Beautiful weather makes us want to take a hike, but it also makes us want to chill. Here are 6 scenic places ...
These 5 hike and beer day trips combine a little exercise in the great outdoors with the relaxing payoff of a cold Virginia craft brew. Hike and beer day trips celebrate great weather and Virginia’s thriving craft brewery scene, exploring new trails and taprooms near Washington DC.
1. Raven Rocks and Dirt Farm Brewing, Bluemont
Work up a thirst on a hilly section of the Appalachian Trail known as the roller coaster. Just shy of 3 miles on the trail you’ll reach the rocky outcropping known as Raven Rocks. Your payoff for the effort is a beautiful open view of the Shenandoah Valley and distant mountains.
Like the Raven Rocks hike, Dirt Farm Brewing has a spectacular view. The transition from rock ledge to rock patio is short, and this time your car gets to handle the ascent. Dirt Farm focuses on small batch hand crafted beer from fresh ingredients grown on the owner’s family farm, Great Country Farms. You’ll find traditional brewing style ales and many seasonals, including an excellent pumpkin ale. There are several more craft breweries, all part of the LoCo Ale Trail, in nearby Purcellville.
2. Bull Run Occoquan Trail and BadWolf Brewing, Manassas
Start your hike in Fountainhead Park, the southern end of the 18 mile Bull Run Occoquan Trail. The wooded trail travels up and down hills and along the edge of the Occoquan Reservoir. Our suggested route follows the trail 6.5 miles to the turn-around at Bull Run Marina, but you could extend longer or turn back sooner. If you’d rather bike than hike, Fountainhead offers some excellent dirt biking trails with three levels of difficulty.
Pick your beer destination based on your preferred driving direction. We suggest heading northwest to BadWolf Brewing in Manassas. They offer generous flights and a range of flagship, seasonal, and experimental beers on tap. If you’d rather head toward DC after your hike, Forge Brew Works and Fair Winds Brewing are a short drive northeast in Lorton.
3. Seneca Park and Lake Anne Brew House, Reston
Great Falls gets the attention, but Seneca Regional Park is a beautiful place to hike through quiet woodlands and a portion of the Potomac Heritage Trail (PHT) along the river. Take an easy loop hike through the park, or extend your mileage by continuing beyond park boundaries. The PHT continues south into Riverbend Park and on to Great Falls.
When you’re ready for a rest, the Lake Anne Brew House in Reston is just 20 minutes away. The nanobrew has a comfortable porch with nice views of Lake Anne and Reston’s original neighborhood plaza. Inside, the space is small but sleek and comfortable. Flagship, Reston-inspired beers like Reston Red and Simon’s Stout share the taps with seasonal and special releases. If you’re hungry, several restaurants surround the plaza.
4. Eagle Point and Winchester Brew Works, Winchester
An official side-trail of the AT, the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail hugs a stretch of the Virginia / West Virginia border that leads to an incredible view from Eagle Point. It’s just 1.5 miles to the viewpoint, but hikers can extend the distance by continuing to a later turn-around point. If you stick to the 3 mile out-and-back, allow time to soak in the view before your descent.
After the hike, it’s off to Winchester for beer from one of three craft breweries in the downtown area. Winchester Brew Works is a woman-owned nanobrewery with 9 taps and a constantly changing beer rotation. The tap room at Alesatian Brewing is right in the pedestrian Old Town area, a fun place for dining, shopping, and history. Escutcheon Brewing is the third in-town taproom, pouring a diverse line-up from 10 taps.
Read more about Winchester and the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
5. Big Schloss or Tibbet Knob and Woodstock Brewhouse, Woodstock
For a truly gorgeous, nearly 360 view it’s hard to beat Big Schloss. The first .7 miles is very steep and rocky, then the trail levels out on a ridge with great views. A final climb up a spur trail leads to the open, rocky summit. During the fall, foliage views from the summit are absolutely outstanding. For more mileage, add on a hike to the Tibbet Knob summit, accessed from the Wolf Gap Campground parking area.
In the center of town, Woodstock Brewhouse, offers a nice selection of Virginia craft beer along with huge pretzels and tasty flatbread pizzas. The open space is hopping on Thursday nights when live music amps up the volume and the energy.
Hike and Beer Day Trip Tips
The trails on our hike and beer day trip list range from easy to moderately challenging (at least for casual hikers like us). Two trails are family friendly woodland walks, and three are steeper hikes to incredible views.
Brewery and taproom hours vary widely, with many smaller businesses closed early in the week, Follow the links for schedules, beers lists, and special events. If you plan to hike with a four-legged friend, note that the health code prohibits dogs in taprooms. Fortunately, many craft breweries have expansive outdoor patios that welcome pets.
Prefer wine over beer? Check out our list of 5 hike and wine day trips.