Biking the Gettysburg Battlefield – Not Just Any Map

Recently, Civil War Cycling announced the availability of PDF maps for biking the Gettysburg battlefield. Today, this blog post asks the question, so what?!

What’s the big deal?

You may be wondering why an official park map isn’t good enough for bicyclists who want a historical ride through Gettysburg National Military Park. Or maybe you’re thinking that someone’s Strava or Map My Ride post will work just fine. You will be disappointed with both of those options.

If you want a safe, circular, and educational bicycle ride through the Gettysburg battlefield…

you need either a licensed battlefield guide *OR* maps that are tailored specifically to the needs of a bicycling historian.

The official park map, as well as GPS routes that you can find online, lack the details that you need for historical touring. They may not avoid town roads. They do not provide information or photographs about monuments or the battlefield landscape. Rarely will they document one-way roads or identify blind curves or shady rest areas. And of course, auto tour guidebooks are designed for motor vehicles, not bicycles.

Want a licensed battlefield guide?

I highly recommend GettysBike Tours.

Want maps for a self-directed bicycle tour?

Please consider Civil War Cycling’s guidebook and optional companion maps for bicycling Gettysburg. Neither the guidebook nor the PDF companion maps require the other.

Table of Gettysburg Bicycle Routes

Civil War Cycling's bicycling maps are historically themed, circular routes over park roads that are designed for safety and cycling convenience. You may print these multi-page color PDFs to tuck into your jersey, bicycle panniers, or handlebar map bag. If your mobile device has a PDF reader, you can also digitally view your maps while on a break. There are no license keys or passwords. Simply purchase, download, and use.
Route #Route NameMilesThemeLink
1Full Day Loop23.8Maximum battlefield coverage for July 1-3, 1863Read More
1bFull Day Short Loop11.5Abbreviated coverage of key battlefield sites for July 1-3Read More
2Battle Day 1 Loop10.5Fields north of town and part of Culp's HillRead More
3Battle Days 2 & 3 Loop17.0Southern half of the battlefield, plus a complete tour of Culp's Hill
Read More
3bBattle Days 2 & 3 Short Loop10.7Abbreviated coverage of key battlefield sites for July 2-3Read More
4The Ridges Loop9.0Simple route over the July 2-3 battlefield south of town, excluding Culp's HillRead More
5The Ridges Extended Loop12.2Adds to Route 4 a ride through Devil's Den, Rose Woods, and the Trostle Farm areaRead More
6, 7Culp's Hill Lower & Upper Loops2.4 (each)Culp's Hill divided into two loopsRead More
8Culp's Hill Double Loop5.5Complete tour of Culp's Hill, including East Confederate AvenueRead More
9, 10, 11Devil's Den, The Wheatfield, and Little Round Top Loops1.5 - 3.8Devil's Den, The Wheatfield, and Little Round TopRead More
12East Cavalry Field5.2East Cavalry FieldRead More

How These Maps Emerged From My Mistakes

For more than thirty years, and over many dozens of visits, I toured Gettysburg National Military Park by bus, car, and foot. In 2012, I toured the battlefield on a bicycle for the first time. The experience of learning American history while exploring park land on a bicycle is hard to describe, but if I had to pick one word, it would be “exhilarating.”

And yet it took four years to work out the kinks in my self-directed, solo tours.

I created my own maps (and guidebook) because I could not find any maps that met my needs as a bicycling tourist.

I was frustrated by one-way roads, incomplete or inaccurate maps, and not knowing how best to avoid town traffic. At first, I did not know what equipment to pack, what clothes to wear, and where to find convenient access to water, portable toilets, and shade for picnics. I had to figure out on my own how best to sequence my visits to what monuments and within what general timeframe.

biking the Gettysburg battlefield
Parked on Slocum Avenue (Culp’s Hill)

Biking the Gettysburg Battlefield:

How are Civil War Cycling Routes Unique?

It is challenging to design a safe, circular ride through Gettysburg (so why not purchase a map that does the work for you?). This is especially true for bicyclists who prefer not to ride against the flow of traffic. Gettysburg National Military Park has many one-way roads. The road network can make it frustrating to ride in a loop or get to a particular site.

Civil War Cycling’s maps are specifically designed to meet the needs of bicyclists of all skill levels. At Gettysburg, a bicyclist cannot simply pick up a park map and start riding without already knowing:

  • What roads are safest for a bicyclist
  • How traffic flows (there are many one-way roads)
  • State, town, and park loaws and policies about bicycle use
  • How legally to explore areas not typically toured by car
  • The names of roads not labeled on an official park map
  • Monument locations
  • Where to find restrooms, water, picnic areas, shade, and bicycle racks

Making It Easy to Ride

Civil War Cycling’s maps make it easy for you to focus on the park and its history — not on logistics.

With these maps you can ditch your car and abandon all dependencies on GPS signals.

Most bicyclists will want to print the PDF maps and then stuff them into a pocket for access during a quick stop. And if your mobile device has a PDF reader, you can also consult your maps electronically during a stop.

(For safety reasons, Civil War Cycling’s maps are not intended for use while riding. At Gettysburg, there are many twists and turns in the roadways, and using your fingers to zoom in and out of a digital map while riding can be dangerous.)

Making It Easy to Learn

Each of fourteen routes through the Gettysburg battlefield consist of a series of “segments” that identify the location of a sampling of monuments along the route.  Every map pinpoints the location of monuments.  The following example segment map (Segment E), identifies three monuments using numbers that correspond to photographs and historical details also given on the map.

Sample Segment Map
Sample Segment Map

Biking the Gettysburg battlefield is all about learning by doing. The maps provide an experiential framework for learning about the Battle of Gettysburg. Get yours today!