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Backpacker Magazine – October 2009

Top 3 Battlefield Hikes

Close your eyes and hear the bullets fly: These three routes pass through parks drenched in United States military history.

by: Nancy Prichard Bouchard

Big Hole National Battlefield, MT (Chuck Haney)
Big Hole National Battlefield, MT (Chuck Haney)

GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK, PA
Trek our most famous battleground.

From the pastoral Billy Yank Trail, winding 10 miles through sleepy central Pennsylvania, everything looks peaceful. It seems impossible that, in 1863, 170,000 soldiers marched into battle here in the biggest (and bloodiest) confrontation ever recorded in the Western hemisphere. From Cemetery Ridge, walk three miles through cannon-flanked fields before arriving at the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield, sites seized by Confederates on the second day of fighting. From here, you'll head into the woods to the granite labyrinth of Devils Den, where snipers shot so many soldiers that the nearby creek ran red with blood. Continue along Seminary Ridge to monuments to Mississippi, Florida, and Virginia soldiers. From the Virginia memorial, follow the path of Pickett's Charge, the last rebel offensive, back to Cemetery Ridge, where the Union held off the charge, sending General Robert E. Lee back to Virginia.

Reload
Go for the barbecue pork spareribs at General Pickett's Buffets in Gettysburg. (717) 334-7580

The Way
From Gettysburg, head one mile south on Baltimore St. to the park entrance.




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