Lone Tree Hill is a super popular hike that you can do in under half an hour blindfolded walking backwards.
Every time I do this “hike” (which is just barely allowed to have that word used for it) I see so many people and they all have their dogs (which is great) and I’m so curious why they choose this trail. Sure, it’s a nice trail and has plenty of different types of trees and the pathway is easy enough but it’s over in 30 minutes! It is 1.9 km total! Now that I’ve totally ruined it for people lets tell you all about it.
The parking lot is small but can fit a handful of cars so if you go at a not busy time (early morning, weekday work hours) you’ll definitely get a spot. Just continue driving straight down Millstream Road and keep going straight for about 10-15 minutes and there will be a large sign on your right indicating you’ve found your destination.
This trail definitely goes upwards which is the only reason I’ll really consider it a hike. It’s enough of a grind in an upwards direction that you get a bit out of breath and your heart rate increases. From parking lot to summit is 433 feet of elevation gain within the 1 km of trail.
There are a few lookouts on the way up to the summit that you can stop at. Amazingly every time I’ve done this trail there’s been vultures and large birds of prey circling the forest below which is really cool to watch. There’s also plenty of arbutus trees along the way which are my favorite type of tree so I really enjoy them. You’ll find a few sections with roots on the trail or with rocky step ups to maneuver to give a bit of character to this trail which I always love.
If you’re a geocache-r you’ll find that there are 5 within this small park so that’s something fun you can do along this trail. It is so close to town you should still have full service to use your app with GPS to find them. Near the top you’ll see a tree that’s equally cute and creepy as there are many children’s toys and small figurines placed throughout it. It seems borderline shrine-esque to me but that could be because I listen to too many true crime podcasts. This is a sign that you’re almost at the top.
Once at the top you’ll find that there’s no significant summit as it sort of plateaus into a rolling rocky, grassy area. You’ll also see that there is more than one tree, however, one seems a bit more majestic than the others (at least to me) so I always consider that one the lone tree. The view is quite lovely, you’ll be overlooking a lake and a lot of forested area which I always love to see, however you will be overlooking some residential areas as well. This is another hike where you can still hear the hustle and bustle of real life while trying to escape which is one reason I don’t love this trail.
Just as quickly as you go up you’ll be heading back down. There isn’t a ton to explore from the summit of this hike but it is nice to spend some time at the top. On your way back into town from this hike you could stop at Axe & Barrel Brewing for a flight of their beer (which is really good and has very unique brews like an espresso stout) and has awesome pizza. They will be expanding their menu eventually but when we went they only had pizza which I was fine with. Half an hour of hiking demands high caloric intake people!
All in all this is a pretty walk that will get some exercise into your day if you don’t have much time or patience and offers some nice views and beautiful plant life. It’s good as a last minute idea or for a busy schedule to get you outside and although I bash it I’ve done it quite a few times.