The Beer Drinker’s Guide: Best Breweries on the Colorado Trail
Are you a Colorado Trail hiker? Do you love beer? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The Colorado Trail is a beer lover’s dream hike. Not only do you get to traverse 485 miles of some of the best scenery the Rocky Mountains have to offer, but you’ll never go more than a few dozen miles between trail towns replete with tasty brews. No need to limit yourself to gas station six-packs, either. If you’re craving a little more ambiance with your ale, you’re in luck. From Denver to Durango, there are dozens of amazing breweries on the Colorado Trail.
All mileages are from 2020 Guthook Guides Colorado Trail.
Denver – Mile 0
The Denver metropolitan area is bursting with breweries large and small, but these two Littleton staples are closer to the Colorado Trail trailhead than most. Stop in for one last meal on your way to Waterton Canyon, order a round to celebrate the completion of your thru-hike or both.
Address: 12305 N Dumont Way, Littleton, CO 80125
Phone Number: 303-284-9585
Why You Should Go: They have an excellent beer selection, gluten-reduced beer, food trucks, and local (non-alcoholic) kombucha on tap. Plus, it’s so aptly named.
Noteworthy Brews: Powder Run Mountain Mocha Cream Ale, Guava Mountain Gosé.
Address: 9150 Commerce Center Cir #300, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
Phone Number: 720-360-4782
Why You Should Go: Grist’s quirky beer selection and dog-friendly atmosphere should welcome beer-loving hikers.
Noteworthy Brews: Bixler Honey Elixer Rye Beer, All & Westerly West Coast-style IPA.
Bailey – Mile 40.5
The unincorporated community of Bailey might not be huge, but it has plenty to offer thru-hikers nonetheless. Hikers will likely welcome the chance to gulp down an ice-cold pint or two after traversing the hot, low-elevation miles of segments one, two, and three.
Address: 23 Main Street Bailey, CO 80421
Phone Number: (303) 816-BEER (2337)
Why You Should Go: Outdoor seating, dog-friendly, games, pizza, cider, habanero beer.
Noteworthy Brews: Hansell Honey Wheat Ale, Mango Habanero Blonde Ale.
Fairplay – Mile 71.7
Better known as the real-life town on which the cartoon South Park is based, Fairplay is also a popular destination for Colorado Trail hikers.
Address: 297 1/2 US Highway 285, Fairplay, CO 80440
Phone Number: 719-836-1932
Why You Should Go: Peach cobbler lager, large burritos. Need we say more?
Noteworthy Brews: Peach Cobbler Lager, Mad Juicy IPA.
Frisco and Breckenridge- Mile 104.1
You won’t have any trouble tracking down good food and drink in the tourism-fueled ski towns of Summit County. You can easily reach both Frisco and Breckenridge by bus. Both towns are home to some of the best breweries on the Colorado Trail—or anywhere, for that matter.
Address: 182 Lusher Ct, Frisco CO 80443
Phone Number: 970-455-8709
Why You Should Go: Great views, a lengthy selection of beers, dog-friendly atmosphere. Outer Range was named USA Today’s 2nd Best Brewery in the US in 2017. Known for their IPAs.
Noteworthy Brews: Two Pound Tent IPA, In the Steep IPA.
Address: 720 Main St, Frisco CO 80443
Phone Number: 1 (970) 668-2337
Why You Should Go: Barbecue. All breweries on the Colorado Trail should serve barbecue. They also have live music and are pooch-friendly.
Noteworthy Brews: Calm the Farm Down Farmhouse Ale, Swim Beer Pilsner, Pink Lemonade Sour.
Address: 68 Continental Ct, Breckenridge CO 80424
Phone Number: (970) 368-2772
Why You Should Go: If you’re looking for a more social experience to commemorate your first 100 miles on trail, mix it up with Trivia night Tuesdays or Acoustic Sundays at Broken Compass. Also, they have coconut porter.
Noteworthy Brews: Nitro Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Coconut Porter.
Address: 600 S Main St, Breckenridge CO 80424
Phone Number: (970) 453-1550
Why You Should Go: They have an extensive beer menu and fried pickles. Repeat: FRIED. PICKLES.
Noteworthy Brews: Agave Wheat, Mountain Beach Session Sour.
Leadville – Mile 143
Stop by scenic Leadville and recharge your (literal and metaphorical) batteries before diving into the Collegiates. You won’t want to miss this quintessential mountain town or the tasty brews held within.
Address: 101 Harrison Ave, Leadville CO 80461
Phone Number: (719)-293-2766
Why You Should Go: They’re new in town, but they have good food and affordable beer. ‘Nuff said.
Noteworthy Brews: Camp Hale Pale Ale, Backside Blond.
Buena Vista – Mile 216.5
Pro tip: it’s BYOO-nuh Vista, not BWAY-nuh Vista. If you accidentally butcher the pronunciation and the locals tease you mercilessly, you should head to the local brewery and drink to forget your shame.
Address: 102 Linderman Ave, Buena Vista CO 81211
Phone Number: (719) 966-6018
Why You Should Go: Eddyline offers live music, wood-fired pizza, and 12 unique house brews. Temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
Noteworthy Brews: Crank Yanker IPA, Kickn’ Back Amber.
Poncha Springs – Mile 252.9
If like many a thru-hiker, you stumble out of the Collegiates parched and desperate for beer, Poncha Springs will be your closest option from Monarch Pass. Kick back for a well-deserved zero day and a beer or two from the local brewery.
Address: 115 Pahlone Pkwy, Poncha Springs CO 81242
Phone Number: 719-539-5258
Why You Should Go: They offer outdoor seating, sustenance in the form of an epic food truck, and with more than 20 house beers, a more extensive selection than most breweries on the Colorado Trail. Too lazy to go there yourself? They also offer beer delivery.
Noteworthy Brews: 8 Second Kölsch, Elevation Double IPA, False Summit Quadruple Ale.
Salida – Mile 252.9
Outside Magazine named Salida the “Best Unsung Mountain Town” in 2017, and it’s easy to see why. Tourists love Salida for its stunning scenery and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, but beer-drinking thru-hikers adore it for its hiker-friendly services and many breweries.
Address: 248 W Rainbow Blvd, Salida CO 81201
Phone Number: 719.539.5428
Why You Should Go: At Soulcraft, you can drink green chile beer (!!), you can drink it in their outdoor seating area, and you can drink it with your furry best friend at your side.
Noteworthy Brews: Coconut Milk Stout, Sticky Pils, Green Chile Ale.
Address: 118 North E St, Salida CO 81201
Phone Number: (719) 207-4519
Why You Should Go: Ample food truck noms, outdoor seating, laid back atmosphere, and lots and lots of beer.
Noteworthy Brews: Beckerbier Imperial Oktoberfest, Boat Soda Grisette.
Gunnison – Mile 302.8
Gunnison’s quite a ways away from the CT, but many hikers make the trek anyway because there are relatively few resupply options on this stretch of trail. And for beer drinkers aiming to hit all the best breweries on the Colorado Trail, it’s well worth the 40-mile hitch.
Address: 111 N Main St, Gunnison CO 81230
Phone Number: (970) 642-4500
Why You Should Go: They have creative beer offerings (Italian Mountain Basil Ale, anyone?), plus brick oven pizza, salad, and outdoor seating. Pro tip: November is stout month at High Alpine—one new stout released each week of the month. YUM.
Noteworthy Brews: Curecanti Chile Beer, Hero Dirt Double IPA. Sol’s Espresso Stout (new this November. From the owner: “A delightful oatmeal stout that has been infused with just the right amount of espresso from our friends at Tributary Coffee Roasters right here in Gunnison, CO.”).
Creede – Mile 343
It’s not easy to walk or hitchhike the 10 miles from San Luis Pass to Creede, but it’s worth it for the charming ambiance, excellent resupply, and, of course, the beer.
Address: 123 N Main St, Creede CO 81130
Phone Number: n/a
Why You Should Go: Their beer is so local that one of the co-owners grows the barley on his farm and has it malted locally in the San Luis Valley. Also, they have peanut butter stout.
Noteworthy Brews: Peanut Butter Stout, Rained Out IPA.
Lake City – Mile 357.8
You can reach this historic mining town from Spring Creek Pass but prepare for a challenging hitch. Lake City is a tiny tourist town, rather than the bustling metropolis the name implies, but it offers all the services a hiker would need—resupply, lodging, and beer included.
Address: 130A Bluff St, Lake City, CO 81235
Phone Number: (970) 944-5222
Why You Should Go: They have awesome devilled eggs. And beer cheese sauce. Beer cheese sauce is the only reason anyone needs to go anywhere, right? Also, they have outdoor seating, so your hiker trash stank won’t ruin the ambiance for fellow patrons.
Noteworthy Brews: Redcloud Scotch Ale, LCBC Cream Ale.
Silverton – Mile 411.1
The tiny town of Silverton is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Colorado Trail at Molas Pass. Several beer-getting opportunities make it well worth the short hitch to this Rocky Mountain tourist mecca. And with just over 75 miles remaining for westbound CT hikers, why not stop and savor one last zero day before it’s all over?
Address: 1151 Greene St, Silverton CO 81433
Phone Number: 970-387-5282
Why You Should Go: Large beer selection, including some unique, fruity sours (hello, strawberry rhubarb gosé). Pizza, tacos, and other deliciousness to soothe the raging beast within (aka hiker hunger).
Noteworthy Brews: Pride of the West Porter, Double Diamond Blackberry Gosé.
Address: 1227 Greene St, Silverton CO 81433
Phone Number: (970) 387-5962
Why You Should Go: It takes guts to hike the Colorado Trail, but it takes even more guts to order seafood in a land-locked mountain town. Still, we hear Golden Block’s lobster pizza is pretty rad.
Noteworthy Brews: Blind Load IPA, Golden Bock.
Durango – Mile 485
Once you reach Durango, you can have a beer to celebrate the end of that grueling 12-mile descent from Taylor Lake and the completion of your thru-hike. Or you can steel yourself for that grueling 12-mile climb to Taylor Lake, and the beginning of your thru-hike. Either way, your first (or last) breweries on the Colorado Trail are sure to pack a punch.
Address: 225 Girard St, Durango CO 81301
Phone Number: 970-247-5792
Why You Should Go: This successful craft brewery sells their beer in locations as far-flung as California, Minnesota, and Hawaii, but it’s all brewed at their wind-powered facility right here in Durango. Stop in for deliciously punny brews or a house-brewed hard seltzer.
Noteworthy Brews: Modus Hoperandi IPA, Mexican Logger (summer only).
Address: 801 E 2nd Ave, Durango, CO 81301
Phone Number: (970) 259-9200
Why You Should Go: STOUT BACON BROWNIES. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free menu options, house-brewed hard seltzer, amazing brisket, Cajun Boil, and stout bacon brownies.
Noteworthy Brews: Third Eye P.A., Prescribed Burn.
Breweries on the Colorado Trail That Also Distribute
Visiting breweries on the Colorado Trail sounds amazing, but sometimes you’re just too tired, too broke, or too pressed for time to stop in. Fear not! Many of the breweries on this list distribute to groceries, liquor stores, and gas stations throughout the region. Check for these local brews at your next resupply stop.
- Living the Dream (for CT purposes, only available in Denver and Conifer)
- Highside Brewing (Summit County and Denver area only)
- Breckenridge Brewery
- Eddyline Brewery
- Elevation Brewing
- Soulcraft Brewing
- Ska Brewing
Huge shout out to Tara Ritchey for the thorough background research that made this guide possible.
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