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The Nation’s Longest Rail Trail Is Right Here In Missouri And It’s Positively Marvelous

Have you ever wondered what happens to rail lines when the trains stop running on them? When the rail industry took a hit, rail lines throughout the U.S. started to close down as they were no longer providing economical use. Starting in the 1960s these lines stood abandoned and somewhat useless due to railbanking. Railbanking is when the federal government allows the lines to remain without private entities building over them. So when an economically beneficial opportunity arises, the lines will have been preserved and ready to have new rails built on them.

However, during this interim, conservationists saw an opportunity to make something out of the temporary stretches of land and the Rails-To-Trails project was born.

Rails-To-Trails uses abandoned lines to benefit the public by providing smooth, long trails for cyclists, walkers and joggers to enjoy. Lucky for us Missourians, our state actually features the longest rails-to-trail project in the United States to date! The Katy Trail is currently 240-miles long, starting from Machens and going all the way to Clinton.

The Katy Trail is just one of the many beautiful things Missouri has to offer. Check out their trip planner to start your adventure on this nationally renowned trail.