The American craft beer scene is exploding across the Northeast, with new breweries popping up seemingly every month. Luckily for trekkers who’d like to wash down an accessible hike with a hoppy IPA, there are plenty of trails near breweries that make for easy day trips.
Five minutes from Freeport and charmingly situated between Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River, the combination of the tree-covered White Pines Loop and coastline Casco Bay Trail within Wolfe’s Neck is well-maintained and clearly marked. After turning into the park’s entrance, follow the road for about 400 meters to the parking lot. From here, start your hike at the nearby White Pines trailhead, crossing several small bridges spanning the park’s marshes and estuaries, until you reach the coast, which awards hikers with a view of the Googins Island osprey nest. (Call ahead if you’d like to accompany the park’s naturalist, who will point out the onsite ospreys and their nests.) Continue along the coastline path, where the White Pines and Casco Bay Trail eventually meet. Take a right at the Casco Bay Connector sign, to head back to the parking lot. With other paths branching off these, hikers have the option to extend or shorten their hike to best suit their needs. Cool down—or warm up, depending on the season—at Maine Beer Company, a 15-minute drive away. With a newly expanded tasting room and beers stocked with locally sourced ingredients, this brewery is ready for thirsty outdoor lovers.
As the name suggests, Heron Sanctuary Trail is teeming with birds. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or a casual observer, the trail provides nice views of the Lamprey River and Newmarket mills across the water. Note that the parking lot is currently closed, but suggested parking is in a municipal lot across the street. After parking, cross the street to the Heron Point Estates Cooperative, the park in which the trail is located. The marked trailhead leads towards the river before turning down the coast for a majority of the trail. The path then cuts back in the direction of the parking lot, taking a few more turns before finishing the trail. With convenient places to sit and a scenic waterfall to admire, this path is suitable for hikers of any age or skill level. Visitors can even bring a lunch to sit and eat at a platform along the trail. Post-hike, take a five-minute drive to Deciduous Brewing Company, across the water in downtown Newmarket.
Distance: 1.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 90 feet
Try: Lollipop Forest with Raspberry and Blackberry Sour Ale
Info: Lamprey River Advisory Committee; Deciduous Brewing Company
For most of this 2-mile route, the Clarke and Allen Hill Trail runs adjacent to Shelburne Bay, providing a picturesque water view outlined by the town’s public boat docks on one side and expansive Lake Champlain on the other. After parking in Shelburne Bay’s lot, proceed to the clearly marked trailhead indicating the Clarke Trail, following the path along the bay until you reach a five-way intersection. At this point, take an immediate right, staying along the water as the terrain becomes an incline up Allen Hill. The summit of Allen Hill provides a crystal-clear view of the area’s rare cedar–pine forest. Following this invigorating hike, drive seven miles along the waterfront to Foam Brewers, a quaint brewery in an old brick building, with a beautiful view of Lake Champlain.
Part of a 944-acre reserve, the extensive Hoosac Range Trail delivers multiple dramatic vistas of the Berkshires. To get there, park off of Route 2 and follow the road up the hill to the parking lot. Starting at the informative trailhead sign on the edge of the lot, clearly marked signs guide hikers onward and upward, ultimately to the hike’s most notable view—an overlook of Savoy Mountain State Forest from Spruce Hill’s summit. This hike requires some effort, but your first sip at Bright Ideas Brewing, located five miles away on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, should revitalize you quickly.
This park is aptly named to suit both beer lovers and hikers intrigued by mysterious landmarks. The moniker is rumored to trace back to a man called Dibble, who grew hops for beer brewed in the area. At some point in the land’s history, Dibble’s Hopyard must have morphed into Devil’s Hopyard, and the devil was credited for the strange, perfectly cylindrical holes within and around the park’s waterfall. The Vista Trail, marked by orange blazes, begins past a covered bridge connected to the parking lot, heading straight for 0.2 mile to a fork in the trail. From here, it’s up to you to go left or right, as the trail loops around and returns to the fork both ways. Keep an eye out for the Devil’s Oven, a unique rock formation along Vista Trail. While this path doesn’t pass by the park’s waterfall, upon returning to the parking lot, follow the clearly marked signs up the river to Chapman Falls, only an additional 0.2 mile. A 15-minute drive away, Fox Farm Brewery welcomes tired visitors looking for a different kind of spirit.
Bear Mountain Trail sandwiches quite a few of this park’s most notable features into one memorable, relatively short hike. In 1923, Bear Mountain’s section of the Appalachian Trail became the first stretch open to the public, a point of pride commemorated on park signs. As a trail composed mostly of stairs up the mountain, this hike is unique yet still challenging and invigorating. In addition to the AT and pristine Hessian Lake, this hike also passes Perkins Memorial Tower, an observation tower at the summit of Bear Mountain. Hikers who reach the peak can savor views of the Hudson River, the Hudson Highlands, and Harriman State Park either from the base or at the top of the tower. Cool down after with a cold beer at Peekskill Brewery, a 15-minute drive from the trailhead.
Distance: 3.8 miles out-and-back
Elevation Gain: 1,150 feet
Try: Higher Standard American Imperial IPA
Info: AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Catskills & Hudson Valley; Bear Mountain State Park; Peekskill Brewery
At 5 miles, Valley Forge’s fully paved Joseph Plumb Martin Trail offers some decent distance without overly strenuous elevation, plus scenic views of historical sites dotting the small hills. Most of the trail is ADA-accessible, as it can be modified to avoid steeper inclines and slopes. From the Visitor’s Center parking lot, follow the purple blazes past historical sites marked by informative signs and toward the National Memorial Arch. After the arch, the trail continues along the edge of the woods and past a picnic area before turning into open fields. Follow the blazes to Artillery Park before looping back to the Visitor’s Center. After your hike, take a breather at La Cabra Brewing, just 10 minutes away.
Hiking on the site of the First Battle of Bull Run, you can imagine Civil War soldiers marching through the tall grass, ready to protect their homeland. Today, their battleground is both a field preserved in time and a hiking area. To begin your trek on the First Manassas Trail, find the blue blazes. Follow these markers through forested areas to the Stone Bridge, then turning west towards farmland and more woods. Emerging from the trees, visitors are awarded with a hilltop view of the battle’s location before descending into a small valley. Hikers will follow the trail through important areas of the Civil War battle, including civilian homes used for first aid and spots where the armies rallied to continue fighting, each marked with informative signs. The hike ends back at the Visitor’s Center, where you can brush up on the information you’ve learned along the trail. After you’ve gotten your fill of history, stop by Sinistral Brewing company, five miles from the trailhead.
Distance: 5.4-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 370 feet
Try: U Betcha New England IPA
Info: AMC’s Best Day Hikes Near Washington, D.C.; Manassas National Battlefield Park; Sinistral Brewing Co.
AMC reminds readers to drink responsibly when visiting these breweries.