Beechwood Farms in Fox Chapel, with its 5 miles of trails and varied habitats, provides a good spot for a short walk or a leisurely picnic.
This nature reserve serves as the headquarters for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, and as such, there are also many events at this location ranging from naturalist-led hikes and birdwatching events to summer camps and educational opportunities for kids.
What You Can See at Beechwood Farms
Right next to the parking lot on Dorseyville Rd. is the Audubon Nature Store which has many gift items as well as gear and guides for birdwatching and even birdfeeders. Also in the building is a nursery where you can purchase native plants with the help of native plant experts on site.
The walking trails pass through a variety of habitats including meadows, hardwood forests, and pine forests. There's even a nice little pond with an adjacent covered picnic area.
During our visit we saw ducks, geese, frogs, and hundreds of little baby frogs hopping across the trail! This makes Beechwood Farms a great place for those looking to take a brief hike while still seeing several unique aspects of nature.
Hiking Tips for Beechwood Farms
We recommend grabbing a trail map from the visitor center or downloading the map from their website as we found trail maps in other guides were not very accurate, despite being quite plentiful when compared to the average park in the area.
However, as there are only 5 miles of trails, it would be pretty hard to get lost here even without a map.
The trails start behind the parking lot and nature center. For a short 20-30 minute walk try looping around the pond via Spring Hollow Walk and the Goldenrod trail.
The longest trail (takes about one hour) is the Pine Hollow trail which you reach by taking the Spring Hollow trail to the Meadowview trial.
We chose to do the complete Spring Hollow Walk which took about 40 minutes with only small changes in grade. This trail wound through all the different habitats in the reserve and also went past the tree top viewing platform and is perfect for hikers of all skill levels and interests.
Beechwood Farms is located at 614 Dorseyville Road in Fox Chapel and is open from dawn to dusk year round. Please note that dogs and bikes are not allowed on the trails.
Beechwood Farms is also one of the features in the amazing book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Pittsburgh Edition” that we are working through as a part of this series. If you are interested in day hikes near the city we highly recommend picking this one up!