Knot Your Boots and Hit the Beerwerks Trail: Five Hiking Trail and Brewery Pairings for Spring

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What’s better than spending a lovely spring day hiking to a great view or waterfall? How about following that hike with a cold, relaxing brew at a nearby craft brewery? If this sounds heavenly, you’re in luck. Here are five of Virginia’s best hikes with nearby Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail breweries to make the most out of your day. Please follow the links to for detailed trail notes.

Humpback Rocks

15 minutes from Basic City Beer Co.

Humpback Rocks once served as a landmark for wagon trains trying to cross the Blue Ridge in the 1840s. The trailhead for this popular hike is on the Blue Ridge Parkway and not far from I-64. Since the parking lot is usually well-populated, you might have better luck parking at the visitor’s center and strolling to the trailhead through the interpretive farm, which represents the regional architecture of the late 19th century.

The mile to the top is a steep, hard hike. Rocks stud the trail, but you won’t forget you’re close to civilization as there are occasional steps and benches. The beautiful views of the Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah National Park at the top are worth every step. This spot can score you amazing photographs, but you might have to shoot creatively around other hikers.

The most popular route is only two miles round-trip; however, if you’re looking for something longer, suggests adding two additional miles along the Appalachian Trail. The longer hike provides a gradual descent (your quads will thank you) and solitude that the well-traveled up-and-back does not.

Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Time: Allow 2.5 hours for hiking the longer route

Parking: Park at the Humpback Rocks parking area, milepost 6. 37.96846, -78.89656

Crabtree Falls

45 minutes from Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.

1,200-foot Crabtree Falls, one of the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi, features five major cascades and many smaller ones. This great hike along and up a waterfall pays off almost immediately. In fact, the first section of the paved, nearly flat trail leads to a viewing platform from which you have an excellent view of the lower part of the falls.

Don’t let the ease of this beginning fool you, though, because from here on out, the trail becomes steep. The switchbacks repeatedly reconnect with the falls, offering the interest of several vantage points and viewing platforms. Steps and railings provide safety in some of the steepest, slipperiest sections. Rest and snack awhile at the large, walled area on top, and take in the rhododendron and the magnificent view of the Tye River Valley. Though it will be tempting to children and photographers, don’t leave the trail to climb on the slippery rocks.

While the up and back might be plenty (3.8 miles), those really wanting to break in their boots, might try the longer route connecting Crabtree Falls with another spectacular hike, Spy Rock (13.9 miles).

  • Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
  • Time: Allow 2.5 hours for hiking up and back
  • Parking: parking lot with per vehicle fee, VA56. 37.85144, -79.07922

House Mountain

25 minutes from Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery & Tap House

Want a tough hike and the company of a friendly goat? The goat’s company, along with the beauty of the views and the pleasure of the hike itself, is one of the draws of the 8.2-mile House Mountain hike. The hike follows an old Jeep trail up the mountain and splits when you get to the “saddle” between the two peaks. From this spot, which was once a homestead (look for an old structure and some apple trees), you can decide which peak you want to climb, or tackle both.

Big House Mountain’s views look west and to reach it, you’ll cover 1.7 challenging miles and climb 740 feet. The goat, like something out of a fairytale, lives on the 100-foot high cliffs at the peak and will beg for your lunch.

Little House Mountain’s views look northeast, and the trail to the top has only existed for a few years. The hike is 2.6 miles long and a strenuous 940-foot climb. Many people tag both peaks for the full 8.2 miles.

  • Time: 5.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 2,850 feet
  • Parking: Limited parking on Saddle Ridge Rd/VA643 between the parking signs. 37.8116, -79.53266

Elliot Knob

30 minutes from Stable Craft Brewing

Itching to climb to the highest point in Augusta County, see spectacular views, and get a chance to frolic in waterfalls, too? Head west from Staunton to George Washington National Forest where the Elliot Knob hike boasts all this and more.

The first part of the hike, featuring a gradual ascent and woodland scenery, follows Falls Hollow Run as it works through the forest. If you want to sack out on a rock or splash in a pool by one of the multiple waterfalls, no one would blame you. The second half, along a fire road, will have your quads crying…in both directions! The summit is open and grassy, and offers wonderful views and a, usually private, place to eat your lunch.

You can combine this with the Chimney Hollow Trail hike to make it longer, but simply hiking up to the peak and back down again is 8.1 strenuous miles. Take plenty of water!

  • Time: 5.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 2,425 feet
  • Parking: Park on VA42 at a small turn-in. 38.16125, -79.26927

Hone Quarry

30 minutes from Restless Moons Brewing

Southwest of Harrisonburg in the George Washington National Forest, Hone Quarry Recreation Area offers three hikes of varying difficulty. The shortest option is Hidden Rocks Trail, a moderate 2.5-mile hike following Rocky Run where hikers can enjoy a small pool and waterfall. The trail climbs up Back Mountain to the Hidden Rocks themselves, a popular scene for rock climbers. If you’re lucky, you might spot someone mid-climb.

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain:390 feet
  • Parking: Small parking area on the Hone Quarry Rd. 38.44813, -79.12205

Hone Quarry Ridge (5 miles) begins at Hone Quarry Campground and climbs through white pine and hemlock forests to follow the ridge, offering several nice views. This quiet, peaceful hike is ideal for privacy seekers, though some hikers report overgrowth and bear scat along the ridge. If you’re into geocaching, you might find one or two hidden along this trail. Wear your boots while traversing the rock scrambles on the way down.

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1,480 feet
  • Parking: Hone Quarry Campground 38.46277, -79.13392

Oak Knob (7.9 miles) also begins at the campground and climbs to high ground. It offers two overlooks with beautiful views and lots of opportunities to watch birds, especially heron and kingfishers near the reservoir. This hike has several rock scrambles, and hikers should be careful of their footing. Some hikers suggest hiking the loop clockwise to save the best views for last, though it means a steep climb up a dusty gravel road to start.

  • Time: 5.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 2,250 feet
  • Parking: Hone Quarry Campground 38.46277, -79.13392

Please visit 8 Adventures on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail for more ways to combine your outdoor experiences with delicious craft beer!