Blue River Rides

Bicycling along the Missouri and Blue Rivers.

All photos on this page were taken within the city limits of Kansas City, Missouri.

These photos accompany the article at

West along the Missouri to downtown

From the Missouri River bluffs looking northeast over the mouth of the Blue River

From the Missouri River bluffs looking east over the Blue River Valley

North over river bottoms

Cliff Drive cliffs

Ubiquitous Trash on Cliff Drive


Cliff Drive overlook

From Cliff Drive North over the Missouri riverbottoms

Cliff Drive

Cliff Drive crossing Chestnut Trafficway on the Missouri River bluffs

General Mills factory under the Missouri River bluffs

Front Street

View from the east bottoms south towards Cliff Drive

East along the Missouri to the Chouteau Viaduct

Lewis & Clark survey marker near lead-contaminated area

Riverbottom trash

A pile of glass shards in the Missouri riverbottoms

Missouri riverbottoms

Closeup of trash heap in previous photo

Entrance to Riverfront Park west of Chouteau Trafficway

This gate bars access to the city's Riverfront Park just west of the Chouteau Trafficway viaduct.

Notice that I am always on the outside of any gates featuring dire threats for trespassing. I could have gone in this one, though, as I had cleverly remembered to bring along my hardhat and I always follow all OSHA regulations everywhere I go.

Don't enter the city park!

Chouteau Viaduct

Missouri River west from Chouteau Trafficway

Missouri River east from Chouteau Trafficway

Entrance to Riverfront Park near Chouteau Trafficway

The signs pictured above and below are posted at the entrance to the city's Riverfront Park west of Chouteau Trafficway. As you can see, not much recreation goes on in this park. I understand that a city dump used to be in this location.

This is area right along the riverfront and is flooded every spring (the dirt road pictured above is on the top of the levee). Remember that all our drinking water comes from the Missouri.

Riverfront Park fence

This area has "Hazardous Waste"; the area west of the Chouteau Viaduct is contaminated by lead; somewhere in this general vicinity (I haven't been able to pinpoint the location) is an old natural gas plant that contaminated an entire section of the riverfront with petroleum by-products.

Care for the land and the land will care for you.

The Missouri River from Front Street

Downtown KC from the east bottoms

Tracks near Front Street

Under the Viaduct

Industrial Park Gate under the Truman viaduct

North from 23rd Street viaduct

Under the 23rd Street Viaduct

The strange-looking unit near the rear tire appeared to be a part from an air conditioner.

Abandoned Factory

Blue River Bottoms near Truman Drive

Blue River

The Blue River

From 12th Street north along the Blue River Valley

The large brown mounds are piles of wood chips left over from the massive cleanup effort after this spring's ice storm. The chips are fermenting now and smell a little like stale beer mixed with rotten meat.

Blue River, south from 12th Street

Note the junkyard on the east bank.

To be continued . . .

You can follow the route shown in these photos from River Market along the Missouri and Blue Rivers to the point where Blue Ridge Boulevard crosses the Blue River. Following the directions given here, that route is 32 miles one way. You can follow trails from there a few miles more to the Kansas State line.

To ride the route: From River Market, take Grand Ave. to 1st Street. East on 1st Street (eventually this becomes Guinotte Ave) to Chestnut Trafficway, then north to Gardner Ave. South on Chouteau Trafficway, which soon becomes Belmont Blvd.

(Alternatively, take Cliff Drive east, either by taking 8th street or some other route east from downtown, or by following Chestnut Trafficway south to the Cliff Drive overpass. As you go east, Cliff Drive merges into Gladstone Blvd, which naturally turns south into Belmont Blvd.)

Follow Belmont south to Wilson Rd. Go east on Wilson Rd, go south under the railway underpass, then south on Ewing Ave. East on 12th Street, south on Crystal. You will find yourself under the Truman Rd. Viaduct. Take Truman under the viaduct a short distance east to Oakland Ave, then south to 17th Street. Go east over the Blue River on 17th Street to Manchester Trafficway. Go south on Manchester to Coal Mine Road (currently under construction). Take Coal Mine Road south to Blue Parkway. Go west on Blue Parkway a short distance; go to the right and under the Blue River overpass. Just across the Blue River (there is another small bridge underneath the tall Blue Parkway overpass), take Brighton south to 59th Street. 59th west to Elmwood, Elmwood south to 63rd. Almost directly across 63rd Street will be Yates Dr., the entrance to the Zoo, Starlight Theater, and Swope Park. Work your way south past the Zoo until you reach Gregory Blvd (beware of getting lost in the area around the Zoo, as bicycle riding is--illegally and stupidly--banned there). Take Gregory east to Blue River Road. Blue River road continues about 9 1/2 miles southwest from here, finally joining with Blue Ridge Boulevard extension west of Grandview.

The Blue River Parkway trail (part paved, part single-track) follows the Blue River from Minor Park to the Kansas state line. Minor Park is just west of Blue River Road on Red Bridge. Maps and directions to the Blue River Parkway trail can be found at