Places We Protect

Sideling Hill Creek

Maryland / DC

A wide, shallow creek curves between two heavily forested banks. The trees show autumn colors of red and gold. The water ripples over small rocks in the center of the creek.
Sideling Hill Creek One of Maryland's healthiest stream systems. © Harold E. Malde

Explore one of Maryland's healthiest stream systems



Originating from the southwestern mountains of Pennsylvania, Sideling Hill Creek tumbles its way down the steep, forested, shale cliffs of western Maryland before it finally spills into the Potomac River. 

The Sideling Hill watershed is about 80% forest cover and is incredibly intact.  The area is sparsely populated, and this isolation has allowed Sideling Hill Creek to have supremely high water quality and healthy aquatic communities. 

The preserve has several trails so visitors can explore the variety of species and natural communities that exist at Sideling Hill Creek.  



    • The world's healthiest population of the globally rare aquatic wildflower, harperella.
    • Twelve rare, endemic (occurring only on the shale barrens and nowhere else) plants including the nationally endangered evening primrose, shale ragwort, and Kate's mountain clover.


    • Olympian marble butterfly, green floater mussel, tiger beetle.
    • Wild turkey, hawks, and bobcat.
  • Read our Preserve Guidelines to learn about permitted and prohibited uses, ways of enjoying these spaces, a note about hunting season and more. 

  • Several TNC nature preserves in Maryland include hunting leases for deer management. Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to find information on hunting season, licenses and access on public lands. When visiting a TNC nature preserve during hunting season, please wear blaze orange and try to avoid visiting in the early morning or evening hours when hunting is most active. For additional guidelines on how you can hike safely during the hunting season, visit the American Hiking Society.

Audio Tour

Sideling Hill Controlled Burn

A 55-acre burn conducted in 2019 aimed to help a variety of fire-adapted native tree and plant species. The burn also offered a unique opportunity to connect the local community to our fire work, giving local residents and visitors a better look at this critically important conservation practice. 

Working with Fire
A man in yellow fire gear points to a map hanging on a wall during a pre-burn briefing. Four people stand behind him listening to the briefing.
Three women wearing yellow fire gear stand together.
Two girls lean their elbows on a table bending over a map to closely examine it.
Smoke from a controlled burn rises above a green forested hill as cars drive by on the interstate highway that runs along the edge of the forest.
Five adults gather at an outdoor table and lean in to look at tree rings and pamphlets that are on the tabletop.

Explore Nature

Need more nature? Visit some of TNC's other preserves.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

See the Complete Map