Visiting Hours, Closures, Public Use Limits

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I. 36 CFR §1.5(a)(1) - Visiting hours, public use limits, closures and area designations for specific use or activities

(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain activity:

Visiting Hours

  • The Valley Forge Visitor Center is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm 7 days a week. The Visitor Center is open until 6:00 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
  • The Washington’s Headquarters building is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
  • The Ranger Station is open to authorized personnel only.
  • The park library is available for use by appointment only.
  • All park buildings are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • The park may close due to inclement weather. The public will be notified through public media.

Park buildings are open based upon personnel availability.

The following areas are designated as DAY USE and are open from 7:00 am until dark:

  • Artillery Park restrooms and parking lot
  • Betzwood restrooms and parking lot
  • Wayne’s Woods restrooms and parking lot
  • Washington’s Headquarters area, River Road and associated parking lots
  • Walnut Hill parking lot
  • Varnum’s Quarters parking lot
  • Maurice Stephens (Huntington’s) parking lot
  • Covered Bridge parking lot
  • Steuben Memorial Information Center parking lot (SMIC)
  • Kennedy Supplee Mansion parking lot (except when open for business)
  • Pawlings Road parking lot
  • Knox’s Quarters parking lot
  • Pine Tree parking lot
  • National Park Service Memorial Chapel parking lot
  • Valley Creek Road parking lot (also known as the Airplane or Archery Field)
  • North Outer Line Drive and parking lots
  • South Outer Line Drive
  • East Inner Line Drive
  • South Inner Line Drive
  • All trails (with the exception of the Joseph Plum Martin Trail).

The following areas are closed at 10:00pm

  • Administration Building parking lot
  • Lower Visitor Center Parking lot
  • Joseph Plum Martin Trail

These conditions are established to provide a safe visitor experience and operational efficiency.

Varnum’s Picnic Area parking lot opens at 7 AM and closes at dark between March 1 and October 31. This parking lot is closed at all other times.

These conditions are established to provide operational efficiency for the management of that area.

Public Use Limits

  • The maximum number of occupants permitted in the park Theater (formerly known as the Auditorium) is 295.
  • The maximum number of occupants permitted in the lower level of the Visitor Center is 533.
  • The maximum number of occupants permitted in the Education Center is 130. If the Center is set up with tables and chairs, the maximum occupancy is 60. If the main room of the Education Center is divided into Room A and Room B, each of those rooms has a maximum capacity of 65 occupants. If those rooms are set up with tables and chairs, the maximum occupancy is 31.

The maximum occupancies for the buildings listed above were determined by the fire marshals office and are in place for reasons of life safety.

The use of some vehicles which are used to enhance the mobility of physically impaired visitors may be verbally approved for temporary use by a park ranger.

This is to provide better accessibility to the visitors of Valley Forge National Historical Park.


The following locations are closed to general public access or use:

  • Wayne’s Woods Area

This area is located on South Outer Line Drive and is fenced and marked with signage. The area has received heavy visitor use and has exceeded its carrying capacity. The resource has received heavy damage. The area is closed to allow the resource to rest and be reclaimed. The picnic area located in front of the parking lot is open to the public year round.

  • Varnum’s Picnic Area and restrooms are closed from November 1 to March 1.

During the winter months there is little to no visitor activity in this area. Due to the lack of use during the winter months, and to promote the efficient operation of the park, this area is closed between the above dates.

  • The Joseph Plumb Martin Trail (a multi-use trail on the south side of the park) and the Schuylkill River Trail (on the north side of the park) are closed to motor vehicles with the exception of emergency and/or authorized vehicles.

These closures are in place for visitor safety.

  • All areas designated as the “Asbestos Areas of Concern”. These locations are fenced and signs posted. See attached map.

Exposure to asbestos can be hazardous to human health. The park has closed these areas to limit any possible exposure.

  • Catfish Island, located on the Schuylkill River between the 422 Bridge and Pawlings Road Bridge, is closed between March 15 and June 1.

Canadian Geese and Herons are nesting on the Island during this period. Human activity will disrupt their nesting habits which could be fatal to their survival.

  • The areas of the park located south of the Schuylkill River are closed to organized recreational activities such as races, “a-thons”, fundraisers, athletic or sporting events, shows or exhibitions, with the exception of one park-sponsored race known as the Revolutionary Run, to be held annually as part of National Park Week.

In general, the park does not have the capacity to host large events based on the south side of the park. Heavy visitor and vehicle use makes managing events in a manner that is safe and resource friendly difficult. However, in an effort to reach out to the local community, the park has agreed to hold one large event based on the south side of the park in connection with National Park Week.

  • The area of the park south of the Schuylkill River and north of the Norfolk-Southern Railroad line.

This area is closed because there is no permitted public access across the railroad tracks as well as to preserve rare riparian habitat.

Model Rockets:

  • All areas of the park are closed to the launching of model rockets.

The propellant used to launch model rockets has caused wildland fires in the park. Falling rockets cause unsafe hazards to visitors using the park. The park is also not geared for the safe launching and recovery of these items. Falling rockets are a hazard to visitors who are not aware of the event.


  • Valley Creek is closed to boating or any vessels.

The creek is shallow and is difficult to navigate in certain locations. A dam, low hanging covered bridge and water level gauges on the creek make navigation dangerous.


  • The following areas of the park are closed to picnicking:
    1. Any area within 100 feet of historic zones (Muhlenberg Brigade soldier huts, Washington’s Headquarters, Varnum’s Quarters, Huntington’s Quarters)

This closure is in place to assure that visitors to the historic zones are not distracted by activities that could detract from their appreciation of the historic scene.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:

Motorized Toys:

  • The use of model airplanes is restricted to the field (known as the Airplane Field) located on Valley Creek Road.
  • All persons using this area for model airplane flight are required to display a membership tag from Valley Forge Signal Seekers or obtain a day use pass from Valley Forge National Historical Park. Information about these passes can be obtained from the Visitor Center. Safety rules to govern the daily use of the airplane field have been developed in cooperation with Valley Forge Signal Seekers and have been adopted as regulation for Valley Forge National Historical Park. See attachment.

This area has been designated for reasons of safety and to reduce impact on other areas of the park.

Boat Launching:

  • Boats may be launched into the Schuylkill River from the Betzwood Boat Ramp area located on the north side of the park.

The Betzwood Boat Ramp is designated for boat launching since there is a ramp available for boat trailers and there is trailer parking available at that site.

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