“An all paved short loop around the rolling hills of Valley Forge National Historic Park.
— Jeff Menaker
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This route follows the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail at Valley Forge National Historical Park. It will view historic and natural resources from the 1777-1778 Winter Encampment at Valley Forge. This route is entirely paved with some steep sections. Most of the route is along the road with a couple crossings and one section along a low traffic roadway.
From the lower parking lot of the Valley Forge National Historical Park Visitors Center, proceed towards the Visitor's Center, then turn to the right/uphill. At the top of the hill, stay right and follow the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail along Outer Line Drive towards National Memorial Arch
On the way to the arch, you'll pass several bunkhouses representing Muhlenberg's Brigade of the encampment. At the Arch, continue straight through, downhill, and pick up the paved trail on the other side of the road. Follow the trail uphill to the left. The trail and road will both turn to the right and proceed through two large stone columns as you enter Wayne's Woods section of Valley Forge Park, a picnic area with parking and restroom facilities.
Follow the trail as it diverges from the roadway and follows the tree line. Continue along the paved path when it rejoins the road. Approximately halfway down the hill, there will be a fork in the road and trail. Take the trail towards the right (towards the wooden gate) and follow it uphill to the right.
At Artillery Park, many pieces of Revolutionary War artillery are setup on display. There is also a parking area and restroom facilities here. After exploring the cannons, continue along the paved trail uphill to the General Von Steuben Statue as the trail reaches Gulph Road. Turn right and follow the trail as it meanders along the top of the ridge with Gulph Road. You may wish to stop and explore Washington's Chapel on your left shortly up the trail.
As Gulph Road and the trail turn right and reach the bottom of the hill, you'll intersect County Line Road. Leave the trail and turn right onto County Line Road to head straight back to the parking lot. Or you can continue on the trail to loop back around to the Visitors Center. You'll pass by a few areas of asbestos remediation before reaching the visitors center parking lot on your left.
History & Background
This entire trail is within the boundaries of Valley Forge National Historical Park, the site of the 1777-1787 Winter Encampment of General Washington's Continental Army. Numerous monuments are around the park, as well as an interpretive center along the trail.