Food, Beer, And Hiking On The West Coast: 5 Must-Do Adventure Pairings

Get your outdoorsy-culinary adventure on.

By: Scott Bender

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When you think about The West Coast what goes through your head? Sunshine in California. Beer in Portland. Hiking in Seattle…and much good food. That is why I created a list that combined all of our favorite things. Read below for the 5 best food and hike pairings along the Best Coast…I mean West Coast...then pack a bag and get your outdoorsy-culinary adventure on.

1. San Diego, California

Hike: Mt. Woodson Trail & Potato Chip Rock | Food: Poway Sushi Lounge

Mt. Woodson Trail & Potato Chip Rock | Photo: Dane

The famous Potato Chip Rock hike is known for the summit photo of the rock formation which looks like you’re standing on a giant potato chip hanging off a cliff. What people often underestimate is the work it takes to get there. The hike is around 8 miles round trip with a 2,300 foot gain in elevation. Be prepared to wait a few minutes at the summit as well since everyone wants the famous photo (get creative, Lion King imitations are the best). Bring plenty of water, especially in the summer when it can be extremely hot and dry.

San Diego is famous for sushi and there is a hidden gem in the same neighborhood as the hike called Poway Sushi Lounge. You’ll be craving an ice cold Sapporo and some spicy tuna rolls so stop here. It resides in a strip mall but don’t judge the book by it’s cover, it has almost 600 Yelp reviews with an average of 4 out of 5 stars.

If sushi isn’t your thing, then go grab a killer slice and pint in downtown San Diego at Zia’s Gourmet Pizza. You won’t regret it.

2. Los Angeles, California

Hike: Mt. Baldy | Food: The Hat

Summit Mt. Baldy | Photo: Branda Lin

Mt. Baldy is no joke of a hike (especially in the winter, so please use caution). It is 10 miles with an elevation gain of almost 4,000 feet making it the highest peak in Los Angeles county (over 10,000 feet high). Los Angeles is obviously known for the beaches but what often goes overlooked is the surrounding mountain ranges that reside an hour drive away. And if you live in LA, you’ll appreciate the escapism clear of the traffic and congestion. Pack a bag with some layers and snacks and brave the trail with the famous “Devil’s Backbone!”

After hiking 10 miles and burning a few hundred (or thousand) calories you’ll have to hit up the World Famous Pastrami joint, The Hat, that’s been around since 1951. Definitely go with the Roast Beef Pastrami Dip and a small fry. The large is literally a bag of fries that could feed a family of 4.

If you feel like getting back to the city after the hike, head down to the Arts District and you’ll find plenty of restaurants. I recommend grabbing a burger from Umami and then heading to Angel City Brewery for some local beers.

3. San Francisco, California

Hike: Alamere Falls | Food: Parkside Café

Hike to Alamere Falls | Photo: Jake Young

The 8.3-mile trail is full of incredible views of the ocean and the Farallon Islands (if it isn’t too foggy). What makes it even better is you head inland as well where you get views of the forest and a couple lakes. The hike is about an hour away from downtown San Francisco, but the perk of the drive is you get to cruise across the Golden Gate bridge. Plus you end with a killer waterfall into the ocean. Bring layers on this hike since it can get chilly by the water.

After the hike you’ll want to grab a bite at Parkside Café at Stinson Beach. OR you could also go before as they have a killer breakfast. Their food is all spot on which will make the decision tough…do you go with the Eggs Benedict, Fish N’ Chips, or Mussels? They have it all!

San Francisco - If you’re done hiking and would rather explore the city and find some food, check out Busters Cheesesteaks for the best cheesesteaks west of Philly.

4. Portland, Oregon

Hike: Horsetail Falls Loop | Food: Double Mountain Brewery

Hike the Horsetail Falls Loop | Photo: Scott Kranz

There is a lot to be said about adventuring around Portland since there are countless numbers of hikes and activities. So if you are traveling and only have a few days, then it’s best to kill two birds with one stone. Hike the Horsetail Falls Loop is a perfect hike because it won’t take all day since it’s a very doable 2.6 miles, but you’ll have some amazing photo ops as you’ll get to check out 3 beautiful waterfalls.

On your way back be sure to hit up the Double Mountain Brewery and get yourself one of the best Margarita Pizzas in all of the PNW and of course a draft beer… if you don’t want a real beer, they make their own root beer as well. Who doesn’t love rootbeer?!

Food huts are huge in Portland - they’re like stationary food trucks. If you’re wanting to do some more exploring then check out Rockin’ Robyn’s Sassy Burger. Mushroom and Swiss all the way.

5. Seattle, Washington

Hike: The Mailbox | Food: Benjarong Thai Restaurant

Hike to the Mailbox | Photo: Mikaela Tangeman

Seattle is chalk full of mountainous hikes and adventures and if you’re venturing out for a good one, The Mailbox is it. This hike is no joke, the distance is only 5.4 miles for an out and back, but the elevation gain of 4,200 feet will leave you breathless. Literally. But so will the views when you reach the top and stare out into the Snoqualmie Valley. Just bring a walking stick because the climb down is steeeeeeeep.

After the adventurous hike, head over to Benjarong Thai Restaurant and get some incredible Thai food. They have excellent curries, crab rangoon (a version of a fried won ton stuffed with crabmeat and cream cheese), drunken noodles and of course top if off with some coconut ice cream with crushed cashews…

If you’re in Seattle you have to do something a little touristy. I would head to the wharf area and order up some hearty clam chowder AND fish and chips. Because you earned it.

Cover photo: Scott Kranz

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.