Cycling, fishing, hiking, jogging, kayaking and sightseeing are just a small sample of the experiences visitors can enjoy while traveling in and around Missouri's capital city.
History buffs, cyclists, hikers and joggers will enjoy exploring a stretch of the historic Katy Trail. This historic trail, formerly a part of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, is the longest "Rails to Trails" development in the U.S., and follows the river route of famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their Corps of Discovery expedition in the early 1800s. The trail is beautiful in all seasons and, as Katy Trail State Park, offers present-day visitors 237 miles of biking, walking and hiking trails.
Katy Trail users also can access the Missouri River Pedestrian and Bike Bridge (attached to the Highway 54 Missouri River Bridge) to navigate through North Jefferson City. Those wanting to access the Trail from downtown can enter at the intersection of West Main and Clay streets. Both the Katy Trail and the Pedestrian and Bike Bridge are wheelchair accessible.
More than two miles of hiking trails can be found at the Runge Nature Center, along with over 3,000 square feet of exhibits. These exhibits include an indoor wildlife viewing area, a nature library, hands-on activities for kids and a 3,580-gallon fish aquarium with live fish, amphibians and reptiles native to the area.
If you have fun fishing, boating, canoeing or kayaking, you can find easy access to the Missouri River at the Noren Access Point in Jefferson City. This city-owned public area has a pavilion for picnics, athletic fields, gardens and a hiking trail connected to the Katy Trail State Park. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, fishermen of all skill levels have a chance to reel in many species of fish, including catfish, drum, carp and buffalo. Boaters, canoers and kayakers can gain access to the Missouri River via an onsite concrete boat ramp.
Sightseers and history buffs can take a tour of Missouri's State Capitol grounds and enjoy its many works of art - including striking statuary, beautiful fountains, and magnificent monuments. The Missouri State Capitol was named "the most beautiful state capitol" by USA Today, so it's a must-see for anyone interested in architecture or visual arts. History seekers can stroll through the Jefferson City National Cemetery, the Woodland Cemetery (1022 East McCarty Street) and the Old City Cemetary (1000 East McCarty Street) to feel the vibrant history of Missouri's capital city. Enshrined in these cemeteries are many of Jefferson City's early pioneers, veterans from both sides of the Civil War and two Missouri Governors.
Golfers are able to tee off at one of five area golf courses and families can appreciate nine area recreational parks covering over 1,000 acres. These parks have picnic areas, ballfields, grills, boat ramps and many hiking, jogging and biking trails. For a complete list of city parks, visit JeffCityMo.org/parks/.
Of course, after a long day of active outdoor fun, it's good to sit down for a bit and treat your family to an ice cream cone or other frozen delight at the famous Central Dairy (610 Madison St.), a longtime favorite of locals and travelers. If your goal is to soak up sunshine and fresh air while touring Jefferson City, you can dine al fresco on just about anything your taste buds desire, from steaks and chicken to burgers, pasta or pizza.
For more information about outdoor recreational activities and sites, as well as some indoor fun, contact the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-769-4183 or on the web at VisitJeffersonCity.com.