Maryland's Best State Parks
Maryland's Best State Parks
Antietam National Battlefield
Location: North and east of Sharpsburg, Maryland, along MD 34 and 65.
Description: General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was ended on this battlefield on September 17, 1862. The battle claimed more than 23,000 men killed, wounded, and missing in a single day--more than on any other day of the Civil War--and led to Lincoln's issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Antietam (Sharpsburg) National Cemetery (5,032 interments; 1,836 unidentified) adjoins the park.
Activities: Begin your trip at the park visitor center where you can see "Antietam Visit," an award-winning film shown on an hourly basis. This 26-minute movie recreates the battle as well as President Abraham Lincoln's visit to the Union commander General George B. McClellan. Every day at 12:00 noon a one-hour documentary about the battle of Antietam narrated by James Earl Jones is shown in the visitor center theater. The best way to view the battlefield is to take the self-guided driving tour. The tour road is 8 1_2 miles long with 11 stops. Most visitors drive the route, but walking and biking are encouraged.
Winter Operating Hours: Winter: 8:30am to 5pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
History: Established as a national battlefield site on August 30, 1890; transferred from War Department on August 10, 1933.
Catoctin Mountain Park
Location: 20 miles east of Hagerstown, Maryland. From Hagerstown, take Route 77 East and turn left onto Park Central Road.
Description: Part of the forested ridge that forms the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains in Maryland, this mountain park has sparkling streams and panoramic vistas of the Monocacy Valley. Camp David, the presidential retreat, is located within the park. It is not visible from the roads and is closed to the public.
Activities: With 25 miles of hiking trails winding through both Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls State Park a variety of experiences are available ranging from easy to strenuous, many leading to outstanding scenic vistas. The roads of Catoctin Mountain Park offer scenic driving all year; but portions of Park Central Road and Manahan Road are closed in winter. Camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, fly-fishing, cross country skiing are all available at Catoctin Mountain Park.
Winter Operating Hours: Park is open year-round during daylight hours. Visitor Center hours: Monday through Thursday, 10am to 4:30pm; Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8:30am to 5pm; closed for the following winter federal holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, President's Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
History: Catoctin Recreation Demonstration Area transferred from Resettlement Administration on November 14, 1936; changed to Catoctin Mountain Park on July 12, 1954.