Horseback riders now have a new Katy Trail State Park experience with the opening on March 31 of the Tebbetts-to-Portland section in Callaway County for equestrian use. A ceremony to commemorate the opening was held on Saturday, March 31 at the Mokane trailhead, which serves as the official horse trailer parking for the section. Approximately seventy-five horseback riders attended the event and participated in an informal trail ride after the program.
“In Missouri State Parks, we’re always striving to make our facilities available to people of all interests. We recognize there is a growing need for places where people can ride their horses. Opening this section will help fulfill that need and is an example of how we listen to our users and respond to their input,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The 240-mile long Katy Trail stretches from Machens to Clinton and is open the entire length to hikers and bicyclists. Currently, the 35-mile section from the State Fairgrounds in Sedalia to the trail’s western end in Clinton is open for equestrian use. Adding the new 15-mile section from Tebbetts to Portland will provide approximately 50 miles of Katy Trail open to equestrian use.
“Our staff analyzed the entire trail to determine sections that would be compatible for multiple uses by equestrian users as well as hikers and bicyclists. This section is compatible plus we feel horseback riders will welcome the chance to experience this part of the trail,” Bryan said. The trail in this section parallels the Missouri River in several areas and passes through thick forests and over several bridges.
Although trailheads are located at Tebbetts and Portland, the Mokane trailhead is considered the equestrian section’s official trailhead because it is larger and can accommodate trailers. Katy Trail’s Mokane trailhead is off Highway 94 and Route C, just south of Mokane in Callaway County. The official equestrian trailer parking in Clinton is at the Henry County Fairgrounds, located directly across Price Lane from the Clinton trailhead. Horse carriages or carts are not allowed in either equestrian section.