This tiny gem of a park is nestled in the lush forested environs of the Highlands, not far from the historic Caleb Pike House. At a mere 31 hectares, this is not the largest park in the Capital Regional District by any stretch of the imagination, but good things do come in small packages, as they say. From the main parking lot on Millstream road, the trail that goes to the summit is a moderately challenging 1.6km hike. There are a few side paths that are less travelled, and some of these will take you to various outcrops apart from the summit, allowing you to practically have your own panoramic view. The trails are not well suited to people with mobility issues or those with strollers, however, since they tend to be winding and rocky.
Highlights of Lone Tree Hill Regional Park
- Outhouses at the main parking lot
- Quick access to Goldstream Provincial Park, via Finlayson Arm Road
- Many rare plants
- Abundant wildlife
- Short 30 minute hike to the summit
From the bottom of the hill, where you are surrounded by the lush forest of the Highlands, you might wonder how the park came to be called Lone Tree Hill. The summit of the hill is almost bare of trees, but for one Arbutus tree and a nearby stump. That stump is what remains of the original “lone tree” that gave the park its name: a Douglas fir that was 200 years old at the time it was cut down. Now, the Arbutus dominates the hilltop, lending its own multi-coloured beauty to the already stunning rocky environs.
Getting to Lone Tree Hill Regional Park
The park can be a bit tricky to find, since there is only one sign pointing the way to it, and that sign is close to the parking lot. Millstream Road, like many of the roads in that part of the Highlands, is winding and a bit tight in some areas, but if you are coming from the direction of the West Shore area, and you keep an eye out for the intersection of Red Cedar Court (Caleb Pike Road on the other side) and Millstream, then you’ll find the parking lot about 250 meters further. Alternatively, you can get to this park from Goldstream Provincial Park by going down Finlayson Arm Road, which connects the Malahat Drive to Millstream Road, and turning left when you get to Millstream.
Unless you are a hiker who likes a long, vigorous trek, this beautiful park is probably best suited for quick walks, or as part of a day of short hikes in other parks, or perhaps lugging some food and a blanket up to the summit on a nice day and enjoying a picnic with a fantastic view.