A New Birth of Freedom The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the Civil War's bloodiest battle and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address". The park is open daily from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. April 1 to October 31, and 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. November 1 to March 31.
Aislinn D. on The Billy Yank Trail
I didn't follow this trail exactly but did a very close version of it. Trail is very easy to follow (paved a lot of the time) and has great history and views of the battlefield. Really enjoyed this hike and would recommended it to anyone who enjoys history and easy walks!
I've driven the park many times but this was my first hike of the whole park. I'm an intermediate hiker and had an outstanding time, the only real challenge was the length of the hike and elevation on Big Round Top; but overall I'd recommend it. The great thing is that when you hike off the paved trails, you get to see so much more of the history and monuments. Culp's hill was really interesting when you get into the thick of it. The renovation of the park was well done and really added a professional but natural atmosphere. I saw horses on the trail but the riders were very polite, and no issues. Most of the traffic is on the roads, and paved walkways. For the 17 miles I hiked, I only really saw one other group of real hikers.
Heads up: You cannot bring backpacks into the visitors center (disappointing), so make that trip independent of your hike. I went in the summer, and would recommend a good insect repellent (ticks), good sunscreen as many of the areas are cleared and not shaded, and bring lots of water and snacks for extra energy when you need it. Also some trails on the park map just simply aren't there. But there are many good ones that are easy to find that aren't on the map too.
Last thing: check out the basement restaurant of the Dobbin House in town. Great food and unforgettable atmosphere of you like history.
Have been a few times, but one of my favorite trips was in early Fall. Drove part of the loop, and had a great horseback riding tour back through the Confederate side near the site of Pickett's Charge. Saw the Eisenhower farm, rode through forest and across part of the battlefield itself. Quite an experience, truly brought history to life.
did this hike jully11with with the boy scouts troop180it was hot so take plenty of water no place to get any the boyscout pamphlet told to go down this Rocky trail ten feet down the trail it disappeared found another trail that took about a mile from where we was suppose to come out at this section there is a hiking sign other then that it war nice hike our 4mile hike turned into a5mile hike that's why I give it 4stars
This is a long fun hike with a great history to it. I did it with my son's scout troop as the 2nd to last part of their Gettysburg Badge. It was a full day hike and moderately challenging for them on average. But they were all generally 'done' by the end. We had lunch on top of Big Round Top which is optional and VERY challenging for some of them. Tough to know how much they listened or appreciated each lesson talk but I thought at the end, during Picket's Charge, they followed along. Not only does it walk you through a significant part of the battle but it walks you through both side of the conflict giving you a perfect view of what the soldiers saw. For me, the most amazing view was standing in the middle of Pickets Charge and looking at how far Little Round Top was knowing that cannons would be firing from THAT far away!
The only real issue was following the directions. Since the BSA does not publish any map, you rely solely on the written directions. And the directions have some inaccuracies and are not always clear. The unclear aspect is a mix of ambiguous description and unmarked references. We were overall accurate, with some backtracking, but we missed a section for Rose Farm and Devil's Den without realizing it until we went too far. To paraphrase an example: After the path to the Vermont Regiment Monument and turn right at the path. Follow the path along the stone wall..... What I saw was we are on a paved road (to me a path does not have cars), then the 'path' curves right, you go a couple hundred yards, curves left and you see it curving right up ahead. But at that point you see a dirt path with walls on each side. We all assumed that the turn was immediately at the monument.
The directions are not the end of the world, especially if you are a little flexible on the path or can just figure out the directions. So if you choose this for a Troop, I have some recommendations:
1) Internet research - Ok, this is sketchy, I could only find 1 map online. But that map at least gave me an idea of what the trail was.
2) Get a Map with some details: All we had was a map of the Audio Tour from the Visitors Center but it gave just enough references to help us figure out parts we were lost on. If you have details of all the sites on the trail, you'll be fine.
3) READ AHEAD! - Knowing the next section sometimes helped a LOT to figure out the current section.
So overall, great trail. Just do your homework so you spend time enjoying the hike and not a lot trying to understand lackluster directions.
This is a great trail for anyone who wants to pick up some history while getting some exercise. Some of the monuments are quite impressive, and at the right time of year there are re-enactments going on. Much of the trail is along paved roads. Don't bring your small children because there is little to no shade and it can make for a really long day.
I have done the trail 2 times, once in 1997 as a preteen and then again as an adult. The booklet for the trail was $1 when I was a kid and is now $1.99; still not a bad deal for the information and guidance the book offers.