The Katy Trail State Park is a recreation rail trail that runs in the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The nickname "Katy" comes from the phonetic pronunciation of 'KT' in the railroad's abbreviated name, MKT. The trail, widely known as the Katy Trail is a Missouri state park and one of the longest Rails-to-Trails trails in the United States. Sections of the Katy are part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail. Most of the trail follows the northern bank of the Missouri River. The trail is open for use by hikers, joggers, and cyclists year-round, from sunrise to sunset. The trail is made up of "limestone pug" creating a hard flat surface.
Conversion of the corridor from a railroad to a trail was made possible by the National Trails System Act of 1968. In 1982 the city of Columbia opened the M.K.T. Trail on an abandoned spur of the Katy as one of the first rails-to-trails pilot projects in the United States. Because of a donation from Edward D. "Ted" Jones of St. Louis the Missouri Department of Natural Resources was able to secure the right-of-way. In 1991 the Union Pacific Railroad donated of additional right-of-way from Sedalia to Clinton. Based on the success of the M.K.T. and the mentioned donations the trail was scheduled for completion in 1994. However, the Great Flood of 1993 damaged of the original of the trail. The completed trail was finally opened 1996 with the section from Sedalia to Clinton opening in 1999.
The trail is currently being expanded to include the corridor from St. Charles to Machens. Plans are also underway to expand the trail to the suburbs of Kansas City and downtown St. Louis. A 2002 study by the Mid-America Regional Council gives a number of options for achieving this. One option, that AmerenUE allow the use of its unused Rock Island Corridor rail line, has received particular attention. Missouri Governor, Matt Blunt, has asked Ameren to allow the use of the Rock Island Corridor for this purpose as compensation for a flood which devastated Johnson's Shut-ins State Park after the failure of a dam owned by Ameren. There is an effort to create a four-state trail system using several trails already in existence including the Katy. This "quad state" trail would connect Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.
The Katy Trail currently begins at St. Charles (mile-marker 39) on the Missouri River and runs along the northern bank of the river for most of the trail's length. The next major city along the trail is Jefferson City — the state capital. At mile-marker 169 (McBaine) the trail intersects the M.K.T. 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 M.K.T. Bridge. From here the trail runs to its terminus in Clinton.
|Machens (not completed)||27|
|Columbia||159 (via M.K.T. Trail)|