Federal parks

September 19, 2005


The single bloodiest day of fighting during the Civil War is remembered in pristine fields and woods in a park treasured for not being developed with tourist amenities.

On Sept. 17, 1862, the North pushed back an attempt by the South's Gen. Robert E. Lee to cross into Maryland. Three battles raged throughout the day, ending with 23,110 men dead, wounded or missing.

You can learn about the battle from rangers, cassette tapes, brochures, movies and plaques on the battlefield. The park also offers hiking and biking.

Admission is $4 per person or $6 per family. The park is on Md. 65 near Sharpsburg. Call 301-432-5124.

Harpers Ferry

About 800 acres of Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) National Historical Park are in Washington County.

The county boasts Maryland Heights, a haven for climbers. Maryland Heights was a strategic military location throughout the four years of the Civil War, held most often by Union troops.


In September 1862, Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson forced the Union forces to surrender there, which led to the pivotal Battle of Antietam.

Admission to the park is $6 per vehicle. Call 304-535-6029 or 304-535-6298.


A small portion of Catoctin Mountain Park is in Washington County.

Camp David, the presidential retreat, is in the park, but is not open to the public.

Most of the park is in Frederick County, Md., next to Cunningham Falls State Park.

Together, the parks cover 10,000 acres and offer trails, scenic drives, camping, picnicking and water sports.

About 25 miles of trails are available for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Five self-guided trails are available, and horseback riding is allowed on one six-mile trail.

Call 301-663-9388 or go to

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