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Hartwood Acres (map)

 

Hartwood Acres is an Allegheny County Park.  If you plan on hiking here, I recommend downloading the Allegheny County Parks app and, within the app, downloading the map of this park for offline use. 

Even though the app hangs at times and may need to be restarted, it shows you all the blazed trails and its GPS function shows you exactly where you are on the trail.  This park has the worst trail marking in any park that I have ever seen and there is no data signal for your cell phone most of the time.  I can almost guarantee that you will get lost, so please download the app and the trail map so that you find back to your car.

The website with interactive maps, PDF maps and links to the app is here.

 

Hartwood Acres is a 629 acre (255 ha) park since 1969 and sometimes called the crown jewel of Allegheny County parks.  Besides being a beautiful park, Hartwood Acres has a large and spectacular Tudor style 1929 mansion, an English style formal garden, and a stable complex.  The mansion, that you can visit if you register at least 1 day in advance here, houses a collection of original English and American antiques.

 

The park itself is also home to several art sculptures.

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Hartwood Acres mansion
Hartwood Acres art sculptures
Hartwood Acres flower garden
Hartwood Acres flower garden

The park has a stage where, in summer, free summer concerts are held and the annual Allegheny County Music Festival.  Details and timing can be found here.

 

Hartwood Acres has several loop trails which are mainly inside the forest.  While walking in the forest is nice, the trail markings are not.  As a matter of fact, we personally find them so bad that we will not hike here again.  The trail markings consist of a mix of blaze symbols and metal markets in the ground.  While the blaze symbols stay the same, the numbers of the markers change frequently.  To make matters worse, there are many unmarked trails which you won’t find on the park map.  Here is one typical example of Hartwood Acres trail logic: you hike on a moderately wide trail and suddenly you see two narrow paths branch off to the sides while the moderately wide trail continues straight.  And, of course, there are no markers that suggest that you should change direction here and the Allegheny County Parks app has no trace of the other 2 paths.  So, you keep walking straight and a few minutes later you realize that you have not seen any blaze symbols in a while.  So you walk back and after some searching you find that one of the 2 narrow trails has your blaze symbol.  So, if you don’t mind losing the trail, which will happen, then please enjoy.

 

So, we decided to hike the 2.25 mile purple loop (purple blaze symbol) from near the parking lot by the mansion and we lost the trail at one time and ended up walking parallel to the purple loop trail for a while.  Good thing I had downloaded the trail map into the app so that it worked offline as there was no data signal for my cell phone much of the time.

The trail itself is of moderate difficulty.

Hartwood Acres hiking trail
Hartwood Acres hiking trail

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