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Eidolon Nature Preserve (Sp,S)
General Description. Eidolon Nature Preserve is located along the summit and east side of Sideling Hill, west of Berkeley Springs in Morgan County, West Virginia. The Preserve is 354 acres in size. The elevation at the highest point is about 1,600 feet. The land is mostly deciduous forest with oaks and maples predominating. There are several small springs on the property. There are many marked trails through the woods, as well as a gravel road leading to an old cabin site. A kiosk inside the gate provides trail maps. The gravel road has a moderate grade. Some of the trails are steep and rocky.
The cabin site and a power line cut provide sweeping views to the east. There is also an FAA tower at the top of the ridge. The Nature Conservancy owns the Preserve and the Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS) manages it. It is open to the public for hiking, birding, and nature study. Hunting is allowed in season on the Preserve. Click here for an in-depth page about the Eidolon Preserve.
Seasonal Variations in Birding. Eidolon Nature Preserve provides habitat for many forest birds both in migration and during the breeding season. A variety of warblers may be seen in migration. In late spring and early summer, several breeding pairs of Cerulean Warbler can be observed along the gravel road from the Preserve entrance to the cabin, and then continuing on to the FAA tower. Also along this road, look for Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Great-crested and Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, American Redstart, and Eastern Wood-Pewee.
The Yellow Trail goes downhill from the cabin and passes several springs. Worm-eating Warblers inhabit the slopes. Beyond the lowest spring as the trail leads back up the hill, it passes through a beautiful patch of Mountain Laurel, where Hooded Warbler is often found.
Chickadees on the property are challenging. Black-capped and Carolina Chickadee may interbreed in this area.
Directions. The directions to the preserve from Berkeley Springs are as follows:
From the intersection of Routes 522 and 9, take Route 9 west over Cacapon Mountain and through the village of Great Cacapon until you reach Detour Road (a total of 7.6 miles). Go right on Detour Road for 9/10’s of a mile to Orleans Road. Go right on Orleans Road and follow it up Sideling Hill for 2.1 miles. The entrance to Eidolon will be on your right marked by a light-green metal gate flanked by two low, square stone pillars. Those who visit are asked to park outside the gated entrance and proceed into the preserve on foot.
Coordinates: N39 36.637 W78 21.142 (gated entrance). Trail Map
Caution. Black bears have been seen on the Preserve. Hunting is permitted in season.