Continuing in the tradition of one of our most popular stories to date, 7x7 is back with five new hikes with drinks that are just right for the COVID era.
Each of these routes, from the coastal redwoods to the vineyards of Sonoma, comes complete with socially distanced, outdoor liquid rewards almost guaranteed to make you forget the pandemic...almost. Just don't forget to bring a mask for those orders at the bar!
Lace up your boots and hit the trail.
Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin County
The Hike: Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop (6.4 miles total)
The Reward: Parkside Cafe, parksidecafe.com
COVID-19 Precautions: Drinks and food are served on the outdoor patio.
There is no shortage of world-class hiking on Mount Tam but this 6.4 mile loop, with its ocean views and waterfalls, is one of the best. Even better, the trail starts and ends in quaint Stinson Beach, where the Parkside Cafe serves cold drinks and fresh local oysters on the patio all day long.
Begin your hike on Belvedere Avenue, at the Matt Davis Trailhead just up the street from the fire station. Switchback up the mountainside, through a forest of buckeye and big leaf maple. About 3.5 miles in, cross the Panoramic Highway and the Pantoll parking lot to the Steep Ravine Trail, which descends, partly by wooden ladder, to the canyon floor. At 5.2 miles, turn right onto the Dipsea Trail (the 2nd Dipsea junction) and follow it back to Hwy 1. From there, continue a few blocks further into town and turn left on Calle del Mar. Parkside is at the end of the block at Arenal Ave.
Año Nuevo State Park, San Mateo County
The Hike: Franklin Point Trail to North Whitehouse Creek Trail (3.6 miles total, out and back)
The Reward: Costanoa Lodge's Cascade Restaurant & Bar, costanoa.com
COVID-19 Precautions: Order drinks and food at the bar and enjoy them outside on the large lawn.
Traverse the bluffs and dunes of Año Nuevo State Park on this classic coastal hike. The route, which gently rolls past isolated beach coves and secluded prairies that bloom with wildflowers in the spring, makes a stop for drinks on the spacious lawn at the Cascade Restaurant & Bar at the Costanoa Lodge, a laid-back eco-resort in Pescadero.
Begin at the parking lot at the Franklin Point Trailhead and head west about a third of a mile toward rocky Franklin Point at the ocean's edge. While there, don't forget to look to the north to see the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse just up the coast. When you've had your fill of the view, return to the junction just before the point. Go right on the Atkinson Bluff Trail, then left on the North Whitehouse Creek Trail—it's about a mile before you hit Highway 1. Carefully cross the road and continue on the half-mile unnamed trail that runs along the right side of Rossi Road to Costanoa. When you're ready to head home, retrace your steps. If you're in a hurry, walking north along Highway 1 will get you back to the Franklin Point Trailhead in about 10 minutes (0.6 miles).
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz County
The Hike: Cowell Highlights Loop (approx. 6.5 miles total)
The Reward: Monty's Log Cabin, yelp.com
COVID-19 Precautions: The back patio is open for drinks.
Northern California's epic redwoods dominate this 6.5 mile hike through Henry Cowell State Park in Felton. The route, which includes views of Monterey Bay and access to the riverside Cable Car Beach, ends at the campy biker dive, Monty's Log Cabin, a watering hole so old school that, on a busy day, you'll see the horses of local patrons tied up outside.
When you arrive at Henry Cowell, do as the Feltonites do and park on the side of Highway 9 instead of driving into the paid parking lot. This puts you closer to your reward, which is just across the street from the park entrance. Walk in on the Meadow Trail, keeping right on the River Trail then left on Pipeline Road to the Eagle Creek Trail and the Observation Deck, the highest point in the park. Follow the Ridge Fire Road to the right and turn left onto Big Rock Hole Trail to check out the Cathedral Redwoods. Return the way you came, up the Rincon Fire Road to the River Trail past Cable Car Beach. After a refreshing dip, pick back up on the River Trail and towards the park entrance and Monty's Log Cabin's back patio.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marin County
The Hike: Drown Road Trail to Chapel Steps Trail (approx. 2 miles total, out and back)
The Reward: Cavallo Point, cavallopoint.com
COVID-19 Precautions: Enjoy drinks on the outdoor patio at the Murray Circle Restaurant.
It may be stretching it to call this GGNRA route below the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin a hike. The trails are short, wide and mostly flat; even at a snail's pace, it would take most of us less than an hour from start to finish. But before you write it off, think hard about everything you'll be missing if you don't follow our advice. This route not only has spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Baker, and a mid-point stop for drinks at Cavallo Point, it also passes right by the picture-perfect historic post chapel.
Start at the Drown Road Trailhead at East Road. A self-guided cell phone tour will point out landmarks along the way. About half a mile in, keep left on the Chapel Steps Trail. When the trail dead-ends at the junction of Merrill Street and Seitler Road, follow the latter. Continue down Kober Street, then turn left onto Murray Circle at the Cavallo Point Lodge, where you can order drinks at the Murray Circle Restaurant or Farley Bar. Thirst quenched, retrace your steps back to the Drown Road Trailhead.
Jordan Winery, Sonoma County
The Hike: Vineyard Hike (4 miles; $110)
The Reward: Jordan Winery Chateau, jordanwinery.com
COVID-19 Precautions: Drinks and charcuterie are served at the chateau's outdoor Bacchus courtyard.
Perched on a hill overlooking 1,200 acres of Sonoma vineyards and ranch land, a guided hike along Jordan Winery's private four-mile trail is riddled with panoramic views, olive orchards, forest groves, and open meadows. The adventure begins at the Bacchus courtyard of the winery's French chateau and has an easy-to-moderate 300-foot elevation change. At the hike's end, settle back on the terrace for charcuterie from Journeyman Meat Co. and glasses of Jordan's well-balanced cabernet and crisp chardonnay.