Antietam Creek is a tributary of the Potomac River located in south central Pennsylvania and western Maryland in the United States, a region known as Hagerstown Valley.
The creek is formed in Franklin County, Pennsylvania at the confluence of the West and East Branches of Antietam Creek about 2.3 miles (3.7 km) south of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The stream runs for about 0.5 mile (0.8 km) before entering Washington County, Maryland. The total length of the creek is 41 miles (65 km).
The creek is noted for numerous well preserved stone arch bridges dating to the 19th Century that still traverse the creek, the most famous of which is the 125 foot (38 meter) long Burnside's Bridge in the Antietam National Battlefield.
Most of the watershed area is relatively rural in nature but the area surrounding Hagerstown, Maryland, is threatened by urban sprawl. The area is also heavily cultivated and waste runoff from farms is a growing ecological concern.
The lower 14 miles of Antietam Creek offers good access, a variety of angling opportunities and aesthetic natural surroundings rich in history. Walk-in access is available for four of those miles; the remainder must be floated. Fine angling among beautiful surroundings teaming with wildlife await those choosing to float. Deer, wild turkey and fox squirrels are abundant. Skittish wood ducks frequently make their nests in cavities within the streambank sycamores. Blue herons patiently fish the shallows.
Two primary locations offer access to lower Antietam Creek; Devil's Backbone County Park and the Antietam National Battlefield Park. Devil's Backbone is named for a prominent ridge within a large meander. The park provides restrooms, picnic areas with grills, a playground, pavilions and parking. A small dam provides an impounded area allowing easy fishing access for those less mobile or for those who prefer to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
Below the dam, Antietam Creek flows over ledges and riffles interspersed with pools and runs that provide ideal habitat for a variety of game fish. An accessible fishing area for those with disabilities is available as well. Canoes and kayaks can be launched for those wanting to float downstream.
From the county park at the Route 68 bridge downstream to the mouth of Beaver Creek, the land is in private hands, and fishing is permitted by the generosity of the landowner.
Bridges, brush, coves, submerged riprap, streambank sycamores.