Gettysburg on a Bicycle – Tips for 2022

Road closures near Little Round Top will impact how you tour Gettysburg on a bicycle this year. The National Park Service announced two major rehabilitation projects that will be in full swing no sooner than July 5, 2022 and continue for 18 months. (The Devil’s Den Rehabilitation Project began on March 21 and will finish in 5 or 6 months). For the latest official information about dates and park conditions, visit the Gettysburg Alerts & Conditions web page. Also of interest, the National Park Service posted an “Auto Detour Map,” here.

The Little Round Top Rehabilitation Project impacts Civil War Cycling Routes 1, 1b, 3, 3b, 4, 5, and 9-11. However, these routes are not impacted: Route 2 (Battle Day 1 Loop)  and Routes 6-7, 8 (Culp’s Hill). Using today’s blog tips and a little pre-planning to adjust your route, you can enjoy an educational outdoor adventure in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania this year.

This post was updated on April 29, 2022 to include the Devil’s Den project.

Here are five tips for adjusting your Summer/Fall 2022 Gettysburg bike tour:


Tip 1. Avoid construction near Little Round Top.

For bicyclists who want to use their existing Civil War Cycling map sets, this article describes the detour for Route 1 (“Full Day Loop”). If you are a potential new customer, please browse our shop, here. Notably, Warren Avenue, Sykes Avenue, and Wright Avenue will be closed to all traffic starting in the late Spring, 2022. South Confederate Avenue will be open to hikers and bicyclists.

2022 Detour Cues

Fortunately, we can describe a detour that applies to all impacted routes. In other words, only one detour around park road closures is needed for Civil War Cycling Routes 1, 1b, 3, 3b, 4, and 5.

You will start at the north end of West Confederate Avenue (“old” Segment F) and ride only as far as Millerstown Road before cutting east toward The Peach Orchard, as follows:

  • From the north end of West Confederate Avenue, ride 2.1 miles SOUTH to Millerstown Road.
  • At the stop sign, turn LEFT on Millerstown Road and ride about 0.3 miles to Emmitsburg Road.
  • Cross Emmitsburg Road and take your first LEFT on Sickles Avenue.
  • Turn RIGHT on United States Avenue and ride 0.7 miles to a dead-end.
  • Turn LEFT on Hancock Avenue and ride NORTH to the Pennsylvania State Monument (to begin Segment K).

2022 Detour Map (for Route 1)

Although the detour cues are straight-forward, it always helps to have a map. The following overview map depicts the detour from Segments F2 and G3 to Segment K.

Note: Don’t let the segment names confuse you. Since the same segments are recombined to produce different routes, their ordering for any given route will appear arbitrary. In addition, Civil War Cycling’s PDF products include detailed maps, bicycle cues, and photos for each bicycling segment, which means they are packed with more information than this simple blog post can provide. In other words, overview maps like the one below represent only a small subset of a Civil War Cycling “companion map.”

Gettysburg on a bicycle tips
Bicycling Gettysburg Route 1 Companion Map. Detour for 2022-2023 NPS Rehabilitation Projects.

This version of Route 1 covers 16.7 miles, compared to 23.8 miles for the Route 1 “Full Day Loop.” The 7.1 miles that we cut from this route are amongst the most historically significant, not to mention beautiful, parts of the Gettysburg landscape.

That said, rather than short-circuit our options, Tip 2 will describe a potential opportunity to ride 2.7 miles through The Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and Rose Woods.

Little Round Top
South slope of Little Round Top, looking toward Union monuments on Hancock Avenue.

Tip 2. From Segment G3, consider touring Devil’s Den.

Technically, the National Park Service has CLOSED Devil’s Den until August or September, 2022. They fenced off the area’s 200 million year-old boulder outcropping to make it inaccessible to pedestrians. The project will remedy safety and erosion issues.

On the other hand, the surrounding roads will be mostly OPEN. Since road closures will depend on the current state of construction work, please check Gettysburg’s Alerts & Conditions page for up-to-date information on the day of your ride.

For the safety of all visitors and contractors, Devil’s Den will be closed for five to six months. However, Crawford Avenue, Sickles Avenue, and the Devil’s Den parking area will remain open as much as possible for visitor use. (Adjacent battlefield locations, such as the Slaughter Pen, Devil’s Kitchen, and the Triangular Field, will all remain open.) The construction contractor will occasionally need to close all road access around the area in order to further facilitate the project. All road closure notices will be updated to our website and social media platforms with as much notice as possible.

Source: https://www.nps.gov/gett/learn/historyculture/devils-den.htm, cited on April 29, 2022
Devils Den
View of Devils Den, looking southwest over Warren Avenue from Little Round Top.

Can you loop around Devil’s Den?

Maybe. Due to the uncertainty about which roads may close when, Civil War Cycling’s 2022 detour recommendations do not include the Devil’s Den area. But that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck.

Road conditions on the day of your ride might permit a spontaneous 2.7-mile ride through these battlefield locations: The Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and Rose Woods. Please note that for visibility reasons these roads are normally one-way, and that fact will impact your detour options. (See the black arrows on the map below).

You will start and end in The Peach Orchard after completing Segment F2 and before Segment G3.

2022 Detour Cues for Devil’s Den

  • Continue STRAIGHT (southeast) on Wheatfield Road.
  • Take your third RIGHT (almost 0.5 miles) onto Crawford Avenue.
  • Follow Crawford Avenue 0.3 miles to the stop sign at Warren Avenue.
  • Continue STRAIGHT onto Sickles Avenue for 0.3 miles around Devil’s Den.
  • Continue 0.2 miles to an oddly angled intersection and turn LEFT. This is Cross Avenue.
  • Continue 0.8 miles over Brooke and Detrobriand Avenues to the STOP at Sickles Avenue.
  • Turn LEFT on Sickles Avenue and continue 0.4 miles to the STOP at Wheatfield Road.
  • Turn LEFT and ride 0.2 miles to arrive back at the start of Segment G3.

2022 Detour Map for Devil’s Den

Bicycling Loop through Devil's Den, Gettysburg
Before your ride, visit the Gettysburg Alerts & Conditions web page for information about road closures.

Tip 3. Avoid West Middle Street by crossing into a neighborhood.

This tip is unrelated to 2022 park construction projects. If your Civil War Cycling route zig-zags to West Middle Street via residential streets, you know that the final climb up West Middle to the traffic light at Seminary Ridge Avenue is steep. We recommend riding on the sidewalk, since West Middle Street is a fast-moving commercial road.

But there is an alternative. Rather than riding up West Middle Street, cross the road into another residential neighborhood. Then turn left and ride about two blocks to dead-end on Seminary Ridge Avenue. From there, you can ride south (left) to connect to West Confederate Avenue, or north (right) to tour the Day 1 battlefield.

Tip 4. Riding with children? Try tree-lined Seminary Ridge.

Although Gettysburg’s park roads are safe for adult bicyclists, children require close supervision. All bicyclists must share the road with motor vehicles (25 mph speed limit), and children should have prior experience riding in these conditions and understand the rules of the road. You know this, of course.

The easiest way to avoid fast-moving public roadways while touring with children is to plan a “back and forth” ride. And the most scenic straight-away is the ride south on West Confederate Avenue, which bends eastward on South Confederate Avenue, past Big Round Top to Little Round Top. These wide, smoothly paved roads roll gently along a tree-lined ridge (Seminary Ridge). On the side of the road stand many large Confederate monuments and cannons that tell the story of “Pickett’s Charge” across a 1-mile-wide field to your left, beyond which you can see Union monuments on the opposing ridge (Cemetery Ridge).

Instructions

Park your car on the north end of West Confederate Avenue, unload your bicycles, put on your helmets, and ride south. Bring plenty of water and healthy carbohydrates or snacks. When you are “half-way tired,” turn around and ride back to your car.

Confederate Cannon on West Confederate Avenue Pointing Toward Cemetery Ridge.
Confederate Cannon on West Confederate Avenue Pointing Toward Cemetery Ridge.

Please note that your return trip will go against the flow of traffic, which park regulations allow for bicycling safety. However, be aware that motor vehicle drivers can be confused by this, so adults need to educate children on what to do and when.

The free NPS paper map (available at the Visitor Center) contains sufficient detail for this trip. If you’d like a little more information, including photos for a longer route, I recommend that you look at Route 4 (“The Ridges Loop”) because it documents the ride along West and South Confederate Avenues. (This is Seminary Ridge, the main Confederate battle line on July 2-3, 1863).

Tip 5. Consider bicycling Gettysburg as a way to learn history.

Civil War Cycling’s PDF maps are companions to our paperback guidebooks. Historical summaries, monument photos, landscape descriptions, and human interest stories pack the Gettysburg guidebook. These books will help you to learn history in a self-directed, experiential way:


shop civil war cycling for maps and guidebooks
Shop for your Gettysburg PDF maps, here: https://civilwarcycling.com/product-category/maps-gettysburg/