The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings Near Portland

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Situated in the Willamette River Valley, at the base of towering mountains and sprawling forests, Portland is a city that needs no introduction in terms of its outdoor offerings. Giant urban parks like Forest Park are located within city limits, with easy access to the stunning Columbia River Gorge and its endless amount of trails and waterfalls. Portland really is a place where you could spend a lifetime and still not experience all that it has to offer. Especially when it comes to the craft beer scene. Oregon is home to more than 200 breweries, with nearly 85 in the Portland Metro area alone, making it one of the best places in the country to enjoy some adventure and ales. Trust us, we know – our store, the Lizard Lounge, is in the Pearl District so we’ve been sampling the local fare for years!  Here, we bring you a sampling of some of our favorite trail to tavern pairings in The Rose City and beyond.

1. Coyote Wall to the Labyrinth | Backwoods Brewing Company

Admiring the views of the Columbia River GorgeAdmiring the views of the Columbia River Gorge. Abby Joffe.

Located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, the hike from the Coyote Wall Trailhead to the Labyrinth is a 5.8-mile loop that has it all. The views of the Columbia River Gorge as you trek through this unique fluvial landscape to the Labyrinth are incredible. But before you make it to this grassy area high above the banks of the river, you’ll travel through groves of oaks, past a beautiful waterfall, up through a small canyon, and over basalt outcroppings. If you plan your visit during the spring and early summer, the grassy hillsides are often exploding with wildflowers, but truthfully any time of year is a great time to hike this scenic trail.

Just 30 minutes away from the trailhead, Backwoods Brewing Company offers up the perfect place to enjoy a post-hike brew. Founded in 2012, this brewpub has quite a close connection to the Columbia River Gorge: The water used in its beer is sourced from nearby Bear Creek, its interior is adorned with a stark wooden bar, and its beer names (including Log Yard IPA, Clear Cut Pale, and Ridge Run Stout) reflect the regional lexicon. And with freshly made, hand rolled, tossed out pizza, it’s a great place to unwind after a hike with some good grub and great beer.

2. Salmon River Trail | Base Camp Brewing Company

With easy access and a beautiful riverside trail through lush old-growth forests, it's no wonder the Salmon River Trail is a popular option for Portlanders.With easy access and a beautiful riverside trail through lush old-growth forests, it’s no wonder the Salmon River Trail is a popular option for Portlanders. Abby Joffe.

With an easily accessible trailhead and a beautiful riverside trail through lush old-growth forests, it’s no wonder that the Salmon River Trail is a popular option for Portlanders. Situated in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, the Salmon River meanders gracefully through untouched forests, plunges off hidden waterfalls, and swirls into deep inviting pools. Running parallel with this river for roughly 8 miles, the Salmon River Trail is easily one of the most inviting trails in the area, as you’ll be hiking under a thick canopy of towering old-growth forests for much of the way.

Once you’re done, head back into town for a visit to one of Portland’s most outdoorsy craft breweries: Base Camp Brewing Company. It’s almost as if this place was created to deliver the ultimate trail to tavern experience. The interior feels like a cross between a Portland brew pub and a sleek REI. A canoe is suspended above the bar, numerous outdoor action photos hang above the taps, exposed wood graces the interior, and clear lights twinkle in the ceiling, evoking a starry sky after the sun sets.

3. North Portland Loop | Occidental Brewing Company

Okay, so it’s not a hike, but the North Portland Loop is an urban bike trail that takes cyclists through an area of the city known for its diverse landscapes, but which nevertheless rarely shows up in Portland tour guides. Many Portlanders consider the Portland peninsula to be one of the furthest, tumbleweed-laden, lawless outposts of the Rose City, but, in reality, it’s actually a fine place to get a little fresh air via bicycle. From the bluffs of Willamette Boulevard to the serene Smith and Bybee lakes, there’s a lot to appreciate on this 19 mile bike ride around North Portland.

For the best trail to tavern experience along this route, take a break along the way at Occidental Brewing Company, one of Portland’s best-kept brewery secrets, in the St. Johns neighborhood. Occidental serves German-style beers—including a dunkel, kolsch, and hefeweizen—with nary an IPA to be found (sorry, hopheads!).

4. Hoyt Arboretum | Cascade Brewing Barrel House

With an awesome outdoor patio and a huge selection of sour beers, Cascade Brewing Barrel House is a fantastic place to wile away the hoursWith an awesome outdoor patio and a huge selection of sour beers, Cascade Brewing Barrel House is a fantastic place to wile away the hours. Christopher Murphy.

Located in Portland’s Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum is home to over 2,000 species of trees and plants from all over the world. There are 12 miles of trail spread out over 189 acres, and the well-manicured paths take you through groups of trees, including larch, spruce, oak, and even sequoia. With trail surfaces that range from hard-pack dirt to gravel and pavement, this is the perfect place to enjoy an easy stroll through a diverse and scenic landscape.

Like Hoyt Arboretum, variety is paramount at Cascade Brewing Barrel House. The Eastside outpost specializes in all things sour beer, with nearly 20 taps available and almost 25 bottles for sale. Catch it on a Tuesday, and Cascade Barrel’s Tap It Tuesday events introduce beer aficionados to a new sour every week.

5. Angel’s Rest Trail | Thunder Island Brewing Company

All smiles at Thunder Island Brewing Co.All smiles at Thunder Island Brewing Co. Christopher Muhs.

Angel’s Rest is one of the most popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge—good luck finding parking near the trail head on a sunny Saturday afternoon—thanks to the 270-degree views at its summit. On the way up, hikers gain about 1,500 feet over 2.5 miles, traveling through many different landscapes, from lush green forest, to charred remains of trees near the summit (the result of a 1991 forest fire). Once to the top, the views unravel as far as the eye can see with sweeping views of the Columbia River, East Portland, Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain, and Cape Horn.

Thunder Island Brewing Company in Cascade Locks, not unlike Angel’s Rest, offers some of the best Gorge views this side of Hood River. Sure, it’s another half-hour east, but it’s worth the trip for the brewery’s outdoor seating, mere feet from the banks of the Columbia River. Enjoy the shade of a few fir trees and watch the river roll by while enjoying Thunder Island’s citrusy IPA.

Inspired? Stop into the Lizard Lounge for all your Toad trail to tavern needs! Visit us at:

LIZARD LOUNGE, 1323 NW Irving Street, Portland, OR 97209

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Originally written by RootsRated. Featured image provided by Bill Automata.

Modern Travel: Burlington, VT

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It looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting – white steeples peak from yellow leaves, covered bridges dot the highway, brick buildings house generations-old restaurants… Yep, Burlington, VT is about as picture perfect as it sounds, and one of our favorite places to experience the change in seasons. One of America’s colonial gems, Burlington has a lot to offer the modern traveler.

Sheer beauty is always in abundance in Burlington, but we happen to love the way the fall colors pop against old brick buildings. Throw on your walking shoes and spend a day wandering the streets of Burlington in all it’s Fall glory. Grab coffee amongst the co-eds at the University of Vermont, peruse the local shops on Church Street Marketplace, and watch the sun go down over Lake Champlain. On day two, get outta dodge and take the scenic route. Take Interstate 89 out of Burlington and head towards Stowe (where you can hit up the Cabot Creamery, Ben and Jerry’s AND an apple cider donut shop all in within a mile) to drive up to Mt. Mansfield. The 89 is a gorgeous (albeit slightly windy) road with rock outcroppings on either side, perfect for hiking or rock climbing if you’re feeling adventurous.  Pop into the roadside towns to stretch your legs and take the 10 minute detour to Stowe for a cup of killer Chai from Black Cap Coffee. If you’re feeling up to a 5 mile round trip hike to the peak of Mount Mansfield you’ll be treated to stunning views of Canada from Vermont’s highest point (4,393ft). For an alternate route back to Burlington, take the Vermont 108 to Cambridge then the Interstate 15 through Jericho. Nothing says fall like a scenic drive.

Like the great Vermont woods, the culinary scene in Burlington is definitely something to write home about. With a focus on fair trade, organic and locally sustained products, Vermonters pride themselves on serving up the freshest seasonal ingredients. And in a state with more breweries per capita than any other state in the country, you really can’t go wrong. On the outskirts of town is Switchback Brewing Co. – stop off for a great free tour of the brewing facilities and a $4 tasting flight (and maybe take a growler to go for later adventures). If you’re downtown, stop into one of New England’s best cider houses, Citizen Cider. 100% locally sourced apples and 100% cider on tap. We like the classic Citizen Dry, but with a name like Brosé, it’s hard to pass up the blueberry cider. Need something to soak it all up? American Flatbread Burlington Hearth dishes out “pizza with integrity.” Go for the classic Punctuated Equilibrium (hello handmade Vermont goat cheese), or try one of the seasonal specialties like the Pork Belly or Squash and Apple Hash flatbreads. And, of course, grab a pint of their homemade Zero Gravity beer. This is Vermont, after all.

With so much to do in a weekend, don’t spend time worrying about your wardrobe. For a quick getaway in Burlington, the gals are packing the Nightwatch Cape – our recycled wool blend keeps you warm (and itch-free!) all day long. If you’re looking for a versatile skirt, look no further than the Diamond Sweater Skirt. Great over leggings and boots or dressed up for a night on the town, this skirt is our go-to until it’s sundress season again. For the guys, we think the Emmett Crewneck Sweater will be the perfect layer for any inclement fall weather. Made of 100% organic cotton, the Emmett is cozy as an outer layer but lightweight enough to toss on under a jacket. And if you need some extra pockets, layer it up with the Sidecar Vest – our recycled Italian wool wonder vest that looks smart and keeps all the essentials (keys, camera, bottle opener) close at hand. Enjoy the changing leaves and don’t forget to send a postcard!

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Weekend Plan: Fall Hikes

Two words: Leaf Peeping. It may sound funny, but it’s that age old pastime of enjoying the changing foliage, and, for lack of a better term, peeping at the leaves. But we don’t think you should be limited to spying on the leaves, get out there and experience it. Feel the air as humidity gives way to a crisp breeze, throw yourself into a pile of freshly gathered foliage and take a hike though the seasons while summer fades into fall and fall into winter. Here are some of our favorite fall hikes around the country:

Aspen Vista Trail –  Santa Fe, NM

Bull Head Lake Trail – Glacier National Park, MT

Birchtoft Trail – Dublin, NH

Maroon Lake Trail – Aspen, CO 

Giant Mountain – Lake Placid, NY

Featured image “Alpenglow Maroon Bells, Maroon Lake, Colorado” by John Fowler