Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
At Valley Forge National Historical Park, located about a 35-minute drive northwest of Center City Philadelphia, visitors travel back in time to the harrowing 1777-1778 winter encampment of George Washington’s Continental Army.
No battles were fought in Valley Forge, but the time the army camped here went down as one of the Revolutionary War’s most trying periods.
Exhibits and artifacts in the Visitor Center (refurbished and reopened in June 2021) as well as replicated huts and the original headquarters tell the story of the pivotal winter that Washington and his troops endured.
And, with more than 3,600 acres of rolling hills and miles of well-worn hiking and biking trails, Valley Forge is now a magnet for runners, bicyclists and picnickers as well as history buffs.
The American Revolution
An essential stop for anyone interested in delving into the American Revolution, the monuments, statues and buildings that comprise Valley Forge National Historical Park evoke more than 240 years of American history.
The outbuildings — some authentic — bring that pivotal winter to life.
The expanse chronicles an army’s epic struggle to survive against terrible odds, hunger, disease and the unrelenting forces of a harsh winter.
Rows of cannons in Artillery Park; the soldiers’ log huts; and earthen fortifications around the rim of the park serve as silent reminders of the past.
A nine-stop Encampment Tour Route connects the important spots in the park. Three must-visit stops: the reconstructed log huts at the Muhlenberg Brigade Area; the iconic National Memorial Arch; and the moving Patriots of African Descent Monument.
Hiking, Biking & Recreation
Woodlands, streams, meadows, monuments and miles of trails also make Valley Forge National Historical Park a haven for outdoor fun.
The open space links the Schuylkill River Trail to the Horse Shoe Trail, turning the park into a major hub in a 75-mile system linking Philadelphia to the Appalachian Trail. Two miles of the paved Schuylkill River Trail, which connects sites in Montgomery County and Philadelphia, run through the north side of the park.
Recreation facilities in the park include designated picnic areas, a six-mile multi-use trail, 35 miles of designated hiking trails, 19 miles of biking trails and 17 miles of horse trails.
Recreation facilities in the park include designated picnic areas; hiking, biking and horse-riding trails; and more.
— Photo by A. Sinagoga for Visit Philadelphia
Disease, supply problems, expiring enlistments and weakened morale took their toll on Washington’s troops during the winter encampment at Valley Forge — now memorialized as Valley Forge National Historical Park — from 1777 to 1778.
Despite losing more than 2,000 soldiers to disease, the army emerged a stronger fighting force, going on to stand their ground at the battle of Monmouth.
Today, the outbuildings — some authentic, like Washington’s Headquarters, and some replicated, like the Muhlenberg Brigade huts — and monuments, along with tours led by park rangers and volunteers, bring that pivotal winter to life.
Like no other Revolutionary War site, Valley Forge suggests the arduous spiritual and physical experience the Continental army went through on its way to eventual, improbable victory.
Bikers ride past reconstructed cabins in Valley Forge National Historical Park.
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
Valley Forge is located 18 miles west of Philadelphia, along the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), near lively areas like King of Prussia and Phoenixville in Montgomery County.
The park’s visitor center — which was built in 1976 — underwent a $12 million dollar renovation that was completed in June 2021. There, visitors can find park information and maps; orientation services led by park rangers and volunteers; The Encampment Store, a shop that sells books, souvenirs and snacks; and more.
Guests who’d like to learn more while out and about in the park can check out the official 60-minute audio tour, available to stream or on CD.
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for a rewarding getaway in one of 2021’s top destinations, per Condé Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Esquire and more.
The exclusive deal — booked more than 175,000 times since 2001 — includes buy-one-get-one-free attraction tickets purchased at the Independence Visitor Center to 33 of Philly’s iconic museums and attractions and free hotel parking (worth up to $100 in Center City Philadelphia).
Explore some of the can't-miss spots in Philadelphia and the Countryside...