The only reason we came to Bolivar, Missouri, was to ride yet another rail trail. We had high hopes for the Frisco Highline Trail, only some of which were realized. At 35 miles, this is the second longest rail trail in Missouri, behind only the well-known and much longer Katy Trail. Unfortunately, the Frisco Highline Trail was not nearly as impressive as its website.
On our first day in town, we did a short ride from our RV park to access the trail, then took the trail a few miles north into town. This portion of the trail is paved and well=maintained.
We passed La Petite Gemme ("little gem") Prairie, one of the last prairie remnants in the area. How nice that it is accessible via the rail trail.
Approaching town, there is no easy way to cross busy Highway 13, so there is a longish road detour to continue the trail. This detour was not always well-marked, and we took a wrong turn once. We eventually figured it out and got back on the trail to ride to its northern terminus in town.
The primary purpose of this short ride was to stop in at one of our favorite stores, Aldi, and pick up some groceries.
On our second day, we rode south on the trail. Our access point from the county road was at Mile Marker (MM) 31. This portion of the trail is unpaved but was supposedly packed limestone like the Katy Trail, so we took our Bike Fridays, with their 1.35" wide tires.
Parts of this section were indeed smoothly packed limestone and easy and fun to ride.
In many places, however, a good mowing and branch trimming was needed as the grass and weeds were high, and occasionally the trail would almost disappear in the weeds. We were surprised to see how poorly maintained this section of trail was, but it was tolerable compared to the conditions we encountered the farther south we pedaled.
We had hoped to make it to the town of Walnut Grove at MM 16, but ended up turning around early due to the gravel conditions, mostly from the Little Sac River bridge (MM 23) to MM 21 (and probably farther south).
This section appeared to have been relatively recently re-graveled. The gravel was larger and deeper than ideal (up to 3" deep in some places), leading to fish-tailing and difficulties controlling our bikes. It was good to see that some maintenance had been done, but it was not done well; the gravel was not spread evenly or thinly enough, making it somewhat hazardous and not fun to ride. We would recommend this section for mountain bikes only.
Unfortunately, I did not think to stop and take a photo of conditions in this section, I was having a hard enough time just keeping the rubber side down!
We took a little detour on an access road near the campground on our way back to photograph this cool little store. Outside were many vintage gas pumps and signs. Neat place!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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