Complete Guide To A Gettysburg Horseback Tour From A Local

My favorite way to explore the battlefield is with a Gettysburg horseback tour. The slow pace, the smells, and the sounds of nature transport you back in time and let you experience history in a way that isn’t possible from inside a car.

And take it from a local who loves to ride, there are some great stables in the area that can provide a wonderful Gettysburg horse tour experience. If you don’t want to ride, you can check out a local carriage tour.

I’m happy to be able to say that I’ve seen no unethical or inhumane Gettysburg horseback tour companies. The horses are all well-treated and visitors can enjoy a unique tour no matter which one they choose.

However all of the Gettysburg stables offer different experiences so it’s best to choose one that is right for you. Here’s everything you need to know about experiencing this timeless method of transportation on a battlefield tour.

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Don’t have time to read the whole post? This Gettysburg Horseback Tour comes highly recommended with great reviews.

A Gettysburg horseback tour is the best way to see parts of the battlefield up close. A red barn and white picket fence dominate this photo, with two horses on a dirt lane leading to the barn.
There’s no better way to see the Gettysburg battlefield than with a horseback tour.

Before we dive into this post, I invite you to grab a copy of my TRAVEL PLANNER. This 16-page PDF guide helps you organize your trip, from what to pack, to preparing a budget and keeping a schedule.

A Gettysburg horseback tour shows the head of a horse walking down a dirt path with Civil War-like worm fence on each side.
You’ll pass breathtaking battlefield landscapes on a Gettysburg horse tour.

Why Take A Gettysburg Horseback Tour?

The Gettysburg Battlefield is vast and can be toured any number of ways, but exploring Gettysburg by horseback lets you witness scenes from the past in a unique way.

No matter which of the Gettysburg horse tours you choose, this mode of travel lets you see the battlefield and learn about American history in a unique way.

Touring the Gettysburg battlefield by horseback is also a great way to enjoy nature and relax.

I love how the guide on may last horseback tour remained quiet so that we could hear the same sounds and see the same sights as they did in the 1860s. There was nothing but the singing of birds, the creaking of saddles, the jangling of bits and an occasional sneeze from a horse.

It gives you the feeling of being transported back in time and witnessing Gettysburg as it was back in 1863.

Another thing I love about Gettysburg battlefield tours on horseback is that you see things that you might just pass by in a car. For instance, you’ll ride by the historic barn of the Trostle Farm and see where a cannonball struck the brick wall.

Under a brilliant blue sky, you can see a wood fence with a brick barn in the background. The wall of the barn has a hole from a cannon ball shot during the Battle of Gettysburg and can clearly be seen when you explore by horseback.
Note the hole in the brick wall caused by a cannon ball during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Getting to enjoy a Gettysburg Horseback Tour is just one of the advantages of visiting Gettysburg during the summer months.

Gettysburg Battlefield Horseback Tours

The best Gettysburg horseback tour for you really depends on your personal preference, because the stables offer very different experiences.

As you will see, some of the tours offer licensed guides for those who want to learn more about the battle, and some offer leisurely rides to places on the battlefield that are seldom seen.

Depending on your preferences, you can choose a stable that offers standard tours or historical tours. All of the stables can accommodate first time riders.

Here is the basic information about Gettysburg horse riding venues to help you make a decision.

1. Keystone Trail Rides

This is the newest Gettysburg horse tour company and it offers a very different experience from all of the others.

They do not offer a licensed guide for their tours, but specialize in scenic horseback tours that cover some of the most historic and least-visited trails of the battlefield.

A graphic ad for the book Gettysburg Handbook, showing a blue cover with a Civil War soldier on a horse and 5 stars with a book review.

I can tell you from experience that this is true. I have lived in Gettysburg for 50 years and saw parts of the battlefield I have never seen!

Keystone Trail Rides is the only Gettysburg horse tour company to offer a 2-hour sunset ride, which costs $150 per person. They also offer a 3-hour morning ride for $175 per person.

The complementary ride that I went on is 4 hours and costs $225 per person. If you want to see and experience the battlefield the way they did in 1863, this unique private tour is for you.

A Gettysburg horseback tour will take you through parts of the battlefield that are seldom seen. Pictured is a horses head on a dir trail with fence on both sides.
All of the Gettysburg horseback trail rides are scenic.

Even though Keystone Trail Rides is a relatively new company, they have many positive tour reviews.

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Keystone Trail Rides is best for those who who want to explore lesser seen parts of the battlefield and for horse enthusiasts who are accustomed to riding. The 4-hour ride will probably be too much for the casual visitor or those who have never ridden, but the shorter sunset ride is highly recommended for any visitor.

I rate Keystone Trail Rides as the best way to experience Gettysburg Civil War sites on horseback. This is not a licensed guided tour of the battle, but a relaxed horseback ride that takes you to parts of the battlefield that only about 1% of visitors get to see. The guide is very knowledgeable and can answer questions about the battle.

2. Hickory Hollow Farm

Hickory Hollow Farm is a family-run horseback trail riding company that has been in business for more than 30 years and was voted the #1 Gettysburg outdoor activity on Trip Advisor.

If you’re looking for detailed information about the battle, they can provide a Licensed Battlefield Guide to ride along, describe the battle and answer questions.

Prices start at $90 for a 1.5 hour tour and go up to $115 for a two-hour guided historic tour.  On the rides, you will start at the Confederate line of Pickett’s Charge and ride to the Union Line.

Among the landmarks you will see (depending on the ride) are: the iconic Virginia Monument, which features a statue of General Robert E. Lee; rows of cannons; the Spangler farm; The Pennsylvania Monument, Little Round Top, and the Trostle farm.

Rides start from McMillan Woods. (See below for directions). You can book a tour online or call (717) 253-6300.

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Hickory Hollow Farm is great for families and for those who want to get a different perspective of the battlefield. The 1.5 and two-hour options are perfect for seeing some major historic sites and getting to experience the 1860s by horseback for a short period of time.

I rate Hickory Hollow Farm as one of the best family-friendly horseback tour in Gettysburg. They have a wide variety of horses and can make sure everyone feels comfortable on their horse.

A Civil War reenactor on a horse rides away across a field.
A Civil War cavalry reenactor rides his horse across a field in Gettysburg.

3. Confederate Trails Of Gettysburg

Horse Tours of Gettysburg is the collective name for Confederate Trails of Gettysburg and The Victorian Carriage Company.

This family operated business can provide Licensed Battlefield Guided Horseback rides as well as Horse drawn Carriage Tours on the Gettysburg Battlefield or downtown Gettysburg.

Founded in 2010 by Rachel Stephens and her husband Doug, this business started with five horses and borrowed saddles. They now have a herd of 80+ horses spread over 4 local Gettysburg pastures.

They offer:

  • 2 hour horseback Tour or Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour through the Gettysburg battlefield
  • Ride the Battlefield with a LIVE Licensed Battlefield Guide. You will receive a headset with single ear buds.
  • When a Guide is not available, you can still listen to a narrative recorded in studio by their Guide.

A 2-hour Gettysburg horseback tour costs $140 or slightly less for group rates. You will see the the Virginia Monument, the Spangler Farm, the Peach Orchard and Little Round Top off in the distance, riding from the Confederate line to the Union line.

Through the Victorian Carriage Company, the business offers a variety of ways to see the history of the town and the battlefield by carriage, starting at $74 per person. These include a 30-minute Gettysburg Town Carriage Tour, a 1-hour Gettysburg Guided Town Carriage Tour or a 2-hour Licensed Battlefield Guided Carriage Tour.

You can purchase the tickets on line or at the Gettysburg Heritage Museum, 297 Steinwher Avenue, Gettysburg. Phone: 717-334-6245

Confederate Trails is great for larger groups and families who want a leisurely ride on the Gettysburg battlefield, as well as those who prefer to see the sites by carriage instead of horseback.

Confederate Trails is a great family-friendly Gettysburg horseback tour company and I rate it highly for offering historical Gettysburg tours for beginners or those who prefer not to ride but travel by carriage.

4. National Riding Stables

National Riding Stables is unique Gettysburg horseback tour company because it is also a 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue organization that saves distressed horses from abuse, neglect, and slaughter, and places them in retirement homes as trail or companion horses.

Their guided horseback tours of Gettysburg National Military Park on their gentle, well-trained rescue horses are a principle means of raising funds for the care of the other horses.

Their most popular tour is the 2-hour historical tour with a Licensed Battlefield Guide. All of their tours feature their rescued horses, who have been saved from abuse, neglect, and slaughter, and retrained for a second career as a trail horse.

Because they are located at Artillery Ridge Camping Resort, there is plenty of parking, a campground store for drinks and snacks and real bathrooms, not porta-potties.

A two-hour guided tour is $110 and and because it is a non-profit, $75 is tax deductible.

National Riding Stables offers horse sponsorships and adoptions on their website. You can book your tour online or call 717-334-5100.

Note: Their weight limit is 210 pounds instead of 250.

The National Riding Stables trail ride is best for those who have an interest in helping this non profit save neglected horses and those who want to hear about the battlefield from a Licensed Guide. Perfect for those with no riding experience and interest in the battle.

The National Riding Stables gets high marks for helping to rehabilitate neglected horses and is a great horseback riding tour for Gettysburg history buffs because all of their tours are led by licensed battlefield guides.

Image shows the backs and harness of two black horses pulling a carriage near Gettysburg, PA. The road ahead is stone and the trees are turning red in the fall.

Horse Carriage Ride Tours Near Gettysburg

Silvershire Farm Horse Carriage and Wagon Rides

If you want to take a scenic ride in a carriage, you can book a tour at Silvershire Farm. Instead of the Gettysburg battlefield, this horse ride winds through the picturesque countryside and apple orchards of Adams County, just north of Gettysburg.

Local farmers produce more apples than anywhere in Pennsylvania, as well as other fruits and vegetables.

The carriages are pulled by Shire draft horses – the largest of all the draft animal breeds. Along the way you will also see a variety of animals, including a herd of Elk.

The journey is narrated with a history of the area during the Civil War Battle at Gettysburg, as well as that of the orchards and the history of the Shire horse.

Best Part? At the end of the ride at Silvershire Farm you get the unique experience of meeting all of the horses on the farm and feed them if you want.

(717) 778-5275
214 Clearview Road, Aspers, PA

How I Rate This Ride

This is a wonderful experience that offers a beautiful drive through scenic countryside. I’ve lived here all my life and learned a lot about the apple industry and history of the area.

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The answer is yes you can tour the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield by horseback! There are a number of businesses that offer Gettysburg horse tours on the actual battlefield, and others that offer carriage rides through the historic downtown area as well as the battlefield.

There’s no better way to connect with history and stories of the past than going on a Gettysburg horseback tour.

The use of horses for your transportation to explore this landmark battlefield is a great experience that you will never forget.

Powered by GetYourGuide

What Do You Need For A Gettysburg Horseback Tour?

Many people wonder if they need to have riding experience before touring Gettysburg on horseback. The answer is, “no.” The horses used by local stables are calm and slow, and are accustomed to riders who have never been on a horse.

The stables also offer out-riders who are experienced on the trail and can lend a helping hand if you experience any problems.

Looking for things to do in Gettysburg? Get the best rates for museums and tours.

It is important to keep some things in mind when around horses:

  • Don’t yell, create unreasonable noise, or make sudden movements when near horses or mounted.
  • When approaching a horse, always speak and alert the horse to your presence.
  • Always mount from the left-hand side of the horse.
  • Avoid ducking under the tie rope; you might cause the horse to pull back, and you’d be extremely vulnerable to injury if he did.
  • Be mindful of a horse’s feet while you’re near him. Horses don’t realize how big they are and can accidentally step on your toes.

Don’t visit Gettysburg without the Gettysburg Handbook & Insider’s Travel Guide!

Before you visit, you might want to find out more about the mistakes to avoid when visiting Gettysburg

How To Dress For A Gettysburg Horseback Tour

Wear comfortable clothes and don’t forget a hat to keep the sun off your face. You should also bring sunblock, and depending on the time of year, insect repellant can be a good idea too.

Shoes with heels (like cowboy boots) are best for riding, but any closed-toe shoe will do. (No open-toed shoes permitted).

Summers in Gettysburg are hot and humid, so make sure you are well hydrated before starting your ride, and have water available upon your return.

A paint horse on a grassy trail rides by a worm fence and a white Civil War era house during a horse tour in Gettysburg.
You get a close up look at historic houses during a horseback tour.

Are There Any Restrictions For A Gettysburg Horse Tour?

Each riding stable has its own rules, so check first. Here are some general rules and restrictions:

Age: Minimum age of a rider is 7 or 8 years old, depending on the stable.
Weight: Maximum rider weight is usually 250 lbs.
Helmets: Helmets are generally required for riders under 18 and are provided.
Health: Reasonable good health and the ability to mount a horse.
Attire: Opened-toed shoes are not allowed and long pants are recommended.

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How Do You Book A Gettysburg Horseback Tour?

First, check out the stables below that offer the opportunity to take a Gettysburg horseback tour. Then give them a call or book your ride through their website.

Keep in mind that tours on horseback are popular and the number of horses are limited. Make your plans as early as possible so you don’t miss out.

Gettysburg horse tours depend somewhat on the weather. Though some rides depart rain or shine, they won’t go out if the trails are extremely wet or in bad condition or if there are dangerous thunderstorms or winds.

Due to Pennsylvania law, you will be required to sign a standard Liability Release Form acknowledging the risk of horseback riding.

Gratuity for your tour guide is not included, but is always appreciated.

If the weather in the Gettysburg area has been wet prior to your ride, you may want to call ahead and find out the current status of the horse trails.

Some Tips About Your Gettysburg Horseback Tour

Most of the tours (except for the National Riding Stables), depart from the McMillan Woods Campground on the Gettysburg Battlefield because it provides a horse trailer parking area right on the battlefield.

You should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. (See below for directions to McMillan Woods).

Parking is free, but leave enough time to find a parking space and to check in. If you’re visiting during a busy time of year, you will see groups of other riders as well.

Remember that this is an outdoor activity so you will be exposed to the day’s weather conditions.

A brown and white horse with a female rider and the head of a second horse can be seen walking down a narrow dirt path with a stone wall and the Longstreet Tower on the right, as part of a Gettysburg horseback tour.
The Keystone Horseback Ride takes riders by the Longstreet Tower.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Tour The Gettysburg Battlefield?

To see and experience everything about the three-day battle would take days, but there are many different driving tours, audio tours and Licensed Battlefield Guide tours that you can do in a few hours. There are also walking tours of downtown as well as an abundance of Ghost Tours.

Can You Ride Your Own Horse On Gettysburg Battlefield?

Yes, you can ride your own horse in Gettysburg, the National Park Service has designated bridle trails that must be followed.

For visitors who bring their own horses to the park, limited trailer parking is available at McMillan Woods Youth Group Campground on West Confederate Avenue.

There is a designated section of the parking area in the campground for vehicles and trailers. On weekends during spring, summer and fall, the parking area for horse trailers can fill up quickly. Since parking is limited it is best to arrive early.

Once the lot is full, there are no other places for trailers to park on the battlefield.

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Can I Stay Overnight With My Horse In Gettysburg?

Artillery Ridge Campground and Horse Park offers parking for horse trailers for a minimal fee. It is located upon the very grounds of the Union Artillery Reserve and is within walking distance to Gettysburg Battlefield trails, museums, & monuments. 

In addition to horseback tours, they off RV sites, tent camping and cabins. They are also the only campground in Gettysburg with overnight accommodations for horses.

The Horse Park offers:

  • A warm-up riding arena and round pen
  • 10’x12′ covered box stalls
  • Single, double, triple and quad horse open gate corrals
  • 24’x32′ two horse board corrals

 The Campground & Horse Park is located at 610 Taneytown Road Gettysburg. Phone: 717-334-1288

If you still have questions regarding directions NPS parking, call the park at (717) 334-1124.

If you don’t want to contact the stable directly, you can book a ride through Get Your Guide.

Nearby Gettysburg Horseback Trails

Catoctin National Park, Thurmont, MD, (301) 663-9288
Large Parking area – 5 trails totaling 30 miles.

Codorus State Park, Hanover, PA (717) 637-2816
40 trailer parking- 8 miles of trails.

Gifford Pinchot State Park, Lewisberry, PA (717) 292-4112
6 miles of riding trails.

Michaux State Forest, Fayetteville, PA (717) 352-2211
Large Parking area; call for information on length of trails.

Other Things to Do in Gettysburg

In addition to seeing the battlefield and town by horseback or carriage, there are other tours and things to do in Gettysburg.

One of the most popular activities after exploring museums is a Gettysburg Foodie Downtown Tour. Speaking of museums, you can skip the line with a ticket to the Gettysburg Heritage Center museum bought online.

And lots of people come to Gettysburg to see if they can see a ghost. Gettysburg has everything from a Family Friendly History and Haunts Ghost Tour to complete high-tech investigations like this Small Group Evening Ghost Investigation.

Where To Stay During Your Visit To Gettysburg

If you want to stay in downtown Gettysburg, you have lots of options.

I highly recommend the Gettysburg Hotel because of its great location and history.

Just a few blocks away is the Federal Pointe Inn, which is also a historic building (an old schoolhouse) that is close to stores and restaurants.

The 1863 Inn at Gettysburg is a little more budget friendly, and is located next to the Jennie Wade House. Close to everything, including shops, restaurants and hotels.

If you prefer being out in the country in a cabin or a cottage, there are a number of Gettysburg campgrounds that provide both.

If you enjoy staying in historic Bed and Breakfasts, Gettysburg has plenty to choose from.

Planning Your Trip To Gettysburg

🛌 Find the perfect accommodation with Booking.com. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly options, they have a room for every preference, including pets and pools.

🎡 Discover the best tours and activities with Viator or Get Your Guide. Explore iconic landmarks, take guided tours and immerse yourself in the history and vibrant culture of Gettysburg.

🚗 Rent a car with Discover Cars and enjoy the freedom to explore the town at your own pace. Discover hidden gems, explore the countryside and make the most of your trip.

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One Comment

  1. Ms. James: My wife and I own an operate Silvershire Farm in Aspers, PA. We do Horse-drawn carriage rides through the orchards and countryside on our farm. We are inquiring to see what we would have to do to get included on your website. We would be more than happy to have you come for a ride with us to see what we have to offer. If you check out our reviews on google you will see what people have had to say about us. There are lots of photos that people have included. You can also go on our website and see what we have to offer. Are website is silvershirefarm.com. We are also listed with Destination Gettysburg as well as TripAdvisor and Yelp. Thank You for your consideration in at least reading this.
    Bill and Bobbie Kane
    Silvershire Farm

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