A Gettysburg horseback tour is a great way to see the battlefield. The slow pace, the smells, and the sounds of nature will transport you back in time and let you experience history in a way that isn’t possible from inside a car.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is vast and can be toured any number of ways, but seeing it by horseback lets you witness scenes from the past in a unique way. Most of the tours include guides who tell stories about the action that took place on the very ground you are on. You can relax, let the horse do the walking and experience the battlefield at the speed of history.
Can You Tour Gettysburg On Horseback?
The answer is yes! There are a number of businesses that offer Gettysburg horseback 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, so read on for everything you need to know about going on a Gettysburg horseback tour.
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.
It is important to keep some things in mind when around horses:
- Don’t yell 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.
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.
Are There Any Restrictions For A Horseback 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.
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 horseback 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.
Some Tips About Your Gettysburg Horseback Tour
Most of the tours (except for the National Riding Stables), depart from the McMillan Woods Youth Campground on the Gettysburg 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.
Remember that this is an outdoor activity so you will be exposed to the day’s weather conditions.
Gettysburg Horseback Tour Stable List
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 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 $55 for a one hour tour and go up to $100 for a two-hour 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 Virginia Monument, cannons, the Spangler farm, The Pennsylvania Monument, Little Round Top, and Big Round Top and the Trostle farm.
Rides start from McMillan Woods. You can book a tour online HERE or call (717) 253-6300.
Meet the horses of Hickory Hollow HERE.
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.
- 2 hour horseback Tour or 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 $99.50 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. 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 for between $30 and $56.
You can purchase the tickets on line or at the Gettysburg Heritage Museum, 297 Steinwher Avenue, Gettysburg. Phone: 717-334-6245
National Riding Stables
National Riding Stables Horse Rescue is unique because it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit 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 Campground, there is plenty of parking, a campground store for drinks and snacks and real bathrooms, not porta-potties.
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.
Can you ride your own horse in Gettysburg?
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.
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
Directions to McMillan Woods:
Directions: McMillan Woods Youth campground is located in the park on West Confederate Avenue, which is accessible from West Middle Street (Rt. 116) in Gettysburg. West Confederate Avenue is a two-way road as far as the campground, but changes to one-way beyond (south of) it.
From the PA Turnpike and points north of Gettysburg
Take U.S. Route 15 South to Route 30 West into Gettysburg. At Lincoln Square (which is a traffic circle) go ¾ of the way around the circle and exit south on Route 97, Baltimore Street, to the first stop light, which is Middle Street. Turn right and drive west to the fourth stop light at West Confederate Avenue. Turn left. The campground entrance is .6 mile on your right.
From points south of Gettysburg
Take U.S. Route 15 North to the Business Route 15 exit, Steinwehr Avenue. Turn left onto Business Route 15 North to Washington Street in Gettysburg, the first stop light you will encounter. Turn left onto South Washington Street. At the next traffic light, West Middle Street, turn left and drive west to the third traffic light at West Confederate Avenue. Turn left. The campground is .6 mile on your right.
If you know how to use GPS: Using a Garmin Nuvi at the campground, the coordinates for the campground parking area read:
If you use these coordinates in your GPS unit, they will direct you to the campground parking lot via West Confederate Avenue. If you still have questions regarding directions, 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.
Other Questions About Gettysburg battlefield tours
How long does it take to tour the Gettysburg battlefield?
The Battle of Gettysburg took place over three days in 1863 (July 1, 2 and 3) and includes fighting in the town itself. To see and experience everything 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.
Other Horseback Trails In The Area
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 Tours of Gettysburg Battlefield:
In addition to seeing the battlefield and town by horseback or carriage, there are other tours as well. Here are some links if you prefer a bus (including double-decker buses), car, bike, scooter or Segway. You can also hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to ride in your personal vehicle.
Other Tour Links: