This is a story of the hike that wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes you just aren’t as prepared for nature as you wish you were! We originally were going to do the Walker Park Trail in Leet Township only to find about 0.5 mile in that there was a large stream crossing with no stepping stones. We went for it, not wanting to give up so soon, and got our feet completely soaked. Not 0.1mile later the trail veered over the stream again and we had to turn around. No trail is worth getting feet completely soaked multiple times in 40F weather! So instead we went up the road to the small Devil’s Hollow area which is managed by the Allegheny Land Trust. It’s a short trail but it was beautifully peaceful and had a great hill that got our blood pumping! And it’s conveniently very close to the newly opened Fermata Brewing in Ambridge!
THE HIKE: Devil’s Hollow Conservation Area
Length: 1.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 346 ft
Time: 45 minutes
Trail use: hiking, leashed pets, trail running
Parking: Small lot for three cars
With all the lingering winter weather (why is it always crappy on the weekends?!) we’ve been finding it difficult to get out and hike! I’m so ready for those warm spring days. This past weekend, we decided to check out a small trail in the Leetsdale area. It had great reviews on AllTrails and looked like the perfect Sunday hike! Well it started out alright, we parked at one of the picnic shelters and used the stepping stones to cross the little creek. The first 0.5 miles traveled along the creek in a very peaceful woods. But then we hit problems. The trail meandered over the creek again but this time there were no stepping stones. The creek had gotten wider and there was no easy place to cross so we just picked a spot and went for it. Annnnnd got wet up to mid-shin on a 40F day. Not ideal. So then a few minutes later when the trail crossed the creek again, we decided to turn around. It just wasn’t the right kind of day for soaking wet feet!
So we went back to the car after only getting about 1.5 miles in and decided to go up the road to Devil’s Hollow Conservation Area. This is a 97 acre area managed by the Allegheny Land Trust and there is parking for about 3 cars at the trailhead. This area was donated to the ALT in 2016 from the Little Sewickley Creek Watershed Association. It’s surrounded by private lands, so be aware that some trails may split off into private property. Try to stay on the main trail marked by ALT signs.
I really enjoyed this trail! We did the loop counterclockwise which I highly recommend because it starts with a steep incline and ends with a long gentle downslope. I feel like the opposite way would make for a rough descent at the end! This trail does gain over 300ft in elevation in the first 0.5 mile so be prepared! Some areas of the trail were muddy at the very end but nothing impossible to navigate.
Because this trail loops along a steep hillside, it creates a really interesting “silent” area. The hills block out any surrounding noises so it feels completely silent as you hike, broken only by squirrels rustling in the leaves and birds chirping in the trees. We didn’t see another person the whole time on the trail! I highly recommend this trail, and if you’re looking for a longer route, just complete the loop more than once! You might find something new along the way.
THE BEER: Fermata Brewing Company
Address: 918 Merchant St, Ambridge, PA 15003
Distance from Trail Head: 5 miles, 12 mins
Food?: Food Truck or Local Restaurants or BYOF
Details: Indoor Seating only (Unsure about pets)
H&H Rating: 5/5
I was so excited to go to this brand new brewery in Ambridge! They had only been open 7 days when we visited and the place was THRIVING. Fermata Brewing Company joins Altered Genius as resident brew masters on Merchant Street in downtown Ambridge.
The name Fermata is actually a musical term, which is fitting since all of the partners are music lovers! In written music a fermata is a “pause of unspecified length over a note or rest”. This is a fitting name for the brewery because it invites everyone to pause and stay for a while. Fermata wants to be a place of community in Ambridge where everyone is welcome to come and enjoy great beer and great community. Sign me up! Fermata also pays homage to the history of Ambridge and the American Bridge company from which the town gets its name. The brewery incorporates both the fermata symbol and a bridge in their logo as a shout out to their origins.
One thing I really loved about this place was the immediate sense of chill when we walked in. There were so many places to sit and relax and we felt welcomed by the staff. The decor is so cool, with photos and maps harkening back to the old days of Ambridge side by side with classic music records and memorabilia. I also love that the brewing area is right out in the open! We sat with our beer and watched as the guys cleaned up from a brewing day. How cool to have a front seat to the beer making process? And if you’re a music lover, this is gonna be the place to be! There will be open mic nights, live music and much more so keep an eye on their social media to stay up to date!
And of course, the most important part: How was the beer? It was pretty dang good! My fav of the day was definitely the Living in the Limelight. It was a crisp pale ale that really hit the spot after working up a sweat out in the woods. I also liked the surprising Cold Brew Collusion, which gave me all the lovely wheat flavors with a smooth coffee finish. Delightful!
- Living in the Limelight – Pale Ale – 5.7%
- Cold Brew Collusion – Coffee Wheat Beer – 5.6%
- Wayward Son – Wheat Beer – 5.6%
- You Too – Dry Irish Stout – 3.9%
SUM UP: Devils Hollow Conservation Area is managed by the Allegheny Land Trust and offers a 1.6 mile loop. But don’t be fooled by the length! This trail has a steep incline that really gets the blood pumping and bumps this up to a moderate hike . This is a low traffic area and there are three parking spots at the trailhead. The trail is so peaceful and quiet plus you can see a lot of birds! After your hike, check out downtown Ambridge’s brand new brewery: Fermata! They’ve got a great beer list in a huge, yet homey taproom. They don’t have a kitchen but they’ve got QR codes for all the local restaurants so you can order in or see if a food truck is on the schedule! This is an awesome addition to Ambridge and keep your eyes open for their music schedule!