A hidden, living tunnel amid the scenic woodlands awaits your visit.
You will find this mysterious and unique spot at Sugarcreek MetroPark, and it’s referred to as the Osage Orange Tunnel.
To get to the tunnel from the park’s main parking lot on Conference Road, take the 1.3-mile Orange Trail. On your way to the tunnel, about .7 miles from the trailhead, you’ll pass the Three Sisters, a trio of large oaks that predate Columbus’ voyage to the New World.
>> RELATED: Dayton's oldest sisters are 550 years old
The Osage orange is a tree with incredibly hard and durable wood. Native Americans used Osage orange wood to make archery bows. European settlers made wagon wheels out of the wood and farmers planted tight rows of Osage trees to form fences in lieu of barbed wire to secure livestock.
>> RELATED: Rustic hike and gigantic pancake adventure
The long tunnel of Osage orange at Sugarcreek was originally used as a fence, dating back to the late 1880s.
Today, it’s a special place for a hike. Along the path I met Savannah Martin of Bexley.
“I think it’s pretty and unique, and different from where we’ve been,” she said.
>> RELATED: 12 top hiking areas in Dayton and nearby
Martin’s hiking companion, Ryan Williams of Lancaster, agreed.
“It’s actually very beautiful, and I’ve gone hiking all over the United States, and I’ve never seen an enclosed area like this before.”
>> RELATED: 15 must-see historical places in the Dayton area
In the fall you may notice the tree’s fruit along the path. The large and bumpy yellow-green balls are commonly called hedge apples, horse apples and monkey balls.
Contrary to wives tales, these balls are not an effective repellent against spiders and other insects.
Want to go?
WHAT: Sugarcreek MetroPark
WHERE: 4178 Conference Road, Bellbrook
WHEN: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., April 1 – Oct. 31; 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Nov. 1 – March 31.
INFO: Website or 937-275-7275.