Minute Man National Historical Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Musket firing demonstration at Minute Man National Historical Park

Musket firing demonstration at Minute Man National Historical Park


Minute Man National Historical Park preserves the Massachusetts battlefields where Patriot militiamen and Minute Men (the elite of the general militia) fought British soldiers on April 19, 1775, in what would become known as the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The park consists of three sections: the Battle Road Unit, The Wayside Unit, and the North Bridge Unit. These are located in the towns of Concord, Lincoln, and Lexington.

Battle Road—originally called Bay Road or Concord Road among other names—is the road that 700 British soldiers used to march from Boston to Concord on a mission to find a cache of Patriot weapons supposedly being stored near Concord. After a fruitless search, and already having killed eight Patriot militiamen at Lexington and fighting 400 Patriots at the North Bridge in Concord, the British found themselves being ambushed at every bottleneck in the road on their way back to Boston. Even in the open terrain, the Patriots stood at a distance and shot haphazardly at the British to harass them. This running battle continued all the way back to Boston, despite the fact that the soldiers were joined by 1,000 reinforcements in Lexington. By this time over 4,000 Patriot militiamen had joined the fight. At the end of the day, the British had suffered 73 killed and approximately 175 wounded, while the Patriots ended up with 49 dead and around 40 wounded. Though unaware of the consequences at the time, this fighting would later be recognized as the start of the American Revolution.

Visitors can explore the Battle Road along the 4.9-mile Battle Road Trail. Approximately 40 percent of this is the original road (the other part is now Route 2A). Along the trail are eleven historical houses—two of which are open to the public—plus you can see the spot where Paul Revere was captured to end his Midnight Ride. The scenery is lovely and the trail is only mildly hilly, so it makes for a great hike or bike ride.

The Wayside is the newest unit of the park, and the smallest. It consists of only one historical house, the former home of both Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Tours of the house are given on select days during the tourist season. Though not in the park, the house where Alcott was living when she wrote Little Women is next door to The Wayside, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house is just down the street. Both are operated by private organizations and are open for tours.

The North Bridge Unit consists of a reproduction of the North Bridge (the original was torn down in 1788) and the North Bridge Visitor Center. There are also a few historical houses within the unit. The North Bridge was where the Patriots were ordered to fire on British soldiers for the first time by a commanding officer.

In 1956, the federal government formed a commission to study the possibility of a new National Historic site in Concord that would include the area around the North Bridge and four miles of the Battle Road between Concord and Lexington (the city of Lexington did not want any of its historical properties to be part of the park). Congress authorized Minute Man National Historical Park in 1959, and the park opened the next year.


Park guests can hike or bike the Battle Road Trail and visit the North Bridge at any time, for the grounds of Minute Man National Historical Park are open year-round from dawn to dusk. However, the visitor centers and historical buildings are open on a limited schedule.

Minute Man Visitor Centers

  • May through October: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Closed the rest of the year

North Bridge Visitor Center

  • May through October: Daily from 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Closed the rest of the year

Hartwell Tavern

  • Late May through October 31: Wednesdays through Sundays from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Before making travel plans, be sure to get the exact opening dates and the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Minute Man National Historical Park.


There is no charge to visit Minute Man National Historical Park.


It will take two days to see and do everything at Minute Man National Historical Park, though most tourists do not want to do everything. Furthermore, it may not even be possible to see everything without an extended stay in the Boston area since some attractions are only open a few days a week. The bulk of a visit would be a hike along the 4.9-mile Battle Road Trail. However, by car you can stop at the visitor centers, see the North Bridge, and hit the main attractions along Battle Road in one 9 AM to 5 PM day.

Minute Man Visitor Center
allow 30 to 60 minutes

North Bridge Visitor Center
allow 30 to 60 minutes

North Bridge Unit
allow 30 minutes

The Wayside Tour
allow 1 hour

Battle Road Unit
allow 2 hours by car, up to 3-4 hours by bike, and 5 hours on foot

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Last updated on September 25, 2023
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