Canoeing Maryland’s Antietam Creek

by madcanoe on June 15, 2007

Maryland’s Antietam Creek is one paddling destination full of scenery, wildlife, excitement, but most importantly a great part of American history. The most convenient way to paddle the Antietam is to begin at Devil’s Backbone Park on Route 68 near Sharpsburg and you can choose between two takeouts. One being the Burnside Bridge takeout or paddle the 12 miles to the Potomac takeout. Paddling to the Potomac can take from 4-8 hours depending on your ambition.

Conditions 
During normal water conditions you’ll encounter swift current that may test your paddling skills. And there are ledges, rocks, strainers you’ll need to navigate. The creek is only a class 1, but at the end of the run, near the Potomac, you’ll encounter the class 2 Furnace Rapids. During high water levels this rapid may be a bit difficult for novices. Inexperienced paddlers may want to consider portaging this rapid.

Burnside’s Bridge
The Antietam Creek flows straight through the Antietam Battlefield at Burnside’s Bridge. This bridge was the location of one of the most famous battles of the Civil War. It was at this bridge a few hundred Confederate soldiers held off thousands of Union Soldiers for several hours. Unfortunately you can not dock your boat within 1000ft of the bridge. The best way to see the battlefield is to visit the Antietam National Park after you’ve completed your paddle.

Visit these Antietam Creek Website resources
Devil’s Backbone County Park – the launch point of the lower Antietam.

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