Classic Roads: Missouri Route 94

Jul 18, 2019 View Comments by

Classic Roads: Missouri Route 94 motorcycle ride

Spanning more than 2,000 miles, from southwestern Montana to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers just north of St. Louis, the Missouri River Valley is notable for its rolling topography, forested landscape, and collection of pastoral farms. The area is also home to several wineries and appealing villages, including Hermann, known for its distinct German cultural vibe. Running parallel to the meandering course of the Missouri River, Missouri Route 94 traverses a rumpled landscape with numerous twists and turns, and frequent elevation changes.

Little known outside of Missouri, the valley region is one of the major winemaking areas of the Midwest, and contains some of the oldest vineyards in America. Wines from Missouri began ranking favorably against European varieties at international competitions in the late 19th century. Be sure to stop at one of the vineyards along the way and pick up a bottle or two to store in the saddlebags for later consumption.

Begin this journey in the far western reaches of the St. Louis metropolitan area by exiting I-64 at Route 94 West, then following 94 to US 54 and crossing the river to Jefferson City. The total riding distance is approximately 120 miles. Riders returning to the St. Louis area can either retrace their path on Route 94 or follow routes along the southern banks of the Missouri River, primarily via Route 100, stopping to visit additional villages and vineyards along the way.

Points of Interest
1. Klondike Park
This 250-acre park is a favorite camping location for hikers and bicyclists exploring the nearby Katy Trail. The multiuse facility features birding and wildlife viewing areas, a fishing lake, six rustic cabins, and restrooms and a shower house nearby. An uphill trail leads to a high lookout bluff, which provides sweeping views of the Missouri River.
2. Missouri Rhineland
German immigrants began settling in the Missouri River Valley during the 19th century and soon discovered that the soil and climate in the area are nearly perfect for producing fine wine. The town of Hermann, MO, is now the commercial center of the Hermann American Viticultural Area, which recognizes wineries established by German immigrants. Hermann is also the area’s epicenter of transplanted German culture.
3. Lewis and Clark Trail
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition to explore lands west of the Mississippi River began in 1804 at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and journeyed upstream into the then newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Missouri Route 94, which has been designated as part of the Lewis and Clark Trail, closely follows the Missouri River to Jefferson City, MO.
4. Jefferson City, Missouri State Capital
Named for Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, who sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Missouri’s capital city is perched majestically on the southern bank of the state’s eponymous river. A monument paying homage to the infamous explorers and their crew members is situated near the capitol.
5. Clark’s Hill/Norton State Historic Site
In June of 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped near the base of what is today known as Clark’s Hill. According to Clark’s journals, he ascended the 100-foot hill to make observations of the surrounding area. A footpath leads from the parking lot of this historic site to that same overlook of the Missouri River, which Clark peered from more than 200 years ago.

 

 

 

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