of Missouri and offers a nearly level path perfect for cycling.

The Katy Trail takes you from tiny burgs to bustling towns—some located just off the trail, others a short ride away. You’ll travel along the Missouri River through wine country and across rolling farmland and find historic hotels, bed-and-breakfast inns, casual and gourmet dining, breweries, shops, and more.

Katy Trail bike rental in Defiance

There’s no shortage of scenic views: lush green fields and forests in the spring and summer, vibrant fall foliage, and—once the leaves have fallen—unobstructed views of river banks and towering rock bluffs during the winter.

Twenty-six trailheads and four fully restored train depots make it easy to hit the trail for a short excursion or head out on a multi-day trip. Here are few of the stops you won’t want to miss:

With a sixteen-block historic district, St. Charles is filled with charm. Located just east of St. Louis on the Missouri River, the town (founded by French fur traders in 1769) was home to Missouri’s first state capitol. It’s also where Lewis and Clark launched their journey to explore the west. A wide array of shops and restaurants line the brick streets.

The unincorporated community of Defiance is a gateway to Missouri wine country. Wineries thrive on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River and the surrounding area. The area also has a rich history of river and railroad lore and is the site of Daniel Boone’s final home.

Hermann

Located across the Missouri River from the Katy Trail, the historic nineteenth-century German village of Hermann is home to a wine trail featuring seven local family-owned wineries, the Deutschheim State Historic Site, and a variety of lodging, dining, and shopping destinations. Prior to Prohibition, the area was among the largest wine-producing regions in the world. 

Missouri State Capitol

Take the Katy Trail Spur into Missouri’s capital, Jefferson City. Visit the state Capitol filled with artwork including Thomas Hart Benton’s famous mural, A Social History of the State of Missouri.  Tour the historic 1836 Missouri State Penitentiary—the oldest continuously operating prison west of the Mississippi River when it closed in 2004. 

Stockton Mercantile in Rocheport

Limestone bluffs and an old railroad tunnel on the trail set the stage for a stop in the tiny town of Rocheport. Artists and craftsmen have set up shop in the area, which also offers bed-and-breakfast inns, restaurants, and a winery with expansive Missouri River views. 

Trails End Monument in Sedalia

The restored historic train depot in Sedalia was once the center of this railroad town. The depot houses a welcome center and museum. The town plays host to the Missouri State Fair every summer.