DescriptionExtending east from the village of Valley Forge along SR 23, the 3,500-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park was the site of the 6-month winter/spring encampment by the Continental Army. From Dec. 19, 1777, to June 19, 1778, Gen. George Washington and 12,000 soldiers survived against terrible odds and kept the British Army contained in Philadelphia.
During that harsh winter some 2,000 troops died from disease brought on by supply shortages, exposure and poor sanitation. Still, during those 6 months the army was reorganized, Baron von Steuben developed a uniform system of drill and the Continental Army left Valley Forge better trained and more efficient.
The visitor center, at the junction of SR 23 and N. Gulph Road, has exhibits and presents a short film. Maps outlining a self-guiding driving tour, which includes the National Memorial Arch, Washington's Headquarters, Washington Memorial Chapel, the reconstructed huts of Muhlenberg's Brigade and the original entrenchment lines and fortifications are available here. One-hour audio driving tours on CD can also be purchased. Seasonal trolley tours begin from this location.
iStockphoto.com / Delmas Lehman
Allow 2 hours minimum. Park open daily 7 a.m.-dusk. Visitor center open daily 9-6, in summer (based on staff availability); 9-5, rest of year. Washington's Headquarters open daily 9-5, early Mar.-Dec. 31 (also 5-6, in summer, based on staff availability). All buildings are closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Varnum's Quarters Sat.-Sun. noon-4, seasonally. Varnum's picnic area daily 7 a.m.-dusk, Apr.-Oct.; Sat.-Sun., 7-dusk, in Nov. March to Valley Forge .25-mile ranger-led tours depart daily at 10:50 and 2:50, mid-June through Labor Day; Sat.-Sun. at 10:50 and 2:50, late Mar.-early June. Narrated 90-minute trolley tours depart daily, early June-Labor Day; Sat.-Sun., late Mar.-early June and early Sept.-late Nov. (weather permitting). Phone for departure times. Holiday tours offered in late Nov. and late Dec. Phone for schedule of other tours.
Park free. Trolley tour $17.50; $14.50 (ages 62+, students and active military with ID); $9 (ages 0-11). Audio CD $14.95 (available at the Encampment Store). Phone (610) 783-1000 for the visitor center to confirm staff availability, or (610) 783-1074 for trolley tours.
Things to SeeNational Memorial Arch
GEM DescriptionDespite 6 months of privation and disease, the Continental Army left here a disciplined and well-trained force.