Antietam Creek in Maryland

A self-supported trip created by DEVILWOACAUZ

Trip Overview

I had read the other reviews of the creek and wanted to see for myself so the wife and I planned a trip. The day was quite hot, we arrived early so it wasn't so bad for the beginning of the trip. Our plan was to kayak 8 miles down stream to Burnside Bridge and take out. By land it is 10 miles. First I had to drop off wife w/kayaks at Devils Backbone Park at roughly 8:45am. We just had to keep thinking about what we needed and what we could do without to lighten the load.

Next, I drove south 5 miles toward the actual battlefield-stopping just shy of Smoketown road, it took 15 minutes. I left my beloved FJ Cruiser next to the road in the grass (after asking nice old man who was mowing his lawn permission).

I then busted out the ipod and ran back to the start point running 9 minute miles returning to the park just shy of 1000am. Reason for the vehicle plan was the guy at the park said the canoe business would charge me $25 to run us back up, I'd rather run than pay.

Antietam Creek - Water was nice and cold, creek is quite wide. The put in has a bridge right next to it where you will drag your kayak down a little path to enter. The water was kind of low which sucked for me since I'm 260+ so I spent 25% of the time dragging my kayak across shallows. The "rapids" were pretty cool since we never had experienced them before not too scary or dangerous. We stopped half way down for a quick lunch and swim by an old stone rail crossing bridge that was no longer in operation. Only 2 other canoes on the creek full of little kids screaming in excitement, other than that it was peaceful.

We saw a few turtles on rocks getting sun, zero fish, snakes, or other wildlife. Several man made bird houses for endangered birds I guess, no birds in them.

We finished the trip NLT 3:30pm. Getting out is a little harder than getting in. Banks are high at the bridge so suggest one person climb out then use john line to allow other person to climb out. After we were both out I pulled the kayaks up with the rope. I did get poison ivy a day later on my wrist under my watch band.

Started running from Burnside Bridge at 3:45pm. Running through the battlefield is really cool and when you run it from South to North you are running down a one way street so cars are coming at you and you don't have to worry about any from behind. Since they drive slow anyway the risk is low.

Unfortunately the running is 90% up hill with a plateau once you get to the sunken road and then again at the cornfield. At the sunken road I actually left the asphalt and ran down the real sunken road, I figured why not, I've come this far right?

By the time I reached Smoketown road to start my final leg to the truck I had ran out of my water. Smoketown road is not part of the battlefield and is a gravel road that is situated between woods and fields so the road has overhang for shade. I started walking at that point to conserve energy.

I reached the end of Smoketown road which is about 2 miles from the park or "cornfield" and was so happy to see my truck about 1/2 mile down the road. Got to the truck, grabbed the Gatorade out of the cooler and took off to pick up the wife and kayaks.

Driving back through the battlefield you will travel in one direction right back to where you started running (if you elect to do a biathlon type event)so that worked out great. We loaded up the kayaks and called it a day. I returned to Burnside Bridge at almost 5pm, so I made good time.

We do not have bicycles and even if we did it would suck in my opinion to peddle up those hills, might as well just run it. If you partner is patient or wants to run the return leg after kayaking the creek then this plan is great. If you can't handle a little cardio on the front and back end of a kayak trip don't bother, try to find that guy who will charge you $25.

I would rate this a 2.5 of 5 since we saw little to no wildlife.


Devils Backbone Park is where we started the journey


No Fees for parking at the put-in site


Devils Backbone Park

18934 Lappans Rd
Boonsboro, MD 21713

(240) 313-2700


Internet research only:

Trip Details

  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location