Rachel Carson Conservation Park & Elder Pine Brewing and Blending Co

Brookeville, MD

This is not a drill! Brewery only 0.2 miles from the trailhead. I repeat, 0.2 MILES! Yup this is what beer hiking dreams are made of! Rachel Carson Greenway is a delightful little park in the Brookeville area that has fields, forests, and streams! But the best part is that Elder Pine Brewery is just around the corner. In fact, you can see it through the trees! We should start a petition for extending the trail into their parking lot! Plus if you’re feeling really frisky, Waredeca Brewing is only 1.3 miles away and Brookeville Beer farm is only 4 miles! Truly a beer lover’s mecca. So let’s get to it!

THE HIKE: Rachel Carson Conservation Park

Length: 4.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 314ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, biking, dogs
Parking: Large parking lot, no fee
H&H: 3/5

The Rachel Carson Conservation Park is managed by Montgomery County Parks and features over 6 miles of trails! It’s popular with hikers and horseriders alike, although most times I’ve been there, it’s very quiet and peaceful. There’s plenty of parking and the trails all start in a meadow that has beautiful wildflowers in the spring. Be warned though, the sun in this open meadow can be brutal so bring a hat! It was incredibly hot and humid the day that J and I came so we knew it would be a short hike day. We decided to follow the Rachel Carson Greenway trail which runs the perimeter of the park, then took the Scarlet Tanager trail back to the meadow. There are a few other trails in the park that you can take too if you’d take a different route.

We liked this hike because it ran along a river which offered plenty of chances for scrambling over rocks if that’s your thing. J prefers to stay on land and be my photographer. This hike also had some cool rock formations. I’m always surprised to see such huge rocks in the woods so far away from any mountains. We also found plenty of ripe wineberries, delicious! 

Despite the pretty views, parts of this trail were pretty overgrown. There was one trail that we had to turn around because the stream crossing was too deep and there were no stepping stones. It was also pretty muddy and incredibly buggy. I wish we had waited until later in the year to do this hike! This is just a reminder to bring plenty of water when hiking in the summer!

THE BEER: Elder Pine Brewing and Blending Co.

Address: 4200 Sundown Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20882
Distance from Trail Head: 0.2 miles, 1 min
Website: https://www.elderpine.com/
Food?: Food Trucks
H&H Rating: 5/5

We hadn’t been to Elder Pine since they first opened in 2019 so it was really good to be back. This place has really expanded and opened up tons of outdoor seating. There’s a really cool section of the pine forest that’s decked out with string lights and seating. Unfortunately, this was all full when we got there so we sat on the patio. Easier access to the bar! Elder Pine always puts out some solid beers. This time we were feeling something more light (did I mention it was SUPER) hot out?? To start out we tried two of their pilsners. The Ameno was an italian style pilsner that was super grainy but very refreshing. The 10 Plato Pivo was a Czech style pilsner which was cold fermented and made with a yeast from the Czech Republic. It was incredibly crisp and went down very easily. It was really neat to compare the flavors of these two pilsners; so similar but with slightly different tastes that made a huge difference. 

Overall, Elder Pine was a great time! They had plenty of seating and everyone was so friendly. They also had a great food truck serving up some delicious BBQ. Honestly, we were having such a nice time sitting on the patio that we completely forgot to look at the inside taproom. Guess we gotta go back soon. 

Our Beer:

  • Veritable Villein – Saison – 6% 
  • Every Villein Is Lemons – Saison – 6%
  • Anti-Hot – NEIPA – 6.6%
  • Ameno – Italian Style Pilsner – 5%
  • 10 Plato Pivo – Czech Style Pilsner – 4%

SUM UP: 

Rachel Carson Conservation Park is a quiet park in Brookeville that’s open to hikers, leashed dogs, and horse riders. There are over 6 miles of trails including wooded and field trails. It can get buggy so be prepared. Just around the corner is Elder Pine Brewery which makes incredible beers and has a delightfully woodsy vibe. See if you can get a spot in an Adirondack chair under the pine trees!