The "Road To Hell" Tree
One of the intriguing stories of these Hills is the "Road to Hell" tree tale.
An Indian hunting trail wound through the valley between present day Laurelville and South Bloomingville.
Shawnee, most say, traveled from their Hocking Hills hunting grounds to villages located on the Scioto River flowing down from the Columbus area through Chillicothe to the Ohio River near Portsmouth.
Early settlers in the late 1700's were passing through this area and found a large tree by the path. Carved into it's bark was the message: "This is the road to hell, 1784". They could find no one in the area to give any insights into the meaning of this. No one seemed to know anything.
Most folks today believe that some early settler was captured and taken down this path to be burned alive.
Had this person somehow escaped and stopped long enough to carve the message? Any details are lost to the lore of these Hills. This is a tale that the early settlers told their children.
So many visitors today, yet few hearken back to these early days of fragile lives on all parts as the Hocking Hills gradually was settled and several hundred years later the amazing geologic landscape is admired of so many whose main concern is the crowded summer season.