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One Tree Hill is an early 2000s TV show that, for many, defined the decade in an indefinable way. Full of heartbreak, humor, and pathos, One Tree Hill ran on television for nearly 10 years, becoming the fourth-longest-running series on The CW network. These days, One Tree Hill remains popular with viewers, even those who can’t remember the original series run — and many fans are learning about the show’s history for the very first time, discovering where it was filmed and whether the town of Tree Hill is, in fact, a real place. 

What is ‘One Tree Hill’ about?

Hilarie Burton, Chad Michael Murray, Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, and James Lafferty
Hilarie Burton, Chad Michael Murray, Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, and James Lafferty | Theo Wargo/WireImage

One Tree Hill debuted on television in 2003. While the series featured an ensemble cast, at the core, the show was about two half-brothers, Lucas Scott and Nathan Scott, who both compete for positions on their school’s basketball team — and occasionally, compete for romance as well. Played by up-and-coming young actors Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty, the characters of Lucas and Nathan Scott were written as realistic, conflicted, and endearing.

In addition to Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty, One Tree Hill also starred performers like Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush, Moira Kelly, Paul Johansson, Barry Corbin, and Jana Kramer. Far from just featuring a talented, attractive cast, however, One Tree Hill had a lot of realistic storylines and situations on the show that mirrored conflicts many young people all over the world experience — everything from death and terminal illness to teen pregnancy and gambling.

One Tree Hill ran on television until 2012. By the time it went off the air, many viewers had grown up with the series, and with the characters that they had grown to love. 

Is Tree Hill, North Carolina a real place that fans can visit?

Almost as popular as the characters themselves was the town of Tree Hill, where One Tree Hill was set. The North Carolina town became iconic after just a couple of seasons of One Tree Hill, with many fans gravitating to the small-town charm and picturesque locations featured in the series.

In fact, according to Yardbreaker, the town of Tree Hill is considered to be one of television’s most beloved TV towns.

It might surprise some fans of One Tree Hill to learn that the town of Tree Hill is completely fictional, created and designed for the screen by the One Tree Hill production team and showrunners. Still, it has roots in a very real place, and, according to a Wilmington, North Carolina, tourism site, many of the show’s key moments are based around locations and buildings in the Wilmington area. 

Where was ‘One Tree Hill’ filmed?


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Viewers who want to enjoy a bit of nostalgia can head to Wilmington, North Carolina, where they can see many of One Tree Hill’s exact filming locations. While some of the show’s interiors were filmed on a studio backlot, a lot of the exterior scenes were filmed in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, lending local color and scenery to the series.

According to IMDb, a few filming locations that One Tree Hill fans can still see in Wilmington include the Eugene Ashley High School, Bellevue Cemetery, Laney High School, and Westfield Shopping Independence. 

While Tree Hill itself might live only in the minds of fans, the culture and area that helped inspire One Tree Hill is very much alive and thriving.