A Local’s Guide To Visiting Little Round Top In Gettysburg PA

If you’re planning a trip to Gettysburg, you may want to know what to expect before visiting Little Round Top, which has been closed for almost two years for rehabilitation.

Since I’m a local, and was there the day it re-opened, I have some insight into what to expect at this must-see historic site.

Come along as I tell you everything you need to know about visiting Little Round Top in Gettysburg.

Don’t want to read until the end?
The Top 4 things to see when visiting Little Round Top
are: 1. Climb the 44th N.Y. Infantry monument (the Castle)
2. Rub Colonel O’Rorke’s nose (yes, it’s a thing)
3. Visit the General Warren statue
4. See Devil’s Den from a new angle

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Two signs on top of Little Round Top with a vast view below.
The view on top of Little Round Top is spectacular.
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What Can You See At Little Round Top?

Little Round Top in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

As a pivotal site in the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, Little Round Top offers a rich historical experience, complete with breathtaking panoramic views and well-preserved monuments.

Visitors can explore the rugged terrain that played a crucial role in the Union Army’s defense, learn about the strategies employed during the battle, and reflect on the sacrifices made by soldiers on both sides.

A wayside sign on the summit of Little Round Top in Gettysburg.
There are lots of new wayside exhibits to help visitors understand the battle on Little Round Top.

There are 19 new orientation and wayside exhibits to help visitors gain a better understanding of the battle that took place on and around Little Round Top.

Five of these exhibits place visitors along the Union line of battle, while 14 interpretive exhibit panels provide historical context and firsthand accounts of the battle written by its survivors.

The National Park Service has also established a trail system designed to provide safe access to key locations for the battle.

The best way to get an overview of the Battle of Gettysburg is a 2-hour bus tour. The 3-day battle took place in around the town. Hit all of the key sites and let someone else do the driving.

Four Things Not-To-Miss When Visiting Little Round Top

Almost everyone who comes to visit Little Round Top wants to see the 20th Maine monument, which is located at the southern end before you get to the summit.

Here are four other things to see or do when visiting Little Round Top.

1. The Castle’ (44th and 12th New York)

This ‘castle’ on Little Round Top is the largest regimental monument on the Gettysburg battlefield and it’s listed in my 10 best monuments in Gettysburg list.

Designed by Daniel Butterfield, the original Colonel of the 12th New York and Meade’s Chief of Staff at Gettysburg, it was dedicated in 1893.

Go inside and look for the steps to climb to the top. It’s a great place to watch the sunset.

The 44th New York Infantry monument on the crest of Little Round Top looks like a castle.
The 44th New York Infantry monument on the crest of Little Round Top looks like a castle.

The monument stands 44 feet high and 12 feet wide, dimensions that represent the two regiments, and has a spiral staircase to a second floor observation deck. The tower is topped by the Maltese Cross symbol of the Fifth Army Corps.

Five bronze tablets outside the monument display information about the regiments. Inside, more tablets display the muster rolls of each company and reliefs of Generals Butterfield and Francis Barlow.

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2. Rub Patrick O’Rorke’s Nose

General Joshua Chamberlin from Maine is well known for his contribution to the fight on Little Round Top, but Colonel Patrick O’Rorke also performed an important role and is referred to as “the immigrant hero,” having come to America from Ireland.

When you come out of the “castle” turn right and you will see the monument honoring the sacrifice of Paddy O’Rorke. You will see his bright nose, which people rub for courage and valor.

You can see the shiny nose on the monument to Paddi O'rorke on Little Round Top where people have rubbed it for good luck.
You can see the shine on Paddi O’Rorkes nose.

3. The General Warren Statue

The General Warren Statue is an iconic symbol that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Little Round Top.

Gouverneur Kemble Warren was an American civil engineer and was responsible for arranging the last-minute defense of Little Round Top.

The General Warren statue you can see when visiting Little Round Top Gettysburg, overlooking a green valley.
The General Warren Statue on Little Round Top.

Warren is known as the “savior of Little Round Top” for seeing the high ground and taking it for the Union. His actions ultimately saving the Army’s vital position.

4. Get A New Perspective Of Devil’s Den

The view from Little Round Top is spectacular no matter which direction you look, but make sure you look to your left and see Devil’s Den.

I grew up in Gettysburg and visited Devil’s Den many times, but seeing it from Little Round Top gives you a unique perspective.

The view of Devil's Den from "the castle" on Little Round Top Gettysburg.
This is the view of the cluster of boulders known as Devil’s Den, as seen from the top of the “castle” on Little Round Top.

Pro Tip: When you’re done visiting Little Round Top, drive to Devil’s Den. Make sure you get out of the car and explore. Also note the white oak tree in the center of the photo above.

It’s a Witness Tree that witnessed the Battle of Gettysburg. You will pass it as you drive past Devil’s Den. It’s on a sharp turn.

Looking for a ghost tour? Food tour? Battlefield or town tour? Look no further. Gettysburg has a tour for everyone’s taste.

Best Time To Visit Little Round Top

Despite doing a complete rehabilitation of the Little Round Top battle site, no new vehicle parking was added. Therefore it’s important to try to time your visit for a time when you can find parking.

The busiest times of year in Gettysburg is April through October. In order to avoid crowds, it is recommended that you visit on weekdays, and avoid the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The summer months of May, June and July are the most crowded with the Fourth of July weekend (which is also the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg), being a very busy time.

I have found that the morning is the best time to visit, with 11 a.m. to about 3 p.m. being the most crowded.

Pro Tip: Another great time to visit is at sunset. You can’t beat the view! (It’s one of the many one-of-a-kind free things to do in Gettysburg).

Parking At Little Round Top

Vehicles must park in designated spaces at and around the summit of Little Round Top. Do not stop on the roadway to load or unload passengers.

  • Available parking at the summit includes 24 car spaces (four of which are handicapped accessible)
  • Wright Avenue at 20th Maine monument (0.3 miles to the summit) 3 car spaces
  • Warren Avenue (0.3 miles to the summit) 5 car spaces
  • Gravel parking area at Wheatfield and Sedgewick (0.4 miles to the summit) 19 car spaces
  • Overflow Parking – right side of road, all 4 tires on pavement
  • South Confederate Avenue and Sedgwick Avenue. Shoulder keeping on four tires on the road.

If there is no parking available, you have to drive around the loop again because there is curbing which prevents parking on the shoulders of the road.

What Happened During The Battle For Little Round Top?

Little Round Top was the scene of heavy fighting on July 2, 1863, and is one of the most historic landscapes within the 6,000-acre Gettysburg National Military Park.

The battle waged across these boulder strewn slopes helped decided the outcome of the clash at Gettysburg.

Around 4 p.m. Confederate infantry moved toward Little Round Top. Union Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren had taken quick action upon seeing the hill undefended and alerted Union officers to the Confederate threat.

The statue of General Warren on LIttle Round Top with the sun setting.
The General Warren statue on Little Round Top is a great place to watch the sunset.

Union troops of Col. Strong Vincent’s brigade also hurried to defend the hill. Moments later Confederate infantry from Alabama and Texas reached Vincent’s front and immediately attacked. Vincent was mortally wounded during the fighting.

On the far left of the Union line, Col. Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine fought to maintain their position, eventually launching a desperate bayonet charge that drove the Alabamians from the hill.

An estimated 4,864 combatants participated in the hour and half long struggle. Over 1,185 numbered among the killed, wounded or captured.

Nearest Restrooms When Visiting Little Round Top

Permanent: The South End Guide Station along the Emmitsburg Road.

Seasonal: The Little Round Top trailhead along Wheatfield Road, and near the Pennsylvania Memorial (Tour Stop 12)

All restrooms are within 2.75 miles of the summit.

Related Story: Best tours in Gettysburg

Why Is There Water At The Base of Round Top?

A new lake at the base of Little Round Top Gettysburg with a large boulder in the foreground.
Beavers have created a small lake at the base of Little Round Top.

You may notice the “lake” at the base of Little Round Top and not remember reading about it in your history book.

You’re right. It wasn’t there. The National Park Service has been dealing with beavers who built a dam and have created a new ecosystem, complete with lily pads and frogs.

There’s no better way to see the Battlefield than by horseback. Check out the best Gettysburg horseback tours.

Wrap-Up Of Visiting Little Round Top

Whether you’re interested in guided tours, photography, hiking, or simply soaking in the serene landscape, Little Round Top provides a unique glimpse into America’s past while offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

When you’re done visiting Little Round, don’t forget to take a walk in downtown Gettysburg. There are lots of hidden gems along the main street that most people don’t notice.

There are might want to look at 10 of the best monuments in Gettysburg

Hotels Near Little Round Top

Resources For Planning A Visit To Gettysburg

🛌 Find the perfect accommodations 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 history.

🚗 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.

✈️   Need a flight? Check FareDrop for the best deals.     

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