Thousands of bicyclists and hikers use this trail annually. Some want to do the whole thing as an outdoor experience; others, as cheaply as possible. Still others want to experience it with lavish meals and accommodations. Most of us do it somewhere in-between. Here are three cost-level ways to do it, from inexpensive to lush.
1. El cheapo (roughing it all the way)
Camping is the cheapest way do the trail. However, camping is prohibited on the trail corridor itself. So, tent campers must use the nearby campgrounds, RV parks, community centers/parks, pavilions, shelters, ball fields, or public areas open to it. Most private and public campgrounds provide restrooms and bathing facilities at nominal costs between $5-20. A few B&B's will sometimes allow no-fire camping in their backyards at nominal costs. The one near Bluffton will allow a fire.
Fire prevention is a major issue on this heavily wooded corridor. Although several campgrounds exist near the trail (see the list below), not all of them are equipped for open fires.
Many camping trail users combine their accommodations by eating in the local cafes, and by staying in the smaller and less expensive mom-and-pop motels or B&B's. In addition, they might spend a night or two in a more expensive hotel or B&B, which can become a well-deserved soft bed, hot bath, and gourmet meal with the rate. Most of these rates can be found ahead of time on the Internet via the first link listed below.
3. High on the hog (mostly the best of everything)
These users seem more concerned with vacationing fun than with the expense. They will reserve the priciest hotels and B&B's, and will dine only in the major restaurants. They might also take in the extra activities offered near the trail, like, horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, fairs/festivities, nightclubs, and casinos. If they have their own SAG-support vehicles with them, they might drive to select towns and vacation sites several miles from the trail corridor. In short, they will enjoy all the nicer things along or near the trail.
Conclusion. No matter what goals and accommodations are sought by the Katy-Trail users, they must still run, ride, or hike the trail. This touring activity alone can be enduring but enjoyable most of the time no matter what the financial cost is for doing so.
Approximate number of campgrounds and lodgings near the trail by mile marker, town or trail head (west to east, in season).
255.5 Calhoun (caboose-B&B nearby)
248.0 Windsor (city park; small motel)
239.2 Green Ridge (town park)
227.1 Sedalia (city park, RV park, fairgrounds; single rooms, hotel,10 motel)
215.4 Clifton City (none)
203.3 Pilot Grove (city park; 2 B&B)
191.8 Boonville (campground w/restaurant, RV park; casino, hotel, 3 B&B, 7 motel)
188.2 New Franklin (full campground/RV park)
178.3 Rocheport (city park; 5 B&B)
171.7 Huntsdale (campground w/store and separate lodge)
169.5 McBaine (none)
169.5 Columbia (9-miles northeast via trail spur: larger town w/several facilities)
165.5 Providence (none)
162.5 Easly (campground w/store-cafe)
157.4 Wilton (campground w/store)
153.6 Hartsburg (2 city park; caboose, 2 B&B)
149.8 Claysville (none)
143.2 North Jefferson (none)
143.2 Jefferson City (1.5-miles south via trail spur & Hwy-50/63: larger town w/several facilities)
143.2 Holts Summit (5-miles northeast via Hwy-54 or back-road: large motel)
131.2 Tebbetts ($5 hostel)
125.0 Mokane (none)
121.4 Steedman (camping area; B&B)
115.9 Portland (campground/RV park)
110.9 Bluffton (full campground; B&B w/camping)
105.0 Rhineland (3 B&B)
100.8 McKittrick (2 B&B)
100.8 Hermman (2-miles south via Hwy-19: city park, RV park, motel, several/B&B)
84.4 Treloar (none)
81.2 Peers (store/B&B/cafe, B&B)
77.7 Marthasville (community park; caboose w/camping; 4 B&B)
74.0 Dutzow (inn/B&B)
74.0 Washington (4 miles south via Hwy-47: 2 motel, 4 B&B)
66.3 Augusta (full campground; cabin-B&B, 11 haus/inn/B&B)
60.6 Matson (none)
59.1 Defiance (3 B&B)
56.0 Weldon Spring (none)
45.7 Greens Bottom (none)
39.5 St Charles (campground, RV park; casino, hotel, 7 inn/motel)
30.0 Black Walnut (none)
26.9 Machens (none)
Note: some of the trail-side villages could allow dry, no-fire camping in their parks, pavilions, or ball fields upon asking. For more information about this trail, see these websites.
1. Missouri Katy Trail - http://www.bikekatytrail.com
2. Missouri Katy Trail Park - http://mostateparks.com/park/katy-trail-state-park