There are only a handful of the 419 units in the National Park Service (NPS) system that we feel do not deserve that level of recognition, and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is one of them. Despite its lofty sounding name, almost none of the land within this 3,700-acre park established in 2002 is owned by the federal government. The majority of the acreage is private and inaccessible, and the rest is managed by a variety of non-profit organizations making this site more suitable to have simply remained a portion of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. There are several National Heritage Corridors and affiliated sites much more deserving of inclusion on the NPS list of 419 units than this one.
Hupp’s Hill Museum, driving tour, Belle Grove historic plantation
If you need the stamp for your NPS passport, stop at the Visitor Contact Station located in a strip mall in Middletown, Virginia. There you can pick up a free guide to help you follow the driving tour focused on the October 19, 1864 battle fought at Cedar Creek. There is also a free app available on the park website. Managed by a non-profit that organizes an annual reenactment of the battle, Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park has a museum (fee). You can also pay to take a tour of the manor house at Belle Grove.
When we visited in 2016, there was some talk of establishing a walking path with interpretive signs, and it now seems the Morning Attack Trails total 1.7 miles in length.
Available for guided tours (fee) between April and December, the manor house at Belle Grove plantation dates back to 1797. Union General Philip Sheridan used the house as his headquarters in 1864 and most of his 31,600 camped on the property.
Some of the roads on the driving tour are unpaved and not recommended for buses or RVs.
Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia-Maryland-Virginia)
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Explore More – Belle Grove was owned by Isaac Hite, Jr. and his wife Nelly, who was the sister of which U.S. President?