Last Updated on July 29, 2020 by Jeremy
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The estate at Hartwood Acres is often called the crown jewel of the public parks in Allegheny County. Featuring numerous hiking trails, a gorgeous mansion open for touring, and other unique features, this destination is one that truly lives up to its reputation and is a perfect half or full-day out for visitors from Pittsburgh.
What You Can See at Hartwood Acres
The highlight of Hartwood Acres is the Tudor-style mansion which was built between 1927 and 1929. Visitors can make a reservation to tour the manor and the estate grounds are free to the public for those who wish to enjoy the gorgeous scenery from the outside.
The mansion itself is, in a way, unlike any other estate we've toured in Pittsburgh. It features many modern amenities for the early 1900s, some more advanced than what you'd see in just about any house from the period, while the design features items brought over from Europe from the previous centuries- giving a very much “Old World vs New World” vibe that you just don't see all of the time.
Take a visit during Christmas and the estate is also decorated beautifully for the holidays as well!
For those who wish to explore outside only, the grounds at Hartwood Acres are also home to numerous sculptures that can be seen on the public pathways, a stable which also can be toured on a limited basis throughout the year, and an amphitheater which holds public concerts on Sunday nights in the summers!
Hiking at Hartwood Acres
The estate at Hartwood Acres is approximately 629 acres and has numerous hiking and mountain biking trails open to the public. As these trails are not separated by hiking / biking pathways and instead are open to everyone, it is recommended to be vigilant while you are out exploring.
The trails themselves are well maintained; however, the trail markers can be quite confusing at times as the estate uses a mix of painted color markers on trees as well as numerical posts placed into the ground which sadly do not correspond to each other.
We found the painted trail signs to be helpful at times, but at other times could not find the markers when they would've been helpful.
Instead, we recommend printing or downloading a copy of the park map onto your phone to use as reference for the numerical posts that mark the trails. But like the painted tree markers, these can be confusing at times as the numerical trail markers do not match up to a corresponding trail color.
You may start the purple trail, for example, on trail #19, but end up actually hiking on trails #10, #11, #12, #13, #18, #19, and #20 to make the full loop. To make matters worse, the trail numbers seem to change every 50 to 200 feet so you absolutely must pay attention as there is no continuous and easy-to-use system in place for hiking here.
Overall, expect to get lost during your hike and be prepared to have the numerical coded map as reference as it is almost a necessity. By the end of our hike we had been switched around many times and ended up following the main road back up to the manor to get to our car, which ended up being just as pretty as the trail and worth it all the same.
Hartwood Acres is located at 200 Hartwood Acres off of Route 8 north of the city. The grounds are open daily but tours of the estate require advanced reservations and are not available on public holidays.