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Article Archive >> Autumn Tourism

Sideling Hill--100 Million Years Before the Dinosaurs!

Sideling Hill--100 Million Years Before the Dinosaurs!

One of the best rock exposures in Maryland and quite possibly in the entire northeastern United States is Sideling Hill located approximately 6 miles west of Hancock between Cumberland and Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland where Interstate 68 cuts through the mountain. Sideling Hill, attrracting nearly 100,000 people per year, is part of the Appalachian Mountains, specifically the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians. It crosses Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Sideling Hill has been a formidable obstacle to travel since the earliest days when settlers ventured west. Before the cut through the mountain, travelers crossed the mountain about two miles to the south on U.S. 30. A new route to the west was badly needed to meet interstate standards. Construction of the road cut began in 1983. Highway construction cut through the mountain exposing almost 850 vertical feet of syncline that had formed nearly 350 million years ago--that's 100 million years before the dinosaurs!
Although other exposures may surpass Sideling Hill in either thickness of exposed strata or in quality of geologic structure, but few can equal its combination of both. Sideling Hill Visitor Center is on Sideling Hill Wildlife Management Area's (WMA) 3,000-acres of mixed oak-hickory forest that straddles Sideling Hill Creek. This area in the mountains is a wonderful place for outdoor adventurers; this is a prime location for mountain landscape and wildlife, especially in the spring when the wildflowers of the forest floor and the mountain laurel bloom. The history of the mountains has left scenic cliffs where rocky projections of shale and sandstone. Sideling Hill has much to offer. A wide bridge takes visitors from one side of the interstate to the other side, all while enjoying a fabulous, breath-taking view.
Maryland invites you to stay a while...sit and have lunch at their picnic area...enjoy the colorful forest songbirds with their beautiful melodious songs. Various animals are seen throughout the year in these beautiful mountains. Turkey gobblers parade through the forest displaying their beautiful feathers in the spring; black bears are spotted occasionally, and white-tailed deer, grouse and squirrels live in abundant. Take an adventure...explore the logging roads throughout Sideling Hill.
Many travelers simply stop and tour the four-story Sideling Hill Exhibit Center. The center gives visitors from around the United States a unique opportunity to stop and view one of the best rock exposures in the northeastern United States.

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