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
Time: 2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, mountain biking, leashed pets (Note: pets are not allowed on the Wetlands trails)
Parking: Large lots throughout park
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??
- 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.