My wife and I visited this park on September 1st of 2013. This park is spread-out and requires a lot of driving from site to site. If you're interested in civil war history, this is park for you!
The first place we stopped was at the visitor center. You can get a park ticket at the center and they have a museum of exhibits and a tourist shop inside. You'll need to pickup a map that contains 11 visitor stops. The first stop is at the visitor center and includes Dunker church, monuments and a display of cannons.
AS the display shows, there were two basic types of cannons used in the civil war, smooth bore and rifled. Here's a comparison of the two:
The row of cannons are nicely displayed:
Dunker church is a short walk from the cannon display:
Several signs explain the history of this area:
The interior of the church looks like this:
Outside are signs with historical accounts of this church:
Back across the street from the church is a small monument:
It has a lot of bronze pictures of the famous battles of Antietam.
Closer to the visitor center on the hill is another memorial:
Yes, we skipped around. Technically stop 7 is right behind the visitor center and we didn't stop at stop 2 through 6. There are several trails at this part, though it's not very mountainous and the trails are short. On the day we visited it was very hot and humid.
So stop 8 contains the observation tower, which looks like this from the visitors center (this is from stop 7):
The road winds around and there is a long parking area next to the fence-line:
There are cannons planted where generals fell in battle:
So after walking up the stairs inside the tower, as expected, the view is spectacular.
There are bronze plates that have arrows pointing to the direction of historic events:
A view of the stairs:
We walked along the fence line:
This is bloody lane trail:
There are several cannons marking the location of fallen generals:
Stop 9 Burnside Bridge
This was a major stop and we spent some time walking around to see this part of the battlefield.
The parking lot starts at the top and then you have to walk down a sidewalk to the bridge. Once you cross the bridge, there are signs that tell of the epic battle that took place here.
Here's the view from the other side of the bridge. This was the side that the Confederate army was on. At the top of that hill was where the Union army began shooting downward.
Here I am in front of the wall.
There are trails in this area and we hiked one up to the forest above the bridge to afford a better view. This is called Georgians overlook and the trail is marked from near the parking lot:
Stop 10 Final Attack
Stop 10 had some cannons overlooking a hillside:
Here's the sign shown in the above picture:
Here's a picture of Sherrick farmhouse:
This is the view up the road:
A different view of the farmhouse:
There are also monuments along the road at this location:
We did not visit the cemetery (stop 11). We live an hour away from this park so we'll be visiting again in the future. Next time I'll gather photos from every stop just to complete this post, but if you have a couple of hours or more to spend, this is an excellent place to gain some perspective on the history of the civil war.
On this particular day it was in the upper 90's with high humidity. Which is to say, it was miserable. Make sure you bring a cooler with some drinks and bug spray. I can't emphasize the bug spray enough. It appeared that the park service had just mowed near the fence-line at stop 8 and the gnats were in swarms.