Valley Forge National Historical Park | TROLLEY TOUR

Valley Forge Encampment Trolley Tour

Valley Forge Encampment Trolley Tour

From late March through the end of December, the Valley Forge Encampment Store, an authorized concessionaire at Valley Forge National Historical Park, conducts a 90-minute bus tour of the Valley Forge Encampment. There is a fee, and the schedule varies depending on the season. Visit the Valley Forge Encampment Store’s Trolley Tours web page for times and ticket prices.

You can purchase tickets in advance by calling (610) 624-5010, but I don’t see that being necessary. I visited on a very busy Sunday in July and had no problem purchasing a ticket in person just a few minutes before the tour departed, and there was room for more people on the bus. Tickets are sold at the gift store check-out counter inside the Valley Forge Visitor Center. The tour also departs from the Visitor Center.

If you only have a short amount of time to spend at Valley Forge National Historical Park, the Trolley Tour is a great way to see the highlights and get plenty of information about what took place here in the winter of 1777-78. However, this is far from a thorough tour, which could take up most of the day. Of the eight points of interest on the Valley Forge Encampment Tour, the Trolley Tour only stops at Muhlenberg Brigade (Stop 2) and Washington’s Headquarters (Stop 5). It pulls into the parking lots at the Wayne Statue (Stop 4) and Varnum’s Quarters (Stop 8), giving the guide enough time to talk about the significance of the locations, and pauses briefly in front of the National Memorial Arch (Stop 3). It skips Redoubt 3 (Stop 6) and Artillery Park (Stop 7) altogether, and since the Washington Memorial Chapel (Stop 8) is located along a major road, it passes right on by on the way back to the Visitor Center, which is Stop 1 on the tour.

Reconstructed soldier cabin at the Muhlenberg Brigade stop on the Valley Forge Encampment Tour

Reconstructed soldier cabin at the Muhlenberg Brigade stop on the Valley Forge Encampment Tour

In truth, the Muhlenberg Brigade and Washington’s Headquarters stops are the main attractions anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal to breeze past the other stops on the tour. The visit to Muhlenberg Brigade is very thorough, but at Washington’s Headquarters there is only time to visit the Potts House, the actual house George Washington occupied during the Valley Forge Encampment. There is no time for the Valley Forge Train Station Museum or to walk the grounds to see more soldier cabins (if you didn’t see enough at the Muhlenberg Brigade stop), a statue of George Washington, and an exhibit on the iron industry inside the stable / carriage house, the building adjacent to the Potts House. The only other attraction that may be of interest to most people is the Washington Memorial Chapel, but that was built in the early 1900s and has nothing to do with the American Revolution—it’s still neat to take a look inside.

Isaac Potts House / Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Isaac Potts House / Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge National Historical Park

If you want to see everything, you must do the Valley Forge Encampment Tour on your own. In fact, if that’s your plan, the Trolley Tour is not for you. But for the typical visitor to Valley Forge National Historical Park—versus the American Revolution fanatic—the Trolley Tour is all that is needed. The Continental Army camped here one winter. That’s it. It’s not a battlefield where you could spend the entire day discussing the strategies and the hows and whys of victory and defeat. You’ll stop at the main two sites, and 90 minutes is more than enough time for the guide to tell you everything you could possibly want to know about the Valley Forge Encampment.

The guide I had was fantastic. People asked her questions that had me thinking, “Come on. Nobody knows the answer to that,” and she had the answer. She discussed practical stuff, like “How come they didn’t hunt animals to feed everyone?” There were 12,000 people here for six months. Everything would have been hunted to extinction on just one outing. Farm-raised animals and a supply line to get the meat to the soldiers is what was needed, not a couple deer and a handful of squirrels. People asked a lot of questions, and most of the answers were just common sense if you took a minute to think about it. I had previously done a thorough tour of the park, and I still learned plenty of new things about Valley Forge. There’s no doubt the Trolley Tour is the best way to get the information about Valley Forge in the least amount of time, just realize that you won’t be stopping at all points of interest at the park.

Trolley Tour guide at the Muhlenberg Brigade stop on the Valley Forge Encampment Tour

Trolley Tour guide at the Muhlenberg Brigade stop on the Valley Forge Encampment Tour

Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on August 5, 2022
Share this article