|Perryville Battlefield, Perryville Kentucky|
FALL AND THE FALLEN—Late-Autumn (away from summer crowds and before the snows arrive) makes for a good time to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our nation’s battlefield parks, says the Civil War Trust, the national nonprofit dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed grounds. If it's too cold for some. There's always Spring and Summer.
The Civil War Trust (www.civilwar.org) suggests six historical battlefields of the Civil War, which are ideal for fall hiking. These six spots will only grow more breathtaking as the season turns to autumn.
#1. PERRYVILLE BATTLEFIELD STATE HISTORIC SITE, Perryville, Ky. Battle: October 8, 1862
Featuring nearly 12 miles of self-guided trails, 40 interpretive signs and a Civil War museum, Kentucky’s Perryville Battlefield is an ideal spot for a fall family outing. Due to its recent partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the beautiful environment is being restored to its native form, meaning hikers can now see the environment, as it was when the Civil War raged.
|Civil War dead after the Battle of Antietam, which remains the bloodiest battle in American military history|
#2. ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD, Sharpsburg, Md. Battle: September 17 1862
This 1862 battleground offers 10 hiking trails over its rural preserved landscape, as well as other outdoor activities such as horseback riding and fishing. Guided tour podcasts are available for download. For more information, visit Plan Your Hike and Antietam National Battlefield on the Civil War Discovery Trail.
#3. CHICKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA NATIONAL MILITARY PARK. Battle: September 19-20, 1863
For hikes ranging from 5–14 miles, head to Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP, which has units in both Georgia and Tennessee. Explore monuments and waysides along five different trails, and try the seven-mile self-guided audio tour. For more information, visit Plan Your Hike and Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park on the Civil War Discovery Trail.
|Harper's Ferry, West Virginia from Maryland Heights with the Shenandoah (left) and Potomac (right) Rivers.|
#4. HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, Harpers Ferry, W.Va. Battle: September 15, 1862
Stretching across 4,000 acres at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, this national park offers a myriad of activities including living history workshops, guided tours, children’s programs and over 20 miles of hiking trails. For more information, visit
#5. SHILOH NATIONAL MILITARY PARK, Shiloh, Tenn.
One of the most beautifully preserved battlefield parks in the nation, Shiloh NMP offers a variety of hiking trails, from the two mile “battlefield trek” to the 20-mile “Confederate approach path.” Other highlights include the Artillery trail and the environmental trail. The park is also home to the majestic and patriotic bald eagle. Battle: April 6-7, 1862
#6. SAILOR’S CREEK BATTLEFIELD HISTORICAL STATE PARK, Rice, Va. April 5, 1865
Sailor’s Creek Battlefield and Visitors Center is only a short distance from Petersburg National Battlefield. Guests are encouraged to explore the grounds of the Hillsman House Field Hospital and to hike two trails that pass several locations pivotal to General Robert E. Lee and his eventual surrender at Appomattox Court House.
MORE ON THE CIVIL WAR TRUST
The Civil War Discovery Trail, a network of more than 600 sites in 34 states, the District of Columbia and three international destinations, is an excellent resource in planning visits for fall hikes and beyond. Explore Civil War history and plan your next trip online at www.civilwar.org/cwdt.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 39,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 255 acres at Antietam, 110 acres at Chickamauga, 329 acres at Harpers Ferry, 956 acres at Perryville, 885 acres at Sailor’s Creek and 1,160 acres at Shiloh. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.