Go Guide: Peak to Pub in Oregon
That stereotype that Oregonians are either dressed for our next adventure or look like we just got back from one? It’s not that far off. With the Cascades to the east, the high desert in the far east, and the wildest coast in the west…well, it’s no wonder we’re obsessed with it.
Another Pacific Northwest passion? Beer. We have 200+ breweries and pubs in the state—plus something called nanobreweries (which may refer to the beer our neighbors brew in their basement)—and between us, Washington, and Idaho, we grow 99% of the hops in the U.S.
That’s why for a lot of us, the sunset isn’t the capper on a hike—the brew at the bottom is. There’s no joy like piling into the pub, dust embedded in smile lines, and recounting the day’s adventure over a pint. And with versatile, comfortable hiking shoes, you don’t even have to change your boots.
We reached out to KEEN employees for their favorite Peak to Pub spots in the state—and this is what they reported back.
OREGON COAST: Angora Peak to Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House
Cole, Senior Designer, Soft Goods & Accessories
My wife Lea Anne and I visit the Northern Oregon Coast year-round. It’s a moody but magical place that draws us back again and again. Lea Anne wears her Terradora hiking shoes wherever we go, and I keep my waterproof Targhee hiking boots in the back of the car, so we can just hike whenever we feel like it.
One of our favorite hikes is the lesser-known Angora Peak hike near Short Sands beach. It’s not marked and is on private logging land, but it is legal to hike there, and you can get views of Neahkahnie Mountain to the south and Haystack Rock to the north.
Our absolute favorite pub in the area is Cannon Beach Hardware, a.k.a. "The Screw & Brew." It’s a functioning hardware store that has a pub in it! We don’t just go there for the novelty aspect. I honestly haven’t found any fish and chips that are better in all of Oregon and Lea Anne likes their wings so much she tries to replicate them at home.
PORTLAND: Latourell Falls to Great Notion
Samantha, KEEN Workplace Experience Assistant
One of my all-time favorite hikes is just outside of downtown Portland in the Columbia River Gorge. Latourell Falls features two large waterfalls even though it’s a relatively short, two to three-mile hike. This trail is absolutely stunning throughout all seasonal changes. Some features I enjoy include: elevation changes which make for a great workout; incredible views of the Columbia River; it’s easy enough for the whole family to enjoy; the trail is dog friendly; and you have plenty of time to make it back to town in time for happy hour at Great Notion. Located off of Alberta St. behind Pine State Biscuits, this brewery is the PERFECT after-hike spot. They have amazing sours that are nothing like any sour you’ve had before. The food is incredible, and the service is even better. The brewery has an outdoor patio that’s backed up to a small nursery making for a cute, backyard seating area. Perfect for summer.
HOOD RIVER: Tilly Jane Trail to Solera Brewery
Lori, KEEN Sr. Digital Specialist
Hood River is home for many outdoor adventures, but for a nice escape from the summer crowds, head up Highway 35. We like to earn our happy hour on the Tilly Jane Trail. This well-maintained single-track leads straight up Mount Hood to the Tilly Jane cabin, a mountaineering basecamp. (Leave young kids at home for this one; it’s a brisk 2.5 miles to the top!)
We like to meander back toward town afterward. A stop at Solera Brewery in Parkdale keeps the low-key vibes rolling. This hidden, local gem offers spectacular views of Mt Hood from the orchard in the back. Further down Highway 35, stop at The Gorge White House to share a cider flight in the flower fields, and what better way to end the perfect Gorge day? Tacos at Hood River Taqueria.
MT. HOOD: McNeil Point to Skyway Bar & Grill
Brenna, KEEN Product Dev
McNeil Point on the West Side of Mount Hood is a pretty terrific hike. Most people leave from the Top Spur trailhead. The insiders know that, once you hit the intersection with the PTC/Timberline Trail, if you go to the right and traverse around Bald Mountain, you’ll be treated to some instantly dramatic views of the West Face of Mt Hood across the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River.
You can then take a little connector trail back over to the Timberline Trail heading clockwise. Ascending through some old growth, views of fire affected and beetle kill zones, on and off mildly exposed ridges, alpine run-off crossings and then eventually arriving at the McNeil Ponds below the point and scree field. It’s a stunning and delicate landscape.
If you’re paying attention, you’ll hear and see some rock fall as the glaciers melt away and erode the sides of the mountain.
Keep going up and eventually you’ll make your way around to McNeil Point where there’s an old stone hut. You can even continue to scramble up the ridge for another 1,000 feet or so for some good looks at the bergschrund and hidden waterfalls from Barrett Spur. If you’re paying attention, you’ll hear and see some rock fall as the glaciers melt away and erode the sides of the mountain.
I usually backtrack and skip the Bald Mountain portion because what you missed on the way up is some absolutely serene old growth. Worth pausing here for that final snack before you descend back to the car.
The topper on the hike is always the Skyway Bar & Grill in Zigzag. I love the funky décor, cold beers, and delicious BBQ tofu. If you’re lucky, you might also find some live music.
CENTRAL OREGON: Gray Butte to Initiative Brewing
Ari, KEEN Ambassador and Fan
As the days get shorter again, I like to head back out into the desert. My girlfriend and I recently did a day trip to the top of Gray Butte, just north of Smith Rock, in Terrebonne, Oregon. The trail takes you up about 1,000 feet over three miles.
After taking in the views, I flew my paraglider off. My girlfriend wasn't mad, she's used to this kind of stuff by now.
It’s a beautiful hike, not too hard, and the view from the summit is spectacular. Oregon's tallest volcanos, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson, are just in front, and the Three Sisters sit just to the south. You can also see the Crooked River Gorge and the sprawling agricultural land that dominates northern Central Oregon.
After taking in the views, I flew my paraglider off. My girlfriend wasn't mad, she's used to this kind of stuff by now. She hiked down and picked me up in Redmond, where we went to Initiative Brewing. It's brand new, small and the staff are super nice. A cold beer after a great hike and a nice flight; doesn't get better than that!
THE PEAK TO PUB CHEAT: Timberline Lodge
Molly, KEEN Sr. Copywriter
Want to get that Oregon experience without switching out of your Kona flip-flops? Hit up Timberline Lodge. In the summer, it’s a gorgeous, tree-lined 90-minute drive from Portland. Explore the nooks and crannies of this 1937 ski lodge and, when you’re ready, grab a beer from the Ram’s Head Bar and head out to the back patio. There, you can circle up the Adirondack chairs and bask in the presence of Mt. Hood. No sweat.
Note: Please check the difficulty of all hikes ahead of setting out and plan accordingly. And, obviously, drink responsibly.