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Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
518.00 ft (157.89 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
8.50 mi (13.68 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Valley Forge National Historical Park is a wonderful mix of history and hiking, featuring numerous trails of all types that make it the perfect place to bring a family. Start your trip at the visitor center to take in the history and gain an appreciation for the former campground of George Washington and his troops that you're about to walk through.

The visitor center is close to the Joseph Plumb Martin Trailhead, making it a great place to start. As you continue along the paved pathway, one of the first things you'll come across is a reconstructed fort, complete with Valley Forge's famous refurbished cannons. For the history lovers, this is worth a stop. Keep going to cross a collection of reconstructed cabins, some of which you can walk inside to get a feel for how the Continental Army lived. 

Continue up the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail toward the iconic National Memorial Arch, standing tall over the area. Spend a few moments here to read the inscription and take in the size of the monument, which pays tribute to those who fought for America's freedom and suffered through the harsh winter at Valley Forge. 

As you move past the arch you'll approach the edge of the woods at the far end of the park, where you can branch off onto the Mount Joy Trail for a more exciting walk through the woods. This trail will take you on a shortcut through the forest and connect you with the other side of the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, right where Washington's headquarters is located.

If you're at the park during the open hours of the headquarters, this is worth a stop. The park rangers are exceptionally knowledgable about the events that took place within the house, telling us about the original flooring, historically accurate furniture, and its placement throughout the home according to historical records. This makes for a rewarding finish to the hike through the woods at Mount Joy.

Continue back up the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail toward the visitor center and you'll pass the Washington Memorial Chapel along the route, among other monuments, until you complete the full loop.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Accessibility. Historical sights. Variety of trails. Visitor center.

Cons

Congestion. Low elevation gain.

Features

ADA accessible
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Guided tours
Near lake or river
Historically significant
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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