Guilford Courthouse National Military Park | HIKE THE BATTLEFIELD

Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Hike

Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Hike (click to enlarge)

If you drove the Battlefield Tour road at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, you saw all eight stops along the tour road and many of the monuments in the park. However, you did not see all of the monuments or a display of cannon, nor did you get to walk along the historic New Garden Road. The only way to see and do all of this is to hike the battlefield. Unfortunately, hiking has its downsides as well, for when hiking you will miss Tour Stop 4 and the Arthur Forbis monument, both of which can only be reached by the road. Therefore, if you want to see everything, you must drive the tour road and hike the battlefield. I suggest doing the drive first, then the hike.

There is a free Cell Phone Audio Tour that has been set up for those hiking the battlefield. A map is available at the Visitor Center that shows you where the different stops are (there are eight). Be on the lookout for signs listing the phone number and the Stop Number. There are a couple of mistakes on the Cell Phone Audio Tour map, and I will point these out in this trail review.

Cell Phone Audio Tour sign

Cell Phone Audio Tour sign

There are a number of trails that cross the battlefield, though many are just different ways to get to the same place. I have come up with a path that takes you to all of the sights along the trail and even gets you onto a portion of the New Garden Road, bypassing a segment of the hiking trail that does not lead to anything worth seeing.

Pedestrians and bikers are allowed on the park grounds and tour road from dawn to dusk. However, the Visitor Center parking lot is only open from 9 AM to 5 PM, and if you don’t have your car out by then it will be locked in for the night. After hours parking is allowed at the overflow parking lot on Old Battleground Road. Do not use the Tour Stop parking areas, for these are also inside the gated area of the park.


Length: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate, mainly flat with a few steep hills on the east side of the park
Time: 2 hours

Note: Though my trail review mentions when you are at a Battlefield Tour Stop, for complete information on the stop and photos of what there is to see, please refer to the Battlefield Tour web page. Also, if references to names, places, and military terms are unfamiliar to you, be sure to first read the The Battle of Guilford Courthouse history essay.

The Guilford Courthouse Battlefield hike starts at the Visitor Center parking lot, but before starting, if you haven’t yet seen the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour Stop 1, be sure to go there first. If you are walking out of the Visitor Center, head around the building to the right and follow the signs. This area is also where you will find Stops 1 and 2 on the Cell Phone Audio Tour.

The battlefield trail starts at the woods next to the Visitor Center parking lot. Follow the path into the woods. Except for the very beginning, which is gravel, most of the battlefield trail is a combination of new and dilapidated asphalt.

Start of the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield hike

Start of the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield hike

You will cross a paved hiker / biker trail only a few minutes from the starting point, but just stay straight on the gravel path. Shortly thereafter, the gravel path turns into a paved path and remains paved for most of the hike. In about ten minutes you will come to Battlefield Tour Stop 2, Fragmented Attack, which is just an information panel and a bench.

Stop 2 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

Stop 2 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

Continue on the trail until you come to Old Battleground Road. You will have made a big U-turn and will see the Visitor Center parking lot on your left.

Guilford Battlefield Trail approaches the Old Battleground Road

Guilford Battlefield Trail approaches the Old Battleground Road

A few minutes after crossing Old Battleground Road, you will come to an intersection with the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway. The National Park Service park map shows the battlefield trail and the Greenway intersecting before you get to Old Battleground Road, but this is not the case. It is on the other side, and I have corrected this on the map at the top of this page. Continue straight, paralleling the park tour road. This will take you to Battlefield Tour Stop 3, Sustained Firefight. It is here that the battlefield trail veers away from the tour road and follows the American Second Line.

Tour Stop 3 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

Tour Stop 3 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

The Second American Line segment of the trail leads all the way to the Nathanael Greene Monument and Battlefield Tour Stop 8, but at the first intersection you come to, take a right and head towards Battlefield Tour Stop 5, Battlefield Preservation. As mentioned earlier, the trail does not go to Battlefield Tour Stop 4, The Expanding Battle. You can always verify that you are going in the right direction by the brown trail markers that state the tour stop you are heading to.

Take a right towards Tour Stop 5 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

Take a right towards Tour Stop 5 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

In about five minutes you will come to another intersection, this time with a gravel path. To the right is Battlefield Tour Stop 5, where you eventually want to go, but going left takes you to the New Garden Road. You must take this short detour to get to Cell Phone Audio Tour Stop 4, which is near the Stewart Monument. The tour stop is marked incorrectly on the Cell Phone Audio Tour map. It shows that you must take a left when you come to New Garden Road, but you actually need to take a right (I marked this on my map). So, turn left at the intersection with the gravel path and then right on New Garden Road. Listen to the information for Stop 4 and check out the Stewart Monument, which is dedicated to British officer James Stewart who was killed during the attack on the American third line. The monument, the only one honoring a British soldier at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, marks the spot where his sword was found..

New Garden Road, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

New Garden Road, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Stewart Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Stewart Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Once done at the stop and monument, backtrack along New Garden Road and take a left at the gravel path. Stay straight until you come to Battlefield Tour Stop 5. Here you will find the Cavalry Monument.

Cavalry Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Cavalry Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Continue down the trail and at the next intersection take a right. This will take you towards Battlefield Tour Stop 6, Guilford Courthouse and the Third Line. Follow the brown trail markers if there is any confusion.

Take a right towards Tour Stop 6 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

Take a right towards Tour Stop 6 on the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield Tour

On the way to Stop 6 you will cross New Garden Road. After this, if you are looking at any of the printed maps, the actual trails and the maps don’t exactly match up. You will come to another intersection at which you will go right. A couple of minutes later you will come to a bridge over a creek that is not on the map. Pass this by and continue straight, and in another minute you will come to a second bridge that spans Hunting Creek. This bridge is home to Cell Phone Audio Tour Stop 5, and it marks the start of the area of confrontation between the British and the American Third Line of troops. If all of this sounds confusing, have no fear, because all you have to do is follow the trail markers to Stop 6.

Bridge over Hunting Creek on the Guilford Courthouse battlefield

Bridge over Hunting Creek on the Guilford Courthouse battlefield

After crossing the foot bridge the trail begins to climb uphill to the ridge on which the American Continental soldiers stationed themselves. In 1781, much of the now wooded area was open farmland. This was the scene of the final moments of the battle. Knowing that the battle was lost at this point, Nathanael Greene ordered a retreat, losing all four of his six-pounder cannons. Today, two replica cannons are on display along the trail.

Replicas of the six-pounder cannons lost to the British at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse

Replicas of the six-pounder cannons lost to the British at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse

Six-pounder cannon with inscription, "W. Bowen Fecit 1755." Fecit is Latin for "Made by." W is for William.

Six-pounder cannon with inscription, “W. Bowen Fecit 1755.” Fecit is Latin for “Made by.” W is for William.

Six-pounder cannon replica on the Guilford Courthouse battlefield

Six-pounder cannon replica on the Guilford Courthouse battlefield

Continue past the cannons until you come to the New Garden Road once again. Take a left and you will soon come to the location of the former Guilford Courthouse at Battlefield Tour Stop 6. This is also Cell Phone Audio Tour Stops 6 and 7, though I did not see a sign for Stop 7. Thus, just dial the phone number and punch in 7 to get the information. You can follow the New Garden Road all the way to Lawndale Drive (which is just a short walk farther down the trail), but there isn’t anything to see. I walked to the end looking for the Cell Phone Audio Tour Stop 7 sign, but never found it. If you are in need of a restroom break, you are in luck because there is a modern restroom building at this stop.

Approaching the Guilford Courthouse site along New Garden Road

Approaching the Guilford Courthouse site along New Garden Road

It’s now time to head back to the Visitor Center. Retrace your steps all the way to the first bridge that you came to, the one you passed by. This time, take a right and cross the bridge, working your way towards Battlefield Tour Stop 7. Again, if in doubt, follow the trail signs.

At the first intersection you come to, take a right (follow signs to Stop 7). It’s just a two-minute walk to Battlefield Tour Stop 7. Here you will find the Regulars’ Monument, which honors Greene’s Continental Troops. If you look across the field in front of the monument, you will see the Stewart Monument. If you didn’t take the chance to see it earlier in the hike, you can do so now.

Regulars Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Regulars Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

The next battlefield attractions are the Delaware and Maryland Monuments, two monuments you can’t see from the tour road. To get there, at the first intersection you come to after leaving the Regulars’ Monument, take a left toward New Garden Road. Men from Delaware and Maryland made up the majority of the Continental Army that fought at Guilford Courthouse. The monuments were dedicated in 1892.

The Delaware Monument, in addition to honoring the soldiers of that state, marks the grave of three unknown soldiers who were found in 1888 buried on a farm near the battlefield. Uniform buttons marked “USA” identified them as Americans. The location where they were found was known to have been occupied by troops from Delaware, so they were buried under the Delaware monument. After further research, they are believed to be William Drew, John Toland, and Cornelius Hagney.

Delaware Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Delaware Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Inscription on the Delaware Monument

Inscription on the Delaware Monument

The Maryland Monument was erected by the Maryland Historical Society.

Maryland Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Maryland Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

The Maryland and Delaware Monuments are near the intersection with New Garden Road. Turn right on New Garden Road and head towards the Nathanael Greene Monument. On the way you will pass the David Caldwell Monument, another memorial that can only be reached by hiking. Caldwell was a member of the convention that wrote North Carolina’s state constitution in 1776.

Caldwell Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Caldwell Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Continue walking down New Garden Road and you will come to the main attraction of the park, a field that contains not only the Nathanael Greene Monument—the largest and most prominent in the park—but also the Signers Monument, the Edward Stevens Monument, and the George Reynolds Monument. This area is Battlefield Tour Stop 8, and a short path connects the parking area with the monument lawn.

Approaching the Nathanael Greene Monument via New Garden Road

Approaching the Nathanael Greene Monument via New Garden Road

Nathanael Greene Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Nathanael Greene Monument at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

After seeing the monuments on the lawn, take the short walk back towards the parking lot because there are two more monuments along that path, both to the founders of the Guilford Battle Ground Company.

Once done at Stop 8, continue down New Garden Road and in less than ten minutes you will be back at the Visitor Center.

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Last updated on January 24, 2022
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