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Current Search Destination:Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania
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iStockphoto.com / Delmas Lehman
Description
Extending 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
A stop at any of the Storytelling Benches located throughout the park will offer insight into the Valley Forge army encampment and its impact on the Revolutionary War. The Once Upon A Nation benches are staffed seasonally and can be found at the visitor center and Washington’s Headquarters. Vault tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at a collection of historic documents. Ranger-led tours begin at the Park Theater next to the visitors center and finish with a look at the Muhlenberg Brigade replica log huts.
Allow 2 hours minimum. Park open daily 7 a.m.-dusk. Visitor center open daily 9-6, mid-June through Aug. 31; 9-5, rest of year. Washington's Headquarters open daily 9-5, early Mar.-Dec. 31 (also 5-6, mid-June to mid-Aug.); Sat.-Sun. 9-5, rest of year. Closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Varnum's Quarters Sat.-Sun. noon-4, early Apr.-Oct. 31. 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, 12:50 and 2:50, mid-June through Labor Day; Sat.-Sun. at 10:50, 12:50 and 2:50, late Mar.-early June; Sat.-Sun. at 10:50 and 2:50, day after Labor Day-late Oct. Narrated 90-minute trolley tours depart daily, early June-Labor Day; Sat.-Sun., late Mar.- to 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, (610) 783-1074 for trolley tours, (484) 396-1018 for cellphone tour (English) or (484) 396-1015 for cellphone tour (Spanish).
Things to See
National Memorial Arch
GEM Description
Despite 6 months of privation and disease, the Continental Army left here a disciplined and well-trained force.
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Current Location: Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania