Dr. Drew’s Car Camping Hacks

When the phrase “car camping” comes to mind, you might envision the well-curated craft of surviving in the out-of-doors a la Wes Anderson. It’s a well executed blend of home sweet home meets the great outdoors into a savory alfresco. But when is comes to driving a rickety 1959 trailer across the country on our Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour, the line between survival and car glamping begins to blur. But Dr. Drew, our Tour Manager and Master of Wingin’-It makes tight tour dates and long hours between the white lines look like a breeze. We caught up with Dr. Drew for his advice and insights into easy summer car camping. 

Cot or inflatable or sleeping pad? No more sleeping pads! Cots or inflatable only to help keep the ol’ back in fighting shape.

Sleeping bag VS. Blanket? What you want is a high “warm and cozy” factor and the freedom to move freely. In the summertime, I go blanket. Currently using: ​Down-filled Kammok Bobcat Trail Quilt (mostly because I like the name). For a lighter but equally cozy option, I’m all about the Cashmoore Blanket

Jerky – A tasty protein filled snack that keeps froth levels high and hunger levels low. Currently munching: Epic Provisions, high quality product and a mission-based company. 

Kitchen – Never hit the road without a way to heat up water. No matter where you are, you can fire up a hot meal and warm the soul. Currently using: Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp System. Lightweight, packable, everything you need to get gourmet if you want. 

Quinoa – Fills you up in desperate times. Good sweet or savory. 

Trail Mix – When the Jet Boil runs out of fuel and you have to go caveman style. I’m currently snacking on Shar Snacks (rhymes with “bear”), which I picked up in Austin. Organic and responsibly sourced. 

A good book – Currently reading: History of Haight Ashbury by Charles Perry.

Audio Book – The sound of another human’s voice can be quite comforting on the open road, especially when it reminds you of home. Currently listening to: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

Illumination – Headlamp: Princeton Tec. String lights: Revel Gear Trail Hound 30ft. Back up: Bic Lighter and soy candle.

A good sweater – Keeps ya warm and doubles as a pillow. Currently wearing: Midfield Hemp Crewneck.

Tunes – DemerBox for indestructible tunes and a long battery life. Currently jamming to: 2 Spotify playlists, Highway Sounds (more rocky/bluesy) and I’m With Her (all the badass ladies). 

Bug Control – When you’re in Charleston in the summertime, you need all the help you can get. I’m not a fan of the chemical sprays so I like to wear clothes with Insect Shield® Technology built right into it. Currently wearing: Debug Mission Ridge Pants and Debug Peak Season Shirt – they keep the bugs out and still look presentable for date night. 

Trash – Rule #1: try not to make any. I like to make my own meals, buy in bulk with mason jars, and avoid takeout. But if you’re driving, stick a box on the passenger seat floor, a perfect receptacle for cherry stems and peach pits. 

Hydration Station – My ultimate long drive hack: strap a Camelbak to your seat and never deal with water bottle caps and spills again! 

Happy Trails. Come out and see the Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour on the road. Check out national summer schedule here

Guide to California Trails and Taquerias

There’s nothing more gratifying after a long hike than a plate full of tacos and a cold cerveza. Trust us, we Toads are experts. With half of HQ born and bred Californians and the rest happy transplants, we’ve got this state pretty well covered. If you find yourself in the Golden State, here’s where we recommend heading. And we know you know, but stay on trails and pack-in-pack-out. Save your reckless abandon for the taquerias.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAN DIEGO

Torrey Pines State Park – Easy trail along the Pacific coast with a glimpse of the rarest pine tree around.

The Taco Stand – Tacos al pastor, Mexican street corn, mango chile paletas. YUM.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Willow Hole Trail – Big rocks and an oasis; great spot to see wildlife like big horn sheep.  

Algobertos Taco Shop – Hole in the wall taqueria with burritos bigger than the front door.

LOS ANGELES

Bronson Canyon – Part of LA’s Griffith Park, so hike up to the Observatory and channel James Dean.  

Ricky’s Fish Tacos – There are 3 options: fish, shrimp, and special. Get all 3.

OJAI  

Horn Canyon – Crisscross streams toward an epic pine grove with distant views of the Channel Islands.

Ojai Tortilla House – Cash only, handmade tortillas daily. Buy some to go if you know what’s good for you.

SANTA BARBARA

Rattlesnake Trail – Named for the twisty nature, not the inhabitants. Moderate to the meadow, then steep for .5 miles to the top. Good views abound.

Mony’s Tacos – Great salsa bar (hello pistachio salsa) and 5 minute walk to the beach.  

SANTA CRUZ

Old Cove Landing Trail – 3 of the 34 miles of trails in the Wilder Ranch State Park. Bonus: Wheelchair and stroller accessible!

De La Hacienda Taqueria – Carnitas are bomb, but so is the veggie burrito. Something for everyone!

BISHOP

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Trail – 4.4 miles through the oldest trees in the WORLD. Like 5,000+ years old.

Taqueria Mi Guadalajara – A sedentary taco truck with bizarro hours and delish barbacoa.

EAST BAY/OAKLAND

East Ridge Trail – In Redwood Regional Park; you can see SF on a clear day then hike down into the redwoods.

Mariscos La Costa – Cash only so you know it’s legit. Great ceviche tostada. 

SAN FRANCISCO  

Golden Gate Park – Start at 9th and Lincoln, mosey through the Botanical Garden, loop around Stow Lake.

Taco Shop at Underdogs – sports bar-slash-taqueria. $1 margaritas Fridays 6- 6:30.

 

NORTH BAY/MILL VALLEY

Dipsea Trail – 9.5 mile trail from Muir Woods to Stinson beach. Steep grades = amazing views of San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpais and the Pacific.

Parranga – Tacos and ceviche; get the slow-roasted rotisserie chicken plate. 

 

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

Maggie’s Peak – Make your way to Granite Lake and keep on going. The sweeping views of Lake Tahoe are worth it.

Chimayó Tacos y Tortas – Taqueria meets BBQ meets bar. Not as “divey” but just as delicious.

 

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST

Pacific Crest Trail – A portion of this epic 2,650 trail makes a great day hike to Middle Deadfall Lake; start at the Parks Creek Trailhead.

El Zaguan Food Truck – Parked in Weed, CA. Cheap street tacos with a million dollar view of Mt. Shasta.

 

12 Best Places to Travel in 2019

If you can’t be eating $2 street curry in Malaysia, you might as well be dreaming about it. Whether you’re an overachiever and already booked your 2019 travels or you’re more of the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type, half the fun of travel is fantasizing about it. Here are 12 places to visit in 2019 dreamed up by Team Toad. Some trips are booked, some just pipe dreams, all possibilities. See ya out there?

Austria
Photo: Maarten Duineveld

BAD ISCHL, AUSTRIA

“The Austrian mountain topography is very different than the US, so I’ve always been intrigued to ski there. You can cover a lot more vertical ground. I do an annual ski trip with a close group of friends and it just so happens one of them is directing a film in Ishch this winter. I’ve never been to Austria, but the Europeans have been dealing with intense mountainous snow culture for centuries, so I’m excited to see what’s what. I’ve also heard they go hard for the aprés.”

– Napper, Creative Director & Perpetual Party-Starter

Melbourne_wayne yew
Photo: Weyne Yew

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

“Melbourne has amazing coffee. It’s kind of their thing. I used to live in Melbourne and there’s a reason it always ends up on those “Most Livable Cities” lists… it’s urban but has gorgeous green spaces, great beaches, old architecture, great public transit (the most extensive streetcar system in the world!), a bangin’ music and art scene, and did I mention the coffee?? It’s seriously the best.”

– Holly, Product Developer & International Coffee Connoisseur

Haleakala Crater.jpg
Photo: Char Beck

MAUI, HAWAII

I want to see Hawaii with my own eyes! There are so many outdoor activities, but at the top of my list is backpacking across Haleakalā Crater. You start at sunrise and hike in, camp in the old ranger huts that are INSIDE the crater, then hike down the other side into Hana Forest Reserve. It’s a 2-day backpacking trip that ends with me snorkeling in Hana and eating all the fruit I can find. My kind of paradise.”

– Ashley, Production Assistant & Lifelong New Englander

Japan 2
Photo: Tom Vining

KANAZAWA, JAPAN

This is the year I get my butt to Japan! I want to go in the spring for the cherry blossoms (obviously) and fly into Tokyo to check out the Yayoi Kusama Museum (she’s the artist who does all those crazy dot installations). Honestly, I just want to go to all of the Japanese grocery stores… I just love them. All of the hill towns of Japan are supposed to be stunning, too. Kanazawa is one of the oldest towns with temples and canals dating to the 17th century. They have a samurai district! I don’t even know what that means, but I bet it’s awesome.”

– Helena, Asst. Women’s Designer & Cookie Monster

Calabria Coast

CALABRIA, ITALY

“We’re taking my father-in-law back to the homeland for the first time in 60 years. I’ve heard a lot about Calabria so I’m excited to see it first hand. I want to explore the coast, the countryside, and generally eat my way through “the toe.” The cured meats, the seafood, the homemade pasta… that’s the best part about visiting family – you skip the touristy things, and just get to live.”

– Bradley, Sales Ops & Award-Winning Chef

Gap of Dunloe Ireland
Photo: Rory Hennessey

GALWAY, IRELAND

“I’m headed to Galway with my parents to visit our friends who live on an old battleground! Then we’ll make our way to Galway. It’s smack dab in the middle of Ireland’s western coast, so it’s a great mid-way point to explore the coastal towns and islands. I want to take a day trip to hike the Gap of Dunloe, a mountain pass that leads to a lake and you can boat back to the bottom. It drops you off at a 15th century castle! Ireland is so dreamy…”

– Kira, Men’s Designer & Queen of Crafts

Idaho
Photo: Tyson Dudley

STANLEY, IDAHO

The Sawtooth Mountains are a gem. They’re reminiscent of the mountains you find in Alaska, but on this side of Canada. There’s unbelievable mountain biking, hiking, fishing, epic rafting down the Salmon River… it’s the ultimate outdoor playground. Driving the 93 to Missoula, MT takes you through 3 National Forests! We’re taking our boys and meeting a few other families. It’s a great place for kids of all ages to roam.”

– Scott, VP Global Sales & Amateur DJ

Mount Cook NZ
Photo: Joe Leahy

MOUNT COOK, NEW ZEALAND

The geology of New Zealand is insane. It’s located on a tectonic plate boundary so the mountains jut straight into the sky, rising quickly from water’s edge to 12K feet! I read a book once about a dude who solo hiked all of NZ. He hiked through the fjords and the glaciers and eventually up Mount Cook, the highest point in New Zealand. It all sounds breathtaking.”

– Sarah, Chief of Staff & Resident Geologist

Bhutan
Photo: Adli Wahid

THIMPHU, BHUTAN

Bhutanese food is like Nepalese food but with Indian and Tibetan Chinese influences. Bhutan may be small, but it’s very innovative. They’ve done significant things in terms of the environment – I think they’re the world’s only carbon negative country, meaning they capture more carbon than they produce. Nearly 75% of the country is still forested and they measure development by Gross National Happiness. There’s a great TEDTalk by the Prime Minister about it.”

–Divas, Controller & Momo Master

Morocco
Photo: Louis Hansel

TAGHAZOUT, MORROCO

“I want to surf this wave in Morocco that breaks off a shipwreck at Boilers. It’s a great right hand break, a natural footer’s dream. I want to explore the souks, maybe get a sick stained glass lantern… As for food, I want it all. I want to see what my body can handle. I want to see the Sahara desert. I don’t need to ride a camel, though. I did that once and that camel was pissed. I don’t need to do that again.”

– Drew, King of Customer Service & Thrift Store Finds

Oaxaca
Photo: Filip Gielda

OAXACA, MEXICO

“I love that Mexican history always starts with the native peoples. If you go to the Air & Space Museum, the first thing you’ll see is how the Olmecs used the stars to navigate thousands of years ago. Mexico has such a rich culture and diverse landscape. And the food! The food is out of control. I want to go to Oaxaca because it’s the “Land of Seven Moles” – there’s one with chocolate in it! I’d love to go first weekend of November to catch the Dia De Los Muertos celebrations.”

– Daisy, Content Manager & Mole Enthusiast

Chile

TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE

“I think Chile is amazing. You get the hot and the cold, mountains and seaside… what a great place to reflect and rejuvenate for the new year ahead. I want to spend the the holidays in a lodge in Torres del Paine National Park, then hit the beaches for New Years. Cachagua is a beach town north of Santiago. Pisco sours on the beach sounds like a fantastic way to ring in the new year!” 

– Kyle, VP of Design/Merch/Supply Chain/Leisure Sports

Modern Travel styles_2

Ready to pack your bags? Shop Men’s Modern Travel and Women’s Modern Travel.

A Guide to Tomales Bay

Only a short, scenic and twisty trip from the hustle of San Francisco, lies the true California, coastal treasure of Tomales Bay. Approximately fifteen miles-long and one mile-wide, Tomales Bay was once home to the indigenous Coast Miwok people. Today the bay now plays host to a variety of aquatic recreational activities, not to mention home to California’s largest oyster production beginning in 1875.

Whether you’re interested in a day of sea kayaking, sailing, hiking or simply devouring some of the locally produced bounty, the Tomales Bay area is a wealth of riches that won’t disappoint. A place were the celebration of nature and great food seem to coexist in a way you don’t encounter every day.

TomalesBay-1060

When it comes to food, oysters seem to be the star of the show. While not loving oysters may not be a crime, it’s certainly frowned upon if you’re visiting this mollusk mecca. That said, if shucking oysters sitting on the very water they were pulled from sounds good then by all means stop by the legendary Hog Island and Tomales Bay Oyster Company.

Hog Island planted their first oyster seed in 1983 when their motto was “Strong backs and weak minds.” Well, they were clearly sandbagging because today they’re considered one of the premier producers of certified sustainable shellfish, harvesting over 3.5 million mouth-watering mollusks a year. As a true testament of commitment to their backyard, they’re also a Certified B Corporation and California Benefit Corporation. Achieving such designations require meeting rigorous standards related to social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Make sure to reserve a picnic table, order a bucket-o-beers and proceed to lay down a shuckin’ and grillin’ oyster fiesta you won’t soon forget.

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Just down the road you’d find the Tomales Bay Oyster Company (TBOC) which was established in 1909 and is the oldest continuously run shellfish farm in California. Like Hog Island, TBOC has worked diligently over the years to become increasingly more sustainable and minimize plastic waste in the waters. When it comes to farm-to-table experiences, you’ll be hard pressed to beat eating oysters being pulled and cleaned twenty-yards from your picnic table. The team at TBOC is a close knit group of hard working, dedicated aquafarmers and watching them go about their business as you enjoy their fruits just makes you smile.

Perhaps Tomales Bay’s greatest virtue is its charismatic blend of quintessential and picturesque New England maritime flare with the Golden State’s laid back, good vibrations. Beautifully dilapidated fishing boats and weathered, shingled cabins pepper the coastline, waving peacefully at the occasional surf wagon that drifts by. To really soak up the vibe rent a house for a weekend or a rustic yet luxurious cottage from Nick’s Cove right on the water. Nick’s Cove also has an award-winning restaurant that truly takes advantage of the areas abundant farms from both the land and sea. Bottom line, get up here some time. You won’t regret it.

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The Guadalupe Wine Country: Baja’s New Napa

Baja is everything and vast swaths of nothing. It’s a unique blend of the past and the present, a perfect reminder that history, in some way or another, repeats itself. We’d heard that the wine region of Guadalupe Valley in Baja, Mexico is a growing hotspot for lovers of rich history, fine wine, posh digs and swanky grub. Naturally, we had to check it out for ourselves. Here are our picks for what to do south of the border:

Make camp in Cuatro Cuatros. And we say “camp” lightly. Wake up in posh glamping tent and stoke the potbelly stove while brewing some coffee. Light out for an early morning hike to soak up breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Breakfast under the shade of the canvas roofed restaurant and have whatever the chef suggests (you won’t be disappointed). Throw on walking shoes and traverse the massive property, making a special detour to check out the old, wooden fishing boats that were marooned among the vines long ago.

Speaking of vines, spend an afternoon sipping wine from 200 year-old vines at La Casa Vieja. Sidle up to the bar and get the full story from the Don himself, Señor Humberto Tosacano. He’ll regale you with stories of the Spanish Jesuits who planted the oldest known grapes in the Americas on this very land. Listen carefully and you may hear the voices of jovial missionaries planting grape clippings in the Mexican sun. Then again, maybe it’s just the organic- and sulfite-free wine talking.

Just down the road you’ll find a much different wine tasting experience at the ultra-modern Encuentro Gualdalupe. Gussy up a tad and indulge in a decadent meal and architectural prowess. Be sure to ask for a peek at the underground cave cellars and boulder garden.

To get your heart-pumping, fly with the crew at Desert Nest Zip Line. Buckle up for a high-wire flight over the beautiful rolling hills of the Guadalupe Valley. Five zip lines at 50mph with a maximum height of 265ft. Ya, you’ll gain a new perspective, alright.

Wind down with a glass of the local nectar while soaking up incredible views at the Finca Altozano farmstead. Shake the hand of celebrated chef Javier Plascencia while marveling at his ranch, restaurant and farm-to-table cuisine. Spend a few hours reminiscing on what you’ve seen and done, the smells you smelled and the sounds you heard. You’ll leave Baja with the ultimate souvenir: Exceeded Expectations.

Best National Park Lodges for a Drink

 

So you’ve spent the day traipsing great swaths of land, catching glimpses of bears and billygoats, staring up at sky-high waterfalls and down into prehistoric craters. You are, of course, exploring one of the great National Parks, America’s best idea. You’re also in need a cold one somethin’ fierce. Say hello to America’s second best idea: National Park Lodges. Grand, classic and unmistakably Americana, the National Park Lodges are worth a visit in and of themselves. Some have grand ballrooms, others have epic views, many have been featured in classic films, and all hit the spot after a long day on the trail. Here are some of our favorite National Park Lodges to grab a drink and let it all sink in.

northrim

Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park

Nothing gets your heart pumping like staring 8,500 feet straight down. Better get a drink to calm your nerves. Perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, the North Rim Lodge and Roughrider Saloon make for a pretty epic stop after hiking nearby Kaibab Trail. Grab a Dark n’ Stormy and see if your drink doesn’t predict the future: At over 1,000 ft higher than the South Rim, the North Rim is known for it’s unpredictable weather. Sit back in the stellar common room and watch a summer storm roll through, or lounge on the patio listening as the piñons and ponderosas whisper across the canyon. Open May 15 – October 15, so get a move on!

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Stanley Hotel, Rocky Mountain National Park

Their slogan says it all, “7500 feet above the ordinary!” Sure, it’s the entrance of the rough n’ tumble Rockies, but make no mistake, the Stanley Hotel drips with glamour. Established in 1909 by a well-to-do yankee in search of a summer home, Freelan Oscar Stanley wanted his hotel to hold it’s own against the poshest hotels of the East Coast. Goal achieved, Mr. Stanley. Belly up to the Cascades Whiskey Bar and experience the Rockies the Stanley way – scotch in hand, beautiful views a plenty. The bar offers Colorado’s largest selection of whiskeys, bourbons and scotch (we like the Stanley Old Fashioned for the black walnut bitters), and a healthy dose of paranormal activity. In 1974 Stephen King spent some time at the Stanley Hotel and came up with a story about a haunted mountain hotel plagued by unkind spirits… perhaps your second drink will be The Shining Redrum Punch…

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Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park

Sitting on the deck at Crater Lake Lodge, beer in hand and good friends at your side, you think to yourself, “Well this is pleasant.” But as you look down to the crystal blue lake below, you realize just how terrifying this place really is: You are teetering on the edge of a massive caldera, just a step away from falling into the deepest lake in the United States which, only 8,000 years ago, was a massive volcano. So it’s okay if you’re feeling a little jumpy all of a sudden. But by your second beer you’ve come to grips with the fact that you’re having happy hour on the edge of an abyss.Grab a flight of local Oregonian beers on tap and watch the lake change as the sun sets. No reservations.

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Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yosemite National Park

No “Best of” list would be complete without mentioning the beloved Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly  the Awahnee Hotel) at the heart of Yosemite Valley. Where else can you sip champagne and gaze upon Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point? Sitting in the great dining room, you can’t help but sit up a little straighter and tap into your inner President Roosevelt – no matter how sweaty you were just a few hours ago. Towering 34-ft ceilings, glowing chandeliers and enormous pine rafters evoke the great pioneer days of yore. But unlike the mountain men and women who came before us, you can’t just roll in off the wagon. Men are required to wear long pants and shirts with a collar, while ladies are asked to cover their knees and shoulders. It’s a small price to pay for an evening in one of America’s grandest hotels.

THE GREAT FIREPLACE AT HERMITS REST. CONSTRUCTED IN 1915 BY THE SANTA FE RAILROAD. DESIGNED BY MARY COLTER.

Hermit’s Rest, Grand Canyon National Park

Ok, so Hermit’s Rest isn’t actually a National Park Lodge at all, but bear with us. Originally commissioned by the first tourism companies in the west, Hermit’s Rest was built in 1914 as a rest stop for weary coach travelers. They’d stretch their legs, peruse the native crafts sold on site, and warm themselves by a the fireplace during the colder months. Sure, it’s not an authentic historical ruin and the whole thing is a little kitschy, but there’s something kind of sweet about 1920’s Americana tourism marketing. There’s still a good snack bar to grab a can of cold beer and it makes for a great photo-op. What more could you want on a road trip pit-stop?

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings in New York City

Finding world-class taverns and bars in New York City is easy. It’s finding the trails, which can sometimes be the challenging part. But if you know where to look—and in some cases, if you’re willing to venture outside the city limits just a little ways—there are some surprisingly great places to hit the trail. And when you do, there’s arguably nothing better than sipping on a nice, cold one after your time out in the wild. Here are five tried-and-tested, trail-to-tavern pairings that will be sure to make for a memorable (and refreshing) experience.

1. Bear Mountain | Defiant Brewing Company

Bear Mountain Bridge—views like these are worth running some hills! Ken

 

Hiking in Bear Mountain is one of the most fun trail experiences you can have without going far from the city. Combined with nearby Harriman State Park, there are roughly 50,000 acres of mostly forested landscape and 235 miles of trails between them. With chunks of the Appalachian Trail in the park, plus plenty of other gorgeous single-track trails that are—especially on weekdays—rarely overcrowded, it’s a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively) if you’re used to pounding pavement in the city.

Once you’re done hiking, you can make your trip outside the city even more fun if you swing by the Defiant Brewing Company in Pearl River on your way back into the city after your hike. Pro tip: if you’re not the designated driver home from this adventure, live large and try the O’Defiant Stout—the creamy, dark Guinness-esque beer will not disappoint, and will fill you up even if you did a 20 miler!

2. Prospect Park | Brooklyn Brewery

Beer has dispelled the illness which was in me Daniel Lobo

 

Brooklyn doesn’t really call to mind nature and nice trails, but they do exist…you just have to know where to look. Head to Prospect Park for some on-dirt adventure in the nearly 3 miles of trails found in the park. It’s a place with a similar vibe to Central Park (they were both designed by the same landscape architect), just way more scaled down and with far fewer people. It’s also the best spot around for a need-to-get-on-trail urge when you don’t have time to go out of the city.

Afterwards, Brooklyn Brewery is a staple for any serious beer drinkers in the tri-state area (and you can get it worldwide now!). The brewery itself, with a bar inside, is a sweet place to land post-hike, and since it’s located in Williamsburg, there’s no end to the possibilities for an ultra-hip brunch spot if your hike was earlier in the morning. With a wide range of seasonal brews alternating in and out of the taps throughout the year, there’s no shortage of brew options. But it’s the flagship Brooklyn Lager, which is perhaps the must-drink beer at Brooklyn Brewery.

3. Cunningham Park | Fillmore’s Tavern

Trail running in the city just got a lot more fun with Cunningham Park around. Molly Hurford

 

Cunningham Park, up in Queens, isn’t just for mountain bikers: it’s a great spot for trail runners and hikers as well. And the meticulously groomed and well-signed trails make its 358-acre expanse one of the best kept secrets in Queens. If you’re trail running or casually strolling, be aware that it is a somewhat popular spot for mountain bikers, so listen for bikes behind you. Bonus mileage: if you need to add more miles, you’re just a few blocks from Alley Pond Park, another great park with a combo of paved, doubletrack and singletrack trails weaving through wetlands, forests, and meadows.

And you might need that mileage if you’re going to go two miles down the road to Fillmore’s Tavern—a 102-year-old establishment with a ton of character—to indulge in a a beer or two during their fantastic happy hour, or if you’re planning on having the Tequila Poppers (we won’t blame you if you don’t share them with your hiking buddy).

4. Inwood Hills Park | Hogshead Tavern

Hard to believe Inwood Hill Park is located right in New York City Barry Solow

 

Inwood Hills Park has some of the best trails in the city. Winding singletrack allows great views of the Hudson River and skyscrapers, so it’s a bit of a fairyland vibe where you feel completely alone in the middle of nowhere, but you’re actually totally surrounded by the hustle of the city. The route from the tip of the park down to Hogshead—one of NYC’s top taverns—is (dare we say) epic. You’ll start winding through Inwood Hills, exploring and enjoying some of the serious stairs, before heading through neighboring trails in Fort Tryon as you head south four miles to Hogshead Tavern in Harlem. The selection of craft beer, whiskey, and uber-hip snacks (and brunch, naturally) make this the perfect post-hike destination, especially if you finish thirsty and hungry, and want some incredibly Instagram-able eats and drinks.

5. Sprain Ridge Park | Pete’s Park Place Tavern

Twenty-five cent wings post-hike? Sounds like the best day ever, which is why you should venture north of Manhattan on Mondays to make a visit to the technical trails of Sprain Ridge Park (the terror of mountain bikers, and the training ground for those hoping to compete in more serious trail running events). After you’ve exhausted all of those trails and your legs, you can head to Pete’s Park Place Tavern for beers and wings. It’s the most traditional sports-bar environment out of the taverns we’ve checked out, but the ultra-casual atmosphere is welcoming even if you’re a little bit sweaty, so it’s worth the stop. And again—where in Manhattan will you find tasty wings for 25 cents?

Shop Our Heritage Trail to Tavern Style:

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Want more adventures? Check out the Runner’s Guide to New York City Breweries.

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co. Featured image provided by Thomas Angermann

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings in Chicago

Part of the joy of hiking comes from exploring new places. And certainly part of the growing appeal of microbrews is the enjoyment that comes from trying something unique. So it’s no surprise that the combination of hiking and craft beers is appealing to outdoor enthusiasts who have been known to tip back a pint or two. Here, we’ve created five trail-to-tavern trips in the Chicago area that include a great hiking destination followed by a place to stop for unique, locally brewed beer. So get out of your neighborhood and explore some of the best trails (and beer) the Chicago area has to offer.

1. Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve | Stockholm’s Brew Pub

Following the Path of the Fox River, the paved Fox River Trail is one of the great resources for cyclists and runners in the far western suburbs. But if you want to get off the beaten path, take a detour at the Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve, which is just off the trail in St. Charles. While the preserve is a relatively small 65 acres, it offers plenty to explore, including an oak tree dating back to 1864. You’ll find mostly oak and maple forests on higher ground, a floodplain forest closer to the Fox River, and a restored prairie in former farm fields.

You’ll also find a network of trails through the fields and forested ravines, but nothing too strenuous. It’s a great place to enjoy wildflowers in the spring, and plenty of wildlife—particularly birds—any time of the year.

After the hike, head just south of St. Charles to downtown Geneva for an excellent beer choice. Stockholm’s Brew Pub offers several house-made beers made in the “Old World Tradition, cask-conditioned and un-filtered, for full balance flavor.” You’ll find about a dozen beers on the menu, usually including the Viking Red Ale, the Downtown Honey Brown, and the Older But Weisser, a Belgian White that’s certainly refreshing after some time on the trail. In addition to the beer selection, Stockholm’s offers an excellent menu for a full meal.

2. Palos Trail System | Granite City Brewery


Sunset singletrack in the Palos Trail System Mark Montri

The Palos Trail System in the Cook County Forest Preserves surrounding Palos Heights offers quite simply the best hiking experience in the Chicago area. And it’s not even close. Near the intersection of I-55 and I-294, Palos features nine significant trails—more than 20 miles worth—with hills, stones, downed trees, slippery surfaces, roots, and creeks. A few minutes away from the parking lot and you’ll forget you’re in the Chicago area.

The Granite City Brewery in Orland Park is just south of the trail system on LaGrange Road and opposite the Orland Grove Forest Preserve. It isn’t locally owned—the restaurant group got its start in St. Cloud, Minn., in 1999—but it does brew its own beer on the premises. And they certainly do a good job, with the four hand-crafted beers on the menu, including The Bennie, a German-style bock that will hit the spot after any hike.

3. Indiana Dunes State Park | Hunter’s Brewing


Exploring the sandy trails at Indiana Dunes State Park Steve Johnson

As the name implies, the Indiana Dunes State Park is best known for its big sandy hills that line the Lake Michigan lakeshore. And yes, you have more than three miles of very nice beach among the 2,182 acres of the park, with a long-distance view of the Chicago skyline on a clear day. But the dunes next to the beach offer some of the most challenging hiking around.

The state park features seven different trails—rated from easy to rugged—which tour the dunes and the adjacent nature preserve. That means that while you can certainly attempt to tackle the towering dunes, you also can explore trails that are more suitable for hiking. Find a trail map on the second page of this pamphlet.

You’d be hard pressed to find an area with more diverse terrain. You have sandy beaches and dunes, hard-packed trails and even boardwalks over marshes in the trail system. The 5.5-mile trail No. 10 is the largest at the dunes, and it offers a big loop that goes out via the nature preserve and back along the dunes and the beach. Trail No. 9 is a 3.75-mile loop inside the preserve, with plenty of climbing.

Located just outside the park in Chesterton, Ind., Hunter’s Brewing is a nanobrewery that features hand-brewed beer from its one-barrel system. You’ll find a variety of small-batch boutique beers in its tasting room, which also offers sandwiches and snacks. With 18 taps, you have plenty to choose from, and guest beer and wines (that is, not made on the premises) are also available.

4. Kettle Moraine State Forest | 841 Brewhouse


Taking to the trails in Kettle Moraine Forest Amy Bayer

Of course, if you’re talking about beer, Wisconsin should come to mind. If you’re up for a short road trip, the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest also offers some of the best hiking options within two hours of Chicago. The state forest contains more than 22,000 acres in southern Wisconsin, about 37 miles southeast of Milwaukee. For hikers, that means more than 130 miles of trails to explore—with lots of variety. You’ll find hardwood forests, pine plantations, and prairie.

The term “kettle moraine” is actually a geological description that comes from how the area was created. A moraine is an accumulation of rock and soil that comes from a glacier, while a kettle is a shallow body of water formed by a retreating glacier. You don’t need a degree in geology to figure out that this means the area is filled with rolling hills, valleys, and ridges. So you’ll discover some great views, but also have to do some serious climbing. Keep in mind when planning your mileage that these trails can be tough.

Reward yourself afterward with a trip to the 841 Brewhouse in nearby Whitewater, Wis. You’ll find four in-house beers on tap, usually a wheat, amber, IPA, and a stout, plus plenty of other options from Wisconsin craft breweries. Their large menu is solid and filled with pub favorites.

5. Deer Grove Forest Preserve | RAM Restaurant and Brewery

kyiotbsdpe3ukthu4ywz Deer Grove Forest Preserve offers the best hiking trails in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Jeff Banowetz. 

Offering the best hiking trails in Chicago’s northern suburbs, the Deer Grove Forest Preserve features nearly 10 miles of off-road trails in addition to several miles of paved routes that have made this a popular escape. Some have even referred to this as “Palos North,” in reference to the bigger trail system in the southwest suburbs. You don’t have the volume of trails here, but for north suburban residents this is certainly the gem of the forest preserve system.

Located just north of Dundee Road in Palatine, Ill., the Deer Grove Forest Preserve is bisected by Quentin Road, creating east and west sections of the park. The west side is slightly bigger, and has the longest trail, the yellow, which offers a 5.4-mile, uninterrupted loop. You can connect to black and orange trails on the west side and get in a good 10-mile hike without too much repetition. On the east side, which is connected to the west via a paved trail, there’s a 2.6-mile brown loop as well as the 2.6 mile paved trail.

Head east to nearby Wheeling, Ill., and you’ll hit the RAM Restaurant and Brewery, which offers a number of seasonal beers on tap. You can even create your own personal flights served in 10-ounce glasses from its wide selection. The impressive menu has everything from pub staples like burgers and fish and chips to beef short ribs and wild Alaska salmon. Be sure to work up an appetite.

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Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co.

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings in the San Francisco, Bay Area

 

It’s a formula that many outdoorsy types swear by: Great hike + great beer afterward = really great day. Fortunately for adventurers in the Bay Area, there are about as many choices for excellent trails in San Francisco and beyond as there are watering holes where you can hoist a pint or two afterward. And what better way to pair quintessentially Northern California trail experiences—routes winding through serene redwood forests, along mountainside paths through grassy meadows, and above the mighty Pacific on beachside bluffs—than with a tasty, California-made craft brew? Here are five sure-to-please trail to tavern pairings in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

1. Tomales Point Trail | Lagunitas Brewing Company

Tomales Point Reyes National Seashore hikingHikers on the Tomales Point Trail. Miguel Viera

Point Reyes National Seashore, the slender finger of land bordered on the west by the Pacific and the east by Tomales Bay, is a hiker’s paradise. It’s only about an hour north of the city, but the rugged coastline, grasslands, and coastal trees, often shrouded in a mysterious layer of fog, evoke the feeling of being worlds away from the urban hustle. Choose from more than 150 miles of hiking trails, but the 10-mile out-and-back to Tomales Point is a solid option both for its scenery and relative ease. Make it up there on a weekday, and the only company you may have are cows and tule elk, 700-pound beasts that roam freely about the enclosed reserve through which the trail winds (their late-summer rut is an unforgettable experience).

However far you go, you’ll still have earned your pints afterward; head to Petaluma and the Lagunitas Brewing Company, a pioneer in Northern California’s craft brewing scene. Perennial favorites include Little Sumpin’ Sumpin Ale and the aptly named Hop Stoopid, as well as a rotating selection of seasonals. Bonus for hikers: The taproom stays open until 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays, there’s live music, which promptly starts at 4:20pm each day.

2. Dipsea Trail | Sand Dollar

trails to tavern pairings in San Francisco Dipsea TrailThe Dipsea Trail is one of the most iconic in the Bay Area. RootsRated. 

The Dipsea Trail might sound cutesy and quirky, but we guarantee it’s a hardcore hike, with nearly 2,000 feet in total elevation gain and nearly 700 steps to navigate—the latter in just the first mile. Nevertheless, the approximately seven-mile Dipsea is a must-do for any local or visitor, with flowy sections below majestic redwoods, serpentine stretches though mossy green groves, and sweeping views of the Pacific. The good news is that the first half of the hike is roughly all uphill, while the last half is downhill (save for one last grind appropriately named Insult). And when the climbing and descending starts to take its toll, just think of the hundreds of brave souls who run the trail in the Dipsea Race, the oldest trail run in the country.

After emerging from the forest into the hippy enclave of Stinson Beach, head straight for the Sand Dollar, a cozy restaurant that has been serving patrons since 1921. Order up one of the usual suspects (Lagunitas, Scrimshaw) on draft, snag a table on the patio, and toast to doing the Dipsea.

3. Presidio | Final Final

trails to tavern pairings in San Francisco PresidioThe Presidio boasts 24 miles of trails. Picasaweb/JP

As far as urban escapes go, it’s hard to beat the Presidio, a former Army post that boasts 1,500 acres of stunning wilderness, with redwood groves, wild ocean bluffs, and 24 miles of trails that wind through it all. There are options for all kinds of hikers, but a crowd-pleaser is the relatively flat, 2.5-mile Presidio section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Highlights include a piece of artwork called Spire, a 90-foot sculpture made of 38 cypress trunks, old-growth forests, and views of the bay from the serene National Cemetery Overlook. Another popular route is the Crissy Field Promenade, less of a hike and more of a walk (it’s perfect for families) along the waterfront, with unbeatable views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

For your post-hike pint, forgo the attitude of most Marina bars and their patrons and make a beeline to the Final Final, an old-school SF hideout that’s blissfully void of most Instagram-snapping crowds known to swarm in these parts. Instead, there’s plenty of cold draft beer, pool tables, television screens showing games, free popcorn, and solid bar grub to keep you and your hiking buddies happy.

4. Mt. Diablo State Park | ØL Café and Bottle Shop

trail to tavern pairings in San FranciscoReach the top of Mount Diablo, and you’ll savor unparalleled views. John Morgan

Eager peak baggers in the Bay Area should head right to 3,848-foot Mount Diablo, the highest peak in the East Bay. Though it’s not particularly high, the summit offers gobsmacking views of the Bay Area and beyond, as far as 200 miles away. On a clear day, you may be able to see the Farallon Islands to the west and even as far north as Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range. A number of routes reach the summit, including a challenging 6.8-mile one-way trip, or the less strenuous one-mile hike on the Juniper Trail from the Diablo Valley Overlook, at the entrance to Juniper Campground.

However you go up, make sure you hit ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop in Walnut Creek after making it back down. Beer geeks will go bonkers for the head-spinning menu of rare and unique brews available—currently on the draft list are obscure selections including Woodfour Nurple, the Gnome Gruit, and Kleine Stouterd. Hundreds of carefully curated bottles are available as well.

5. Berry Creek Falls, Big Basin State Park | Half Moon Bay Brewing

Half Moon Bay Brewing trails ales hking
A sampler at Half Moon Bay Brewing lets you sample a variety of beers. Emilee Rader.

An easy drive to Big Basin State Park, California’s oldest state park, is more than worth it for the world-class hiking here among the majestic redwood ecosystem. The park features 80 miles of trails, and the approximately 9-mile out-and-back to Berry Creek Falls is a stunner, winding through redwood groves, along a steep canyon, and culminating in the beautiful Berry Creek Falls. One caveat: Heavy rains in early 2016 caused damage to several other waterfall trails in the park, meaning that there might be more traffic than usual on the Berry Creek Trail.

You’ll have to drive a ways to hit any watering hole for your post-hike pint, so go ahead and head north for one of the Bay Area’s most beloved breweries: Half Moon Bay Brewing, located just a stone’s throw from the world-famous Mavericks surf break. Snag a table on the enclosed patio and order up classic favorites like the amber ale or IPA—there are 10 draft selections available year-round, piped right in from the brewery next door.

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Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co. Featured image provided by Scott Mattoon