Author Topic: Katy Trail riding conditions?  (Read 6726 times)

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Offline Bclayden

Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:04:24 pm »

The Missouri segment of my cross-country ride will take me along the Katy Trail. I am planing to join the Katy Trail in Boonville, MO and head eastbound 'til it ends near the Mississippi River...about 170 miles. I tour on a stock Trek road bike with no panniers (motels) and use 700X25 touring tires. A lightweight and solid setup but not super rugged. I am OK on packed gravel but not rough or deep gravel.

How is the Katy Trail?  What are conditions like?  On flat pavement I pace about 16 mph. Will I be able to keep this pace on the trail?  I know there are some washouts here and there but this ride is in May so hopefully all good by then.

Any advice is helpful.   Thanks.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2016, 09:12:23 pm »
You might be OK.  The trail is compacted limestone screenings, AKA chat.  While the trail is packed for 99% of the time, you will come across occasional short stretches of a soft spot or such but you should be able to see them before you hit them.  I did a tour with 33mm tires and was fine with a moderate load.  I noticed that my speed was about 75% of my overall average and that I felt like I had worked about 25% extra.  If you are trying to maintain 16mph, you may have your work cut out for you due to the increased rolling resistance.


Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2016, 09:04:34 pm »
Rode the trail last June, it is packed for the most part. Rain can be a pain, I was riding 700x32 touring tires. Your speed also depends upon the traffic, I rode it through the week which cut down on trail traffic. It was also early season and they were working on the trail, tractors pulling rollers to compact the route. You will have a great time, don't miss all the great places to eat.

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Offline BikePacker

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 06:28:55 pm »
Bclayden - The good news is that you will be rolling light. 
I rode it 8 years ago with 1.90 inch non-knobby tires and very heavily loaded and was okay (meaning not noticeably added effort) till it was or had recently rained .... then I experienced the same previously posted added 25% required effort.
At that time I never encountered gravel .... just well packed/maintained crushed limestone, with a little bit of pavement once in a while.
- Wishing you a great trip.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 08:37:02 pm »
Its been a long time since I was on the Katy trail.  But back then it was very, very, very fine limestone gravel.  Gravel is probably not the right word to use since a stone the size of a pea would be huge compared to the rocks, dust on the trail.  Road tires and road bikes are fine on the trail if dry.  If wet then it might be best to find an alternative paved road.  Its 100% flat too.

Offline geegee

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2016, 01:46:34 pm »
I used the Katy trail to cross most of Missouri last July on my ride from California to New York. I was going to catch it in Boonville but ended up opting sooner for Sedalia as I wasn't enjoying the quality of Missouri highways after having been spoiled by the nicer roads in Kansas. It was also extremely hot last summer, and the good stretches of tree shaded trail was a respite from being in the open road. The trail was in great condition (although not as good as the GAP), I especially liked the availability of good water at many (not all) of the trailheads. I was on a fully loaded Trek 520 with 700x32c Marathons and it was fine. Sometimes you'll have to get off the trail for a few miles to get decent food and lodging. I made a mistake of getting into St Charles/St Louis on a weekend and most places were booked solid, so if you do, make reservations ahead of time just in case. There are a lot of humid areas which means mosquitoes.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2016, 03:44:56 pm »
I saw a web site that had several photographs of the trail. Mostly it seemed to be hard-packed earth.

Offline Ben the Slow

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2016, 09:10:36 am »
I did the Katy in August, 2014 from near Washington Mo to the west end, fully loaded on 700x32C tires (cross country east to west).  The dry surface will not give you any problems.  When wet (I mean real wet) the Katy association asks that you NOT ride the trail as tire tracks dry into ruts.  Fortunately the trail dries quickly after normal rains.  I am a very slow rider and found my speed cut by maybe 2mph.

All in all, the Katy is a great trail, you will have a wonderful time

Offline Bclayden

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2016, 09:10:07 am »
I am the OP. This is a follow up message:

I just completed about a 200 mile stretch of Katy Trail. Spent 2 days between Boonville and Machens, MO.  Conditions were excellent but for the last 14 miles east of St Charles.  Heavy recent rain had me concerned but even after only 24 hours of dry weather trail conditions were excellent.

I tour on a Trek Madone road bike with skinny/100 psi 700x25 tires. Some said not do-able on Katy Trail buy I say no problem.  Totally rideable even on skinny tires...and fun!. Expect a slightly slower pace though. I covered 110 miles between Jefferson City and St Charles in a day, took an additional hour, and legs were more tired than usuall.

Katy Trail is a unique and awesome riding experience. Thanks to all whom contributed to this really helped.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 09:13:39 am by Bclayden »

Offline Twilkins9076

Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2016, 04:15:37 pm »
Although the OP has already completed his ride, I thought it might be worthwhile to add a footnote:

Mondays and Tuesdays (some places along the trail) are days that many of the services are closed.  You can't always count on a particular restaurant or café being open on those days, so plan accordingly and use caution.