Seven score and 13 years ago, our forefathers hiked to Gettysburg for a monumental battle. Today’s visitors to Gettysburg don’t have to wage war, but they’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that scenic Adams County offers the ideal backdrop for their own hiking, golfing, and other recreational pursuits.
Hit the links
With Gettysburg’s renowned courses, resorts, and even putt-putt golf, anyone can swing a golf club here.
Stay and play at the Carroll Valley Golf Course at Liberty Mountain Resort. Course designers incorporated meandering streams and Catoctin Mountain views into the diverse and challenging holes. Even non-golfers will marvel at the spa, the casual-elegant dining options, and the accommodations in one of the resort’s three luxury lodges, including the brand-new Highland Lodge.
One round will explain why Golf Digest gives The Links at Gettysburg 4-1/2 stars. There’s water on almost every hole, an “Amen Corner” rivaling Augusta National’s, and a breathtaking red rock cliff surrounding the green at hole No. 3.
Mountain View Golf Club in Fairfield also features a full grass practice range, short game area, and putting green. Penn National is a golf course community with two highly rated courses. The Founder’s Course is open year-round, while the Iron Forge Course is visually stunning with views unmarred by trees.
With a name like Mulligan MacDuffer Adventure Golf and Ice Cream Parlor, you know the whole gang will have fun. Two challenging, 18-hole miniature-golf courses beckon. And what’s a round of mini-golf without ice cream at the end, hand-dipped or blended in a milk shake?
Like the big courses, the redesigned Adventure Golf at Granite Hill Camping Resort presents
mini-golf challenges amid stunning scenery. Start by the waterfall and follow cascading streams through
19 holes. End with a lakeside stroll or paddleboat excursion.
Hit the trails
Whether you’re an avid hiker in boots or a casual stroller in sneakers, the glorious trails of Gettysburg and Adams County offer fresh perspectives on the region’s history and natural beauty.
Education and adventure begin at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve. Start at the nature center, for a briefer on the plants, rocks, and animals of these Blue Ridge Mountains foothills. Then, choose your hike from 10 miles of trails. Clearly marked paths, ranging from breezy to wheezy, lead to quarries, streams, forests, logging roads, and rock outcroppings with sweeping vistas.
In 1863, soldiers marched miles to get to Gettysburg, “and then they had to fight the battle,” says Katie Lawhon at Gettysburg National Military Park. “They were footsore, but that’s how they experienced the battlefield, and it’s a great way to see it today.” Short, easy walks lead to Gettysburg National Cemetery and spots where the tide of battle turned. Walkable historic avenues pass the park’s 1,300 monuments, including 400 considered major works of sculpture.
Three nearby state parks entice with beautiful trails. At Caledonia, follow historic, rugged trails past charcoal hearths. Lovely Codorus features equestrian and mountain biking trails.
The Appalachian Trail passes through Pine Grove Furnace, where “thru-hikers” — the folks attempting the entire trail — celebrate reaching the halfway point by downing a half gallon of ice cream at Pine Grove General Store.
Back to nature
“Camping” means many things to many people, and Gettysburg has it all, from rustic to all-amenities. Pitch your tent, for a taste of life as a Civil War soldier, or enjoy air conditioning, laundry facilities, and pool access in a deluxe cabin.
Take in a food tour
Whether you’re camping or staying in a classic hotel, take time to sample Gettysburg’s food scene. Savor Gettysburg Food Tours offers a classic downtown food tour that includes tastings at seven unique eateries. There’s also a wine-and-dine tour that couples four winery tasting rooms with a handcrafted artisanal food experience. Check the website for other offerings.
Experiencing the Adams County countryside is “a great way to expand on the rich history of this region,” says Carl Whitehill, who promotes the area. “Why not come here and spend a few days outdoors, rejuvenating in nature as well as exploring history?”
Gettysburg Tourism: destinationgettysburg.com