fall leaves
fall leaves fall leaves © Kent Mason

Places We Protect

Eidolon Preserve

West Virginia

Find mountaintop forests, trails and commanding views of the Potomac River at this preserve.

An old ridgetop property that was originally part of an 18th century Fairfax grant, this land belonged for nearly 60 years to the Zapoleon family, who used it as a weekend and summer retreat. They named it “Eidolon,” after phantom women of Greek mythology who were created by Zeus from mist and light. Eidolon was willed to The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia by Mrs. Marguerite Zapoleon.

TNC took title to it in 2006 and enlisted the Potomac Valley Audubon Society to become the local stewards of the property the same year. It was Mrs. Zapoleon’s vision that this land be preserved as she and her husband, Louis, had always known it: a place for the enjoyment and study of nature, and for quiet contemplation.

The Nature Conservancy, the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, and volunteers, partners and friends from the Morgan County community are committed to fulfilling this vision. We invite visitors from near and far to enjoy the Zapoleons’ legacy.

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.

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. So you will come upon stone piles where fields were cleared long ago for planting crops, the remains of old quarries that provided stone for the C&O Canal in the 1840s, and the track of an old coach road that dates back to the 1780s. 

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.

Support Our Work at Eidolon Preserve

You can help us protect West Virginia's diverse plant and animal communities. The Nature Conservancy seeks to conserve the land and water on which all life depends.