How Long Does It Take To Tour Gettysburg Battlefield?

If you’re planning a day trip (or longer) to Gettysburg, it’s important to know how long various attractions take to visit so that you can fit everything into your schedule. There is plenty to do in the town of Gettysburg, but the battlefield is one of the most popular attractions. So you’re probably wondering, how long does it take to tour Gettysburg Battlefield?

It takes approximately 2 hours to take a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield on a bus tour. If you plan to go through the battlefield without a tour guide, it could take up to 8 hours especially if you plan to walk part of it. That said, most self-guided tours can be finished in 3-5 hours or less, depending on how long you stay at each stop.

To help you better plan your visit, we’ve compiled the top questions our staff gets asked most often.

Can I Walk On The Gettysburg Battlefield?

Absolutely! There are quite a few hiking and walking paths that allow you to slow down your pace and walk where the soldiers walked. This can be quite a sobering experience to be on your feet in a place with such rich history, an experience you can’t quite get if you stay in your vehicle the whole time.

If you plan to do a lot of walking, we recommend doing a self-guided tour by car, and then stopping and pausing at a trail or trails of your choosing. Make sure you bring a map so you know where you’re going! Our self-guided tour package includes both an audio guide and an illustrated map.

Make sure you allocate plenty of extra time if you plan to walk through part of the tour. Some people spend as much as 8 hours total between hiking and driving. Also be aware that the battlefield closes at 10:00PM, so it’s not possible (or recommended) to walk the battlefield late into the night.

How Else Can I Tour The Battlefield?

Most people are surprised how many tour options and modes of transportation are available. Here’s a list of the most common tour options:

  • Bus tour
  • Self-guided tour by car
  • Scooter tour
  • On foot (only portions, as there is a total of 23 miles of walking paths)
  • Segway tour
  • Horseback
  • Horse-drawn carriage
  • Three-wheeled scooter

What Is The Best Way To Tour Gettysburg Battlefield?

The best mode of transportation (walking, on a bus, in a car, on a scooter, etc) depends on you and your family’s personal preferences. For example, if you love walking and hiking, then you may enjoy a car and walking tour. Or if you prefer being in a large group with a tour guide leading the way, a bus tour may be best for you.

Regardless of what mode of transportation you choose, the best way to experience the battlefield is with a qualified (preferably licensed) tour guide. Simply walking around without guidance might be a little interesting, but you can find “interesting” places to walk around your own hometown. Going to the Gettysburg Battlefield means you’re interested in the rich history it has to offer, which is best understood with the help of a qualified guide.

What If I Want To See The Entire Town Of Gettysburg? How Long Does That Take?

Most people find it helpful to allocate two or three full days for touring the entire town. Of course, this depends on how many places you visit and how long you stay. If you run a tight schedule, you could cram in several things in one day, such as this:

  • Morning:
    • Watch a 22-minute video about the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War at the National Park Visitor’s Center
    • Take a 2-3 hour tour of the Battlefield (this could take much longer if you take at each stop)
  • Afternoon
  • Evening
    • Browse several shops or antique centers
    • Enjoy a nice dinner at a family restaurant, pub, or inn

However, most people enjoy taking an extra day or two to be able to visit more attractions. This makes Gettysburg a great place to spend a vacation for a week or for an extended weekend.


If you choose to tour the Gettysburg battlefield with a tour guide, we hope you choose Gettysburg Battlefield Tours. We offer bus tours and other group tours, as well as a self-guided tour option. You can learn more about our tour options here on our website, and to book a tour you can call us at 877-680-TOUR (8687), use our contact form, or use our online reservation system.