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Named for the phantom women Zeus created from mist and light, Eidolon was bequeathed to The Nature Conservancy in 2003 by Marguerite Zapoleon, who, with her late husband, Louis, bought the property in 1945. Their concern for their land over the following years led them to begin working with the Conservancy in the early 1970s to protect it. As Eastern Panhandle farms and forests disappear under the footprint of housing and commercial development, Eidolon helps to halts the trend on a beautiful piece of Sideling Hill.
Location: Along the summit and east side of Sideling Hill, west of Berkeley Springs in Morgan County
Size: 354 acres
Conditions: Elevation at its highest point is about 1,600 feet, affording sweeping views to the east. Like much of the land in the area, parts of Eidolon were both farmed and logged in the past. Today, it is once again mostly forest with oaks and maples predominating. The preserve provides habitat that supports a wide variety of plant and animal species, including the cerulean warbler—a species of concern.
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing: The Nature Conservancy manages the preserve with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS), which also co-manages the Conservancy's Yankauer Preserve in Berkeley County.
Why You Should Visit: Eidolon Nature Preserve features dense mountaintop forests, a trail system and commanding views of the Potomac River.
The preserve includes three walking trails, an access road that runs up to an FAA tower at the highest point on the property and an old coach road that runs down the mountain. In all, these trails and roads total about four miles.
Download this handy map of trails at Eidolon Preserve.
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 9/10s 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—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.