As Battle of The Brews rages on this March, we've got beer and coffee on the brain 24/7. We’re still undecided on which one is more important on the trail but whether you have coffee or beer going all the way, it's time to raise your glass to spring camping season.
We gathered a list of some of our favorite springtime hikes to get you warmed up. And as a bonus, each hike is near a recommended brew in case you get thirsty.
Royal Arch Trail, Boulder, CO
The walk to this trailhead is set below the picturesque Boulder Flatirons. It might feel like you never stop going up on the 3.2 mile climb to the top but the steps to the Royal Arch are well worth the burn. The summit provides a sweeping view of Boulder and the surrounding area. We recommend going on a sunny, clear day before summertime (this is a popular hike).
Brew Pairing: On your way back into town, walk to Ozo for a standout cup of coffee. The Cozy Cabin blend combines flavors of almond and caramel into an easy drinking brew - it’s a great way to cozy up and recharge after your hike. Our favorite location is right in the middle of Pearl Street, a short distance from Chautauqua Park.
Mount Tallac, South Lake Tahoe, CA
This 9 mile hike is the perfect way to get back into the outdoors this season. Our friends at The Outbound call it, “one of the more scenic and challenging hikes in the South Tahoe area with incredible views of the Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe itself.”
Brew Pairing: We recommend getting an early start to the day and one way to do that is bringing along your own coffee beans. Kuju Coffee’s pour over pouches are designed for trails just like this. After you’ve finished the hike, reward yourself with an ice cold beer at South Lake Brewing Company, just 5 miles from the trailhead. We recommend the Trail Builder Pale Ale.
Deschutes River Trail Loop, Bend, OR
This 3.7 mile loop follows the Deschutes River as it winds through the town of Bend. A pleasant, urban hike that has a lot more natural beauty than one might expect for a hike that’s in the center of town. Follow it all the way to Drake Park and you’ll pass by a local brewery you can pop into.
Brew Pairing: What better way to finish a Deschutes River hike then by enjoying a brew at Deschutes Brewery just 3.3 miles from the trailhead. Their Fresh Squeezed IPA is just the right amount of hoppy and great for spring sippin’.
Crystal Lake Trail, Whitefish, MT
This is a popular 2.2 mile day hike leads you to a beautiful lake in the Mission Mountains. Along the way you’ll pass fields of huckleberries, beargrass and a variety of tree species native to Montana. Eventually, you’ll end up at the sandy beach of Crystal Lake - perfect for a dip if you’re brave enough.
Brew Pairing: Once you’re back in town, you can’t miss Great Northern Brewing Co. - it’s the tallest building in Whitefish (coming in at three stories). Their signature Wild Huckleberry Lager is perfect for a post hike through huckleberry fields.
Cave Spring Park, Kansas City, MO
Just outside of Kansas City lays this 39 acre park. With miles of easy hiking loops, it’s a great option for families looking to access nature without traveling too far outside of the city. Kids will love the cave, ponds, and waterfall.
Brew Pairing: We’re going to have to go with Thou Mayest on this one. This local roaster provides the best of both worlds - it’s a renowned coffee roaster that also serves beer for those looking to indulge. Try the ‘Boldly Go’ Blend. Crafted with trailblazers in mind its rich and dark chocolate flavors will replenish you after a day outdoors.
Desolation Trail to the Salt Lake Overlook, Salt Lake City, UT
Recommended as the best view of Salt Lake at a moderate hiking distance from the trailhead, this 4 mile hike is lightly trafficked (not because it isn’t beautiful but it’s just not as well known as others in the surrounding area). For those who do know it - it’s considered the perfect escape from the city.
Brew Pairing: This hike is a go-to for the folks at the Uinta Brewery. Don’t forget to swing by their Salt Lake City location and grab a brew to enjoy post hike. (Their Golden Ale or 801 Pilsner are crisp classics that come in cans so are easy to throw in any pack).
Lookout Trail, Asheville, NC
Short and steep sound like your kind of thing? Lookout Trail, just 15 miles outside of Asheville, will not disappoint. Neither will the mountain views at the top. This difficult hike does require some rock scaling so come prepared.
Brew Pairing: Plan your hike on a Friday afternoon so you can catch a Counter Culture tasting session. Tastings are open to the public every Friday from 10-11am. Taking a few sips of their various blends is a sure fire way to get all the energy you’ll need ahead of your hike.
Prospect Mountain, Adirondacks, NY
This intermediate 3.4 mile trail gives you a scenic look down onto Lake George and the surrounding area. The hike inclines moderately the whole way to the top but once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with plenty of space for a picnic or just to take in the views.
Brew Pairing: Adirondack Pub & Brewery is a quick 0.8 miles from the hiking trailhead. Situated in the heart of Lake George, this cabin-like pub is a great spot to unwind after your hike. Their Bear Naked Ale is a medium-bodied amber that is crisp, toasty and fruity - what else could you want for a post-hike brew?