Doing Good in Yosemite

Sometimes even the most pristine places need a little TLC. Take Yosemite National Park. Nestled among California’s Sierra Nevadas, Yosemite National Park includes nearly 1,200 square miles of tall waterfalls, deep valleys, ancient giant sequoias, beautiful meadows, and a vast wilderness. Much of this land is cared for by a team of incredible park rangers and staff, but with more than 4 million visitors annually, an extra pair of helping hands can make a huge difference.

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One of our favorite annual traditions is the Yosemite Facelift volunteer event, celebrating its 15th year! Each year we send a group of Toads to the Valley to join fellow outdoor companies for a weekend of trash-picking and TLC. The event is organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association, a 1% For the Planet member and longtime supporter of Yosemite conservation.


We set out early Friday morning – Anthony, Drew, Wendy, Steve, Michaela, and baby Dylan – up Mist Trail. Teetering on the side of rock staircases, we carefully collected forgotten plastic water bottles, flyaway wrappers, and even some very old socks (Cheryl Strayed, was that you?). On a gorgeous hike, we took time to appreciate Mother Nature’s insane beauty and tried to do our part to leave her a little better than we found her.

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All told, volunteers at this year’s event removed a total of 8,745 pounds of micro trash! But it wasn’t all work and no play – there were panel discussions, live music, epic hiking, and family dinners. It was a great weekend spent doing good and sweet baby D’s bright eyes said it all – conservation of our public lands is good for plants, animals, and all living things. See you next year Yosemite!

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PS – Camp tacos are a Toad favorite. Easy, delicious, and as spicy as you want ‘em. Here’s our favorite recipe.

The 7 Best Trail-to-Pub Pairings in Maine’s Midcoast and Islands

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Maine’s picturesque lighthouses, rocky coastlines, uninhabited islands, charming small towns, and relaxed vibe have been attracting visitors for centuries. But it’s the state’s booming craft beer scene that has an entirely new group of visitors coming to the Pine Tree State. With so many breweries—90 and counting—and so little time, it can be tough to choose which brewpubs to visit and which to save for your next trip. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of some of the best brewpubs in Maine’s midcoast region, and the best hiking trails to pair with them (you gotta work for it, right?). And you can trust us since our flagship store is in Freeport, Maine! Pop in and say hi to our GM, Ponch, and the rest of the Toads – they may even join you for a beer!

1. Hidden Valley Nature Center | Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle

The Oxbow Brewery’s beautiful rustic farmhouse location, where there’s usually a local food truck parked.The Oxbow Brewery’s beautiful rustic farmhouse location, where there’s usually a local food truck parked. Cait Bourgault/ Maine Midcoast and Islands

Explore 1,000 acres of pristine Maine wilderness at the Hidden Valley Nature Center, where 18 miles of interconnected, forested trails pass wetlands and ponds before leading to clifftop views. Try the easy, one-mile walk along the Moose Alley-Couch Hill Nature Trail to learn more about the area, or the three-mile Bowl Loop Trail through wildlife habitats and past a 30-foot rock face for a longer trek.

Then trust your GPS as it guides you five miles down a rural road and into the woods to Oxbow Brewery’s rustic farmhouse location. The cozy space is open Wednesdays-Saturdays and is home to their tasting room and brewing operations. Boston Globe Travel raves about the fact that you can even rent the farmhouse for up to nine people. Order a flight of their inventive, Belgian-style varietals like Harvest, a saison brewed with Maine-grown hops and grains. Pair your beer with local cheese and crackers or homemade pickles served at their outdoor picnic tables. Follow it with a round of cornhole or a tour of the growing orchard behind the brewery.

2. Oven’s Mouth Preserve | Boothbay Craft Brewery in Boothbay

Boothbay Craft Brewery is a close four miles from Oven’s Mouth Preserve.Boothbay Craft Brewery is a close four miles from Oven’s Mouth Preserve. Watershed Tavern & Boothbay Craft Brewery

Bring your four-legged friend along on this must-do hike, the 1.75-mile Oven’s Mouth Preserve’s Western Shoreline Loop. The short but challenging trail passes salt marshes, tidal rivers, forested shoreline, and the remnants of Ice House Cove, where a dam was constructed in the late 1880s to make ice that was shipped to large American cities.

Get your hike in early and return in time for Boothbay Craft Brewery’s 3 p.m. daily tour and tasting. This quintessential Maine brewery is just four miles from the preserve, and doesn’t use any artificial ingredients in their handcrafted ales. Stay after the tour for organic cuisine and fresh seafood at their restaurant, the Watershed Tavern.

3. Lobster Cove Trail | Monhegan Brewing Company on Monhegan Island

Lobster Cove Trail on Monhegan Island is the perfect scenic day hike.Lobster Cove Trail on Monhegan Island is the perfect scenic day hike. JR P

Ten miles off Maine’s coast you’ll find Monhegan Island, a rocky haven for wilderness seekers and artists alike. The only way to visit is by boat, and there are no cars or even paved roads on the island. But it’s paradise for solitude seekers as quiet, scenic hiking trails crisscross it. If you only have a day, check out the Lobster Cove Trail to see a lighthouse, the shipwreck of a tugboat, and spectacular ocean views.

Return to town for a pint of the aptly named Lobster Cove American Pale Ale on the deck of Monhegan Brewing Company. As the first beer this family-owned brewery ever created, it’s light and refreshing after a hike.

4. Bald Rock Mountain |The Drouthy Bear in Camden

The views from Bald Rock Mountain Trail go on as far as the eye can see.The views from Bald Rock Mountain Trail go on as far as the eye can see. Jerry Stone

Panoramic views of Penobscot Bay and Maine’s islands await on this quiet hike to the top of Camden Hills State Park’s second tallest peak. Don’t let the elevation scare you off though—the gradually ascending trail is doable for groups, families, and dogs (just be sure to keep them on a leash). To get to the 1,100-foot summit, hike 1.3 miles on a multi-use trail beginning in Lincolnville before connecting to the quiet, half-mile path to the top.

Once your legs are spent from the trek up the mountain and back, drive to Camden to visit the cozy brew pub in the heart of town, The Drouthy Bear. For scotch and whiskey aficionados, this place is a dream. They carry more than 70 single-malts and whiskies from around the world. The beer selection, both local and international, is just as good.

5. Moose Point State Park | Three Tides and Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast

Take a short hike through Moose Point State Park.Take a short hike through Moose Point State Park. Bob Zarazowski

Maine’s iconic rocky, forested coastline is on full display at Moose Point State Park, just four miles from Belfast. Small in size, but big on beauty, take Big Spruce Trail to Moose Trail for a 1.2-mile loop past tidal pools, bay views, and towering pines.

After exploring the park, drive five miles and step back in time at the small, coastal town of Belfast. This gem overlooks Penobscot Bay and is home to art galleries, historic architecture, the country’s oldest shoe store, and a unique local bar and small plates eatery, Three Tides.

Boasting a spot right on the water and an outdoor deck with an oyster shell floor, visitors rave about the locally sourced oysters and mussels. The adjacent Marshall Wharf Brewing Company offers 17 craft beers on draft, including unique seasonal favorites like a Cream Ale and Sea Belt, a Scotch ale brewed with Maine sugar kelp that made HopCulture’s List of Weirdest Beers from the Sea this year.

6. Rockland Breakwater Trail | Rock Harbor Brewing Company in Rockland

The walkable granite breakwater extends 4,346 feet, eight tenths of a mile, from Jameson Point into Rockland Harbor.The walkable granite breakwater extends 4,346 feet, eight tenths of a mile, from Jameson Point into Rockland Harbor. Jonmikel & Kat Pardo

When in Maine, coastal lighthouse touring is a must. And in Rockland, even the walk to the lighthouse is rich with history. It took the last two decades of the 1800s to complete the mile-long granite walkway that extends into the bay and leads out to the Breakwater Lighthouse. Designed to protect Rockland Harbor from storms, the path’s massive granite blocks were placed up to 70-feet deep and cut to form a path. The lighthouse at the end of the trail is still in use today, and you can see U.S. Coast Guard memorabilia inside.

After walking on water, explore Rockland’s quaint Main Street coffee shops and boutiques before grabbing a pint and an appetizer at the city’s only brewery, Rock Harbor Pub and Brewing Company. Don’t leave without tasting the Breakwater Wheat, a lighter beer brewed with coriander and orange peel.

7. Salt Bay Heritage Trail | King Eider’s Pub in Damariscotta

The Glidden Midden is a neat archaeological site to see on the Salt Bay Heritage Trail.The Glidden Midden is a neat archaeological site to see on the Salt Bay Heritage Trail. J.Elizabeth Clark /Liz Summit

See evidence of ancient coastal Maine settlements on this trail along Great Salt Bay. Visit at low tide to ensure the boardwalks and bridges are above water, and take the approximately three-mile loop to a fascinating archaeological site—the Glidden Midden. A midden is a massive pile of discarded shells left behind centuries ago, and this oyster shell pile was made by Abenaki and Algonquin tribes long before colonists arrived in Maine.

Après in the charming coastal village of Damariscotta at King Eider’s Pub for a brew and some renown Damariscotta River oysters. The locally sourced menu features fresh seafood, British favorites like Bangers and Mash, and craft beer from a variety of Maine breweries.

8. Toad&Co Freeport Store

Quality goods and even better company awaits at the Toad&Co Freeport store.

Between the ales and the trails, one can surely get worn out when exploring Maine. Pop into Toad&Co Freeport for a rejuvenating mix of classic Toad&Co products and other quality goods. Mingle with locals, get trail advice from our staff, and gear up for more exploration in the beautiful Pine Tree State.

Originally written by RootsRated for Maine’s Midcoast & Islands.

Featured image provided by Monhegan Brewery, Paul Edney

The Ultimate Trail to Tavern 3-Day Weekend in Philadelphia



Philadelphia might be best known for cheesesteaks and ‘Brotherly Love’, but this trail to tavern city is working hard to earn a new nickname: America’s Best Beer City. Philadelphians love drinking and brewing beer so much that they’ve dedicated an entire week to the craft each year. For outdoor enthusiasts looking to pair ales with hiking trails, America’s 5th biggest city has a ton to offer—if you know where to find it. From trekking on the Appalachian Trail to exploring the wilds of the Wissahickon, you can spend time in nature without even leaving the city limits. Follow this long-weekend itinerary for some of the best outdoor activities (and the best beer!) that the city has to offer.

Day One

No visit to the America’s birthplace is complete without seeing a landmark steeped in history. Kickoff your day at Valley Forge National Historical Park, where General George Washington’s Continental Army set up camp during the original British Invasion in 1777. Take some time to tour Washington’s headquarters then go forth to conquer Mount Misery and Mount Joy. It’s just over 4 miles (if you climb both) of lush, wooded trails. You’ll pass a dilapidated, old bottling plant, a covered bridge from the 1800s and eventually pop out at the summit of Mount Joy. America the beautiful, indeed!

On your way back from Valley Forge, grab a beer in the Philly neighborhood of Manayunk. Its vibrant Main Street is home to more than 60 funky shops and restaurants, and the most scenic spot for lunch is Manayunk Brewing Company. Order a flight and hang out on the massive riverside deck overlooking the Schuylkill River.

After a cold drink, make your way to Center City and grab lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. This farmer’s market has all kinds of restaurants, ranging from Thai food to burger joints, but it’s pretty much a requirement to get yourself a cheesesteak when in Philly. By George! Pizza, Pasta and Cheesesteaks is one of the best. It’s also a good option to pick up a slice of pizza if cheesesteaks aren’t your thing.

After filling up at the market, take it easy and rent a bike from Philadelphia’s Indego bike share. Saddle up and cruise on one of America’s best urban trails: the Schuylkill River Trail. Take in views of the Philadelphia skyline as you ride along the water, and continue up the riverfront to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Movie aficionado or not, channel your inner Rocky Balboa as you ascend the steps. And if you throw up your arms in celebration at the top, we won’t judge.

To get a true education on Philadelphia’s beer scene, head straight to the source. Tucked down a dark, inconspicuous alley in the heart of the city, you’ll find McGillin’s Olde Ale House. As Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operating bar, the beer’s been flowing here since 1860 and hasn’t stopped since – not even during Prohibition (hence the dark, inconspicuous alley). McGillin’s is still the rowdiest ale house in town, but they’re serious about great beer. You’ll find 30 beers on tap, with a focus on eastern Pennsylvania breweries and three signature brews: McGillin’s Real Ale, McGillin’s Genuine Lager, and McGillin’s 1860 IPA.

McGillin’s has typical bar fare (think nachos and mozzarella sticks), but also has a full menu with everything from pizza and salad to full-on entrees like chicken parm, meatloaf, and a German sausage platter.

Where to Stay

After a long day, head to the revitalized Fishtown neighborhood to get a good night’s sleep. This up-and-coming neighborhood currently has just one hotel—a four-room boutique called Wm. Mulherin’s Sons. Housed in a restored 1800s whiskey distillery that bore the same name, Muhlerin’s shares its space with one of the city’s best restaurants and is walking distance from the best breweries and taphouses around.

Day Two

After a potentially long night at McGillan’s, you may need a little pick-me-up to start day two. Luckily, just a couple blocks from the hotel is the Gryphon Coffee Company. Check out the local art on display while you sip your latte and then head out to escape the city’s hustle and bustle with a mountain bike ride or trail run in Wissahickon Valley Park.

Just beyond the city’s art museums, this forest haven is technically within city limits but feels worlds apart. Out of eye and earshot of Philadelphia, explore some of the 50 miles of rugged trails winding through the gorge. Look for remnants of the old milling industry: crumbling dams, preserved homes and roadhouses, and the only covered bridge left in Philadelphia.

Despite the name, Forbidden Drive is one of the easiest trails at the park, with a gentle grade and wide gravel path. The 5.35-mile route follows the Wissahickon Creek from one end of the park to the other, and is popular for biking or an easy trail run. For more of a challenge, try the 4.39-mile White Trail. You’ll find technical singletrack with some steep sections along the eastern side of the park.

Once you’ve worked up a sweat, head to Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood for a free tour and tasting at Philadelphia Brewing Company. Every Saturday, this local brewery opens their doors to the public from 12-3 p.m., and the vibe is totally casual—no reservations necessary. You’ll learn about the brewing process and they say you might even pick up a few useful tidbits of information as well. Try year-round classics like the Kenzinger, a crisp, light golden beer that you’ll find all over town or the PHL Session IPA if you like it hoppy.

From Philadelphia Brewing Company, grab another Indego bike and head down Christopher Columbus Blvd. to Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River Waterfont. Grab a bite to eat at one of the vendors or at the floating (that’s right, floating) restaurant, and then hang out in one of the colorful handmade hammocks. You can also take a walk along the boardwalk, play one of the many games available (bocce ball, life-sized chess or Connect Four), or play traditional boardwalk games housed in converted shipping containers. This pop-up park is open from May – September.

From the park, go about three miles north for a drink at the Evil Genius Beer Company, an old auto body shop turned innovative beer lab. The ridiculous names and unique flavor combinations make for a memorable pit-stop. Try the Purple Monkey Dishwasher, a chocolate peanut butter porter, or the I Love Lamp, a pineapple Hefeweizen. And if you need a 90’s video game fix, a vintage Sega Genesis is calling your name (that’s the actual game console, not a beer, FYI). They’ve got a kitchen too, so stock up on hoagies and sloppy joes, too.

The night doesn’t have to end there: less than a half-mile walk from Evil Genius, get a taste of Germany on Fishtown’s bustling Frankford Avenue. The massive indoor-outdoor beer garden at Frankford Hall is the place to challenge your friends to a round of Jenga or foosball. Go big and order a giant one-liter stein of German (or local) beer, and pair it was a Bavarian soft pretzel the size of your face.

Day Three

For your last day, we’ve got one more hike for you, and it’s a toughie. Drive 90 mins to the town of Hamburg and jump on the 8.7-mile Appalachian Trail circuit to the Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock. The high point of the AT in Pennsylvania, Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock’s expansive vistas make this steep, rocky trek worthwhile.

Another Option

If you want to get a different perspective on the city, head back over to the Schuylkill River and rent a kayak or paddle board from Hidden River Outfitters. Located at the Walnut Street Dock, Hidden River also runs tours a couple days a week during the summer. Paddlers of all levels will feel comfortable on the waterway, and the outfitter offers moonlight kayak tours and movie nights if you end up staying for one more night.

Top off an adventure-filled weekend than one last pint at Yards Brewing, a Philadelphia mainstay since 1994. Rent an Indego bike and follow the paved East Coast Greenway to this riverside brewery. Free tours are offered from 12-4 p.m. and you should take it. You’ll learn why Philadelphia water is tops for beer production and how Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale is made (hint: it’s a historically accurate beer made from the original recipe that ol’ TJ brewed at Monticello).

When it comes to food, Yards has you covered – they feature a different local food truck every Saturday, while Oink & Moo BBQ is there every Sunday. You can also load up a bowl of homemade bison and beef chili, nachos, or a sandwich to fill your stomach before calling it a weekend. Just make sure you get there before last call (usually around 7 p.m.).

Don’t say we didn’t warn you: it only takes a couple days to fall in love with a place like Philadelphia. Between the tasty beer, extensive trail network, and historical landmarks, the city of Brotherly Love offers something for everyone. Don’t be surprised if you start planning your next trip on the ride home.

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co.

Featured image provided by Montgomery County Planning Commision

The Ultimate Trail to Tavern 3-Day Weekend in Golden



Golden might be the best little Trail to Tavern® town in Colorado. It’s only about 15 miles from the heart of Denver, but somehow has that sleepy mountain town feel. North and South Table Mountains keep it hidden from the plains, and Clear Creek Canyon offers access to endless paddling, climbing, hiking, and mountain biking opportunities. The name fits, too—it was established during the mid-19th century Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Golden’s quaint main drag, Washington Avenue, sums up the friendly town’s attitude with a sign that reads “Howdy Folks!”

If you’re not already sold on Golden, consider its biggest export—craft beer. The town’s best-known resident is the Coors Brewery, but it’s not just big beer that’s brewed here. Golden is home to several excellent craft breweries, all gathering places for adventurers fresh off a bike ride at North Table Mountain or a paddle in Clear Creek. Make the most of a three-day weekend in Golden with this trail-to-tavern itinerary.

Day One

Rocky Mountain National Park is about 90 minutes away from Golden, and has tons of hiking and bouldering opportunities.Rocky Mountain National Park is about 90 minutes away from Golden, and has tons of hiking and bouldering opportunities. Miguel Vieira

Start your first day with a delicious breakfast burrito at the family-owned La Casa del Sabor, and then kick off your weekend with an adventure into the Wild West. From downtown Golden, head west towards Clear Creek Canyon on the bike path. Keep an eye out for a small sign marking the start of the Chimney Gulch Trail, which makes for a lung buster of a mountain bike ride up technical singletrack. Follow Chimney Gulch to the Windy Saddle area (a good place to stop for killer views of the canyon), then follow the road to the top of Lookout Mountain.

The Lookout summit is chock full of history: it’s not only the final resting place of the legendary Buffalo Bill, but you’ll also find a museum here dedicated to his life. Spend some time checking out the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, then head back down the mountain. The trip will be about seven miles when it’s all said and done, and keep your eyes peeled for the giant “M” on the east face of Mount Zion—a symbol of the local Colorado School of Mines that has been around since the early 1900s.

Follow the bike path back to Washington Avenue, the Main Street of Golden. After your trip up Lookout Mountain you’ll probably be on the verge of hangry, so pick one of the many restaurants for a bite to eat—like the Buffalo Rose Saloon that dates back to 1858 or the Old Capitol Grill with its old Western atmosphere. After that, take your time looking at the shops (make sure you check out the new Toad&Co store!) and old buildings along Washington Avenue. Learn about the history of mountaineering at the museum in the American Mountaineering Center, or head to the other side of the highway to see the Colorado Railroad Museum, with a 15-acre rail yard and artifacts from the days of Buffalo Bill.

Top off the afternoon with a stop at Golden City Brewery, historically the second-largest brewery in Golden, and enjoy a Lookout Stout or a Clear Creek Gold Pale Ale. Like most of Golden’s breweries, you’ll find a food truck at GCB most nights.

Where to stay: Table Mountain Inn is the perfect base camp for your Golden adventures. It’s right on Washington Avenue, so you’re steps away from all the action. You can’t miss it: the adobe-style hotel stands out and brings just the right amount of Southwestern charm. Also, they have a great happy hour (think $6 margaritas the size of your head), and a restaurant with Southwestern-inspired meals.

Day Two

New Belgium Brewing is known around the country for their tasty beer.New Belgium Brewing is known around the country for their tasty beer. +Russ

Golden has tons of breweries per capita, but its northerly neighbor is home to the Colorado’s best-known brewery, so we’re heading to Fort Collins for day two. Before you set out, though, walk about a block from your hotel to get a cup of coffee or chai from Cafe 13. Offering homemade pastries, bagels, and eggs to order, Cafe 13 will set you up for a day of adventure.

Hop in the car and get on I-25 north to Fort Collins, home of 100% employee-owned New Belgium Brewing. New Belgium is among the country’s largest craft breweries, and it’s not hard to see why their beer can be found all over the country—you’re probably already familiar with beloved brews like the Fat Tire Amber Ale and the Ranger IPA. Take a 90-minute tour of their brewing facility, which includes beer tastings (score!). Tours fill quickly, especially on weekends, so you’ll want to reserve your tickets online in advance. The brewery offers several tours daily between 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM. (Local tip: If you get up to FoCo before your tour starts, stop at Lucile’s Creole Cafe for a homemade, New Orleans-style beignet.)

After your tour, get a real Colorado-style mountain pie at Beau Jo’s. Order your pizza by the pound—one, two, three, or five—and then load it up with fresh toppings. The crust around the edges is super thick to hold all that flavor in, and you’ll see locals dipping the crust in honey to finish it off.

Horsetooth Reservoir is another great spot for trail running or for throwing down a crash pad and bouldering a bit.Horsetooth Reservoir is another great spot for trail running or for throwing down a crash pad and bouldering a bit. Angelika Boyko

Next up on the agenda is hitting the trails at nearby Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Its namesake reservoir was created by four separate earthen dams, each built in 1949. Today, Horsetooth is a recreational playground. Bring a crash pad to check out the excellent bouldering (there are tons of moderates here) or lace up your trail shoes to go for a run on the park’s many well-maintained trails.

Bonus: Feeling ambitious? Include a side trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in your day. It’s about an hour and a half drive west of Fort Collins, but has tons of hiking and bouldering. Lots of park roads are closed during the snowy winter months, but after Memorial Day, drive up Trail Ridge Road for panoramic views of the Rockies.

Whenever you’re ready, drive back down I-25 to Golden and get some sleep before your last day.

Day Three

Holidaily Brewing Company is the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in Colorado.Holidaily Brewing Company is the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in Colorado. Holidaily Brewing Co.

Thanks to its location at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills, Golden offers access to tons of high-quality trails, all of which are walkable from downtown. This also means it’s entirely possible to do a pub crawl using the trails right out your back door.

Start your tour de brew with a trail run or bike ride on North Table Mountain. Take the 7.5-mile North Table Loop around this spectacular mesa, or mix-and-match the many trails that criss-cross its plateau. The steep, half-mile fire road from the west side parking lot to the top of the mesa also accesses some of Golden’s best single-pitch trad climbing.

If you have been searching far and wide for gluten-free beer, look no further than Holidaily Brewing Company. The only dedicated gluten-free brewery in the state, their beers are well-loved by everyone, gluten sensitivity or not. Just down the road, you can pop into Cannonball Creek Brewing Company, where you’ll find anywhere from 8-14 beers on tap at any given time, including many that have been awarded medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

Running right through downtown Golden, Clear Creek offers tubing and whitewater paddling, as well as a lovely trail that is perfect for biking or walking.Running right through downtown Golden, Clear Creek offers tubing and whitewater paddling, as well as a lovely trail that is perfect for biking or walking. Grant Bishop

If you’ve been itching to get out on the water, you’ll love the Clear Creek Whitewater Park. Designed for more experienced paddlers, this free, quarter-mile course includes boulders, drops, pools, and eddies. If tubing is more your speed, the best place for this is right around downtown, where the water will be the calmest. (Locals recommend not starting any higher than Tunnel 1 on Route 6.) Check in with Golden River Sports on Washington Avenue if you need any information before heading out.

After getting your water fix, stop by Mountain Toad Brewing Company, a local favorite that’s just two blocks away from Clear Creek on Washington. Depending on the day, sip a sour, stout, or saison out on the patio.

Finish up the weekend with a jaunt to the top of the aptly-named Castle Rock on South Table Mountain, which boasts the best views in Golden. Take the Golden Summit Trail from the dead end at 19th and Belvedere Streets, and get ready to go up. The trail is short (only about two miles round trip) and not as steep as the Sleeping Elk Trail, but will still be a decent workout.

Round out the brew crawl with a stop at Barrels & Bottles Brewery, where you’ll find an assortment of drinks from beer to wine slushies to kombucha on tap. Before heading home, play a few board games with your friends or family as you recount your amazing Colorado adventure (and plan your next one).

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co.

Featured image provided by Ken Lund

The Ultimate Trail to Tavern 3-Day Weekend in San Francisco

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San Francisco may be the ultimate Trail to Tavern® city. With sprawling public parks and wild seashores, exploring this peninsula is both rigorous and rewarding. Notorious hills offer stunning views of the greater Bay Area and a bustling beer culture gives you good reason to raise a glass. This three-day trail to tavern itinerary is a sample of San Francisco’s best brew spots and most impressive experiences. Stick to our suggestions or cut your own path – you really can’t go wrong in the City by the Bay.

Day 1

The Clift Hotel is close to Union Square and has an artsy vibe.The Clift Hotel is close to Union Square and has an artsy vibe. Thomas Hawk

Union Square is one of the most popular areas of San Francisco so it makes a great homebase for your weekend. Kick off the first morning with a crepe and coffee at Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery on the corner of Post and Taylor Streets. Obviously the crepes are the bee’s knees, but the omelettes, French toast, and Belgian waffles aren’t too shabby either.

Another option is to dive right in at HOGWASH Swine and Swill on Sutter Street. Snack on their signature fried pickles or Indian-inspired curry fries while you mull over the eclectic beer menu. They’ve got 30 beers on tap, including a solid collection of West Coast IPA’s and beers from around the world. No judgement if you go here for breakfast (you’re on holiday, remember?)

From HOGWASH, embark on a roughly one-mile urban trek through the heart of San Francisco. Head east on Sutter Street and turn left on Grant Avenue into Chinatown, a must-see feast for the senses. (Don’t forget to grab a photo under Dragon’s Gate as you walk in!) Spend some time picking up souvenirs and sampling traditional teas and pastries as you navigate the packed sidewalks. If you need a destination, Good Mong Kok bakery has excellent Dim Sum at an excellent price. You can fill up on pork buns and wontons for less than $2.

Rogue Ales Public House has a wide selection of craft beers from Rogue ales and lagers to other independent breweries.Rogue Ales Public House has a wide selection of craft beers from Rogue ales and lagers to other independent breweries. Alberto Cruz

At the intersection of Broadway and Columbus, you’ll move into the iconic North Beach neighborhood with its line-up of Italian restaurants, cozy coffee shops, and lively bars. Your next stop is Rogue Ales Public House, with an outdoor patio and more than 40 taps serving their own “Rogue Nation” beers and other brews. Sample six beers and get a half-growler to-go of your favorite beer. You’ll want it when you catch the sunset later.

After getting your fill at Rogue, get ready to work it off. One of the most exhilarating spots in all of SF, Coit Tower is the city’s 210-ft, art deco pillar sitting atop Telegraph Hill. It’s only about half a mile from Rogue (following Filbert St. from Washington Park), but the last part is straight uphill. Like we said, you’re gonna earn this view. But the views can’t be beat and the 27 frescos displayed in the tower’s ground floor offer a beautiful look at life in San Francisco during the 1920s and 30s. Art with a view? We’ll take it.

Where to Stay

Get settled into the glamorous Clift Hotel, conveniently located two blocks from Union Square. Even though most of your time will be spent exploring the city’s streetscapes and landscapes, you’ll appreciate the Clift’s artsy, upbeat vibe. There’s a quirky bar if you’re up for a nightcap and end-of-day people watching.

Day 2

The Muir Beach Loop Trail is a solid workout with amazing views on clear days, including the San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate Bridge.The Muir Beach Loop Trail is a solid workout with amazing views on clear days, including the San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate Bridge. David Abercrombie

As tempting as it might be to stay in the city the whole weekend, you don’t want to miss crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin. Home to Muir Woods’ towering redwoods and the region’s highest peak (Mt. Tamalpais, “Mount Tam” to the locals), Marin is a magical corner of Northern California just half an hour from downtown SF. It could very well be heaven on earth for hikers, with miles of trails crisscrossing the rugged landscape and dipping into verdant, eucalyptus-scented valleys.

The 4.3-mile Muir Beach Loop Trail—comprised of Green Gulch Trail, Coyote Ridge Trail, and the Coastal Fire Road and Trail—packs a lot in the span of just a few hours. This moderately strenuous hike has phenomenal views, a small beach nestled in a hidden cove, and a tavern straight from the English countryside. You’ll start near the Muir Beach parking lot and walk through an organic garden. After the garden, conquer a steep climb through low brush and be rewarded with a heart-stopping panorama of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, the San Francisco skyline, and dramatic coastal cliffs. Get those cameras out! With the ocean at your side, the trail eventually leads down to Muir Beach and back to the parking lot. The trail is also open to mountain biking if you prefer your exercise on two wheels.

The perfect end to a perfect hike can be found just steps from Muir Beach at the charming Pelican Inn, a 16th-century-inspired English tavern. Overnight guests and visitors can indulge in traditional pub fare like bangers and mash and Yorkshire pudding, as well as a changing menu of fine ales, draught beers, stouts, and pilsners. On a warm day, you can order a pint from the bar and take it out to the Inn’s sprawling lawn or back patio.

Back in San Francisco, spend the rest of your day in the vibrant Mission neighborhood, which balances its strong Latino roots and artsy vibe with San Francisco’s tech elite. Make your way to the famous Mission Dolores Park, covering almost 16 acres. It’s a great place to spread out a blanket and take a nap, toss a frisbee, or join a pickup game of basketball or soccer. There are tons of festivals and cultural celebrations at the park, so you might stumble upon a truly unique experience. You may also stumble upon a pack of nude sunbathers. This is San Francisco, after all.

Do not leave Monk’s Kettle without trying the macaroni and cheese.Do not leave Monk’s Kettle without trying the macaroni and cheese. Daniel Hartwig

You’ve worked up an appetite so head over to the Mission’s Monk’s Kettle, a gastropub with 200 rotating beers and friendly staff. Try their daily “off the menu” dish—a sandwich or entrée that is made using whatever local ingredients they have in abundance that day. The mac ‘n cheese with lobster and jalapeños is the stuff legends are made of.

Day 3

Lands End is a great place for a hike near the city.Lands End is a great place for a hike near the city. Adam Fagen

For your final day, you’ll experience a whole other side of San Francisco: Lands End. Located in the northwest corner, crowded avenues give way to broad stretches of sand and magnificent bluffs. It’s raw, craggy nature at it’s finest and one of the most beautiful places in the city.

Fuel up with classic breakfast fare at the 50s-themed Lori’s Diner then drive or take SF Muni’s 38 Geary bus to the ocean. You’ll get off at Point Lobos and 48th, leaving you with just a short walk to the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center (and parking lot, if you decide to drive). From here you’ll access wind-swept coastal trails with postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge and maybe even a shipwreck or two.

To truly see what this spot has to offer, take the four-mile out-and-back Lands End Trail, starting with a walk down to the Sutro Baths ruins. This saltwater pool was built in 1896 as the world’s largest indoor swimming complex. It burned down it the 60s and all that’s left is the ruins you see today. Continue on the trail along the rugged cliffs and after about a mile, you’ll come to a spur trail leading to Mile Rock Beach and the off-the-beaten-path stone labyrinth. Return to Lookout Point from here or go another mile to scenic Eagle’s Point before turning back.

For a longer hike, continue on the California Coastal Trail, a 9.1-mile round trip trek from Lands End to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. You’ll pass many beaches along the way if you want to take a break. It’s surprisingly less crowded than some of the other trails in the area so really take your time and soak it all in. If you’re feeling super intrepid, tack on a couple more miles by jumping on the Batteries-to-Bluffs Loop at the Presidio (part of the loop overlaps with the Coastal Trail).

After hiking for hours, kick back at the bustling Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, less than half a mile from the Lookout Center. Across the street from Ocean Beach, this joint offers prime sunset viewing (assuming the fog hasn’t rolled in), solid American fare, and a nice selection of locally handcrafted ales. Start with the sample set of eight house made brews or try their flagship blonde V.F.W. Golden Ale.

Social Kitchen & Brewery is a just a couple blocks from Golden Gate Park.Social Kitchen & Brewery is a just a couple blocks from Golden Gate Park. Photo courtesy of Social Kitchen & Brewery

On your way back to Union Square, swing by Social Kitchen & Brewery for a killer happy hour. You’ll find a wide variety of both traditional craft brews (think Belgian-style pale ales and imperial stouts) to more unique flavors like the wine grape saison and Belgian Brett Triple with jasmine rice. The spot looks contemporary on the outside, but with high ceilings and exposed beams on the inside, you get a spacious yet cozy feel.

After dinner, mosey on back to your hotel with an urban hike through the iconic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The birthplace of the “Summer of Love,” the Haight is known for it’s surreal murals and lively locals. Pop into any bar that catches your eye as you continue back to Union Square and end your trail to tavern weekend in San Francisco. Whether you leave your heart here or not, you’ll be back before you know it.

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Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co.

Featured image provided by Photo courtesy of Social Kitchen & Brewery

Epic Trails to Epic Taverns



If you’ve been following our Trail to Tavern series, you now have dozens of ideas for exciting days on the trail, paired with unique and convenient pubs. We’ve covered a variety of major cities like San Francisco and Chicago, as well as our original hometown of Telluride, Colorado. But it’s also nice to dream once in awhile, so here we’ve collected a few epic trails paired with epic taverns.

First, let’s define epic, because the word can certainly be over-used. In this case, we’re concerning ourselves with very long or very difficult trails, and the unique restaurants and bars near them. We’ve asked our friends at RootsRated for a few domestic as well as a few more exotic trails for you. While these trail to tavern duos may not be quite as easily-accessible as the previous pairings, we hope these give you a few additions to your adventure travel wish list.

The Doyle Hotel on the Appalachian Trail

Why not start with any long-distance hiker’s ultimate bucket-list item, an Appalachian Trail thru-hike? We’re assuming you’re familiar with the AT, but RootsRated editor Ry Glover offers a colorful account of his AT thru-hike that’s worth a read. Hikers have two major decisions to make before beginning: whether to start in the North or South, and whether to go for speed or relax and enjoy all the side trips and towns you’ll find along the way. Answers to both of these questions may ultimately be dictated by your budget and timeline, but no matter how you choose to enjoy the trail, you shouldn’t miss the Doyle Hotel.

Gerry Dincher (mods made)

Located in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, where Susquehanna and Juniata rivers come together, the Doyle has a reputation for being hiker-friendly. In fact, Glover includes this spot as one of the seven places where AT thru-hikers must stop. His description says it all: “It’s legendary. Run by one of the friendliest couples you’ll ever meet, the building is ancient with a lot of character, the food is greasy with a lot of calories, and the beer is plentiful with a lot of, er, drinkability. This is a hotel that was originally built in the 1770’s and where Charles Dickens once stayed, so while you’re sipping your Yuengling (be sure to call it a ‘lager’), try to appreciate this place for what it’s become: a weary, old building where weary, old hikers can come together and collectively find a little life and rejuvenation.”

Tour de Mont Blanc + Poco Loco in Chamonix, France

Now let’s head a little farther afield, to France. The Tour de Mont Blanc seems consciously designed for those of us who want to take this “trail to tavern” idea to the next level. In fact, our writer Matt Guenther cites the food along the way as one of the top reasons to hike this route. There are more than 50 places to stop along the way, so no matter what pace you choose to hike this 105-mile circuit of Mont Blanc, you’ll always have a convenient resting point.

Matt Guenther
Matt Guenther

Since we’re choosing one place to feature, Poco Loco in Chamonix takes top honors. Guenther said that he returned to this place, known for its generous and delicious hamburgers, a few times during his trip. It might be surprising to hear us recommend a burger place that sounds more like a Mexican joint in France, but Tripadvisor reviewers agree; this is the #1 restaurant out of 174 restaurants in this little ski town. The tiny restaurant serves affordable burgers and fries, and has great vegetarian options as well.

Hiking Telescope Peak in Death Valley + Beer at Panamint Springs Resort

Seasoned hikers know that the desert often holds amazing surprises–from unexpected oases teeming with life to once-in-a-decade superblooms when the desert explodes with color and life. One of the most rewarding hikes in the desert southwest takes hikers through several ecosystems and up to the highest point in Death Valley.

Telescope Peak towers above Death Valley National Park
Telescope Peak towers above Death Valley National Park. Rob Hannawacker.

Hiking to the top of Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park yields amazing panoramic views and a sense of accomplishment after seven difficult, uphill trail miles. You’ll gain 11,300 feet from the desert floor to the highest point in the park. This very remote hike in an already remote park will take you off the grid. You’ll pass landmarks like the historic charcoal kilns and Arcane Meadows, where Death Valley got its name. According to William L. Manly’s book about his party of 49ers traveling west in the California gold rush, “ours were the first visible footsteps, and we the party which named it the saddest and most dreadful name that came to us first from its memories.” After struggling through weeks of being lost and hungry in the Great Basin and Death Valley, one of the women in the party turned back over her shoulder and said, “goodbye Death Valley.”

Luckily, the return trip is all downhill, and today’s visitors to this forbidding wilderness have a man-made oasis in the form of a bar, motel and cabins right outside the park. Well stocked with what our writer Krista Diamond calls an “incomprehensibly massive beer selection,” and providing a place to stay and refuel, you’ll find the Panamint Springs Resort on highway 190 on the way back out of the park if you’re headed west.

Rainbow Rim Trail + Roughrider Saloon

We have to throw one in for the mountain bikers, and this one’s truly epic. As part of Kaibab National Forest, this trail operates under different management from the neighboring National Park lands. As a result, unlike all other trails along Grand Canyon’s massive rim, the Rainbow Rim Trail allows mountain bikes. While avoiding the crowds and tour buses, you’ll get spectacular panoramic views into the canyon. The higher elevation of the Kaibab plateau makes this North Rim trail relatively more wooded and full of wildlife compared to the more-visited South Rim. The most difficult part of this adventure? Attempting to balance your workout with the constant temptation to pull over and take yet another photograph of the stunning views into the canyon.

FX Gagnon/Alta Expedition

End your day’s adventure with drinks at the Roughrider Saloon. Absorb some of the Teddy Roosevelt stories and learn how this game preserve eventually became a national park, or just get your cocktail to go (they actually do that). Just a few steps away, you’ll find beautiful sunset views over the canyon. It’s worth noting that the Saloon also serves coffee and basic breakfast fare in the morning.

Echo Summit to Donner Pass (PCT) + High Camp at Squaw Valley

You’ll get extra credit on this hike, after which you’ll have experience with two iconic trails: the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) and the Tahoe Rim Trail. The 64-mile section from Echo Summit to Donner Pass will take backpackers about six or seven days depending on pace. Since the trail has snow cover in winter, we recommend a spring or fall hike. As RootsRated writer Jill Sanford explains, “epic granite slopes and sparkling alpine lakes make this 64 mile stretch of the PCT between Echo Summit and Donner Pass one for the record books.”

Donner Pass Summit on the PCT in California
Donner Pass Summit on the PCT in California. Bruce C. Cooper.

For the “tavern” part of this pairing, you won’t want to miss High Camp at Squaw Valley resort, where you can rest and enjoy a dip in their hot tub. Order a craft beer or a cocktail and enjoy the view provided by the 8,200’ elevation. You’ll definitely be paying resort prices, but it’s worth it for the location. Visitors who aren’t doing the backpacking route can also pay for a gondola ride up to High Camp, and go for an out-and-back day hike. In fact, all of the trails listed here would make for great day hikes as well.

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co. Featured image provided by Matt Guenther.

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings in North Carolina

North Carolina Highland Brewing Company


Nothing pairs better with an exhilarating outdoor adventure than an inspired microbrew. Fortunately, for outdoor-loving connoisseurs of craft beer, North Carolina is not only laced with majestic mountains, pristine rivers, and massive national forests, the state is also loaded with some of the best breweries in the country. When your day of adventure has wrapped up, there are plenty of inspired brews waiting to be discovered.

Paddling in the Nantahala River Gorge.Paddling in the Nantahala River Gorge. anoldent.

Begin in Bryson City. This town is wedged between the Nantahala National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the western corner of the state. Start at the Nantahala River Gorge, one of country’s premier paddling destinations for paddlers of all levels. Framed by deep forests and craggy canyon walls, the run is largely a Class I & II paddle, capped off with a chute down a Class III cascade. Not sure about whitewater? Grab an SUP and hit Fontana Lake instead. Rather stick to terra firma instead? Trade paddle for pedal on the 40 miles of singletrack ringing the massive lake at Nantahala National Forest’s Tsali Recreation Area. Cap off the day with outdoor inspired brews like Apple Trail Extra Pale Ale, Up River Amber, or the seasonal Hellbender Hefeweizen at Bryson City’s aptly named Nantahaha Brewing Company, located in a restored 76-year-old industrial warehouse.

Triple Falls in the DuPont State Forest.Triple Falls in the DuPont State Forest. Adam Fagen.

Next, head east to mountainous Sylva, a town loaded with both outdoor adventures and craft breweries. Get a hawk’s eye view of town from the Pinnacle, accessible after a 3.5-mile uphill hike through 1,000-acre Pinnacle Park. Or try your hand at one of the town’s premier pastimes, trout fishing. Several of the hotspots along the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail are just minutes from downtown Sylva, including Scott’s Creek and the Tuckasegee River.

In the evening, peruse the the town’s eclectic trio of breweries. Innovation Brewing is loaded with creative fusions like the Beet & Basil Pale Ale, the Apple Butter Brown, and the Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison. A resident foodtruck, Cosmic Carryout, uses Innovation as its home base. The German-inspired Heinzelmannchen Brewery features ales like the Black Forest Stout and the Weiss Gnome Hefeweizen, both which pair perfectly with freshly made soft pretzels. And the whimsical Sneak E Squirrel offers artful brews like A Clockwork Zombie pomegranate, cherry-infused Belgian Wit, and Cherry Vanilla Stout.

Make the short southward hop to Franklin and hit the trail. Both the Appalachian and multi-state Bartram trails ramble past the town, bestowing panoramic views from the summit of 5,347-foot Wayah Bald, named for the region’s once thriving red wolf population. Afterward, head to Lazy Hiker Brewing to mingle with thru-hikers and plan your next adventure while sipping trail-worthy beers like the Slack Pack IPA or the Trail Mate Golden Ale.

Make the half-hour trip from Franklin to Highlands and begin by exploring the ruggedly wild swath of Nantahala Forest known as Panthertown Valley, named for the iconic big cats that once roamed the wilderness. After Panthertown, try a flavorful flight at Satulah Mountain Brewing Company in Highlands, pouring everything from lighter options like Helles Ridge Lager, fruity ales like Lakeside Hoppy Saison, and dark beers like Smokey Mountain Porter.

Paddling the French Broad River near the Biltmore.Paddling the French Broad River near the Biltmore. anoldent.

From Highlands head for Brevard, in the heart of Transylvania County. This area has been dubbed North Carolina’s “Land of Waterfalls” for the 250 different cascades adorning the area’s extensive wilderness. Begin by seeking out iconic destinations like 120-foot Triple Falls or 150-foot High Falls in the DuPont State Recreational Forest. After a day spent chasing cascades head to another local institution, the Brevard Brewing Company, the county’s first brewery. Lagers are the brewery’s specialty, with options like Bohemian Pilsner, crisp American Wheat, and the seasonal Octoberfest Lager.

Next, head for America’s mecca of microbrew, Asheville. Breweries seem to abound around every corner in town. Luckily, adventure is just as plentiful. Wander the 10 miles of trails at the massive North Carolina Arboretum, framed by the Pisgah National Forest. Or explore another of Asheville’s iconic locations, the Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt’s opulent, 19th century escape. Hit the water on the French Broad River with a 7-mile paddling trip through the heart of the city.

The Clawhammer from the Highland Brewing Company.The Clawhammer from the Highland Brewing Company. Gary Peeples/USFWS.

It is difficult not to stumble upon a stellar microbrewery in Asheville but first-timers paralyzed by the wealth of options can begin at long-standing institutions like Highland Brewing Company, beer-town’s very first microbrewery, famous for pouring hearty, European-inspired ales. Or head to Green Man, another of the town’s long-standing breweries, serving beers with a Blue Ridge backdrop from the open air taproom. Or try a uniquely Asheville locale like Wedge, lodged in a 19th century warehouse in the city’s River Arts District and a hub for a fleet of local food trucks. Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium is the very first tasting room dedicated solely to sour and other funky brews on the entire East coast.

Asheville's Wedge Brewing is located in a 19th century warehouse.Asheville’s Wedge Brewing is located in a 19th century warehouse. TimothyJ.

After Asheville, cruise north to the quintessential Appalachian town of Boone. Explore the high country’s diversity of landscapes on the rugged, 5-mile Boone Fork Trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Julian Price Memorial Park. Then sidle up to the creekside bar at Appalachian Mountain Brewing and sample flavorful fusions like the dry-hopped cider mimosa or the C.R.E.A.M Coffee and Donut Infused Milk Stout. Afterwards, wander over to Lost Province and sip on beers like the Balsam Blonde Ale or Leaf Peeper Oktoberfest while noshing on the brewery’s wood-fired pizza.

An iconic view at Pilot Mountain State Park.An iconic view at Pilot Mountain State Park. suttonls.

Finally, round out the trip in Winston-Salem. But first, head for Pilot Mountain State Park. Explore the network of trails ringing the park’s iconic landmark, Pilot Mountain, a 2,000 foot peak capped off with a tufty plug of rock. Or explore the recreation area from the water along a forested stretch of the Yadkin River. When you are ready to hit the town, head to the tasting room at Foothills Brewing. There are a whopping 28 different beers on tap, including distinctive offerings like Carolina Strawberry, Dead and Berried Barrel Aged Blackberry Imperial Stout, and Frostbite Black IPA. Aside from the diversity of brews, the taproom also draws a rotating array of food trucks, slinging everything from tacos to gelato.

Originally written by RootsRated for Visit North Carolina. Featured image provided by Gary Peeples/USFWS.

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings Near Seattle


For many Seattleites—and many outdoorsy types in general, for that matter—the words hiking and beer go hand in hand and are often mentioned in the same sentence. Luckily, Washington has no shortage of either hikes or of brews—and there are ample opportunities to combine them. Any day spent going from a mountain summit with a 360-degree view, gushing waterfalls in the midst of old growth forests, or pristine alpine lakes surrounded by steep granite towers to a delicious craft pilsner, porter, or IPA is guaranteed to be a good one.

Here, our recommendations for the best hike and beer pairings in Washington, from Mount Si to the Snoqualmie Brewery, from the Enchantments to the Icicle Brewing Company, and more.

1. Mount Si | Snoqualmie Brewery

The hike up Mount Si is a Seattle-area classic.The hike up Mount Si is a Seattle-area classic. J Brew.

Visited by more than 100,000 people every year, Mount Si is a classic trek that’s on the must-do list of nearly every Seattle-area hiker. But don’t let its popularity fool you into thinking this is an easy jaunt: Adventurers come to Si for the challenge. Ascending more than 3,000 feet in just under four miles, the trail steadily winds up switchbacks to the amazing views from the summit that look out at the I-90 corridor, the Olympics, and Seattle.

Reaching the top of Si not only merits some serious bragging rights, but it also warrants some downtime to rest your weary legs while sipping on a cold one when you wrap up the trek. There is no better place to do so than the Snoqualmie Brewery. The taproom and restaurant is located just a few miles from the trailhead, with a menu that features more than a dozen year-round and seasonal beers brewed in house. Don’t leave without sampling the Haystack Hefeweizen, which was named for the rock formation that marks Mount Si’s true summit.

 2. Rattlesnake Ledge | The Growler Station

Rattlesnake Ledge is a great spot to sit back and take in the view with a brew.Rattlesnake Ledge is a great spot to sit back and take in the view with a brew. Samantha Larson.

A few miles farther east from Mount Si, Rattlesnake Ledge is another great hike in Snoqualmie Valley. The trail climbs for two miles alongside sword ferns beneath a canopy of evergreen trees adorned in tufts of lichens and moss, until it reaches a rock ledge on the east ridge of Rattlesnake Mountain.

The ledge looks out onto Rattlesnake Lake and the Issaquah Alps, the kind of vista that you’ll want to be able to sit back and soak up for a good while. And, of course, even the best views are taken to new heights with a brew in hand. Which is why you should stop at The Growler Station before hitting the trail, so you can bring something to drink to the top with you. Located on the way to the trailhead in North Bend, the Growler Station serves craft beers on the go from places like Schooner Exact Brewing, Black Raven Brewing Co., and Counterbalance Brewing Co. Once you reach the top, reward yourself with a few congratulatory sips at the summit—but don’t take so many that making your way back down turns into a misadventure.

3. Wallace Falls | The Prospector

The Prospector, in the town of Gold Bar, offers a relaxed atmosphere for beers and grub after a good hike. The Prospector, in the town of Gold Bar, offers a relaxed atmosphere for beers and grub after a good hike. Samantha Larson.

Wallace Falls is a beautiful, accessible hike almost literally gushing with rewards along the way, thanks to the cascading waterfalls along the route. After traveling along the banks of the babbling Wallace River, the trail then veers away as it climbs to the lower falls, then middle, then upper falls, which are located 2.8 miles from the trailhead. The water bursts down rock tiers into bowls below, with delicate mists rising up along either side.

The Prospector, located in the town of Gold Bar less than two miles from the trailhead, is a great spot to grab a beer and some grub at the end of the journey. This tavern is quintessential Washington, yet unlike anything you’re likely to come across in Seattle. It has fun, low-key vibe, hearty burgers and steaks on the menu, and a selection of beers on tap to help wash it all down.

4. Snow Lakes | The Icicle Brewing Company

Bottoms up!Bottoms up! Courtesy of Icicle Brewing Company.

Hiking to Snow Lakes in a day certainly warrants a treat afterward. Preferably, in the form of a delicious, crisp adult beverage that was brewed at the Icicle Brewing Company , just outside The Enchantments in Leavenworth. This brewery embodies Washington pride as much as it does the town’s quirky Bavarian theme, with the names of beers reflecting the state’s landscapes and history, such as the Crosscut Pilsner, Bootjack IPA, and Colchuck Raspberry Wheat.

5. Boulder River Trail | River Time Brewing

The Boulder River Trail is a great warmup for spending some quality time at River Time Brewing. The Boulder River Trail is a great warmup for spending some quality time at River Time Brewing. Samantha Larson.

The Boulder River Trail combines two of Washington hikers’ favorites: old-growth forests and waterfalls. This 8.6-mile round-trip trek follows along the Boulder River and is relatively flat, making it a nice break from so many of the other local trails that involve steep climbs. After beginning on an old logging road, the path narrows to a trail and, about a mile from the trailhead, brings you to a double waterfall surrounded by colorful monkey flower. Continuing on, you will travel deeper into the Boulder River Wilderness where you will see more and and more grand, old-growth trees.

But an essential ingredient for a truly good day on the trail is—you guessed it—beer. That’s where River Time Brewing comes in. Less than 10 miles away from the Boulder River trailhead, just south of the town of Darrington, this taphouse on the banks of the Sauk River is a wonderful place to sit outside and relax on a sunny day. The brewhouse, in Darrington’s old City Hall building, has a fun and friendly vibe and, of course, mouthwatering craft brews.

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Originally written by RootsRated. Featured image provided by Samantha Larson

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings in Los Angeles


What can you say about LA? It’s a true global city. A mecca and a melting pot of all things art, history, culture, commerce, sports, celebrities, and yes, even the great outdoors. While it may never be known primarily for its outdoor possibilities, it does in fact have some stunning beaches, tons of fantastic hiking trails, and a number of high peaks that ring the L.A. basin. And with an essentially endless amount of restaurants and bars spread out among its conglomerate of suburbs, you really can get the best of both worlds when it comes to wilderness and watering holes. Here’s your guide to some of the best trail to tavern pairings in Los Angeles and beyond.

1. Hollywood Sign | Frolic Room

Since the 30's, the Frolic Room has been a mainstay along Hollywood Boulevard
Since the 30’s, the Frolic Room has been a mainstay along Hollywood Boulevard. Todd Sternisha.

Situated in Griffith Park—one of the largest urban parks in North America—the Hollywood Sign Hike is about as iconic as it gets. Images of the Hollywood sign—which originally read ‘Hollywoodland’ back in the 1920’s—are well-known across the world. The sign is located just above the Hollywood Hills, and there are numerous routes that take you to this historic spot. The route from the Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign is perhaps the best. At 7 miles roundtrip, it’s a little long for some, but the trails aren’t very technical, and the sweeping views of the city will make you forget about the distance.

After the quick elevation gain and sweeping view of the city, you’ll likely want to follow a staple with a staple. So, head to the Frolic Room—a down-to-earth dive bar with cheap beer and free popcorn. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, this historic bar has been around since the 1930’s when it was rumored to be a speakeasy during the days of prohibition. There’s no telling how many famous patrons have entered its doors over the last 80 years, but as soon as you enter, you can sense you’re in a special place—a type of place where you wish the walls could talk. Maybe the best part about the Frolic Room is that basically nothing has changed (and that’s rare for L.A.). It’s just as it was back in its speakeasy days.

2. Escondido Falls | Neptune’s Net

Relaxing at Escondido Falls
Relaxing at Escondido Falls. Eric Chan.

Even with El Nińo, the waterfalls at Escondido have remained but a trickle. But that doesn’t mean the trail is lacking in interesting features. You’ll pass alongside bursting pepper trees and deliciously cell-reception-free periods. Dogs are allowed on-leash, and the area brings out anything from Tea Cup Poodles being toted in purses, to towering Great Danes panting and slobbering their way up the trail. The best part about this hike is the proximity to the Pacific Coast Highway. After being closed for much of 2015 due to a landslide, the cruise-ability of this stretch of iconic highway lends itself perfectly to a quick trip up to Neptune’s Net —a legendary roadside restaurant with burgers, beers, and of course the freshest catches of the day. Known as the spot where Tyler from the film Point Break slung burgers, this motorcycle hangout, deli-food-joint-hybrid is a must. Grab a beer from the cooler doors, claim a picnic table outside, and see if anyone’s scoring waves at County Line across the street.

3. Arroyo Verde | Topa Topa Brewing Co.

The rolling hills of Arroyo Verde Park offer the perfect place to enjoy a nice stroll above the Pacific Ocean
The rolling hills of Arroyo Verde Park offer the perfect place to enjoy a nice stroll above the Pacific Ocean. ienjoysushi.

The quaint and lightly-trafficked trails at Arroyo Verde Park offer an easy escape in the hills of Ventura. Winding through fields of wild sage, the swooping trails here deliver sweeping views of the Pacific stretching far off into the distance. The meadow encircled by the trail is often filled with bouncy houses and family barbecues on weekend days. But in general, these trails are uncrowded and tucked quietly in the hills.

Once you’re done with your hike, head on over to Topa Topa Brewing Co, a small on-site craft brewery where your bartender is likely to give you tips on a great full moon night hike, if you’ve still got the energy. The best part about this place (other than the beer, of course) is the good vibes and good company. This is a place where the pretense of Ventura is left at the door. And who knows? You may even find your new hiking buddy.

4. Matilija Creek Trail | Chief’s Peak

Ojai is a beautiful haven hidden in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara. Some know Ojai for its expansive vineyards and farmland, but what really makes Ojai exciting is its access to untapped and raw natural beauty. One of the highlight hikes in the area is the Matilija Creek Trail—an 8-mile path through a scenic canyon in the Los Padres National Forest. The further you travel into the canyon, the more secluded it becomes and the more swimming holes you’ll find along the way. You’ll likely get wet on this trail, so sandals are a good idea, as is an adventurous spirit.

When you’re ready for that post-hike wind down, head to Chief’s Peak, a hip beer and wine bar tucked into the back of the boutique Ojai Rancho Inn. The beer and wine selections rotate, but the good vibes are always there to stay.

5. Cheeseboro Canyon Trail | Twisted Oak Tavern

The golden grasses of Morrison Ranch in Cheeseboro Canyon
The golden grasses of Morrison Ranch in Cheeseboro Canyon. National Park Service.

If you’re looking to get out of the city a little ways, the Santa Monica Mountains to the west provide a large swath of wilderness expanse along the scenic Pacific Coast. One of the best hikes here is the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail . This 4.6 mile trail can be made into a loop route, or can be done as an out-and-back as well. Either way, hikers will be treated to uninterrupted views of what Southern California must have originally looked like, replete with rolling hills and groves of coastal and valley oak.

Nearby Twisted Oak Tavern is the obvious choice for when you’re done with your hike. Located in Agoura Hills, Twisted Oak is all about exquisite food, great drinks, and good company. With an in-house brewing operation known as The Lab Brewing Co. and a brewmaster who’s referred to around town as ‘Dr. Hops’, it’s no surprise that voted this place the best beer bar in California in 2016. And with a menu that features locally-sourced ingredients from the the backyard garden, you’re guaranteed to have an award-winning combination of food and drink.

Originally written by RootsRated.

Featured image provided by James Gubera

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings in Minneapolis


Minneapolis is the quintessential urban nature city. With more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails snaking through one of the best park systems in America, it can be easy to forget you’re in a major city. No day on the trail, whether it be hiking, biking, running, or skiing, can be complete without a stop to quench your thirst and fill your belly. These great trail to tavern pairings in Minneapolis will satisfy even the heartiest explorer.

1. Minnehaha Park | Sea Salt

Minnehaha Falls, the crown jewel of Minnahaha Park
Minnehaha Falls, the crown jewel of Minnahaha Park. Evan Miles.

Minnehaha Falls Regional Park sits in the heart of South Minneapolis and is home to the famous Minnehaha Falls, a 53-foot waterfall situated in an earthen limestone bowl. In the summertime, the 167-acre park is full of picnickers, cyclists, and hikers. Enjoy the park via the Grand Rounds National Scenic Bikeway , a 50-mile outdoor recreation loop that skirts through the park. Or get away from the hustle and bustle of the city by hiking along the shaded Minnehaha Creek and explore deep pools full of sunfish and smallmouth bass. This park is a true urban gem.

When you’re done with a long day of exploring, head up to the Minnehaha Pavilion and take in a delicious meal at Sea Salt Eatery. One of the best places to grab seafood in the Twin Cities, Sea Salt serves a variety of fresh fish, oysters, muscles, calamari, and anything else that once swam in an ocean. A sizeable selection of local beers and wine along with a rotating menu always keep this restaurant feeling fresh and tasting delicious.

2. Como Regional Park | Como Dockside

Como Dockside
Como Dockside. Eric Lemke.

Head over to the Minneapolis’ next door neighbor St. Paul and enjoy a day of strolling through the city’s iconic and historic neighborhoods. One of those neighborhoods plays host to Como Regional Park . This park has played a vital part in the lives of St. Paul’s residents for over 100 years. A zoo, public golf course, pavilion, lake, and miles of paved trails make this a popular spot for runners and cyclists during the summer months.

Housed in the historic Como Pavilion is the Dockside Restaurant, a recently renovated pub serving up New-American fare complete with an extensive cocktail list and an impressive local tap list. Take in views of paddle-boarders on the lake as you sip a Como Lemonade (Border bourbon, cranberry, and fresh lemon) and dig into a fried catfish po boy sandwich.

3. Midtown Greenway | Midtown Global Market

You're not short of options in the Midtown Global Market
You’re not short of options in the Midtown Global Market. Eric Lemke.

The crown jewel of Minneapolis’ extensive bikeway system, the Midtown Greenway is a 5.5-mile former railroad corridor that cuts through South Minneapolis with bicycling and running trails. For most of its distance across the city, the trail is grade-separated from the street grid which offers barrier-free bicycling that can make a trip across town faster than driving a car. Stop by the unique Greenway-level Freewheel Bike Shop if you need a quick bike tune up and don’t miss the several community gardens that have sprung up along the route.

When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, ascend to street level and head to the Midtown Global Market. This restored art-deco style building is home to an international collection of over 50 vendors offering the finest selection of produce, groceries, prepared food, and unique gifts from around the world. Find everything from Jamaican to Ethiopian as you wander through the indoor market space. Pay a special visit to Holyland Grocery and Butcher for their hummus or Taco Cat to get some homegrown tacos.

4. Fort Snelling State Park | 5-8 Club

A trailhead in Fort Snelling State Park
A trailhead in Fort Snelling State Park. Eric Lemke.

Fort Snelling State Park offers miles of paved and unpaved trails. Situated in the Mississippi River Valley, the park offers over 30 miles of paved and gravel hiking and biking trails, groomed XC skiing in the winter, swimming, and boating. Take some extra time to walk the trails of Pike’s Island which the Mdewakanton Dakota considered to be the center of the world and was also home to the first modern settlement in Minnesota.

After a long day exploring the river bottoms, head over to the 5-8 Club. This old style tavern, a much-fabled former speakeasy, has been a staple in the Nokomis neighborhood for years. Claiming to be the inventor of the Juicy Lucy, a cheeseburger that has the cheese in the middle of the patty instead of on top, the 5-8 has been serving up beers and burgers to local patrons for some 80-odd years. Be sure to give the original Juicy Lucy a try and grab a pint of Prohibition–era Grainbelt Premium beer.

5. Cedar Lake Trail | Fulton Taproom

The Fulton Taproom is a fantastic place to grab a brew after a day exploring the Cedar Lake Trail
The Fulton Taproom is a fantastic place to grab a brew after a day exploring the Cedar Lake Trail. RLevans.

The Cedar Lake Trail is the fastest and most scenic way to escape the noise of the city and head west to the suburbs. The 4.5-mile trail starts adjacent to Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins Baseball Teams, and quickly heads out of town through restored wild prairie where it meets up with numerous other trails. The 12–foot-wide paved trail gets busy in the summer with bikers, runners, and rollerbladers, so be sure to go later in the evening or early morning to avoid crowds.

After a summer-night’s stroll on the trail, make sure to stop at the Fulton Tap Room. Fulton has quickly become a staple Minnesota beer and their taproom does not disappoint. Situated just a few blocks off the Cedar Lake Trail (and next to Target Field) the tap room is the perfect place to wile away a long summer’s evening. Local food trucks are usually parked outside serving up grub. Try the popular Lonely Blonde Ale or Sweet Child Of Vine IPA or get adventurous with their Worthy Adversary Imperial Russian Stout. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

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Originally written by RootsRated. Featured image provided by RLevans.