6 hike and brewery combos perfect for a St. Louis road trip
Quality beers and the great outdoors are a pairing we’ll never tire of. Here are six hikes within (mostly) short distances of St. Louis with microbreweries close by where you can cool off before heading back to town.
Don Robinson State Park + Point Labaddie Brewery
Don Robinson State Park is a day-hike paradise that’s great for beginners. The park features multiple parking lots, easy-to-find trailheads and wooded, meandering trails with highlights including sweeping canyon views and a waterfall. Leaving the park, take state Highway O and Robertsville Road to Point Labaddie Brewery. Give yourself enough time to get settled in before sundown as the brewery sits atop a hill perfect for sunset viewing. And if you’re not one to miss a Sunday show, you can catch live tunes every Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m.
Don Robinson State Park, 9275 Byrnesville Road, Cedar Hill, 636.257.3788, mostateparks.com/park/don-robinson-state-park
Point Labaddie Brewery, 1029 Thiebes Road, Labadie, 636.742.2861, pointlabaddiebrewery.com
St. Francois State Park + Main & Mill Brewing Co.
Located on Old Main Street in Festus, Main & Mill Brewing Co. is your stop on the out-and-back trip south to St. Francois State Park. Start with Mooner’s Hollow trail, and if you’re feeling like more exploration, take your time meandering by the Big River. St. Francois is all about steep rolling, wooded hills and charming river valleys. Main & Mill knows how to work both ends of the spectrum, from crispy lagers to malty stouts to dank American Pale Ales. Don’t be afraid to roll up the jeans and wade out into the water – you just might find yourself a turtle or the perfect skipping rock.
Maramec Spring Park + Public House Brewing Co.
Just across the highway from Public House Brewing Co. is Maramec Spring Park. It’s an easy stroll to the mouth of a spring where you’ll see water so blue, you’d think it was an Instagram filter. While the pathways around the spring are all paved, you’ll want to show the same care you do walking on city sidewalks near the river as the occasional overgrown tree root and washed out sections are commonplace. The brewery’s St. James Taproom opens at 11 a.m., so if you’d prefer to start your day with a beer and not worry about leaving the trails before closing time, grab a six-pack before heading off to the springs.
Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve + White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery
This 1.5-mile loop trail may be quick, but completing it will earn you the StairMaster badge. You’ll ascend 383 feet as you hike – that’s a little more than halfway up the Gateway Arch. The top of the trail is relatively treeless, so your hard work will be rewarded with unencumbered views of the surrounding area. Fewer trees also mean more wildflowers, and the soundtrack is a greatest hits to the birdwatcher’s ear. After earning your steps, head to White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery. While the focus here is on Belgian farmhouse-style beers – think spontaneous fermentation processes, saisons and barrel-aged sours – you can expect to find a variety of styles both in bottles and on tap.
Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, 509 IL-155, Prairie Du Rocher, Illinois, 618.826.2706, www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Pages/FultsHillPrairie.aspx
White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery, 113 W. Jackson St., Sparta, Illinois, 618.449.2077, whiteroosterfarmhousebrewery.com
Paddy Creek Wilderness + Piney River Brewing Co.
For the distance badge, you’ll need to get an early start because you’ll want to spend as much time at Piney River Brewing Co. as you do in Paddy Creek Wilderness. While Roby Lake is just one of the three trailheads leading to the 17-mile Big Piney loop trail, we recommend this approach because there’s a nice picnic area alongside the lake. Some of these trails are not well marked so be mindful of your surroundings – if you can’t get back to the car, how will you ever make it to the brewery? If you’re into mossy rocks, trickling streams and bountiful ferns, Paddy Creek will exceed your expectations.
At Piney River Brewing Co. you’ll find a bustling barn and an incredible tap list, and you’re almost guaranteed to make a four-legged friend as dogs are welcome (as long as they’re leashed). The porch is legitimately panoramic, offering Missouri Conservationist-esque views of the nearby family farm. If a five-hour round trip drive is too much for a day, Piney River does have a renovated farmhouse for rent located a quarter-mile from the brewery. Stay for the weekend and get the locals’ insight on even more hikes, canoeing and fishing. Planning ahead is required because, as you might imagine, a bed and brewery is quite the popular destination.
Paddy Creek Wilderness, Plato, fs.usda.gov/recarea/mtnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=74385
Piney River Brewery Co., 15194 Walnut Grove Drive, Bucyrus, 417.967.4001, pineyriverbrewing.com
Giant City State Park + Scratch Brewing Co.
Scratch Brewing Co. boasts a rotating draft list with beers brewed with locally foraged ingredients. You’ll find your taste buds truly branching out as you work your way through the draft list. Giant City State Park has eight trails to choose from, with the Post Oak trail being designed specifically for disabled visitors. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your feet when hiking, but with over 75 varieties of trees, we strongly recommend stopping on occasion to simply look up.
Giant City State Park, 235 Giant City Road, Makanda, Illinois, 618.457.4836, www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Pages/GiantCity.aspx
Scratch Brewing Co., 264 Thompson Road, Ava, Illinois, 618.426.1415, scratchbeer.com
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