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Maryland / DC

Sideling Hill Creek Audio Tour

Use this guide to explore this preserve or take a virtual visit from home!

Sideling Hill Creek is one of the most pristine streams in Maryland, winding its way through western shale cliffs before finally spilling into the Potomac River.  Sideling Hill Creek helps support the globally-rare harperella population and the occurrence of the rare shale barren communities prioritizes this site as a focus for the Maryland/D.C. Chapter's efforts. During your audio tour you'll experience the shale barrens, native forest types, and forge the stream if you dare!

Explore additional tours

Getting Started

Visit the preserve page to plan your visit and then download the audio tour maps for the Bryant Tract (stops 1-13) and Yonker Tract (stops 14-16). The numbers marked on the map correspond to the audio files in the tour.  Next, download the audio files to your mobile device.

Remember - some of our secluded preserves are spectacular, but you may not get cell service. We recommend you download the recordings and maps before you visit. Need a little help saving the files? Check out our step-by-step guide!

Downloadable Files (mp3 format)
  1. Trail Head
  2. About Sideling Hill Creek
  3. Across the Street - Creek Side
  4. Sideling Hill Creek Watershed
  5. First of Many Hills
  6. The Bend
  7. Berries
  8. Mitnick Memorial Statue
  9. Box Turtle
  10. Ephemeral Stream
  11. Shale
  12. Lowland Footbridge over Oxbow
  13. End of Loop Trail
  14. Yonker Tract Conservation Easement
  15. Sideling Hill Creek Ford
  16. Feeling Adventurous - Crossing the Creek

(All files are .mp3 and should download automatically once clicked. If you have trouble downloading, right-click each file and then select "Save")

Driving Directions to the Sideling Hill Creek Preserve Parking Lot (beginning of tour)
  • From Washington's Capital Beltway (I-495), take I-270 North to I-70 West:
  • From Baltimore (I-695), take I-70 West:
  • Follow I-70 West from Frederick to Hancock.
  • Take I-68 West towards Cumberland. Exit I-68 at High Germany Road.
  • Turn right at the stop sign. You'll cross Sideling Hill Creek after just a couple hundred feet (bridge is inconspicuous).
  • Immediately after crossing the creek, take a sharp right (back-angle) down dirt lane to edge of hay field.
  • Park in the fenced parking area. Please do not block access to dirt lane across the field
Driving Directions to the Yonker Tract (stops 14 - 16):
  • Exit the fenced parking area, driving back up the dirt lane.
  • Take a left onto high Germany and go .4 mi., crossing the bridge over I-68.
  • Turn left onto US-40 Scenic E (National Pike NE) and go 0.2 miles.
  • Take the first right onto Swain Road, go 1.1 mi.
  • Take a left onto Swain Hollow Road NE and go 1.4 miles.
  • Where Swain Hollow Road changes into Stotlemeyer road, take a left onto Harry Norris Road.
  • The parking area is on the right just before the road curves into and across the creek.
A fun side excursion:

During the Spring and the Summer (mornings are best), check out the moths on the walls of the gas station located off exit 72 from I-68 (right off of US-40 E). It is the only gas station in the area and its light attracts a rich variety of moths from nearby forests.

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