• Lasting Memorials to Sacrifices at Gettysburg

    A group of Scouts and leaders pauses to study a monument at Gettysburg National Military Park.

  • Walk Where They Fought

    Visitors can picture the battlefield from the perspective of the units that fought there as the effort to restore the battlefield to its 1863 appearance continues.

  • Experience History, Not Just Read About It

    Scouts pose for a picture with a statue of President Abraham Lincoln located outside the park's Visitor Center.

  • Notable Memorials

    Here a group of Scouts tours the Pennsylvania Memorial, the only memorial that records all the PA soldiers that took part in the battle.

  • How Gettysburg Changed America Forever

    Scouts visiting Gettysburg come away with much more than simply understanding the events that happened on the battlefield.

  • The Cyclorama

    The Cyclorama is the nation's largest painting that places visitors in the fury of Pickett's Charge on the third day of the battle.

  • Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center

    The Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center was designed and built in 2008 to provide a proper and permanent home for the Park's collection of Civil War artifacts.

  • Learn The Story

    The Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War has 11 exhibit galleries featuring artifacts and interactive displays.

Gettysburg Heritage Trails Program Overview

GettysburgTrailPatchThe 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 self-guided tour of the Eisenhower National Historic Site.

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) 795-2703 or you can order these materials on-line.

Program Descriptions
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.

Please Note:  Changes Due to Little Round Top Closure

Due to the closure of Little Round Top at Gettysburg National Military Park during rehabilitation efforts, the following alteration to the Gettysburg Heritage Trail has been implemented. Please note that both the Little Round Top and 20th Maine stops are inaccessible. 

Begin the Billy Yank trail as normal and proceed through the locations. Once you arrive at the Devil’s Den section, please use the following: 

Devil’s Den 
Return to the parking area and retrace your route back over the wooden bridge. At the trail intersection (former location of the restrooms) continue straight up the trail that heads east up Big Round Top to the Big Round Top parking lot. Do not attempt to go up Warren Avenue. Once you have reached the Big Round Top parking lot, proceed with the hike from the Big Round Top section. 

Eisenhower National Historic Site
The Eisenhower NHS can be accessed by driving to visit the site/tour the home. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to contact the park in advance for reservations to tour the home. This link will direct you to the website for contact information. A self-guided tour of the site is available via the National Park Service app when house tours are unavailable in order to obtain the Eisenhower star patch.

new-medalThe 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) 620-4525.  We want to help!

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