The Ultimate Trail to Tavern 3-Day Weekend in Seattle


It’s hard to say what Seattleites love more: getting outside or drinking locally crafted beer. Luckily, in this Trail to Tavern® city, you don’t have to choose just one. With more than 40 breweries and tons of ways to get outside (hiking, trail running, cycling, and paddle boarding, to name a few), Seattle certainly has plenty of opportunities to squeeze in visits to both trails and taverns. Here’s our guide for how to make the most of your three-day weekend in the Emerald City.

Day One

Discovery Park is the largest public park in the city. Samantha LarsonDiscovery Park is the largest public park in the city. Samantha Larson.

Start your first day with a lap around one of Seattle’s most popular spots: Discovery Park. Whether you are driving up I-5 or coming in from the airport, take a detour to stop at Cherry Street Coffee House. There are 10 locations around Seattle, and each one has a unique store design. Grab a coffee or tea and a bagel (or housemade quiche!) and continue to the largest park in the city, covering more than 500 acres on a bluff overlooking the Puget Sound.

The 2.8-mile Discovery Park Loop (there’s also a four-mile option) weaves through forests and meadows, past sea cliffs and sandy beaches, while offering stellar views of Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound. With steep hills that are sure to get your heart pumping, running through Discovery Park is an equally delicious way to wake up as sipping on a handcrafted latte—and here in Seattle, that’s saying something.

If you’ve got some energy left, stop by for a quick session at Vertical World, America’s first climbing gym, which is about a mile to the east. Bring a towel, and you’ll be able to take a hot shower here before getting on with your day, too.

Grab a flight at the Pike Brewing Company.Grab a flight at the Pike Brewing Company. +Russ

From here, make your way downtown for lunch at another classic Seattle site: Pike’s Place Market. Jump in the long line to get a frappuccino from the original Starbucks and grab a sandwich, falafel, or hom bow from one of the outdoor food vendors. Don’t miss the famous fish throwing spectacle, then head over to the Pike Brewing Company for the 3 pm tour and tasting, where you’ll learn about the art of brewing and try out some samples. This family-owned establishment was founded in 1989 by Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, who dedicated themselves to brewing after falling in love with beer while traveling in Europe. From Belgian lambics to English ales, they wanted to bring these flavors back to the Pacific Northwest. The brewery really took off when they concocted the Pike IPA in 1990, which is still one of their most popular drinks.

After a tasting at Pike, spend some time exploring the market, the waterfront, and maybe take a ride or two on Seattle’s Great Wheel for picturesque views of the city and the Puget Sound.

Finish the night with dinner back at Pike’s Place Market at one of Seattle’s newest breweries, the Old Stove Brewing Co. Just because the brewery is the new kid in town, don’t think that Scott Barron, the head brewer, is a greenhorn: he came to Old Stove after stints at three other local breweries. If you like a bold tasting beer, try the Touch Too Much IPA (though we think it’s just the right amount of hops), or the Streaker Citra Ale for something a little lighter and brighter. Pair either option with a Fresh Dip sandwich and you’ll be set.

** Where to Stay**

Get some sleep in a uniquely Seattle abode by renting a houseboat or a sailboat on Airbnb. If you would rather stay on dry land, Hotel Max is a solid alternative—and they offer free craft beer during happy hour (what more could you ask for?).

Day Two

The route to Colchuck Lake makes for a wonderful day hike.The route to Colchuck Lake makes for a wonderful day hike. laffertyryan

For day two, get out of the city and into the wilderness by taking a trip to Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed village nestled in the Central Cascades. But don’t be fooled by this quirky tourist town—it’s the gateway to some of Washington’s best outdoor adventures. At 2.5 hours away, it’s a bit of a drive from Seattle, but well worth it. Get an early start and book it to Pioneer Coffee Roasting Company along I-90 in North Bend for breakfast and cup of joe before continuing on.

Since you’ll likely want to eat lunch on-the-go, swing by family-owned Good Mood Food once you get to Leavenworth for snacks and a sandwich, and then let the adventure begin.

The Enchantments have been called an alpine paradise, and as soon as you find yourself surrounded by granite boulders and blue alpine lakes (maybe even mountain goats!), you’ll understand why. You could spend a lifetime exploring the area, but the eight-mile out-and-back hike to Colchuck Lake is a great option if you only have a day. You’ll hike through the forest and across several streams before tackling a series of switchbacks. After more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Dragontail Peak, Colchuck Peak, and the Colchuck Glacier.

Leavenworth is also home to one of the best climbing areas in the state, with a high concentration of sweet boulder problems, trad routes, and sport climbs. The Washington Climbers Coalition is an excellent resource for information on the climbing here.

After a day filled with adventure, stop by Leavenworth’s Icicle Brewing Company for a bite to eat and a drink before hitting the road. Try their Colchuck Raspberry Wheat, fermented with Willamette Valley raspberries, with a turkey sandwich or salad.

Once you get back to Seattle, celebrate the day with a cold one (or two!) from Two Beers Brewing Company in Seattle’s Industrial District. After spending several years perfecting the art of homebrewing from his kitchen, Joel VandenBrink decided to take the craft even further and founded the company in 2007. The brewery now produces almost 6,000 barrels every year. The Day Hike, a light and crisp lemony summer session ale, is the perfect way to top off the day’s activities.

Day Three

The Burke-Gilman Trail is part of 90 miles of biking trails in Seattle.The Burke-Gilman Trail is part of 90 miles of biking trails in Seattle. Seattle Parks

Ease into day three with brunch in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A good place to start is with a Belgian-style street waffle with sweet or savory toppings from Sweet Iron Waffles or a traditional Syrian breakfast at Mamnoon. Then grab a bike from a local rental shop and head north for a leisurely ride along the Burke-Gilman Trail, a paved bike path that hugs the shores of Lake Washington, Lake Union, and the Ship Canal. The greenery lining the trail is, in part, thanks to the tree-planting efforts of organizations like the local conservation group Forterra.

Check out the salmon ladder at the Ballard Locks as you ride to the end of the Burke to Golden Gardens, a beach on Puget Sound with magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day. Rent a paddleboard or kayak and take the easy, two-mile trip out to the Discovery Park Lighthouse. (Keep your eyes peeled for jellyfish below and seals frolicking in the water around you!)

The Burke also offers excellent access to some of the best breweries in town, so get ready for a little brewery hopping on the return trip as you wrap up your weekend in Seattle. Stoup Brewing is the product of a scientist and self-proclaimed beer geek, with a goal to brew the best beer scientifically possible. Just a block away is Reuben’s Brews, whose beers have won awards both nationally and internationally. If you order a pie from Zeeks or Ballard Pizza, you will not only get a discount, but you can also take it into Reuben’s with you.

The family-owned Maritime Pacific Brewing Company’s seafaring theme and traditional recipes are a hat-tip to the Ballard neighborhood’s roots as a fishing town. Try the Old Seattle Lager, made with Cascade hops, or the Flagship Red, both available year round. And just a little farther away is Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub and the Fremont Brewing Company.

Did we mention that Seattle has a lot of breweries?

But don’t worry about hitting them all in this trip—you need a reason to start planning your next visit, right?

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co.

Featured image provided by David Herrera

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.

Shop Our Heritage Trail to Tavern Style:


Originally written by RootsRated. Featured image provided by Samantha Larson

Great American Road Trips


Roadside diners, Main Streets, purple mountains majesty, local radio stations, amber waves of grain…. We love a good summer road trip. It’s the perfect mix of nostalgia and nomad, where rubber meets the road meets the boiled peanut hawker on I-40. Saddle up your trusty 4-wheeled steed (or 2-wheeled, if you’re gutsy), and hit the open road. Here are a few of our favorite Great American Road Trips:

The Ultimate New Mexico Road Trip

New Mexico, a land of desert, green chile, sand dunes, hot springs and caves doesn’t get nearly enough credit. The ‘Land of Enchantment’ is a bona fide mecca for exploration, discovery, scenic (and dull) stretches of highway, UFO’s, and endless adventure. This 7-day road trip itinerary takes you from Denver to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a stopover in gorgeous Taos, to the natural hot springs of Jemez Valley, over to White Sands National Monument, down to otherworldly Carlsbad Caverns National Park, then back up to Santa Fe via Roswell – because what’s a trip to NM without a trip to UFO country?

Carlsbad Caverns, NM. John Fowler.

Quintessential Colorado 

To many, Denver is the true gateway to the West. Like so many early frontiersmen, who reached the western edge of the High Plains and gazed upon the Front Range in both terror and excitement, the Mile High City (Denver) still acts as the ultimate springboard for Colorado adventure. Combine the glory of the open road with the solace of the mountains on this 7-day journey from Denver over some of the nation’s most scenic highways. Head south out of Denver to the Collegiate Peaks, through the Sawatch Range to Crested Butte, marvel at Gunnison National Park, sip wine in Grand Valley, float the Yampa River, relax in Steamboat Springs, hike Estes Park (and a drink at The Shining‘s Stanley Hotel) and watch the sunset over the Flatirons on Day 7. Are we there yet?
Black Canyon and Gunnison River, CO. Terry Foote.

Light Out From Seattle 

One of the best things about Seattle is how many beautiful places are within easy reach, but some of the Pacific Northwest’s most amazing areas are far enough from Seattle that they require a whole weekend (at least) to explore them. Take the North Cascades National Scenic Highway (Hwy 20) east toward Methow Valley. Take a ferry across the sound and start up the Olympic Coast for a weekend of clamming, hiking and camping on the beach if you’ve got a good sleeping bag. Sneak across the Canadian border to Squamish to hike to the top of Stawamus Chief. Fill up on oysters and embrace Washington’s surf culture (yes, they have one) in the Westport. Take a week off and connect all 4 weekend getaways into one great road trip.

Shi Shi Beach on the Olympic Coast, WA. Scott Neilson.

American History in Pennsylvania

You can’t help but feel patriotic when you roll through the Keystone State. Surrounded by 6 states and with the great Appalachian Mountains running right through the middle, there’s no shortage of Americana in PA. For history buffs and lovers of all things kitsch, start in the City of Brotherly Love – birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, and the resting place of the Liberty Bell. People-watch in Franklin Square and hit up the nation’s oldest bars for a cold one. Head out of the city on Route 30 for a scenic drive through the little farm towns that make up the fabric of the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside (“Dutch” refers to the German culture brought over by Protestant immigrants in the 17th century). Lancaster County is the seat of Amish Country and home to the Lancaster Central Market; pop in on Fridays for local shoo-fly-pie and chicken corn soup. Hop back on the 30 toward Gettysburg. Spend a few hours exploring the battlefields. Hook up with the Appalachian Trail via Caledonia State Park and spend a few nights camping on the great AT.

Lancaster_County_Amish_03Amish buggy in Lancaster County, PA.

Hidden Gems of the Midwest 

What’s a road trip without a pit stop at the “World’s Largest” roadside attraction? Luckily, the land of 1,000 lakes also seems to have a thousand pit stops. What the Midwest lacks in elevation, it more than makes up for with quirky, memorable sights and attractions. Here are 11 detours you should add to any trip through Middle America. Native American effigies, massive waterfalls, manicured gardens, the National Mustard Museum and even the American Gothic house. Smile for the camera!


Not actually in the Midwest, but how about that Cabazon Dinosaur?! Say “Cheese!”

Free Summer Concerts You Can’t Miss


It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Summer! The weather’s getting warmer, the produce is perfect, the kids are out of school and there’s no shortage of things to do with your longer days. The sky is the limit, and even a lack of sun in the sky can’t dampen your summer spirit. On any given evening when the sun begins to set, outdoor music venues across the country host concert series featuring local and world-famous artists—for free. We’ve got a few in our hometown of Santa Barbara (jazz on Wednesdays, bluegrass on Sundays) and we’re willing to bet your town has a free summer concert series, too. So pack a picnic and head to the local park, pavilion or amphitheater for a no-cost, people-watching, frisbee-throwing, outdoor-dancing, beer-sampling good time.

And since not all free concerts are created equal, here’s a few of our favorites in some great cities across the country. Use these incredible outdoor concert series as an excuse to plan the summer road trip you’ve been daydreaming about…

Nightfall Concert Series in Chattanooga

Nightfall Concert Series, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Nightfall Concert Series, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Nightfall Music Series


With nearly three decades under their belts, the organizers of Chattanooga’s free Nightfall Series know how to put together a summer concert lineup. Every Friday from May – August, head to Miller Plaza to watch a local band open for a national headliner—many of whom will play in Chattanooga for the first time in 2016. This summer’s diverse lineup runs the gamut from bluegrass to Afro-pop, and no matter who’s playing, admission is always free. In addition to the varied musical selection, come to Nightfall prepared to please your palate with grub from local food trucks and local booze vendors. The 2016 Nightfall Concert Series has a special twist, too: on the first Friday of each month, crowds will gather at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, then “Rock the Block” down to Miller Plaza—enjoying a parade of antique motorcycles, cars, and bikes, collected by local hobbyists, along the way. Get your Chattanooga choo-choo on!

Millennium Park in Chicago

Millennium Park Series, Chicago, Illinois.
Millennium Park Series, Chicago, Illinois. John Menard


Visit Chicago’s 24.5-acre Millennium Park today, and you’d never guess it was an industrial wasteland for nearly a century and a half. With some help from world-renowned architect Frank Gehry—whose other notable designs include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles—the seminal park took shape in 1997, and is now home to one of the country’s best-known summer concert series. The 2016 Millennium Park Series lineup is as genre-defying as the park’s architecture, and includes free twice-weekly concerts (Mondays and Thursdays) from June through August.

City Park Jazz in Denver

City Park Jazz, Denver, Colorado.
City Park Jazz, Denver, Colorado. jess melgey


Whether you get there by bike (there’s a free corral), public transit, on foot, or by car, arrive early for the City Park Jazz series and enjoy some time exploring the Park before the show. There’s the Denver Zoo, or the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which features rotating natural history exhibits, a planetarium, and a terrace featuring some of the city’s best views of the Colorado Front Range. Adventurous park visitors can rent cruiser bikes, surreys, pedal boats, and kayaks to explore the park.When the sun goes down each Sunday between June and August, head to the pavilion—rain or shine—for a diverse cultural mix of music and local cuisine.

Concerts at the Mural in Seattle

Pickwick – Hacienda Motel (Live at the Mural) from KEXP RADIO on Vimeo. During KEXP & Seattle Center’s Concerts at the Mural series at the Mural Amphitheater. Recorded 8/26/11. Video courtesy of KEXP.

The music scene that brought you Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, and countless others brings you free concerts every Friday in August at the Seattle Center.The beautiful Mural Amphitheater was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, which also featured artwork by contemporary American painters like Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollock, as well a performance by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and a concert by Ella Fitzgerald. Today, you can enjoy free Live at the Mural shows with the backdrop of that quintessential Seattle symbol, the Space Needle. In a city with a music history as rich and colorful as Seattle’s, you know the free concert scene will knock (or rock)  your socks off.

Twilight Concerts in Santa Monica


Few outdoor venues have the staying power of the century-old Santa Monica Pier. You know the one: located just north of Muscle Beach, the iconic pier has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, and was once considered the best fishing spot in Santa Monica Bay. Several makeovers later, the modern-day pier is home to an amusement park, complete with a giant solar-powered ferris wheel, the original 1920s carousel, and an aquarium. This year’s Twilight Concerts lineup runs Thursdays from July through September and features a diverse lineup of bands from across the country. Tip: skip pricey parking near the pier and opt for public transit—or bike valet—instead.

Whatever free concert series you visit this summer, make sure you spend it with good company. Let us know which concerts we missed!

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co. Featured image provided by Nightfall Music Series.