The New Birth of Freedom Council, the National Park Service, and the Gettysburg National Military Park/Eisenhower National Historic Site are proud to offer Scouting groups the opportunity to participate in the Gettysburg Heritage Trails program, which includes a stop at the Visitor Center/National Cemetery, two hiking trails through the battlefield at Gettysburg, a walking tour of historic downtown Gettysburg and a tour of the Eisenhower National Historic Site.
Consistent with Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s announcement of additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures, prohibiting the operation of in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within buildings or indoor defined areas, the Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park are joining organizations, businesses, and groups to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
With these safety measures, the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center will temporarily close Saturday, Dec. 12 through Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. This closure is a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus, based on the guidance of state and federal officials. The battlefield will remain open and accessible.
Prior to visiting the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at GettysburgFoundation.org or by calling (877) 874-2478.
The health and safety of all guests, staff, and volunteers at Gettysburg National Military Park is a top priority. Please refer to the Gettysburg Foundation’s health and safety guidelines.
To assist units in planning their Gettysburg visit, we highly recommend reviewing the Gettysburg Foundation’s “Explore Gettysburg” planning guide.
Before visiting Gettysburg National Military Park/Eisenhower National Historic Site, please check the park website to determine its operating status. Updates about the overall NPS response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
The National Park Service and the New Birth of Freedom Council have published a trail guide for each of these five trails and tours (the current edition was revised in June 2016, 19th edition). These trail guides can be ordered directly from the York or Mechanicsburg Service Centers and cost $2.00 per guide. In addition, a limited number of trail guides are also available at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
The five program elements are:
- The Visitor Center/National
- The Billy Yank Trail
- The Johnny Reb Trail
- The Eisenhower National Historic Site
- The Historic Gettysburg Trail
The trail guides are comprehensive and provide all of the information you should need concerning the trails programs, maps, requirements, etc. The trail guides are the primary source of information for participants in these programs, as the council does not make available any other printed or on-line materials regarding these programs.
The York and Mechanicsburg Service Centers can accept credit card orders by phone for trail guides by calling (717) 620-4526 or you can order these materials on-line.
The Visitor Center/National Cemetery and Eisenhower sections are question and answer exercises, as outlined in the trail guide. The trail hikes through the battlefield are designed to give participants a soldier’s perspective on what happened on the battlefield.
The Billy Yank trail is a 10-mile hike through the battlefield and takes approximately six hours to complete, while the Johnny Reb trail is a four-mile hike and takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Please be sure to carry plenty of water with you as there are no water fountains along the trails.
The Historic Gettysburg Trail is a walk through the downtown area to help visitors imagine what it was like to live in Gettysburg in July 1863. This trail is approximately three miles and takes 2-3 hours to complete.
Your group is encouraged, but not required, to view the Gettysburg Multimedia Experience, which includes the film “A New Birth of Freedom” and the Gettysburg Cyclorama program. Please call the reservation office for tickets at (877) 874-2478 or visit the park web site at www.nps.gov/gett for more information.
The basic patch is awarded for completing the Visitor Center/National Cemetery section. The Billy Yank and Johnny Reb side segments are awarded for those two trail hikes and the Historic Gettysburg patch is awarded for the completion of the guided walk, and the Eisenhower star patch is awarded for a visit to Eisenhower National Historic Site and completion of that section.
Current prices (as of 01/2020) for Gettysburg items are:
- Complete Gettysburg Heritage Trails Patch – $6.25 (main patch and all segments uncut)
- Main Gettysburg patch – $2.25 each
- Johnny Reb, Bill Yank, Eisenhower, and Historic Gettysburg segments – $1.00 each
- Plastic Patch Holder – $1.00
- Gettysburg Trail Medals – $5.25 each
- Gettysburg Heritage Trails Baseball Cap – $12.00
- Gettysburg Heritage Trails T-Shirt – $12.95-$16.95 (price varies by size)
- Gettysburg Trail Guide – $2.00
To receive the Trail Medal, Scouts must have completed the entire set of requirements for each patch segment. Additional shipping and handling charges apply for mail orders. You can order these materials online or the York and Mechanicsburg Service Centers can accept credit card orders by phone at (717) 620-4526.
Should you have additional questions on the awards that aren’t answered here on the Gettysburg Heritage Trails pages, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (717) 620-4526. We want to help!