Cove Mountain Preserve & Pizza Boy Brewing

Enola, PA

While in Harrisburg for a quick weekend, we managed to squeeze in another short hike! We stopped at Cove Mountain Preserve which is on the other side of the Susquehanna river from the capitol. This nature preserve sits at the end of a suburban neighborhood and seemed very popular with families, as it should! We did a short 1.5 mile loop to the State of Liberty lookout. We ended up nearly running the last bit cause we heard some rumbles in the distance. I am not a fan of being in the woods during a thunderstorm! Thankfully we made it back to the car and took refuge at Pizza Boy Brewing which is a place I’ve been wanting to check out for years. True to their name, the pizza was awesome and the beer was delicious. Be prepared to make some hard decisions though, they had nearly 100 beers on tap!

THE HIKE: Cove Mountain Preserve – Statue of Liberty Viewpoint

Length: 1.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 250ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time:  45 minutes
Trail use: Hiking, Leashed Pets
Parking: Large gravel lot at trailhead
H&H: 4/5

Cove Mountain Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by volunteers from the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club. The Nature Conservancy purchased the land in 2017, making it the first nature preserve owned by TNC in Central PA. This important purchase actually creates a 14-mile stretch of protected land along the Kittatinny Ridge in Central Pennsylvania. This ridge forms a 185-mile stretch of rugged mountain from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Delaware River Gap. According to The Nature Conservancy, this ridge is critical to the biodiversity of Pennsylvania because it provides a forested “superhighway” for animals to escape from the effects of changing climates. 

Cove Mountain Preserve itself is a very well-maintained area with about 3 miles of trails. There are several small, interlinked trails that are color coded. We took the Green and Yellow trails to make a loop out to the Statue of Liberty viewpoint. This was about 1.5 miles of moderate hiking that wound through pawpaw (!) groves and has some small rock scrambles. There was a really cool spot where the trail squeezed through a break in the glacial rocks. It was fittingly called the Boulder Squeeze! A HUGE shout out to the folks with the SATC for making these trails, the green trail was absolutely beautiful, especially all of the rock work! Having done some trail building myself, I know moving rocks like that is no small feat! 

Okay, so you might be wondering if I’ve lost my mind talking about the Statue of Liberty. No, you can’t see all the way to the Big Apple from this trail. But there is a miniature replica of Lady Liberty on a rock in the Susquehanna. I had never heard about this until this trip and I needed to know more about it! And what a story it is. SO in 1986, a local man wanted to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Statue of Liberty by making a “prank” replica of it. He built it out of plywood and venetian blinds and, along with some co-conspirators, installed it on an old bridge piling in the middle of the night. It caused quite a stir and even a few traffic jams on the neighboring highway! Surprisingly, despite its flimsy construction materials, the statue remained in place until 1992 when it was blown off the pedestal and destroyed. However, people had become quite attached to her over the few years that a collection for a replacement was set up. Over $25,000 was raised and a replica was made of steel and fiberglass. Nearly 11 years after the first statue was built, a helicopter placed Lady Liberty back on her pedestal. It wasn’t until 2011 that a local lawyer Gene Stilp finally came forward as the mastermind behind the original statue. Wow what a story! 

We were very impressed with this little nature reserve and I would definitely recommend a visit! And if you go soon, check out those pawpaw groves, you might be able to catch a fresh fruit. 

THE BEER: Pizza Boy Brewing/ Al’s of Hampden

Address: 2240 Millennium Way, Enola, PA 17025
Distance from Trail Head: 6.8 mi, 12 mins
Website: http://www.alsofhampden.com/
Food?: Full Menu – PIZZA
Details: Outdoor seating but no pets
H&H Rating: 5/5

Pizza Boy Brewing has been on my radar for a while as I’ve seen a few more of their beers popping up on draft around the Burgh. But I especially remember them from some of their delicious collabs with local fav East End! I’d really liked everything I’ve had from Pizza Boy so I was especially excited to be able to go to their brewpub. 

Upon visiting Pizza Boy, I was surprised to learn that the Pizza actually came first! Al’s of Hampden is a pizza restaurant that has been run by Albert Kominski since 2002. It wasn’t until 2011, that the brewery got started. The name makes a lot more sense now! The brewery quickly became popular, soon outgrowing their old location. The team was able to upgrade to a large facility in Enola PA where they have a full menu as well as take out, and over 100 beers on tap! They have a huge variety of Pizza Boy beers, as well as other local favorites and standard domestic pours. There really is something for everyone at Pizza Boy! 

Pizza and beer has got to be one of my favorite combos and it just hits different after hiking! I can only speak to how delicious their pizza was, but they also have a full pub menu, including subs, soups, and salads. The pizza definitely reels you in, but you’ll end up staying awhile for the taplist. And mostly because that’s how long it will take you to read it! Seriously, this place has so many beers that it was nearly impossible to choose. We actually went back the next day for another round of tasting! My favorite of the weekend was the Permission Slip, which was so crisp and refreshing with a nice hop profile. And I would be remiss if I didn’t call out the delightful Paw Paw Pale Ale. Pizza and pawpaw beer, I think I was in heaven! 

Our Beer:

  • West Shore IPA – IPA – 6.5%
  • Citrus Flip – IPA – 6%
  • Sunny Side Up (Bourbon Barrel Aged) – Coffee Stout – 9.5%
  • Starlit Morning – Pale Ale – 5.5%
  • Permission Slip – India Pale Lager – 5.7%
  • Puncheon Rogerd – Wild Ale – 6.3%
  • Hop Vision Cashmere – IPA – 6%
  • Engineer of Dreams – NEIPA – 6.2%
  • Keystone – IPA – 6.6%
  • Paw Paw Pale Ale – 5.5%

SUM UP: Cove Nature Preserve is a small hiking area just north of Harrisburg in central PA. It offers several miles of trails with clearly marked trail blazes. The trails are fairly flat with some moderately rocky terrain. This is a great spot for beginner hikers or families especially since the trails are well-maintained and have low foot traffic. After your stroll, head over to Pizza Boy Brewing for the classic pizza and beer combo. Get ready to make some tough decisions though. Between the lengthy tap list and robust menu, you’ll have a tough time choosing!

Peter’s Mountain & ZeroDay Brewing Co.

Harrisburg, PA

Well it looks like I have to eat my words from last week because here’s another Appalachian Trail hike! We went to Harrisburg last weekend and got to have another excursion in Rocksylvania. This time we tackled Peter’s Mountain Ridge, just north of the capital. The hike starts out a bit dicey with a dash around a street and railroad then takes you straight up, up and up! This hike is not for the faint of heart. Thankfully there are plenty great breweries in the area to quench that thirst you’ll work up! Some friends of ours introduced us to ZeroDay Brewing in the heart of Harrisburg. They had great brews and a full menu if you’re famished after those rock scrambles!

THE HIKE: Peter’s Mountain via Appalachian Trail

Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 974 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 2-2.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Leashed Pets
Parking: Park in commuter lot across road
H&H: 3/5

As with all of my posts about the Appalachian Trail, I like to start out with a bit of a background on the trail just in case some people are new to hiking! The Appalachian Trail (or AT for short) runs for about 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine and is very popular with backpackers and day-hikers alike! The AT stretches for almost 230 miles in PA, from the Mason-Dixon Line to the New Jersey border. The PA section is affectionately called Rocksylvania for its extremely rocky terrain in central PA. Throughout the whole length of the trail, it is marked by white blazes, so you can always find your way! 

Now that we’re back in PA, I have a dream of doing the whole PA section in day hikes (not a backpacker here!). So far I think we’ve gotten about 4 miles out of 230. Clearly we’re making strides! See what I did there…

Okay back to last weekend’s hike. Since we were in town for a concert, we wanted a hike that wasn’t too far from our hotel and that we could tackle in about 2 hours. Peters Mountain was the perfect choice, being a 4 mile loop and only about 20 minutes north of downtown Harrisburg. The ascent to Peters Mountain starts at the Clark’s Ferry Park n Ride where you’ll have to cross a large street and train tracks to get to the trail head. We didn’t love this part but the road wasn’t too busy so the sprint across traffic was doable. Just keep your fingers crossed that a train isn’t coming by because you might be waiting for a while! From there it’s up up up. Follow the white blazes for the AT as you go along switchback, quickly gaining elevation. The highway noise is quite loud and you can hear it most of the way up the hill. It was quite off-putting at first but eventually it faded to the background. 

I’ll be honest, this was another tough hike for us! The humidity was pretty high and the majority of the elevation is gained in the first 1.5 miles of the hike. Take breaks when needed and bring plenty of water! I couldn’t believe how quickly we went through our water. One great thing about this hike was how low the foot traffic was! I thought this would be a popular spot on a weekend but we only saw one other couple. I also love the rock scrambles along the ridge of the mountain. I just wish that we had been able to do this hike later in the year. We could only catch glimpses of the vistas through the trees but I can imagine that it’s gorgeous in the fall/winter. 

Trailhead across the railroad tracks
My triumph on finding a pawpaw forest

Be aware that this area is HIGHLY infected with spotted lantern flies. We tried to kill as many as we could but their numbers were just overwhelming. There had to be 100s along the ridge. It was so sad to see how they were destroying certain trees. They leave a gross black sludge around the base of large trees and I can’t imagine how devastating this might be for our forests! Also be prepared for lots of gnats and flies. Summer hiking always seems to mean constantly swatting! Oh and we saw a huge black snake slithering into a tree trunk on our way back down the mountain. Frankly I deserve a medal for not screaming. In fact I was so silent that J was confused why I was suddenly backing up. 

So overall, this hike was just middle of the road for me. I love the switchbacks and rock scrambles, but I hated the bugs, running across a busy road to the trailhead, and the loud highway noises. I think I would have enjoyed it much more if we had been able to see the vistas at the top! Oh well, this just has me excited for fall hiking! 

THE BEER: ZeroDay Brewing Company

Address: 925 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA 17102
Distance from Trail Head: 14 miles, 20 mins 
Website: http://zerodaybrewing.com/
Food?: Full Menu
Details: Outdoor seating but no pets
H&H Rating: 4/5

From ZeroDay Brewing’s Facebook page

One of the best parts of doing hikes in central PA is getting to meet up with friends along the way! One of my best friends from college lives in Philly now so we try to split the difference whenever we can. They’re also huge craft beer fans and were more than happy to introduce us to their favorite breweries in the Harrisburg area! One of the places they took us to was ZeroDay Brewing Company. ZeroDay has several locations in the Harrisburg area so be sure you know which one you want to go to! We went to their main taproom location and it had a great vibe. Lots of beers on tap and plenty of seating all around. I love when I go to a brewery and see so many different types of people, all enjoying the same space! 

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what “Zeroday” means. Well little did I know at the time but it’s actually a connection to hiking! From their website Zeroday means “a day taken during a journey in which no miles are logged, usually because the traveler has stopped in a town to resupply, rest and reinvigorate”. The name was actually inspired by one of the founder’s Appalachian Trail thru-hike and they see the name as a reminder to everyone to take a pause and “enjoy some of the side trails like offers because the views are almost always worth it”! Now that’s something I can get behind! 

Zeroday has expanded quite a bit in the years since their founding. Their original taproom is now their production facility and they offer three other bar locations throughout Harrisburg. The location we went to is their urban taproom only a few blocks away from the Capitol and features tacos from the Mexican kitchen La Catrina. They also have two outposts in Harrisburg, one at Broad Street Market where people can enjoy the farmers market and one at the Midtown Cinema which also has a gourmet hotdog menu. 

Also a fun fact, Zeroday’s Head Brewer is a woman named Hannah! What are the odds?!

Our Beer:

  • Pine Palace – West Coast IPA – 6.4%
  • Mango Habanero – Spicy Pale Ale – 6.66% 
  • Sunday Soiree – Mimosa Pale Ale – 5.6%
  • This Pilsner is My Love Language – Pilsner – 5%

SUM UP: The Peter’s Mountain ascent on the Appalachian Trail is a moderately difficult day hike just outside of Harrisburg, PA. There is amply parking in the Clarks Ferry Park n Ride but be aware that you will have to cross a large road and train tracks to reach the trailhead. ON this hike, expect to encounter steep inclines, switchbacks, and some rock scrambles. If you go in the fall and winter, you will have expansive views of the river valley. Sturdy boots are essential and hiking poles might be helpful. Afterward, head back into Harrisburg for a bite and a brew at ZeroDay Brewing. This is the perfect stop post-hike because one of the founders is actually an AT thru-hiker!

Pulpit Rock & 1787 Brewing Company

Hamburg, PA

For this Hike n Hop combo, we trekked all the way out to central PA to tackle a section of the Appalachian Trail! This was our first time on the AT in Pennsylvania and it really showed us why it has the nickname “Rocksylvania”. The descent on this small section in Hamburg, PA was really rocky but the view from the high point at Pulpit Rock was completely worth the sweat! If you have time, definitely turn this into a longer loop by staying on the AT and going to the next lookout point, Pinnacle Rock. After this heart-pumping hike, it’s only a quick car ride to the quaint town of Hamburg where you have a plethora of spots to grab a pint and a snack!

THE HIKE: Pulpit Rock Loop via Appalachian Trail

Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 900ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time:  1.5-2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Leashed Pets
Parking: Large gravel lot at trailhead
H&H: 3/5

Now that we live in Pittsburgh, a trek on the Appalachian Trail is a bit more of an undertaking! The AT runs for almost 230 miles in PA, from the Mason-Dixon Line to the New Jersey border. The PA section is affectionately called Rocksylvania for its extremely rocky terrain in central PA.

Sadly, getting onto the AT is now a bit more than a day trip for us! So while traveling out to Eastern PA to visit friends, we decided to squeeze in a small hike along the way! We stopped in Hamburg to tackle a tiny portion of the AT that leads to a gorgeous overlook. 

The trail starts at the Hamburg Reservoir where there is plenty of parking on a gravel lot. No bathrooms though! A couple of reviews on AllTrails mentioned that the lot can fill up early on weekends so keep that in mind! First, follow a gravel road for a bit before hitting the white blazes signaling the Appalachian Trail. This gravel road is a bit of a drag as it is fairly sunny and not too interesting. But we absolutely loved the sections along the AT. As much as I appreciate a quiet walk in the woods, I just love scrambling over rocks and having elevation changes to keep things interesting. Clocking in around 900ft in elevation, the first half of this hike is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of switchbacks and rocky inclines so hiking boots are highly recommended and even trekking poles if you’d like the extra support. The view point is completely worth the sweat and black gnats though. The rock is small, but it is just incredible how far you can see. I just wish it hadn’t been so scorching the day we visited! We could barely stand in the sun for more than a few moments. This would be an absolutely stunning view in the fall. 

Just behind the Pulpit Rock overlook are three observatories maintained by the Lehigh Valley Amatuers Astronomical Society. A few of the members were doing maintenance and J had a great time chatting astronomy with them! Unfortunately, this was the last enjoyable part of the hike. The entire rest of the path followed a steep gravel road down the hillside. It was so hard on our knees that we started walking backwards! I would have much rather done an out and back and come back along the AT or continued along to Pinnacle rock. Just make sure you have the energy and supplies for a 10 miler if you choose to continue on! The only positive was the abundance of wild raspberries on the hillside that made for a great snack.

Overall, this trail was definitely still worth it for the incredible overlook. Just be sure to have plenty of water especially in the summer, as the rocky incline will definitely have you sweating! We were glad we made time on our drive out to stop for this hike.

THE BEER: 1787 Brewing Company

Address: 43 S Fourth St, Hamburg, PA 19526
Distance from Trail Head:  3.2 mi, 7 mins
Website: http://1787brewingcompany.com/
Food?: Full Menu
Details: Outdoor seating but no pets
H&H Rating: 3/5

Despite being a pretty small town, Hamburg boasts not one but two brewpubs! Since we had limited time, we flipped a coin and ended up at 1787 Brewing Company. This brewery has been around since 2018 and gets its name from the year that the town of Hamburg was founded. The owner is born and raised in the area and this brewery is a loving nod to his roots. All of the beer names come from local places and people, making this a truly local pub. 1787 Brewing Co. is located right on the main drag in Hamburg and seemed to be a popular hangout. It had a great atmosphere with bar seating in front and more restaurant-style, family-friendly tables in back. There were also some tables out front along the street but it was too damn hot to even think of being outside any longer! As a courtesy to the other diners, we took a spot at the bar far away from everyone else (a hike in 90F definitely doesn’t leave you smelling rosy). 

Thankfully, this bar offered flights so we were able to have a nice sampling of their wares. We tried several of their IPAs and one sour. This was a great pub to relax after a hike and their beer was fairly refreshing. We didn’t end up getting food, but everything looked pretty tasty! Overall, I’m glad we stopped and got to chat with the exceptionally nice bartender who offered some local hike suggestions and well as a good chat about the beer scene in Pittsburgh.

Our Beer:

  • Blue Rocks – Hazy IPA – 7% 
  • Aptitude IPA – American IPA – 6.8%
  • Everlong – Session IPA – 4.2%
  • Let’s Gose – Grapefruit Gose – 4%

SUM UP: Pulpit Rock is a stunning overlook on the Appalachian Trail in Central Pennsylvania. Although the ascent is steep and very rocky, this is a great hike for those wanting to experience the AT without undertaking a huge backpacking trip. The viewpoint is just over 2 miles from the trailhead! Do the incline and rocky terrain, we thought this was moderately challenging. We’d suggest coming back down along the AT as the loop from AllTrails takes you down a gravel road that is unpleasant. Afterward check out one of the brewpubs in Hamburg and give yourself a pack on the back for tackling Rocksylvania!

Fox Chapel Trails & Old Thunder Brewing

Blawnox, PA

Guys, I can’t believe the trail network around Fox Chapel and O’Hara Township! There’s so much going on but honestly not a lot of good info out there about it. We were confused about what trails were open to the public and which needed a permit to access. SO we started at the O’Hara community park and just worked our way up! This is a great way to check out this area because you can go as long as you want and you don’t have to worry about getting the permit for the Fox Chapel trails. Plus the community park is so close to Old Thunder Brewing in Blawnox which is definitely worth a visit. They’ve got delicious beers in a very cool old post office building. I’ve got your next hiking day planned out!

THE HIKE: O’Hara Community Park & Salamander Trail

Length: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 200ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, No Pets
Parking: Large lot at community park
H&H: 3/5

This hiking outing is perfect for anyone that needs some time outdoors but doesn’t have the energy or time for a big excursion. Somedays you just need a flat, easy path and this is a pretty good one! Although there are many interwoven trails in the Fox Chapel trail system, I knew that some required permit access. However, it wasn’t very clear from information available online which parking areas were permit-only. IT seems that permits are obtained easily enough by going to the public library to get one, but that does require some advance planning especially if hiking on a day when the library is closed! It also appears that the permits are free, you just need to fill out a form prior to your hike. If anyone has any further info about hiking in Fox Chapel, please let me know! 

Entrance to the Salamander Trail

Because of the confusing permits, we decided to start our hike at the O’Hara Community Park which is a lovely park with playgrounds, sports courts, and a paved walking trail. This is the trail we started on and it’s great for all abilities. You follow the paved path along the small creek and start heading out of the park. The paved trail ends and you head towards the treeline where there is a sign for the Salamander trail. This is a natural wooded path and probably more like the trails you’re used to walking. It runs along a creek for a delightful babbling to accompany your trek. Just remember your bug spray, this area can get a bit buggy! There’s a small loop on this section of the trail so we took the high road on the way out and the lower creekside on the way back. 

As you’re hiking along, be aware that the trail crosses over the road a few times. BE very careful on these crossings! After the Salamander Trail, the trail meanders along a road towards towards McCahill Park. This was probably my least favorite section, as I’m not a big fan of hiking along the road. Thankfully, the road was quiet and very few cars drove past. Eventually it turns back into the woods at Scott Park where it continues along the creek. This was a great spot with some benches to sit and have our lunch! Finally we followed the trail to the Riding Meadow Park which was where we decided to turn around. If you like longer hikes, it’s very easy to cross the road here and continue to Riding Meadow. There are a lot more trail systems in this area that will eventually lead all the way to the Audubon Society’s Beechwood Farms. Just make sure to leave enough energy to make it back to your car! 

It’s hard for me to rate this trail because on one hand I enjoyed all of the wooded areas where it was quiet and peaceful. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sections along the road and the final connecting trail to Riding Meadow was pretty overgrown. I always check for ticks after hiking, but I was especially careful this time! This felt more like a nature walk than a hike, which is totally fine as long as that’s what you’re in for! And I do wish the Fox Chapel areas were more accessible. It makes me sad when access to nature is blocked so only certain people can enjoy it. 

Just another quick note about these trails. You might have noticed that I omitted the name of the initial trail in O’Hara Park. This trail contains a word that First Peoples consider derogatory and offensive. There are several places that use this word that First Peoples have been advocating for a name change. In fact, a very popular resort in Lake Tahoe recently changed its name to Palisades Tahoe in acknowledgement of the racist and offensive origins of its original name. I hope that eventually this small trail in O’Hara will understand the harmful connotations of its name and make a change! 

THE BEER: Old Thunder Brewing

Address: 340 Freeport Rd, Blawnox, PA 15238
Distance from Trail Head: 2 miles, 6 mins 
Website: Oldthunderbrewing.com
Food?: BYOF & Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating but no pets
H&H Rating: 5/5

Okay so Old Thunder Brewing seriously blew me away! As you guys know, I go to a lot of breweries. I’ve been to the good, the bad, and everything in between. But I knew as soon as we pulled up to this venue that it was going to be something good! The Old Thunder Brewing taproom has been open for just over a year, but you wouldn’t know it by walking in! It’s in a converted post office building that has been lovingly updated while keeping much of the original features. It has a huge indoor taproom complete with bar seating and tables, as well as a patio space out front. I think my favorite feature was the original postmaster’s safe that they left on the wall!

We started out with a flight here because after viewing the menu, we knew we wanted to try a little of everything. Old Thunder offers a nice mix of Pale ales/ IPAs along with some traditional styles like their headliner 340 Lager. I think my favorite by far was the False Kingdom which, luckily for me, is another of their headliners! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one at my local beer store! 

Old Thunder doesn’t have their own kitchen but they keep an updated list of food trucks on their website and encourage visitors to patronize other local shops by ordering takeout. This brewery also prides itself on being a family friendly place and there were lots of well-behaved kiddos when we went! Overall, I was super impressed with Old Thunder Brewing. It’s not often that you get both really good beer and a super cool building!

Our Beer:

  • False Kingdom – IPA – 6.8%
  • Reasonable Voices – Pilsner – 4.8%
  • 340 Lager – Helles – 4.8% 
  • Big Blox – DIPA – 8%
  • Featherweight Queen – Stout – 4.5%
  • Character Development #1 – Barleywine – 9.5%
  • Steps Ascending – Pale Ale – 5.2%

SUM UP: For this hike, we headed out to the Fox Chapel area to explore the long trail system. Our hike started at the O’Hara Community Park and meandered all the way to the Riding Meadow Park. This is a good trail system for nature walks and you can add as much or as little distance as wanted. Be aware that some areas of the trail require a permit to park. Afterwards, head over to Freeport Road to check out Old Thunder Brewing in Blawnox. You’ll get to have top-quality beer in a converted historic post office. All in all, a great hiking excursion!

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!