Frick Park & East End Brewing

East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA

The other weekend, we got to bring a furry friend on our hike! And what better place to bring a dog than Frick Park. This park is absolutely huge with miles and miles of paved and natural paths. There’s also a good sized dog park which our four-legged companion was a huge fan of! We Pittsburghers are very lucky to have such beautiful urban parks and Frick Park is the cream of the crop! Afterward, keep back and relax at the ever popular East End Brewing. Their huge patio is the perfect place to bring your pooch after a nice long walk.

THE HIKE: Frick Park Loop

Length: Variable – 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Running, Mountain bikes, Leashed Pets
Parking: Large lot at the Frick Environmental Center
H&H: 5/5

Okay so don’t get too excited, J and I did not get a dog! We were watching our friends’ sweet dog, Shiloh, while they were out of town. He’s a great walking companion and definitely had much more stamina than us! We knew that Shiloh loves the dog park at Frick Park so it seemed like the perfect place to do our weekend hike!

Frick Park was established by the bequest of Henry Clay Frick after his death in 1919. He stipulated that 151 acres of land near his Clayton Mansion (now the Frick Arts & Historical Center) should be given to the City of Pittsburgh to create a park. More land was added to the park and when it finally opened in 1927, it became the largest of the City’s regional parks.

Frick Park is very unique because of its sloping, wooded spaces that have remained relatively undisturbed, creating a rich habitat for plants and animals. This park is very popular with a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including bikers, cyclists, and hikers. In addition to the nearly 20 miles of trail, Frick Park also boasts several playgrounds, ball fields and courts, and the previously mentioned dog park! 

For our hike, we parked at the Frick Environmental Center which is one of the few park entrances with a parking lot. If you go to another entrance, there’s usually street parking available! We were intending to follow the Frick Park Loop from Alltrails, but we mostly just let Shiloh lead the way. If you do follow this loop, be aware that it was impacted by the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse, so you will have to avoid that area. The main trails we took were the Clayton loop, Falls Ravine, and Riverview Trail. Frick Park is surprisingly woodsy and there are so many trails that it’s easy to get away from the crowds. We did a nice balance of wider trails and a few more secluded wooded tracks. Hiking with our furry nephew is always an adventure because he’s a hound so every little chipmunk or squirrel immediately puts him in hunting mode. Thankfully after 4 miles and a trip to the off-leash area, he was finally too tired to do much more than bark half-heartedly at the squirrels. I definitely think they were laughing at him. 

After a day in Frick Park, what better place to rest and relax than East End Brewing? Let’s check it out! 

THE BEER: East End Brewery

Address: 147 Julius St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Distance from Trail Head: 2.1 miles, 6 mins
Website: http://www.eastendbrewing.com/
Food?: Full Menu
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 5/5

East End Brewing has been a staple in the Pittsburgh brewing scene since it opened in 2004. Their location in East Liberty/ Larimer has a large taproom as well as plenty of outdoor seating. And no need to pack snacks, their in-house kitchen (delightfully dubbed East End Chewing) offers up the perfect doughy companions to their hoppy beers. We noshed on a pretty amazing soft pretzel! Since we had Shiloh with us, we were so happy that this brewery is proudly dog friendly! We set ourselves up in a corner, made sure to bring a blanket and Shiloh was out for the count. Honestly, I couldn’t blame him. After the top notch brews and aforementioned carbs, I would have happily dozed off. Petition to get East End to install hammocks? Or how about a BYOH (Bring Your Own Hammock) event? I digress…

Anyhow, let’s talk beer. Guys East End is good. Like real good. It was super hot the day we went so I stuck with some lighter beers (both in ABV and flavor) but that didn’t stop J from getting the Belgian Tripel. The man loves his Belgian brews! I honestly cannot say enough good things about the Watermelon Gose. I would be happy drinking that the entire summer, it’s just such a dang good porch beer! Also I really liked the Wheat Hop, it was super fruity and refreshing. I brought some home to my wheat beer-loving mom and it definitely got her stamp of approval!  

Another project of East End that I’m loving is their “You Are Here” Series. To celebrate 15 years in the brewing biz and to honor the neighborhoods of the the Burgh, they are making 90 different beers for the 90 neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Here’s what they have to say about the project:

“We’ve been thinking a lot lately about our last 15 years of brewing beer in Pittsburgh, what it means to be a “local brewery”, what it means to brew beer for locals to enjoy, and how people become connected to this notion. Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, each with their own identities, and fiercely loyal populations.
So to celebrate the wonderful diversity of neighborhoods that is Pittsburgh, we’ve decided to brew a brand new beer for each and every one of them. And yeah, that’s a long list. We went through a lot of back and forth with a lot of people on the number until finally the good folks at the City of Pittsburgh came to our rescue with the Official Number: 90.”

What a cool project! I didn’t even know some of these neighborhoods existed, so here’s my challenge to get to know my own city better! As of June 2022, they’re up to 65 neighborhoods. So go check out East End Brewing, and know that you’re supporting a local business that really cares about their roots!

Our Beer:

  • Stanton Heights – Belgian Tripel – 9.2%
  • Wheat Hop – Fruity Wheat Beer – 4.5%
  • Pedal Pale Ale – American Pale Ale – 5%
  • Seedless Watermelon Gose – Sour – 4.1%

SUM UP: Frick Park is a large urban park in the East End of Pittsburgh. While not the oldest park in Pittsburgh, it is the largest and best known for its woodsy trails filled with wildlife. This park is very popular for walking, bike riding, sports, birding, and more! If you like to be outside, this is the place for you! There are miles of intersecting trails for any length of trek. After you’re done soaking up the great outdoors, wander over to East End Brewing for some delicious brews and food in a neighborhood-driven environment. Hikes & Hops like this make me so happy to be back in Pittsburgh!

Rachel Carson Trail & Acrospire Brewing Co

Glenshaw, PA

Last weekend it was finally time for us to tackle the (in)famous Rachel Carson trail. This trail spans 45 miles so it’s great for tackling in sections. Many sections. For our first trek, we did a 3 mile (6 mile out-and-back) section of the trail starting in North Park and turning around at Route 8. This trail is not for the faint of heart and you WILL get your feet wet! If you’re ready for a more challenging hike without going too far outside of the city, this hike is perfect for you! Afterward, grab a beer from Acrospire Brewing’s to-go only production facility. If the weather’s nice, enjoy your beverage in their outdoor biergarten!

THE HIKE: Rachel Carson Trail (North Park to Rt. 8)

Length: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 660ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 2.5-3 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Running, Leashed Pets
Parking: Large gravel lots throughout North Park
H&H: 4/5

Okay, so like I said, the Rachel Carson Trail spans just over 45 miles in northern Allegheny County, meandering between North Park and Harrison Hills Park. The trail is named, of course, for the renowned conservationist Rachel Carson, who was born in Springdale, PA. An offshoot trail actually leads to her childhood home! I can’t wait to check that out on a future hike. There are no shelters along this trail so it’s intended for day use. However, if you’re feeling up for a challenge, once a year the Rachel Carson Trail Conservancy hosts an endurance hike where hikers have 15 hours to do 34 miles of the trail. Definitely something I’d love to work up to! 

One thing I really love about this time of year is that there’s enough daylight after work to squeeze in a hike! J and I are really lucky to work close to each other, so we made sure to pack our hiking clothes and some dinner and head out right after work! The Rachel Carson Trail runs through a large part of North Park, but we choose to start at the Beveridge shelter. There’s a large gravel lot in this area by the baseball fields. The first part of this trail is quite wide and downhill. There’s a quick road crossing and then you’ll hit your first stream crossing. And yes I said first because you’ll be crossing a lot of streams on this hike! Some have some stepping stones but I guarantee that you will get your feet wet. Nothing up to the knee though, unless you make a big mistake! 

For the most part, I LOVED this trail. It was woodsy and I loved the challenges of crossing streams and climbing up ridges. However, there was a glaring part that kept this from being a 5 star hike. At the 1 mile point, you leave the woods and have to walk along the railroad tracks and then follow along the guardrail of a road to reach the next section of the wooded trail. I totally get that this trail runs through urban areas so it can’t be woods the whole time. But walking along the train tracks and the road felt a little dicey to me. Thankfully it was only for a short time and the fantastic woods really made up for it! 

As always with hiking, it’s important to remember that, as hikers, we’re just visitors in nature’s home. Always keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like this little snake we saw! He’s just a common garter snake, but it’s important to know that we do have venomous snakes in this area and it’s best to give all wildlife the space they need! 

This will definitely be just the first of many trips on the Rachel Carson Trail for Hikes & Hops! Do you have a favorite section of this trail??

THE BEER: Acrospire Brewery Company

Address: 1650 Butler Plank Rd, Glenshaw, PA 15116
Distance from Trail Head: 6.4 miles, 16 mins 
Website: http://acrospirebrewingco.com/
Food?: BYOF
Details: Outdoor seating only & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 4/5

I really need to start venturing north of the city more often because there are so many breweries! Acrospire grabbed my attention since it’s so close to North Park! It was the perfect place for us to stop by in the evening. At first, I was worried because I didn’t realize they only did to-go sales. However, they have a nice outdoor space where you can sit and enjoy draft pours. Just be aware that there’s no covered/heated seating for those not so nice days! Acrospire seems to be quite the popular place with the locals, as we saw so many people coming to get growlers and 4-packs for the weekend. I love seeing a community really embrace their local brewery. 

On our visit, we stuck with mostly pale ales since we were craving something refreshing after our sweaty hike. My favorite of the night was the Kaleidoscope which balances a deliciously fruity flavor with some solid NEIPA hoppiness. J really liked the West Coast IPA which had a very strong pine-y flavor. I’m so glad we made it out to Acrospire and I’m looking forward to what the future brings for them. They just announced future plans to open a new production facility and taproom!

Our Beer:

  • Swamp Thing – West Coast IPA – 7.2%
  • Serendipity – IPA – 7.2%
  • Kaleidoscope – New Zealand IPA – 6%
  • Hear no Evil – Ginger Wheat Beer – 5.4%

SUM UP: The Rachel Carson Trail is a 45 mile point to point trail that runs across northern Allegheny County. It’s well known for its challenging terrain and many stream crossings. This hike tackled a small portion of the trail starting in North Park and turning around at Route 8. There’s plenty of parking at the trail head and leashed pets are welcome! After your trek, head over to Glenshaw to sample the brews at Acrospire! They’ve got a surprising variety of taps for a small operation and everything is expertly made. They don’t have a taproom, but you can get drafts to-go and sit outside on their patio! Keep an eye out for their upcoming expansion and taproom!

Urban Hike: Allegheny Cemetery & Coven Brewing

Lawrenceville, PA

Last weekend, we took our first urban hike of the season…in a cemetery! No this wasn’t a spooky Halloween themed walk. We wanted to explore the beautiful and historic Allegheny Cemetery in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh and learn more about its history. Following a self-guided tour from the cemetery’s website, we were able to find and read about more than 30 notable people buried in the cemetery! Afterward we imbibed at Pittsburgh’s newest brewery, Coven Brewing! If you’re in the mood for an urban history hike and hop, this one’s for you!

THE HIKE: Allegheny Cemetery History Hike

Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 450 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3 hours
Trail use: Walking, running, biking, NO PETS
Parking: Parking at visitor center (Butler Street)
H&H: 4/5

Okay so you might be thinking that a cemetery is a weird place to take a hike. In a lot of places, it’s not normal to stroll through a cemetery; you might feel that you’re disturbing the peace! But while also a resting place, Allegheny Cemetery is also a beautiful park that is full of nature, art, and history! In fact, the cemetery encourages people to visit by preparing self-guided tours with themes like Pittsburgh Mayors, African American History, Dynamic Women, and more! We opted to do Notable People which included famous industrialists, musicians, politicians, and military heroes. To find this and other self-guided tours, follow this link: https://mobile.webcemeteries.com/allegheny/26/Tours#tourId=701

Allegheny Cemetery is one of the largest and oldest rural cemeteries in the country, encompassing over 300 acres and memorializing over 124,000 people. The cemetery was established in 1844 and some of the oldest graves are from Revolutionary War veterans. This cemetery is unique because it was built with nature in mind. It was always meant to incorporate the natural landscape so the paths between gravesites meander through trees and past ponds. It’s made to be a peaceful place of contemplation! 

J.B Ford memorial (founder of PPG)

A few things before you head out to the cemetery for a stroll. Firstly, leave your furry friends at home! Feel free to pack some snacks or a picnic but, as on any hike, leave no trace! Also please take your time and enjoy nature, but avoid sitting or leaning on graves or other memorial structures. Overall, be respectful of the dead and their families. Especially since this is still an active cemetery and you may encounter a burial service while you are there. 

When exploring the Cemetery, make sure to give yourself plenty of time. This isn’t going to be the type of walk that you finish in an hour! In fact, we spent almost 3 hours here and the only thing that stopped us was our empty water bottles! Also make sure to have fully charged phone if you’re following the self-guided tour. I found that the website drained my battery pretty quickly! 

The tours are pretty easy to follow. You can see the map with all of the key locations numbered and to navigate, just click on the directions icon and it will bring up google maps to give you walking directions. We found the website to be very easy to use! At each burial site, we took turns reading the short bio about the interned person. A few times, we weren’t able to find the exact headstone, but we made it close to the area and still read the description. I really want to give a shout out to the staff and volunteers who researched and created the self-guided tours! I learned so much and I’m so glad that this resource was created! 

Grave of Joseph Wainwright, early brewer in Pittsburgh
Grave of Vietnam War veteran Lester Madden, who favorite movie was Jaws
Grave of Stephen Foster, celebrated composer

If you’re a history buff, there are a couple of really interesting people to read about. First is Dr. Charles Avery, an abolitionist who ran a stop on the Underground Railroad in Pittsburgh! Then was the huge memorial fortress to John B. Ford, the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass (now a little company called PPG Industries). Another fun one was the grave for Joseph Wainwright, an early brewmaster who used wild hops that grew along the river to make his own beer! His company eventually merged with others to become the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (makers of Iron City Beer!) . There’s so many more and if you are familiar at all with Pittsburgh, you’ll definitely see some familiar names popping up again and again. Names like Mellon, Schenley, Neville, McCandless, Scaife and more! 

If you’re looking for a different type of hike, I highly encourage you to check out a self-guided tour of Allegheny Cemetery. Even if you’re not a big history person, the peace and beauty of this park is sure to satisfy you! And once you’re tired of walking, there’s no shortage of places to eat and drink outside of the cemetery walls! Let’s head over to Coven Brewing to check it out!

THE BEER: Coven Brewery

Address: 4901 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Distance from Trail Head: 0.2 miles, 5 mins walking
Website: http://covenbrewingpgh.com/
Food?: BYOF or Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 4/5

Coven Brewing is Pittsburgh’s newest craft brewery, having only just opened at the beginning of April! Coven is owned and run by two former Dancing Gnome brewers so this brewery really knows its stuff! The new brewery has taken over the former Roundabout Brewing location on Butler Street, which has meant the duo can really hit the ground running! Although this area already has a ton of breweries, I’m particularly excited about Coven because one of the owners/brewers is a woman! Always thrilled to see more diversity in the world of beer making! 

If you’re not into beer, Coven also offers a small selection of PA-made wine, cider, and cocktails. They also frequently have food truck offerings, but you could always grab a snack from any of the many food establishments along Butler street. 

So like I said, Coven Brewing is very new so it was super popular the day we went! They have some indoor seating but it was such a beautiful day that everyone wanted to be outside. We managed to snag the corner of a picnic table right as a huge crew of cyclists pulled up. I’d say Coven is doing pretty well so far! True to form, I really liked the New England IPA, Swanky. It was refreshing with that classic NEIPA haziness. J preferred the Saison which had a nice wheatiness to it. Unfortunately, we were meeting family afterward so we weren’t able to sample anything else. But I definitely think we’ll be back!

Our Beer:

  • Swanky – NEIPA – 7.2%
  • Curses in Cursive – Saison – 7.2%

SUM UP: Allegheny Cemetery isn’t your typical hike but if you’re looking for an urban walk, I honestly suggest you check it out! Before heading out, download the cemetery’s app/website for a self-guided tour that takes you to various notable graves with a brief history of the person. We learned so much about local history and got to take in the beauty of the cemetery grounds. Your walk can be as long or as short as you want but afterwards, be sure to walk across the street to Pittsburgh’s newest craft brewery, Coven Brewing! Take a seat outside, grab something from the food truck and enjoy a delicious brew! Coven is sure to be a new favorite!

Conkle’s Hollow & Double Edge Brewing Company

Hocking Hills, OH

Happy Belated Mother’s Day! Today I’m happy to share a lovely hike that I got to do with my Mom in Hocking Hills! One of the best things about this area is that you can see some amazing sights on a relatively short hike! My family tackled the roughly 2.5 miles Rim Trail at Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve on a beautiful sunny morning. This is a great hike for the whole family and is a really good loop for non-hikers. There’s also a shorter gorge trail that’s wheelchair and stroller friendly so this really is a place for everyone. Let’s check it out!

THE HIKE: East and West Rim Loop – Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve

Length: 2.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 427ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Trail use: Hiking Only, NO PETS
Parking: Large parking lots. Vault Toilets
H&H: 5/5

Conkle’s Hollow is a small Nature Preserve located within Hocking Hills State Park. It is a rocky gorge that’s considered to be one of the deepest in Ohio! As you travel along the rim trail, you’ll be walking along cliff edges that raise 200ft up! The gorge itself is fairly narrow so you can even see hikers on the other side of the rim! This area is very unique because the towering cliffs mean that little to no sunlight reaches the bottom of the gorge. 

Family Hike!

A local legend of Conkle’s Hollow insists that robbers had hid their loot somewhere in the hollow but were never able to retrieve it due to a felled tree. Who knows if the tale is true, but if I needed a place to hide out, one of the caves in this area would definitely work for me!

When hiking at Conkle’s Hollow, try to arrive early if going on the weekend. Although there is a large parking lot (with vault toilets), it’s extremely popular so it will fill up! We arrived around 10am on a beautiful Saturday and easily found parking. However, we finished up, the lot was completely packed and people were parking along the street. 

Now I said that Conkle’s Hollow is great for non-hikers. However, I want to clarify that you need to be reasonably steady on your feet and able to climb steps to do this hike. The first bit of the trail follows some steep steps and then continues uphill for a bit so be prepared to get your heart pumping! Most of this trail does follow along a cliff edge so you’ll see plenty of warning signs. Make sure to stay away from the edge and be smart about your hiking! It’s only dangerous if you’re not respecting the trail. Plus, the trail is one-way so you don’t have to worry about stepping to the side to let other hikers pass. 

I honestly can’t say enough good things about this trail! Although it was only 2.5 miles, we spent hours here because we constantly had to stop and take in the beauty! There were so many incredible rock formations and small waterfalls. Plus we were nearing peak wildflower season so I always wanted to stop and look at every plant. Most of the crowds seem to only do the shorter gorge trail so we thankfully had a lot of the rim trail to ourselves. You can always add in the Gorge trail before or after your hike to get the full experience! 

My family had an awesome time on this hike! I would definitely do this again and I thought it was a perfect hike for people who want to experience Hocking Hills without doing a long, strenuous hike. If you’re looking for other short hikes in the area, check out Cantwell Cliffs (1 mile) or Rock House (0.8 mile).

THE BEER: Double Edge Brewing Company

Address: 158 W Chestnut St, Lancaster, OH 43130
Distance from Trail Head: 24 miles, 31 mins
Website: http://www.double-edge.beer/
Food?: BYOF/ Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly

Double Edge Brewing Company is located about 15 miles outside of the Hocking Hills area in the super cute town of Lancaster. It’s a bit of a drive from the trailhead but definitely worth it! The first thing that struck me about this little brewery was the community! People were all talking to each other, clearly making friends with neighbors at the next table. How lovely! 

Double Edge has been a staple of downtown Lancaster since 2017. Their taproom is pretty big with a nice relaxed vibe. There’s also plenty of outdoor seating if you’d rather soak up the sun! Their taproom offers a wide variety of house made beers as well as local wine and cider. Check their events for food trucks on the weekend and live music! 

My favorite beer of the day might surprise you. It was actually the Aunt Sally Key Lime Sour! I really love a good sour, especially after being outside all day. This one really hit the spot and I liked that it kept the ABV low. This is definitely a great beer for some afternoon drinking! Good beer and a good spot; we’ll definitely be back someday!

Our Beer:

  • Seven Seas – West Coast IPA – 6.1%
  • Moondog – Porter – 5.7%
  • Comet Session – Session IPA – 5.2%
  • Aunt Sally – Key Lime Pie Sour – 3.6%

SUM UP: Conkles Hollow is a beautiful nature preserve near Hocking Hills, Ohio. The 2.5 miles Rim trail is a great trek for all ages but has some elevation and steps that wouldn’t be good for very young or unsteady folks. It’s just challenging enough to feel proud of yourself at the end and rewards you with gorgeous views along the way. After your hike explore more of the Hocking Hills Region, like Rock House or Cantwell Cliffs. Finally, round out your day with a cold brew at Double Edge Brewing in Lancaster. You’ll be sure to make a new friend at this inviting neighborhood brewery!

Hocking Hills Gorge Loop & Brewery 33

Hocking Hills, OH

I think I might be in love with Hocking Hills, OH. We traveled there last weekend for a wedding and added on a day of camping. We got in so much hiking but there was still miles more that I wanted to do! This hiking loop takes you past some of the park’s most famous views including Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls. This is the most popular part of Hocking Hills so the trails might be a bit busy. Make sure you set aside lots of time for this hike because this is one place you don’t want to rush through! The rocky gorge is absolutely incredible and will make you forget that you’re in Ohio! Afterward, head over to Lake Logan and grab a refreshing brew at Brewery 33 Hocking Hills. The perfect getaway weekend!

THE HIKE: Old Man’s Cave and Gorge Loop

Length: 6.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 425 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 2.5-3.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets
Parking: large lot by visitor center
H&H: 5/5

First of all, the biggest congrats to my wonderful cousin and her new wife! They’re the whole reason that we made it out to Hocking Hills and I couldn’t be happier for these two wonderful ladies. During the wedding weekend, J and I split the cutest AirBnb with my parents. It was a three bedroom cabin on a little pond and was pretty much everything I could want from a cabin. We were treated to a chorus of frogs at night and an ensemble of birds in the morning. I will definitely be staying here again! 

Although the wedding weekend was pretty packed with activities and setting up for the party, we still managed to fit in a few hikes. Since we knew we’d be busy, J and I decided to take Monday off and try our hands at camping! Now we’ve been camping before, but only ever with other people. It was all on us this time and I think we did pretty well! Plus staying the extra day meant that we could check out some of the popular parts of the park without the weekend crowds. 

Devil’s Bathtub

For our “big” hike of the weekend, we did a 6.5 mile loop starting at the Hocking Hills Visitor Center. First of all, this is a super nice center with bathrooms, water fountains, and lots of interpretive displays. We chatted with a ranger that gave us the lowdown on the best loop to see everything in this area of the park. Armed with a map and plenty of water, we were ready to set out! 

One of the things I liked best about the Hocking Hills area is that most of the trails are one way. Since a lot of the trails travel along narrow cliff faces, this is a must for safety! So keep on trail and follow the arrows. This loop starts on the blue blaze, immediately taking you down in the gorge following along the Old Man’s Creek. The first natural feature you’ll see is the Devil’s Bathtub, a unique stone feature that the creek has carved out over millennia to look like a pool for bathing. Keep following along the path until you see the signs for Old Man’s Cave. Okay, I’ll be honest that this is the only point where I didn’t obey the one way signs. The path into and through the cave is one way and you can’t get back to the blue blaze with going halfway back to the visitor’s center. So we snuck back after exploring the cave area. Don’t tell on us!

Old Man’s Cave

Back on the blue trail, we continued past features like the stone cliff that looks like a Sphinx head and the Lower Falls. I cannot even express how beautiful the gorge in this area is. Pictures don’t do it justice, you’ll just have to come and see for yourself! As you leave the Old Man’s Cave area, trail traffic will decrease significantly and there will be less sculpted trails. At one point you will hit a crossroads in the trail and you’ll have to decide if you’d like to add on the Whispering Cave loop (an extra 1.5 miles). We opted not to because the weather was calling for afternoon storms and I already couldn’t believe how long we had taken to do 2 miles! As you continued along towards Cedar Falls,  be prepared for some rock scrambles and more difficult trails. Despite the glory of the caves, this was actually my favorite section of the trail. We kept coming across beautiful waterfalls and it felt like we had the entire woods to ourselves. The last major feature before getting off the blue blaze is the massive Cedar Falls. It’s the largest falls (in terms of volume) in the park. At this point, you’ll switch to the red blaze and start making your way up the stairs to the rim trail. 

Now, don’t panic when you realize that you’re only halfway through the hike. I think it took us about 2.5 hours to get through the first part. We took tons of pictures and spent a lot of time just enjoying the views. Plus the rocky trails make it difficult to go too fast. But once you hit the rim trail, it’s quite flat and more like a normal forest hike. We got through this section and were back at the visitor center in just over an hour! Now if you’re looking to beef up this hike a bit, try tacking on Whispering Cave like I mentioned earlier. You can also do a loop around Rose Lake! Really the possibilities are endless. Just make sure to check the weather before heading out and pack enough water and snacks if you’re doing a long day hike. 

Well folks, I’m gonna be talking about this hike for a LONG time. It’s only April but I have a feeling this is going to be in my top 5 hikes of the year. And after such a cool hike, you need to rest up and Brewery 33 Hocking Hills is the perfect place to do it!

THE BEER: Brewery 33 Hocking Hills

Address: 12684 College Prospect Dr, Logan, OH 43138
Distance from Trail Head: 11 miles, 17 mins 
Website: http://www.brewery33.com/
Food?: BYOF or Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 4/5

Brewery 33 sits right next to Lake Logan and about 15 minutes away from the Hocking Hills Visitor Center. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating and are very pet and kiddo friendly! Although there’s no kitchen, check to see if a food truck is on the schedule or get takeout from one of the restaurants nearby. We lucked out and had amazingly beautiful weather the day we visited. It was so nice to sit in the sun with a couple of beer and just relax. And the nice thing about traveling with company is you get to sample more! Any time we go to a brewery with my parents, we all taste each other’s beers. Brewery 33 had a lot of good stuff to offer, but my favorite by far was the Mingo Mango Sour. It’s their basic german sour brewed with fresh mango juice. I love a good fruity beer and this was the most refreshing brew I’ve had in a long time. The only thing that could have been better was if it was a slushie! My second favorite was the Pottery Pale Ale which was a perfect porch beer. We had a great time at Brewery 33 and we’ll definitely be back the next time we visit Hocking Hills!

Our Beer:

  • Hooker Honey Lager- Honey Beer – 5.5%
  • Gateway Gose – Sour – 4%
  • Falls Mill – Milk Stout – 4.6%
  • Westenhaver – West Coast IPA – 6.2%
  • Pottery Pale Ale – Pale Ale – 5%
  • John McBride – Brown Ale – 5.8%
  • Mingo Mango Gose – Mango Sour – 3.3%

SUM UP: Hocking Hills is a very popular state park in Ohio. The Gorge Overlook Loop takes you past some of the park’s best features. The first section can get busy, so plan accordingly. Due to the elevation changes and some rock scrambles, this hike is rated moderately difficult. There’s plenty of parking at the trailhead, which is also the parking lot for the visitor’s center. Along this trail look out for incredible features like Old Man’s Cave, the Sphinx Head, Devil’s Bathtub, and Cedar Falls. After doing this loop, you definitely deserve a beer! And what better place than Brewery 33, Hocking Hill’s first and only brewery! Sit outside and relax, knowing you saw some of the best views in Ohio!