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The 2.5-mile loop hike is a surprisingly remote trek alongside Antietam Creek, site of numerous Civil War deaths.

The remote hike in Antietam National Battlefield rests about 75 miles northwest of Washington, DC. It is a pleasant walk along the banks of Antietam Creek, the location of much Civil War carnage. Pastoral views, hardwood hills, and wildflower woods are a drastic contrast to September 17, 1862, the bloodiest day of the Civil War.

Begin the hike from Burnside Bridge parking lot (tour stop #9), walking down the set of steps reaching the bridge then following the slender path that parallels the creek. You may see canoeists or kayakers enjoying the whitewater. In a half mile, the trail makes a sharp ascent to Georgians Overlook. This marks the location where Confederates took aim at Union soldiers bearing down on the creek. At nearly 1.5 miles, you'll come upon Snavely Ford, the location where Union soldiers organized to press southward. At 1.6 miles, the abandoned route of the soldiers is still traceable. Upon reaching the crest of the hill, a spur road leads to an abandoned home site. Follow the main trail to the left to reach the parking lot in 0.5 mile.

Wildlife occasionally seen along the trail includes barred owls, white-tailed deer, beaver, and wild turkey. Fishing is permitted along the banks of Antietam Creek, which is stocked each spring with trout.

Horses are permitted on the Snavely Ford Trail and on all paved roads. Horses are limited to groups of five. Groups of six or more must apply for a special use permit. Horse trailer parking is available in the field south of the Dunker Church (across from visitor center).

Directions: From Capital Beltway, Take Interstate 270 to Interstate 70 West. Drive approximately 25 miles exiting onto MD State Route 65 South. Travel 10 miles past the entrance to the Battlefield. Travel one more mile to Sharpsburg turning left onto MD State Route 34. Travel half mile, go downhill then turn right onto Rodman Avenue. Cross a small bridge and make an immediate left to reach Burnside Bridge.

Elevation: 500 feet

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

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Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.