Planning for Gettysburg
The Gettysburg Historical Trails Program consists of five parts that are represented in five separate sections of the complete program patch.
The five sections are:
- The Visitor Center and National Cemetery
- The Billy Yank Trail
- The Johnny Reb Trail
- The Eisenhower National Historic Site
- The Historic Gettysburg Trail
It is highly recommended to plan on a four day trip in order to complete the entire program. In 2014, our unit planned a three day trip. Our itinerary was meticulously planned down to the minute and included a ghost tour. The full itinerary can be found at the right.
The problem with a three day itinerary is that you must juggle scheduled activities such as the museum and Eisenhower tours with strenuous hikes. In the end, our three day planned worked. However, it was very close.
What Went Wrong
Our plan for Friday was to watch the movie A New Birth of Freedom, view the Gettysburg Cyclorama, tour the museum, hike the Johnny Reb Trail, and visit the Eisenhower farm. On paper this would have worked out. The main problem was scheduling the hike with hard ticketed events. We actually started the hike early, but quickly fell behind schedule. Lunch was scrapped and we ran to the bus stop to make our ticketed departure at 2:00. We made it with only minutes remaining.
What Would We Change
On a four day itinerary, it would be recommended that on day one you complete the Visitor Center and National Cemetery, the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and ghost tour if you are interested in that. Days two, three, and four can then focus on one hike each.
In our experience the trails should be planned for the following:
- Billy Yank Trail - 7 hours
- Johnny Reb Trail - 3 hours
- Gettysburg Historic Trail - 3.5 hours
You could easily plan one of the three hour hikes along with an evening ghost tour and complete the other in the morning on your departure day.