Robin Hill Park & Cobblehaus Brewing Company

Coraopolis, PA

In the midst of house hunting and unpredictable weather, it’s been hard to get out and hike! Thankfully we were able to snag this fun little hike in between rain last weekend. I’ve passed Robin Hill park a ton of times (we even looked at having our wedding there), but I never knew that there were so many trails to explore! We were able to get a great trek in and then relaxed at Cobblehaus Brewery in Coraopolis. They had an Irish Red Ale that was perfect for the St. Paddy’s Weekend!

THE HIKE: Robin Hill Park Loop

Length: 3.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, nature walks, leashed pets
Parking: Lots of parking. May fill up when house is rented out for events
H&H: 4/5

Robin Hill Park is a 140 acre park found in Moon Township right off of Thorn Run Road. It is maintained by the Moon Township Parks and Recreation. It’s most well known for the gorgeous Georgian Manor onsite that is used for weddings and other events. The house was built in the 1920s by the Nimick Family and was left to the Township in 1971 to be a place for “Nature Lover’s”. But this beautiful house is only one part that this park has to offer! Surrounding the house are meticulously maintained gardens that look especially gorgeous in Spring. Sady, we were a few weeks too early to catch them in their prime! Also on the property is a log cabin from the 1800’s. This cabin originally was home for a family about 7 miles away from what is now Robin Hill Park. It was carefully dismantled in the late 1970s and brought to its new location by the Moon Township Historical Society. It was originally built in 1825 for the Coventry family who lived there for 50 years before it passed along to the next family, who stayed there for three generations. 

I bring up the log cabin not just because it’s a really cool piece of history, but also because it’s where our hike begins! The best way to find the majority of the trails at Robin Hill is to start on the 0.6 miles Log Cabin Trail that starts just behind the cabin. You’ll pretty quickly find yourself in the peacefully quiet woods with not much activity around, except for the birds and chipmunks! Robin Hill trails are a little hard to follow since there are several short trails that you have to link together to get a decent hike in. There are trail signs through but not all of the trails are well blazed so you sometimes have to guess where you are. However, it’s not a huge park so I wasn’t too worried about getting woefully off track. I generally think we took the following trails: Log Cabin → Christmas Fern → Ravine → Thorn Run (Turn around), Thorn Run → Ridgeback → W Beech → Manor House and parking lot. All together it came to about 3.5 miles. There were a couple dicey spots to be aware of though! Firstly, one of the trails looked like it was freshly cut and not in a good way! It seemed like someone had come through with a backhoe to clear out so the trail was very wide without proper drainage. Also the Thorn Run trail follows a small creek which was beautiful but the trail often meandered over the creek without bridges or easy stepping stones. Since it wasn’t very cold, I didn’t mind getting my feet wet but I know J disliked the frequent crossings. 

Overall, I really appreciated how quiet this area was. We only saw one other group of people out and it was easy to find space for ourselves. I would really like to come back here when the greenery is coming in! I can’t wait to not walk through boring brown woods anymore! I also think this would be a fun hike to get younger kids interested in the outdoors without being too strenuous. Just be prepared for some pretty muddy boots at the end!

THE BEER: Cobblehaus Brewing Company

Address: 1021 5th Ave, Coraopolis, PA 15108
Distance from Trail Head: 2.3 miles, 6 mins
Food?: BYOF or Food Trucks
Details: No Pets, Indoor Seating Only
H&H Rating: 4/5

I’ve always had a soft spot for Coraopolis. I went to high school in the area and I’ve always hoped the business district would take off. When I heard there was a brewery going in, I had high hopes that this meant a new era for Main Street! Now several years later, it’s so nice to see how Cobblehaus has become a staple of the community. I love how they support the nearby restaurants by encouraging their patrons to get dinner delivered to the brewery. Also Coraopolis has some really great little antique and thrift shops if that’s your thing! Anytime I’m in town, my mom and I have to stop in Off the Avenue for some unique finds. Also if you finish up your hike and beer isn’t your thing, I highly recommend the Anchor and Anvil coffee shop. They do great lattes and breakfast sandwiches! 

Okay so back to our brewery. Cobblehaus has been making their old-world styles since 2017. In fact, their tagline is “Old World styles, New World Twists”. This a great place for anyone that craves those old European-style beers like Belgian Tripels and German Hefeweizens. I don’t usually seek out those robust Belgian styles, but J loves them! I also really wanted to get my hands on the DogHaus Red, a collab between Cobblehaus and our friends at BrewDog Pitt. I’m glad we made the trip because the DogHaus Red definitely was my favorite brew of the day! J also really liked the Denny Got Evil. It has a very subtle spice in the aftertaste. 

Cobblehaus is a really unique venue because it has a bunch of separate little rooms in addition to the main taproom space. I think the building used to be a doctor or dentist office and they’ve kept all the original exam rooms which now make for cozy spaces if the bustling taproom isn’t to your liking. Also be sure to check out Thursday Trivia Night, it’s a fan favorite and the place can be packed! 

Our Beer:

  • Lucky Me – Belgian Tripel- 9.9%
  • Denny Got Evil – Black Cherry Habanero Brown Ale – 6.6%
  • Secret Society – Belgian Dubbel – 7.1%
  • Fireside Charmer – Doppelbock – 8.2%
  • DogHaus Red – Irish Red Ale – 5.5%

SUM UP: Robin Hill Park is a small park in Moon Township that boasts surprisingly peaceful trail systems along a small stream. There are plenty of small connector trails if you’re only looking for a short stretch of the legs or for a longer afternoon hike. The trails are fairly flat with a few sections of steep inclines, so I would rate it moderate overall. Be careful in the Spring, the trails can be rather muddy! Afterward, head down the road to downtown Coraopolis and check out Cobblehaus Brewing. They focus on old world style, so if you like doppelbocks or Belgian tripels, this is the place for you! Order some food from a local restaurant and stay a while!

Thornburg Conservation Park & Insurrection AleWorks

Heidelberg, PA

There’s nothing quite like a good local hike. A place that you can pop over to on a weeknight for some quick nature time. Even better when there’s a great brewery nearby too! J and I are super lucky that the Thornburg Conservation Park is very close to our home! I love to walk the grassy trails in the Conservation Park area and then add on Johnson’s Trail along Chartier’s Creek. This is a really nicely maintained trail that runs in between the creek and the railroad trails almost all the way to Carnegie. It’s very quiet and peaceful and the perfect place to unwind on a Friday after work!

THE HIKE: Thornburg Conservation Park and Johnson’s Trail

Length: 3.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 75 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, nature walks, biking, leashed pets (Note: no pets on Wednesdays or Sundays)
Parking: Lot for about 10 cars at entrance.
H&H: 4/5

The Thornburg Conservation Park was built on the site of the Former Crafton golf club. This 9-hole course opened in 1923 and operated for decades until the family sold the property in 2001. After a years long legal battle, the Borough of Thornburg was able to crowdsource the funds to purchase the nearly 40 acre park and turn it into the beautiful place that it is today! 

There are two main sections to this greenspace. First is the Conservation park which features about 2 miles of flat trails laid out in the grid. The park is perfectly located at a bend in the Chartiers Creek so it is bordered on two sides by the water. The trails are wide and grassy, separated by large areas of trees and shrubs. This is a great park for family walks as the ground is very flat and there’s no difficult inclines. This is also a great park for birdwatching and I’ve even heard of people seeing bald eagles along the Creek! 

The second part of the park is Johnson’s Trail which follows along the Creek towards Carnegie. This trail is not maintained by Thornburg. Quite honestly, I wasn’t able to find out any information about who originally made the trail or maintains it now but I wish I could give them a shout out because it’s a very nicely cut trail. There are several small bridges made of railroad ties over stream crossings that are very solidly made. Due to the nature of the area, the trail can get a bit muddy so use caution! I really loved exploring this trail but don’t be surprised if it seems dirty. Because it’s on the creek’s floodplain, trash often gets washed up along the shore. I’d love to organize a cleanup day soon, who’s with me?! 

Johnson’s trail is about 1.5 miles one way and leads all the way to the railroad tracks near Carnegie. I’ve heard rumors about wanting to extend this trail into Carnegie and eventually meeting up with the proposed Panhandle Trail extension into Carnegie. I’ll keep you posted on this project because I’m highly intrigued! Johnson’s Trail is a simple out and back but I found it to be quite beautiful and extremely peaceful. It was surprisingly remote for being in the middle of suburbia and I just felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders while walking along the water. 

I especially recommend this park to locals of the Crafton, Thornburg, and Carnegie areas. It’s so great to get out in your own backyard! But of course, this is a great place for anyone wanting to explore the greenways of Allegheny County. Afterwards, may I suggest a trip to our favorite local brewery? 

THE BEER: Insurrection AleWorks

Address: 1635 E Railroad St, Heidelberg, PA 15106
Distance from Trail Head: 4.8 miles, 12 mins 
Food?:  Full Menu
Details: Covered Patio, No Pets
H&H Rating: 5/5

Insurrection AleWorks has been our local brewery ever since it opened in 2015! They’ve now got two locations, the original taproom with a full menu in Heidelberg and the weekend taproom in the Strip District. I’ve been to both locations, but I will always love the original taproom. Fair warning though, it’s a VERY popular little place and tables can be hard to come by! Although their menu is delicious, we usually just grab a corner to have some beer instead of waiting for a table. 

I know I say this all the time, but Insurrection makes exceptionally good beers. They are for certain in my top 5 favorite Pittsburgh breweries, if not my top 5 overall! They always make a really wide range of beers, but I feel that their pale ales and IPAs are really where they shine. I have to give honorable mention to their dark beer offerings too. They don’t make a whole lot of dark beers, but their Dark Star Crashes has got to be one of my all time favorite oatmeal stouts. On this particular visit, my favorite beer of the night was actually the ONIP. This was originally a Russian Stout but to show support for Ukrainians, they re-named it the Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout and are donating $1.00 from every beer sold to Red Cross efforts in Ukraine. Way to go Insurrection! Nothing like supporting a great cause while also having a delicious beer. 

Overall, Insurrection is a fantastic local brewery where you’ll feel like family. They’ve got a cozy taproom with good food and good beer! And if you’re just in for a beer, might I suggest grabbing some takeout from Brick N Mortar just down the street. These guys make some of the best sandwiches ever and you have to try their homemade tortilla chips. Insurrection and Brick N Mortar is honestly my favorite date night combo!

Our Beer:

  • Casting Hypnotic – NEIPA- 6.5%
  • Buddha’s Intelligent Design – Imperial Stout – 8%
  • Finsternis – Bavarian Dark Lager – 5%
  • ONIP – Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout – 9%

SUM UP: Thornburg Conservation Park is a large greenspace located just outside of the city limits, off of Route 60 in Thornburg Borough. It’s open for hiking, birdwatching, and leashed pets, although pets do need a permit and are not permitted on Wednesdays and Sundays. The wide, grassy paths make this a great spot for families or an easy nature walk. Off the park is Johnson’s Trail which meanders along Chartier’s Creek for a peaceful hike. Afterward, grab a beer and food at Insurrection AleWorks in Heidelberg which always has some high quality brews. If you go soon, try the ONIP Anti-Imperial Stout which they’re donating some proceeds toward Ukrainian relief.

Boyce Mayview Park & Recon Brewing at Hastings

Upper St. Clair, PA

Guys, I dunno about you, but this is the hardest time of year to hike. The ground is either frozen or muddy and there aren’t too many trails that are safe to hike! We still made it out to Boyce Mayview Park last weekend and we encountered some seriously sloppy trails. We stayed away from the lowland trails and just tried to take our time. Be careful when hiking and remember that a muddy trail might not be the safest trail! After a really nice long time in the woods, we headed to Recon Brewing at Hasting, a brand new South Hills extension of the Butler-based brewery.

THE HIKE: Boyce Mayview Loop

Length: Variable (We did 4.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 482 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time:  2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, mountain biking, leashed pets (Note: pets are not allowed on the Wetlands trails) 
Parking: Large lots throughout park
H&H: 4/5

This is another of those parks that I can’t believe was so close to my home growing up and I never went to it! Boyce Mayview park is located in and maintained by Upper St. Clair Township, just south of the City of Pittsburgh. This nearly 500 acre park came to be in the mid-90s when Upper St. Clair purchased the Mayview Farm which happened to be directly next to the existing Boyce park. The combined parks now offer a variety of activities, including a community recreation center, ball fields, and pavilions. The large majority though is undeveloped except for miles of trails so despite being in a densely suburban area, these woods feel miles away from it all. 

When planning this excursion, the first thing that struck me was the lack of information! There were hardly any trails on AllTrails and the trail map had it very hard to tell which paths were paved. And several local travel pages mentioned how difficult it was to find your way around here. Expecting another disappointing day in the woods, we ventured out to Boyce Mayfield Park. Thankfully for us, we easily made it to the parking lot and trailhead off of Boyce Road. The lot was pretty full but we managed to squeeze in. From there, we found the trails to be very clearly marked with colored posts and even stone markers complete with printed trail names and arrows. I’m not sure if this was a recent project but we were very impressed with how well the trails were marked! Even so, be aware that to get a decent hike in, there’s not just one trail to follow. You’ll have to combine several to make a decent loop!

This park was so unique because it offered so many different types of habitats. There are wetlands, fields, creeks, rugged woods, and more! I honestly couldn’t have spent a LOT more time here if the trails hadn’t been so muddy. The big highlight of our loop was the unexpected waterfalls! On a whim we followed the signs for the mid-falls and it was so much bigger than I was expecting for a local park. Plus we had the place to ourselves so we could enjoy the peaceful water flow. I also really loved the Between Two Worlds trail which was up on a ridge overlooking Chartiers creek on one side and an open field on the other. The creek was such a thing of beauty, particularly at this time of year with the thaw causing rushing waters. It felt so far away from the world. We had both been feeling stressed lately and this hike was exactly the reset we needed.  

THE BEER: Recon Brewery at Hastings

Address: 1401 Hastings Cres, Bridgeville, PA 15017
Distance from Trail Head:  1.4 miles, 4 mins 
Food?: Full Menu
Details: Outdoor seating but no pets inside
H&H Rating: 5/5

Recon Brewing at Hasting is a brand new taproom for the Butler-based Recon Brewing. I have to be completely honest, I was a bit wary of checking this one out. It’s located in a brand new housing development and I frankly thought it was not going to be very good. But folks, I have to eat my words because this beer was SO GOOD! The taproom is pretty small so we did have to wait a few minutes for a table. There’s a small attached restaurant that serves pub fare so don’t be surprised if people are hanging out longer than at a typical brewery. 

We were very happy to be joined by my parents for this brewery! We love going out with them because we do a “wheel of styles” where everyone orders a different beer and we pace them around so everyone can try something new. So no, J and I did not single handedly have eight beers, I promise! Like I said earlier, I was really impressed with the beer at Recon. There was a wide variety of styles and there wasn’t anything that I disliked. All four of us have very different tastes and there was something for everyone! My favorite of the night was the headliner IPA, BRC. It was a smooth, slightly sweet IPA with a really nice balance of hops. Dangerously easy to drink

My only complaint about this space was that it needed an entryway. It was a bustling little brewery and the door was constantly opening, sending a freezing whoosh of air into the room. Not exactly ideal! Oh well, at least winter is on its way out. Right? Right??

Our Beer:

  • BRC – IPA – 7%
  • Immaculate – NEIPA – 6.5%
  • Witchin’ Brew – Farmhouse Ale – 6.7%
  • Burly Joe – Oatmeal Stout – 5.7%
  • 14 Leatherheads – Amber Lager – 5%
  • We Got the Wheat – Wheat Beer – 6%
  • Hastings Brown Ale – Brown Ale – 5.1%
  • Fixed the Newel Post – Porter – 7.6%

SUM UP: Boyce Mayview is a large township park in Upper St. Clair that has a surprising amount of wooded trails, in addition to ballfields and a recreation creation center. There are many different trails to choose from so have a map handy to help plan your route. Everything is very well marked though! This park is impressive for its variety of landscapes including creeks, wetlands, fields and waterfalls. Some trails can be difficult so make sure to have proper footwear! Afterwards, head over to the brand new Recon Brewing at Hastings for some really delicious beer. And if the menu there isn’t what you’re looking for, walk over the Over the Bar (OTB) Bicycle cafe for some mouthwatering fare.