Sideling Hill: One magnificent structure
One magnificent structure
Although Sideling Hill isn't a historical building, it is, however, one magnificent structure.
It is one of the best rock exposures in Maryland and quite possibly in the entire northeastern United States. Sideling Hill is located approximately 6 miles west of Hancock between Cumberland and Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland where Interstate 68 cuts through the mountain. Sideling Hill, attracting nearly 100,000 people per year, is part of the Appalachian Mountains, specifically the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. This grand structure 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 and enjoy the natural entertainment of the area. Sit and have lunch. Enjoy the colorful forest songbirds with their beautiful songs. You're sure to spot a turkey gobbler, black bear, white-tailed deer, grouse and squirrels.
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 ever.
Take an adventure...explore the logging roads throughout Sideling Hill.