If you have ever wanted to get up close and personal with an elk, this park is your chance! The first time we visited, we were amazed as we followed the trail and walked right by five elk munching away right next to us! We were also amazed by how secluded and forest-like it felt even though we knew we were just minutes from a major highway.
How rough is the terrain? This hike is not for people who like paved or even gravel paths. In fact on our first visit, which was in early November, we couldn’t even find the walking paths as they were covered by leaves. We guessed where the path was by following the areas with slightly less leaves. On another visit, the ground was clear of leaves and we found very narrow dirt paths. The terrain is definitely not smooth, but the girls love climbing over logs and going up and down hills.
How long is it? The path is circular and altogether is 3.5 miles long. Some of the path does involve crossing a road, since the park also has areas to drive through to view the animals, but the road time is short. We normally need over two hours to hike Lone Elk park, but we make stops, take pictures, and are pretty leisurely about our hikes.
How scenic is it? Along the path, there are a few times you can see the road, but for most of the hike, you really do feel like you’re off in the forest. There are many trees, wildlife (in addition to the awesome elk) and a lake that you circle around. In spite of not being able to see the trails, fall is my favorite time to visit with leaves covering the ground.
But wait there’s more!: As you are driving out of the park, there is a buffalo viewing area! You cannot get out of your car here, but from your car you can view the buffalo out grazing.
This is not a quick hike, but one you have to be ready to spend some time with and enjoy. You also need to be cool with standing next to gigantic elk that may be grazing along your path. If you are ready for both of these things this path will be an adventure that you won’t soon forget.