Rails to Trails with your Family

Rail to Trails

Have you ever been interested in a rails to trails with your family? This summer we completed the midsection of the Katy Trail in Missouri.


We only had 3 days of vacation time so we chose the most scenic section and dominated it!


We started with an incomplete train ride (a train derailment up the line led to a 5 hour late bus ride). The delay caused us to arrive into our starting point at midnight. MUCH later then we had anticipated. Plus with a toddler who was anxious to ride a train (let down #1) and 5 hours past her bedtime (let down #2) we were doomed for disaster.

Waiting for the bus
Waiting for the bus

When we arrived in Sedalia at midnight, we unloaded the bikes, dawned our helmets and were about to set out on the 1/2 mile ride to our hotel when we noticed the toddler had one shoe on. She has fallen asleep on the bus ride and when I picked her up to disembark I must have knocked it off. This wouldn’t have been a huge deal if we had another pair of shoes for her.

One Shoe

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Day 1 started with a quick stop at the local Piggly Wiggly and then off to the trail head! Before we even stout on the trail we encountered snake #1 (of 10 on the whole trip).

Notice the socks....
Notice the socks….

We were under the impression that our first day on the trail would be long but steady. Not too grueling but mostly open and sunny. Half of this was true. It was HOT and SUNNY. Only a little shade cover but actually 200 foot decent, although it felt like we were headed uphill the whole way.

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After 50+ miles we stopped at the Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast in Rochefort, Missouri. The sleepy little town was very quiet at 430pm. After showers and some relaxing time in the AC, we headed out into “town” and found an AMAZING foode. Abigail’s Restaurant was perfect! locally grown organic food was perfectly made. They have different meals each day and the menu is on a whiteboard they bring to your table. It was a divine meal! Perfect ending to the first day!

Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast
Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast

10 Best Rails-to-Trails

TravelLeisure.com has come up with a list of the top 10 best rails to trails!

1 – Bizz Johnson Trail

30 Miles from Susanville to Westwood California.

Susanville, CA is 208 miles north of San Francisco.  Start at the 1927 train station and dont stop until you get to the 25-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan at the trail head of Westwood. The trail crisscrosses over the Susan River Canyon 12 times. It weaves back and forth through the forest.

2 – Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway

20 Miles from Mineral Wells to Weatherford, Texas

Starting 40 miles west of Fort Worth the trail winds past horse ranches, longhorn pastures and meadows of wildflowers.

3 – Katy Trail 

225 Miles St. Charles to Clinton, Missouri

Covering nearly the entire state of Missouri, the Katy Trail is the longest rail to trail that runs east-west. This trail covers portions of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

4 – Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio

68 Miles Milford to Springfield, Ohio

The trail travels along the Ohio’s Little Miami River. Start at the southern end in Milford and bike down stream for an easy ride.

5 – Pinellas Trail, Florida

35 Miles St. Petersburg to Tarpon, Florida

This is an easy ride along the Gulf of Mexico. Make sure to be in Clearwater at Pier 60 in the evening to enjoy the artist.

6- Virginia Creeper Trail, Virginia 

34 Miles Abingdon to Whitetop, VA

Take a shuttle to the top of the states second highest peak. Cross waterfalls, small towns and ride along the waters edge. This downhill ride is a quick decent to the bottom.

7 – Capital Crescent Trail, Washington DC

12 Miles Georgetown – Silver Spring, MD

This trail is flat asphalt-and-crushed stone that overlooks the Potomac River and the C&O Canal. Beware, this trial is heavily congested with runner, rollerbladers and dog walkers.

8 – Island Line Rail Trail, Vermont 

13 Miles Colchester to Burlington

On the north end,  this trail extend three miles into Lake Champlain on a narrow causeway. The southern section runs along the waterfront in bike-friendly Burlington, VT.

9 – Switchback Railroad Trail, Pennsylvania

18 Miles Jim Thorpe to Summit Hill

In the western Poconos, head to the former mining town of Jim Thorpe. The trail was once the route used to carry coal down to the barges on the Lehigh Canal.

10 – Elroy-Sparta State Trail, Wisconsin

32 Miles Elroy to Sparta

This is the first rails to trails in the Nation! It has three tunnels along the trail so bring a flash light!