By Alicyn Lane
After a long day at work everyone can use a little time to decompress and unwind. What better way to get away from it all than to head into the mountains? Most of us know by now that simply getting outside can have immense benefits on our minds and our bodies. Even just an hour out in nature is enough to reset. Instead of heading home and succumbing to that very appealing couch, get outside and pack in a micro adventure. Better yet, celebrate your hard work and dedication both in and out of the workplace by having a brew or two. Here are some day hikes with craft breweries nearby to help you get out there.
⎡ MOUNT GALBRAITH LOOP TRAIL ⎤
Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver is Mount Galbraith Park. It sits in the Front Range near Golden, and is easily accessible during the spring, summer and fall seasons. This moderate hike is a 4.9 mile lollipop loop trail. The trail is perfect for experienced hikers and beginners. It starts with a moderate push uphill before it levels out, making it challenging, yet easy going. The out-and-back portion of the hike begins with the Cedar Gulch Trail, which meanders along a stream before beginning the steady climb. After you’ve hiked just over one mile, you will intersect the lollipop portion of the trail. The trail leads up and over to the south side of Mount Galbraith, where you will get amazing views of Golden to the east and Lookout Mountain to the south. The trail takes you around the backside of the mountain before it leads you to the previous intersection of trails, and down to the parking lot below.
Check out Cannonball Creek Brewing Company in Golden after you have made your way back toward town. This brewery has between six and 12 rotating beers on tap at all times. Their space has an easygoing atmosphere with spacious indoor seating, as well as an outdoor patio. The brewery also has a rotating food truck schedule for you to refuel.
⎡ Parmalee Gulch Trail ⎤
Mount Falcon Park is just a short drive up U.S. Hwy. 285 toward Evergreen. This popular park offers a multitude of trails. Hike to a lookout tower, or to the remains of an old homestead. Catch views of Denver and Red Rocks, or stroll through a beautiful meadow. A popular choice is the Parmalee Gulch Trail. This is a fairly easy 3.9 mile loop hike that leads down the south side of the park and then up and around, finally intersecting with the Meadow Trail, which will lead you back to the parking lot. This trail will give you beautiful views of the mountains to the south and west. Along the trail, wood carved benches mark great places to stop and soak up the views.
After you’ve taken in that fresh mountain air, head to Evergreen and hit up the Lariat Lodge Brewing Company. If you worked up an appetite hiking, this is the place to go. They have a great menu and list rotating beers both classic and experimental. It’s casual, family friendly, and cozy on the inside, with a recently renewed deck and patio. You might even catch some live music.
⎡ Mayhem Gulch Trail ⎤
Centennial Cone is a favorite park for a quick afternoon hike. Its milder grades, wildlife and iconic mountain scenery make it the quintessential micro-adventure. The drive is full of twists and turns up the canyon and behind each turn is yet another beautiful setting. Once on the trail, the lollipop loop hike starts out mild and increases in grade as the trail turns into a series of switchbacks and rises up above Clear Creek Canyon below. This section of the hike climbs quickly. After 1.5 miles, the trail will intersect the Juniper trail. At this point you can opt to hike left or right. The Juniper trail will meander across the backside of the mountain and into an open meadow, which is a great place to spot wildlife. Shortly after that point, the trail will again intersect and lead you back the way you came.
Head to Barrels and Bottles Brewery in Golden. With a solid menu of beers on tap, this brewpub is a great place to stop after a hike if you want to grab a drink and maybe a small bite to eat on your way home. The environment is casual, and so is the vibe. Their beer list offers great options for rotating and seasonal brews, as well as a handful of guest beers on tap.
If beer is not your thing, head to State 38 Distilling in Golden. The distillery’s tasting room is open Tuesday through Saturday, 4 to 6 pm. They offer tours of the facility where they craft 100 percent handmade, small batch, organic spirits.
⎡ PANORAMA POINT TRAIL ⎤
Corwina Park is just minutes from the town of Kittredge and close to downtown Evergreen. The park has some great trails to satisfy every kind of hiker. Corwina connects to Lair O’ the Bear park via Bear Creek trail. However, the Panorama Point trail is an easy and shorter walk along a seasonal stream and back through some wooded areas before it takes a sharp turn. From there, it zigzags through a series of moderately inclined switch backs. At the top, enjoy sweeping views of the Continental Divide and the town of Kittredge.
Afterwards, make a short jaunt to Revival Brews in Evergreen. Hang with the locals in an historic building while enjoying a solid gastropub menu. While they don’t brew their own beers, they do concentrate solely on Colorado crafts. This is great place to hang out and enjoy their summertime patio vibes.
Another option would be to head back down toward Denver and stop in at Joyride Brewery in Edgewater. Joyride has a great space, with an indoor-outdoor layout provided by big open windows that look out onto Sloan’s Lake and the Denver skyline. The laid-back atmosphere and spacious barroom makes Joyride a great place to go post-hike. Hang out, relax, grab a beer and maybe some food from one of their rotating food trucks. This is the spot to just kick back and enjoy the ride.
Alicyn Lane is a freelance writer and photographer from Ohio who now calls Denver home. When she’s not working her day job or cooking vegetarian dishes, she is actively searching for adventure in Colorado’s vast playground.