DescriptionExplorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through the territory around present-day Rocheport in June 1804. Founded in 1825, the town prospered due to a strategic location on the Missouri River that facilitated steamboat and ferry transportation. The Civil War subjected Rocheport to raids by both Confederate and Union troops.
Further growth came in the 1880s and '90s when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad was built through town. Today the rail line forms the Katy Trail, which spans 240 miles across north-central Missouri from St. Charles west to Clinton. Most of the trail closely follows the Missouri River, which is lined at intervals with towering bluffs, and winds through some of the state's prettiest scenery. Ideal for walking, hiking and bicycling, the section of the trail near Rocheport (at the north end of town) also has the rail line's only tunnel, built in 1893. At the trailhead (mile marker 178.3) day users can take advantage of a public parking area and restrooms inside a reconstructed depot. Bicycles can be rented at the Meriwether Café & Bike Shop, 700 First St.
Downtown Rocheport still retains its small-town tranquility, with antique and specialty shops, restaurants and B&Bs lining a compact five-block area. The little Friends of Rocheport Historic Museum at First and Moniteau streets documents the town's early history through photographs, books, tools and period clothing. Mighty Mo Canoe Rentals, 101 Lewis St., offers guided paddle trips on the Missouri River on Saturday afternoons from mid-May through the end of October; phone (573) 698-3903.