Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is steeped in history and is known for its pivotal role in the American Civil War. One of the best ways to experience the history of Gettysburg is through one of the Gettysburg horse tours. Imagine navigating Gettysburg and the Battlefields on horseback, just like those who lived and fought here during the 1863 battle.
Battlefields of Gettysburg horse tours allow visitors to travel through the fields and see historic landmarks, monuments, and memorials. It’s a unique and immersive way to learn about the history of Gettysburg without having to navigate on foot or by car.
What Are The Best Gettysburg Horseback Tours?
Gettysburg offers a range of tours that cater to different preferences, whether you want to explore on your own horse or in a horse-drawn carriage. Tours are available for both experiences!
Trail rides, on the other hand, are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the natural landscapes surrounding Gettysburg, a little further away from the busier points of interest. These tours cater to riders of all experience levels and provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in a unique way.
Prices for trail rides vary depending on the length of the activity. Visitors can choose from a variety of trail lengths, from a simple one-hour ride to an all-day excursion.
Battlefield tours are an excellent way to learn about the events that took place during the three-day battle of Gettysburg. These tours offer visitors a chance to ride through historic fields and trenches while experienced guides provide captivating historical narratives. Licensed battlefield guides lead these tours, providing unique and entertaining historical perspectives.
For visitors seeking a more leisurely experience, carriage rides provide yet another unique opportunity to enjoy the town’s architecture and landscapes. Carriage rides gently roll through the streets and battlefield sights while your guide fills you in on the stories of each location.
No matter which tour you choose, the picturesque scenery of Gettysburg and the beauty of the horses make these tours a must-do and a unique Gettysburg experience.
Exploring the Gettysburg Battlefields on horseback provides a unique perspective on the historical site’s monumental events. Touring on horseback provides riders with a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the battlefield while taking in the stunning panoramic views. Riding through the battlefields affords riders a sense of admiration for those who sacrificed so much during the war.
Be sure to book your horseback tour ahead of time, as tour dates do fill up, sometimes weeks ahead of time during the summer months.
The most popular horseback tour routes typically traverse some of the most important landmarks and historical sites. Many tours will take riders through the Taneytown Road, which was one of the primary axes of the battle.
Visitors may have the opportunity to see many sites along the way, either up close or at a distance. Check out both the Spangler Farm and Trostle Farm. Along the way, you’ll have views of both Little Round Top and the Peach Orchard, in addition to all the monuments and memorials dedicated to various military regiments.
On horseback, you’ll get to see parts of the battlefield that are not as easily explored on foot or by car. Plus, you’ll learn and appreciate more of the historical intricacies with your tour guide’s storytelling along the way.
There are various types of tours and packages available, depending on the preferences and needs of riders. Tour operators offer a range of options, from private tours to customizable tours for larger groups. These tours cater to riders of all levels and ages, with some offering experiences suitable for children as young as eight.
To ensure the safety of riders, tour operators typically enforce certain guidelines, including minimum age requirements, restrictions on open-toed shoes, and weight limits. Riders must typically weigh no more than 250 pounds, and helmets are often required, especially for those under 18. Some operators provide riding boots and helmets as part of their packages.
The well-trained horses used by tour companies are meticulously cared for to ensure riders have a safe and enjoyable experience. Companies often provide comprehensive information about their horses’ upkeep and care, including details on feeding and grooming habits. The horses used for tours are chosen carefully to ensure they are suitable for riders of all levels. They are trained to be calm and gentle, and especially good with children.
The option to explore the Gettysburg Battlefield by horse-drawn carriage offers visitors a unique and relaxed touring experience. This leisurely pace allows riders to take in the history and beauty of the area in a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere.
This horse-drawn carriage tour is perfect for those who want to enjoy an open-air horse tour from the safety of a cart driven by a professional, rather than being responsible for your own horse, as is the case on a guided horseback tour!
These tours typically last around 2 hours and are available for small groups. The carriages have seats available for up to 10 guests at a time.
The Licensed Battlefield Guide tour takes visitors through the historical landmarks and sites of the battlefield with a trained and knowledgeable guide. This informative tour offers a detailed and educational explanation of the events surrounding the battle.
Traveling by horse-drawn carriage is not only a unique touring option but offers a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. The leisurely pace of the carriage allows visitors to fully appreciate the landscape, absorb the history of the area, and snap photos, making it an ideal option for those looking for a tranquil and educational experience.
Scenic Trail Rides Around Gettysburg on Horseback
Gettysburg is not only well-known for its rich history but also for its stunning natural scenery. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the area is by taking a scenic trail ride on horseback. There are many options available for visitors looking to explore the area in this way.
Hickory Hollow Farm, a local company, offers guided horseback tours that take visitors through some of the area’s most beautiful trails. During the tour, riders will enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape while enjoying peaceful natural settings.
In addition to Hickory Hollow Farm, there are also several nearby destinations for a scenic ride, such as Gifford Pinchot State Park and Michaux State Forest. Visitors looking for a more secluded and picturesque ride can explore these beautiful parks on horseback. With miles of designated horse trails, riders will have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the region up close, while enjoying a peaceful and relaxing ride.
When selecting a provider for a guided trail ride, it’s important to consider what type of ride you’re looking for. Some companies offer leisurely horseback rides, while others offer more adventurous trail rides. Be sure to do research on the different companies and their offerings to find the right fit for your needs.
What Do You Need to Bring For A Gettysburg Horse Tour?
If you’re planning a Gettysburg horse tour, it’s important to come prepared. Depending on the type of tour you choose, whether it’s a horseback ride, carriage tour, or trail ride, certain items may be of greater importance than others.
For a horseback ride, proper footwear is essential. Closed-toe shoes with a low heel are recommended to ensure a secure footing in the stirrups. Loose-fitting clothing should be avoided as it may get caught on the saddle or other equipment. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
For a carriage tour, comfortable clothing is recommended. Depending on the weather, you may want to bring a light jacket or rain gear. While the carriages are covered, you can get out and explore at stops along the way. Since you won’t be on horseback, there are no specific footwear requirements, but comfortable shoes are always a good idea.
For a trail ride, dress in layers to be prepared for any weather conditions. Long pants are especially recommended to protect your legs from brush and other hazards along the trail. Along with proper footwear, you may also want to bring insect repellent and a small first aid kit.
Regardless of the type of tour you choose, be sure to check with the tour company beforehand for any specific recommendations or requirements. Proper footwear and clothing are essential for a more enjoyable ride for both the horse and rider in any given weather condition.
Whether you want to explore the natural beauty of the parks on horseback or enjoy a leisurely ride in a carriage, come prepared with the necessary items to make your Gettysburg horse tour a memorable one, in a good way!
How To Dress For A Horse Tour of Gettysburg
When planning to go on a horse tour of Gettysburg, it’s important to consider the weather conditions. Horseback riding tours are available in all kinds of weather, so dressing properly is crucial.
For a comfortable and enjoyable experience, opt for long pants, jeans or leggings, and a comfortable shirt. A hat is also highly recommended to protect yourself from the sun and keep you cool during the hotter months. Tours travel through open fields, and shade is not always available.
Additionally, it’s important to wear closed-toe shoes or boots to ensure proper footing in the stirrups and protect your feet from any potential hazards along the trail. Open-toed shoes are not permitted on horseback tours.
If you’re visiting Gettysburg for these tours during the cooler seasons, remember to bring a jacket or sweater to stay warm during the tour. Keep in mind that weather conditions can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared for any changes in temperature.
Gettysburg Horse Tour Guidelines
When taking a horse tour of Gettysburg, it’s important to prioritize safety for everyone, including riders, horses, and other park visitors. Here are some guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
Weight Limits and Restrictions: Most horse tours have weight limits, so be sure to check with the tour operator before booking your ride. In general, weight limits range from 225-250 pounds. It’s important to be honest about your weight on your tour registration so that a horse is available for you when you arrive. If you exceed the weight limit, it’s best to consider alternate activities.
Appropriate Clothing and Footwear: Choose comfortable pants and a shirt that allows for easy movement. Closed-toe shoes or boots with a heel are a must to ensure that your feet stay secure in the stirrups. Open-toe shoes or sandals are not permitted for safety reasons. Consider bringing a hat to protect your head from the sun and plan accordingly if rain is in the forecast. Tours typically go out rain or shine.
Mounting and Dismounting: Follow the instructions provided by the tour guide when mounting and dismounting from the horse. Be sure to never stand directly behind a horse, and always approach them from the side.
Handling the Reins: The tour guide will provide instructions on how to hold and control the reins. Never pull the reins too hard or yank on them, as this can cause discomfort for the horse. Instead, use a gentle grip to guide your horse.
Prohibited Actions and Behaviors: Running or galloping on the tour is prohibited to ensure the safety of all riders and horses.
Follow the Tour Guide: Stay with the group and follow the lead of the tour guide to avoid getting lost or separated. The tour guide is there to provide important information and ensure the safety of all tour participants.
By following these guidelines, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable horse tour of Gettysburg.
Can you ride your own horse on the Gettysburg Battlefields?
Yes, you can! There is a designated trail beginning at McMillan Woods and ending at Big Round Top, with a spur trail to the Artillery Ridge Campground. This is similar to what is followed by commercial Gettysburg horse tours.
However, for riders looking to bring their own horses, there are specific guidelines to follow. Be sure to check the trail status prior to visiting, as trail closures occur during certain times of the year based on things like weather and school educational programs.
Note that there is no trail riding permitted after sunset, and groups with 15 or more horses will need a special permit.
Also, be sure to clean up after your animals and only use designated hitching racks or trailers to secure them so you don’t damage the trees and vegetation unless you are able to cross-tie between 2 trees.
Additional Trails Open to Horses Near Gettysburg
The Gettysburg Battlefields are not the only spot nearby where you can explore on horseback. Other parks and locations with bridle trails near Gettysburg include:
- Cordorus State Park
- Gifford Pinchot State Park
- Michaux State Forest
- Catoctin National Park
When planning a trip to Gettysburg, it’s important to consider where to stay during your visit. As a highly popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months, Gettysburg offers a wide range of accommodations. From luxurious hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, and even campgrounds and horse parks, there is something to suit every taste and budget.
Plan to stay at The Union Hotel, a bed & breakfast right in historic downtown. It dates back to 1804, and the morning breakfast pastries are delicious! Plus, you’ll be within walking distance of lots of museums downtown, as well as the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
It is important to note that regardless of what type of accommodation you choose, it is recommended to book your stay in advance, particularly during peak season, to ensure availability. Whether you prefer a luxurious stay or a rustic adventure, Gettysburg has the perfect accommodation to make your visit a memorable one.
Whether you’re traveling to Gettysburg from Philadelphia, road-tripping from Pittsburgh across the state to Gettysburg, or flying in from even further away, this small town packed with history is a fantastic destination filled with things to do.
Exploring the Gettysburg National Military Park on horseback cannot be compared to any of the other battlefield tours. The historical tours are a bucket list activity for both nature lovers and history buffs. Whether planning a horseback tour experience or a Battlefield Guided Carriage tour, you won’t be disappointed. Not only will you get to experience the beauty of the Pennsylvania countryside, but you’ll also get a unique perspective on one of the most significant battles in American history.