At a Glance
- Grounds are open during daylight hours, year-round.
- The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.
- The park and Visitor Center are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s Day.
- Special programs, which attract crowds, are held on Memorial Day, Independence Day, the Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam (Sept. 17), and the first Saturday in December.
Cost: A pass is needed for use of the grounds. Passes are good for three consecutive days:
- $10 per person (one individual in a vehicle or a hiker, biker, or pedestrian).
- $15 per person on a motorcycle.
- $20 per vehicle.
- Annual passes for Antietam are available for $35. This pass covers the pass holder and occupants of a single private vehicle.
- Other federal passes (America the Beautiful passes, Lifetime Senior Passes, etc.) may be used for entry.
- Youths 15 years old and under are admitted free.
- Three-day digital park passes may be purchased in advance through Recreation.gov.
Tips: Watch out for poison ivy, stinging nettle plants, and especially groundhog holes. ◾ Stay on trails and do not enter crop fields, pastures, reforested areas, barns and other farm areas. ◾ Restrooms are at the Visitor Center.
Prohibited: Bicycles are not allowed on park trails but can use paved park roads. ◾ Open containers of alcohol are not allowed in parking lots, the youth campground, park buildings, and in all vehicles. ◾ Fires are prohibited except in the youth campground. ◾ Natural products, such as wood or wildflowers, may not be removed from the grounds. ◾ No driving without seatbelts (all vehicle occupants). ◾ No swimming, fishing, or putting in/taking out a boat within 500 feet of Burnside Bridge. ◾ No hunting. ◾ Firearms and knives are generally not allowed except for reenactments. ◾ Picnicking is prohibited inside the Antietam National Cemetery, Mumma Cemetery, Dunker Church, Observation Tower, on the Burnside Bridge, or on any monument. ◾ No kite flying, ball games, sunbathing, model airplane or rocket flying, frisbee playing. ◾ Relic hunting and use of metal detectors is prohibited. No artifacts may be removed from the grounds.
Best Seasons: Spring and fall, but good habitat for all seasons.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Shepherdstown NE, Keedysville NW, Keedysville CW
Local MOS Chapter: Washington County Bird Club
Antietam National Battlefield
5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, MD 21782
Antietam National Battlefield offers birders the opportunity to combine bird watching with touring a historic Civil War battlefield. The Battlefield is managed by the National Park Service. Included on the 3,700 acre site is a visitor’s center and national cemetery. Antietam Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River, runs through the eastern part of the Battlefield. Nature trails are situated in the well traveled parts of the battlefield and also on the outskirts where there are fewer visitors. The trails are gently rolling, but the surface can be slightly uneven, so good walking shoes are recommended.
There is also a mapped auto tour through much of the Battlefield; see map at trail guide link at left.
Probably the best areas to view birds are in the portion of the park south of MD Route 34/Boonsboro Pike, including the Snavely’s Ford Trail through a wooded section in the southeast corner of the park, as well as along the edge of Antietam Creek in the Sherrick Farm area. The open fields throughout the park provide great habitat for a range of birds, namely, Eastern Bluebird, Horned Lark, and in areas with higher grass, Grasshopper Sparrow. Small stands of trees and wooded areas attract a different group, such as Pileated Woodpecker, Red-Tailed Hawk, and various passerines.
Over 166 species have been reported on eBird from Antietam National Battlefield as a whole.
There is an overall eBird hotspot that covers the entire park as well as individual hotspots for the major trails:
- Antietam National Battlefield overall – 156+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–Burnside Bridge – 126+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–Cornfield Trail – 84+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–Final Attack Trail – 99+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–Snavely Ford Trail – 129+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–Three Farms Trail – 124+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–Union Advance Trail – 68+ species
- Antietam National Battlefield–West Woods Trail – 64+ species
During the warm months, Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Indigo Bunting, and Red-headed Woodpecker can be found at the Battlefield, along with flycatchers, vireos, and warblers. Raptors are also found throughout the park. During spring, Red-tailed Hawks are commonly seen. Other common raptor sightings include Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, and an occasional Broad-winged Hawk.
In the fall, Great Blue Herons are frequently spotted along Antietam Creek. White-crowned Sparrows are among the wintering species. At night, Barred Owls, Screech Owls, and Great Horned Owls can be heard. Perhaps the most visible birds hovering over the park are Turkey and Black Vultures. There is an active bluebird nest box program easily observed nest boxes throughout the park.
For those who are mobility impaired, the mapped auto tour route offers an opportunity to bird from or near the car. Restrooms are handicapped-accessible. The trails are not wheelchair-accessible.
Pets are permitted on the grounds and must be on a leash at all times. You must clean up after your pet. Pets are not allowed in the Visitor Center, historic buildings, or in the Antietam National Cemetery.
The historic nature of Antietam Battlefield, with its many monuments and farm sites, makes it a unique place to bird at any season of year. A number of organized hikes of the Battlefield as well as reenactments are held, along with major celebrations on some national holidays. Consult the calendar at https://www.nps.gov/anti/planyourvisit/calendar.htm if you would prefer to avoid crowds when visiting for birding. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Washington County Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with information presentations, all free and open to the public.
Paved lots and along roadsides. See Trail Map at link at left.
Take I-70 to exit 29 for MD Route 65/Sharpsburg Pike. Follow MD Route 65 south for 10 miles. After passing Sharpe Lane on the left, watch for a sign for the Visitor Center. Turn left onto Dunker Church Road for the Visitor Center. A number of monuments and historic markers can be observed on the approach to the main entrance.
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Birding By CarEntry Fee (Daily, All Year)FishingGift Shop or BookstoreHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesHorseback RidingParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Historical SitesNational Parks & Monuments