Missouri's Seventh Wonder - The Katy Trail
"It gets you immersed in the state of Missouri. There's no better way to see Missouri than along the Katy," boasted trail coordinator Larry Larson.
The Katy is a 225-mile, meandering path that crosses some of the state's most beautiful landscapes. And, because it was built on a former railroad bed, you can usually travel on a flat, hard-packed surface for biking or walking.
"The Katy Trail stretches from Clinton to St. Charles or from St. Charles to Clinton. It's either way, east-west or west-east. On average, some 350,000 people use the Katy Trail, whether on foot, on bike or on a horse. They get an up-close and intimate look at the small communities along its quiet path," explained Larson. "There's tons of variety. It's a good chance to get in touch with the small town, rural communities. Great scenery, no matter where you're at, there's no bad place."
You'll pass through Missouri's western prairies with wildflowers galore, bicycle along rivers and smaller streams, and glimpse wildlife ranging from birds to deer to foxes. Perhaps one reason the Katy Trail made the 7 Wonders of Missouri list is because it's different from other state parks. In most places, it's just a few feet wide.
"When you've done the Katy and you have experienced Katy Trail State Park, you've experienced all of it," said Larson. "If you run out to Rock Bridge [Memorial State Park], you might spend some time at the picnic area. But Rock Bridge, an 1,100-acre park, you probably visit only 5-10 acres of it on that one visit. Here, if you spend enough time, you're going to see the whole park."
Larson recommends traveling the trail in the spring or fall, although you can enjoy it year-round. So, find the nearest trailhead and head out on the Katy for a real Missouri experience.
Special thanks to videographer Scott Schaefer.
Be sure to watch KOMU News at 5 this Friday, when we'll take you to a place that makes history on a regular basis and towers above mid-Missouri. It's your number-six pick for the 7 Wonders of Missouri.