Tour Missouri’s Innovative History While Biking Hwy 36

When you think of innovators and innovations from Missouri, some that might come to mind include Walt Disney, Mark Twain, retailer JC Penney, World War I Gen. John “Blackjack” Pershing, outlaw Jesse James, The Pony Express, the invention of sliced bread, and Dr. A.T. Still.

These people and events all have ties and connections to northern Missouri, and the Highway 36 corridor celebrates their contributions and influence on the American culture.

The Missouri Highway 36 route, across what has been dubbed “The Way of American Genius,” connects St. Joseph, in the western part of the state on the Missouri River, to Hannibal on the east side of the state, along the banks of the Mississippi River.

(Photo by Patrick P. Evenson)
Photo by Patrick P. Evenson

After an audio tour for Highway 36-bound motorists was completed, a bike route along Route 36 was a natural fit.  Cyclists on short trips or extended tours can enjoy the terrific riding offered by the quiet roads in the area as they explore the dozens of sites that highlight some of the “geniuses” and their connection to our region here in north Missouri.

For the most part, cyclists will find the route is aimed at low-traffic, high-scenery state and county roads that parallel the main four-lane highway. It travels past many of the scenic attractions, historic sites and charming little towns along the way.

While your attention may shift to the past, don’t overlook the present as you ride along the Way of American Genius.  Beautiful state parks, lakes, streams and conservation areas dot the landscape of the Highway 36 corridor, welcoming folks who appreciate Mother Nature and all she has to offer.

People who live around here enjoy life at a slower pace. And we hope you do too. Take your time, enjoy the ride and all the Way of American Genius has to offer.

It’s the smart thing to do.

For detailed route information go to

Written by Beth Carmichael from the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau. VisitMO on Pinterest Missouri Travel Guide


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