Summit Suds: Buffalo Mountain Trail and Paradise Pilsner |

Summit Suds: Buffalo Mountain Trail and Paradise Pilsner

Fellow hikers sit on the summit of Buffalo Mountain. Below them, the ridgeline that Eccles Pass crosses over. These ridges are part of the Gore Range.
Summit Daily file

Paradise Pilsner

Dillon Dam Brewery

100 Little Dam St., Dillon

Style: Pilsner

ABV: 5%

Ingredients: Pilsen malt, German and Czech hops

Pair With: Beef jerky

This excerpt was originally published as “Hikes and hops: Trail and beer pairings to enjoy everything Summit has to offer” in the summer 2019 edition of Explore Summit Magazine. Pick one up or visit for the full article.

A fabulous way for locals and tourists alike to treat themselves in Summit County is sipping a beer after exercise, whether that be skiing, hiking, biking, paddleboarding or any other outdoor activity. As the snow finally melts and trails dry, now is a great time to explore the wilderness on foot and follow up with a celebratory beverage on a brewery patio.

Being residents of this active community themselves, here are some favorite trails and craft concoctions combos handpicked by brewers.

Amost all local breweries have canned four packs, crowlers (a growler in a can), or accept fills of more portable, non-glass growlers made of materials such as plastic. However, as public consumption is illegal, it is best to consume these beverages at your trailhead rental, other domicile or the brewery itself post-recovery stretching.

Buffalo Mountain Trail

With an unobstructed view of Buffalo Mountain right from the restaurant’s giant window, it’s no wonder that Mike Bennett, head brewer of the Dillon Dam Brewery, said that Buffalo Mountain Trail is one of his favorites in the region.

“It gets you up above tree line fast,” he said. “It’s steep and a good workout. It gets into some pretty interesting scree field. I love being able to see the whole county.”

To get to the trailhead, travel north on Colorado Highway 9 and turn left onto Wildernest Road. After .2 miles turn left onto Wildernest Road again and travel for 3.6 miles as it turns into Ryan Gulch Road. Once parked at the top of the hill, start at the Buffalo Cabin trailhead and follow it for .4 miles, turning left onto Buffalo Mountain Trail.

You’ll pass through a lodgepole pine forest, multiple log cabin ruins and reach a boulder field after a series of steep switchbacks. It’s 2.8 miles one way to the summit with a gain of 2,996 feet, making it a more difficult hike. Make sure to follow the stacked cairns closely and watch for afternoon thunderstorms since most of the trail is exposed.

After summiting the iconic mountain, Bennett recommends drinking their Paradise Pilsner. In addition to featuring the sloped peak on the label of its bomber, the drink is crisp and smooth.

“It has more of a light, grassy, floral and herbal flavor to it. Pretty mild compared to an IPA,” Bennett said. “The hoppiness balances with the spiciness of the beef jerky, my favorite trail snack.”

Jefferson Geiger is the arts & entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Everything Summit. Have a question about beer? Send him an email at

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