Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park | ANTIETAM CREEK CAMPGROUND

Tent camping at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Tent camping at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park


NOTE: Sections of the towpath, locks and other historical structures, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, and visitor centers are constantly being closed due to damage and/or repair. When planning an adventure within Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, make sure that areas you plan to visit are open by checking the National Park Service’s official Current Park Conditions web page.


Antietam Creek Campground is one of five “drive-in” campgrounds within Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park that is accessible to those in vehicles.

OPERATING SEASON

Antietam Creek Campground is open year-round. April 15th through November 15th is considered peak season and camping fees are higher.

LOCATION

Antietam Creek Campground is the southernmost drive-in campground on the C&O Canal. It is located south of Sharpsburg, Maryland, at Mile 69.4 on the canal towpath. See the Camping web page for an interactive location map.

TYPE OF CAMPING

Though called a drive-in campground, you really can’t drive to your campsite, which makes Antietam Creek for tents-only. You must park along Canal Road and carry your gear. Parking runs parallel to the campground, which is a long, narrow strip of land. Though I didn’t measure it, the length of the campground is at least a quarter mile. RVs and other self-contained sleeping vehicles may not park overnight at the campground parking lot.

Antietam Creek Campground lies along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath at Mile Post 69.4

Antietam Creek Campground lies along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath at Mile Post 69.4

Between the road and the campground is the gully created by the actual Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. A lone footbridge over the gully comes out at Campsite #9. You can also get to the campsites by crossing cleared sections of the canal (most of it is so overgrown with vegetation that you can’t even recognize it). One clearing is located at the end of the campground at Campsite #20. The canal is also clear from Campsite #9 down to #1, but the gully is quite deep and you’d have to climb up and down a few pretty steep hills to get to your campsite. I suggest crossing the bridge and walking on the towpath to the lower-numbered sites.

Footbridge over the canal gully near Campsite #9 in the Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Footbridge over the canal gully near Campsite #9 in the Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

The gully at Campsite #20 is not nearly as deep, so walking across at that point is definitely an option for reaching the higher-numbered sites. Site #15 is near the middle of the bridge and the clearing, so it’s a toss-up as to where to park for that one, but all other sites are closer to one entrance or the other. At worse, you’ll have a 2-3 minute walk from your car. I suggest choosing Site #9 or a site as close to it as possible, or #20 and a site close to it. Of course you must also hope to get a parking spot near the bridge or the far end of clearing.

Cleared and well-manicured section of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal along Canal Road at the Antietam Creek Campground

Cleared and well-manicured section of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal along Canal Road at the Antietam Creek Campground

NUMBER OF SITES

There are 20 campsites. Each site can accommodate up to eight people and two tents.

AMENITIES

Each campsite has a picnic table, grill, and separate fire ring. There is no electricity or modern restrooms. A chemical toilet (i. e. an indoor fancy outhouse) is located between Campsites #6 and #7. There are a few portable toilets along the towpath at the far end of the campground. There is also a hand-pumped water spigot that produces water treated with iodine so that it is drinkable, provided you are not physically adverse to iodine. Water is available from April 15th through November 15th. It is turned off the rest of the year.

Campsites at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Campsites at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

TERRAIN

The campsites are located one after another on a long, narrow strip of land sandwiched between the C&O Canal towpath and the Potomac River. However, not all sites have a view of the river due to trees and other vegetation. The land is flat and covered in grass. Most, but not all sites have shade trees.

Campsite #5 at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has no shade at all

Campsite #5 at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has no shade at all

Campsite #9 at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has a view of the Potomac River

Campsite #9 at Antietam Creek Campground in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has a view of the Potomac River

The lower numbered campsites have enough room between them that kids could kick around a soccer ball and not intrude on the neighbors, but the higher numbered sites are much closer together. Regardless, there are no barriers between sites, so there is no privacy. This makes camping at Antietam Creek somewhat of a communal experience.

FEES AND RESERVATIONS

Reservations are required to camp at Antietam Creek and all other drive-in campgrounds at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Paying with cash upon arrival is not an option. You can make a reservation online up to six months in advance at Recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. A credit or debit card is required.

For the latest fees, see the National Park Service’s official Antietam Creek Campground web page for Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Fees are also listed on Recreation.gov.

CAMPGROUND RULES

  • The C&O Canal National Historical Park is a trash free park. Please plan to take all trash with you.
  • Check in time is 1 PM. Check out time is 12 PM.
  • Quiet hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Stay is limited to 14 days between May 1 and October 1. Stay is limited to a total of 30 days for the entire calendar year.
  • Pets must be on a leash or under other physical control at all times.
  • Firewood cannot be brought into the park.
  • Except for hammocks, the tying of ropes to trees and structures is not permitted. Hammocks must have straps that are at least one inch wide. Plastic zip cords, nails, or screws are not permitted for the purpose of anchoring a hammock.
  • Fires are restricted to the grills and fire rings provided or to portable grills positioned off the ground. Coals must be extinguished and removed from the park.
  • Firewood may be collected from dead material on the ground, but for use in campgrounds only. Do not remove wood from the campground.
  • For the protection of drinking water, campers may not wash dishes, bathe, or clean fish near wells.
  • Draining or dumping refuse or waste from trailers or other vehicles is prohibited.
  • Alcohol and marijuana are prohibited in the campgrounds.

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Last updated on May 29, 2024
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