Katy Trail – Day 1 – Clinton to New Franklin

Marc and I shuttled from St Charles the previous day, and had originally planned on starting the trail once we’d arrived in Clinton. The weather however, had us rethinking that, as an approaching cold front had pegged the rain chances at 100%, with winds at 15-25 mph, and the threat of severe thunderstorms a real possibility. Hunkering down in Clinton made much more sense than pushing our luck with the storm. Starting our trip out with soaking wet gear, followed by several days of below normal temps, wasn’t the sort of thing we wanted anything to do with.

We Priceline’d a hotel, and then proceeded to watch it storm for the next 8 hours. The hotel was right in the center of town, with a Wal-Mart and some Mexican food, all within walking distance. Last minute supplies were gathered, beers were drunk, and we packed and repacked.

Morning arrived, and while the rain had gone, the temperature had dropped by a good 20 degrees, so the first ride in arm/leg warmers had arrived early this year. The hotel was about a mile and a half from the trail head, and we were able to google a route that allowed us to hit a convenience store and keep us off the busiest of the morning roads.

Clinton is the western terminus of the Katy Trail. This trail head has a large parking area, a displayed caboose, and a covered area that resembles a station. These “stations” display the name of the town/station on each end of the roof, and have trail maps and information posted on the wall underneath. The trail information is broken down by east bound/west bound, so it’s always easy to see the mileage to the next station, and any sights that you should keep an eye out for along the trail.

This section of the Katy is often written off as boring, and many times skipped entirely, with riders opting to stick to the scenic cliffs and river views from Boonville to Machens, or vice-versa. This section sees the trail run through farmland and prairie, some wooded areas, and then some urban riding as you roll through the larger towns of Sedalia and Boonville. I enjoyed this section, as the leaves were starting to change, there were many old bridges, and it was the start of a trip that I’d been looking forward to. That being said, I can see where one would find it dull if they’re riding east to west, and would be finishing up on this section.

Clinton to New Franklin. Monday, September 28, 2020.

Morning temp: 50 High: 68

Shuttle: Katy Bike Rental – 1-855-katybike. $90 St Charles to Clinton. Cheaper if you wanted to go to a closer TH. They also shuttle bags if you want to do a B&B themed tour. Ride was right at 5 hours, but may be longer if there are several people to drop off along the way.

Clinton Lodging: Westbridge Inn and Suites. Double room Priceline’d for $75. Location is 1.2 miles from the TH, and close to shops and restaurants. Room was quiet and clean, and would actually be called a motel due to it’s layout. Google map a different route to the TH then going down 52, as it’s a rather busy highway.

Camping in New Franklin: The Katy Roundhouse. A classic campground right on the trail at mile marker 189. $10 for a campsite and a shower. http://katyroundhousecamping.weebly.com/reservations.html A Casey’s General Store is 1.5 miles away in New Franklin. There are electrical outlets on the outside of the shower house, and there’s an outlet on the lamp pole by the water spigot.

Bathrooms at TH’s and services in towns along this section are plentiful.

There was an awkward, unsigned re-route leaving Sedalia. A friend of the trail had drawn a map on a sign and fastened it to a tree right at the closure.

http://bikekatytrail.com is always the best source for updated information on everything Katy: reroutes, towns, etc. The map they sell on their site is cheap and will come in useful when planning/riding.

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