Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve

Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve is one of the largest private nature reserves in the Pittsburgh region. Managed by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania under an agreement with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the reserve offers visitors the chance to explore diverse natural communities along well-marked trails. These communities include varying stages of mixed deciduous forest, an old conifer plantation, cleared meadows, shrubland, and a small man-made pond surrounded by wetland vegetation.

Associated ASWP facilities include educational classrooms, the Audubon Nature Store, a natural history library, an auditorium and a native plant center.

Background

In 1903, State Sen. William Flynn acquired more than 350 acres on both sides of Dorseyville Road and named the property Beechwood Farms. Some of this property was acquired by Rachel Mellon Walton in 1951. Beginning in the 1970s, portions were donated to Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. In 1977 the property became headquarters for ASWP.

In 1989, the Conservancy conveyed a four acre parcel containing the nature center and parking lot to ASWP. At that time, the two organizations entered into a joint operating agreement for the remaining 126 acres still owned by the Conservancy. This agreement allows ASWP to operate the property primarily as a nature reserve for public outdoor education.

Location

  • Borough of Fox Chapel, Allegheny County

Dates Acquired

1976 - 1986

Size

Approximately 131 acres

Notable features

Mature forest, open meadow, shrubland, pond, trails and nature center

Recreational Activities

  • Hiking (Designated Trail)
  • Hunting

Recreational Activities

Hiking

From the parking area off Dorseyville Road, five miles of trails traverse the varied natural communities located throughout the reserve.

Wildlife

Wildlife that may be encountered include species adapted to upland forest, meadow and areas in-between, such as white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbit and red fox. Canada geese and mallards frequent a pond. An observation deck gives visitors a birds’-eye view of the forest.

Bow-hunting

Bow-hunting for deer is allowed with a permit issued by ASWP. Permits are currently distributed to a limited number of selected hunters. Please be aware that certain trails are closed during archery season. Also, please exercise caution and wear blaze orange during hunting season.

Plan Your Visit

GPS Coordinates: 40.543132, -79.905246

Directions to the Trail Head Parking Lot

Directions

Beechwood Farms is located on Dorseyville Road in the Borough of Fox Chapel. From Route 28, turn north onto Route 8 (toward Butler). At the first light, turn right onto Kittaning Road. Continue for 4.5 miles (Kittaning Road will become Dorseyville Road). Beechwood will be on the left. Beechwood’s address is 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238-1618.

Visitor Tips

Watch this introduction to Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve

The preserve is maintained by ASWP through an agreement with WPC. Trails are open dawn to dusk and no pets are allowed. Be prepared for your visit with the following resources. We recommend downloading these files to your device prior to visiting.

Visitor Guidelines

When visiting Beechwood Farms, please remember:

  • The hiking trails are open from dawn to dusk every day.
  • Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the trails
  • Camping and campfires are prohibited.
  • If you carry it in, carry it out.
  • Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without permission is prohibited.
  • Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit.