This short Civil War loop explores a portion of Washington County between Antietam National Battlefield and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Beginning at the Battlefield Visitor Center, pedal past Dunker Church on the historic Hagerstown Pike. Cross Sharpsburg Pike onto Mondell Road toward the Potomac River. After crossing under the railroad tracks, make a right to access a point on the River where Confederate troops are believed to have crossed; return to Mondell Road and follow the route past other portions of the Battlefield and into Sharpsburg, a great place to stop on the return trip.
Head west (right) on Main Street/Route 45 toward the Potomac River, stopping first at the site of General Robert E. Lee’s Headquarters. Research indicates that Lee’s retreat from Antietam followed the gentle swale to your southwest toward Pack Horse Ford on the Potomac. With the James Rumsey Bridge ahead of you, turn left onto Canal Road to access the C&O Canal Towpath. Leave the River corridor via Millers Sawmill Road but use caution, as this road is somewhat steep and narrow with limited sight lines. To return to the Visitor Center, follow Route 65.