Big Sur, California

Hike the 3 Branches of the Limekiln

Originally added by Pascual Dutton

See the former redwood-lit kilns used to purify limestone for building on this 2-3 mile hike. Have 3 separate adventures on these short trails along a creek, to a waterfall and to the limekilns. Duration: 1-2 hours.

The Limekiln Trails offer up a moderate hike with defined trails, creek crossings, and limited elevation. From the parking area, head east under the canopy of redwoods until you get to the bridge, where there’s a kiosk marking the trail.

The three branches are ~0.5 miles each, making it easy to take in all 3. You may want to start with the Hare Creek branch first, followed by the Falls branch and finally the Limekilns branch, but the choice is really yours.

Shortly into the hike, you’ll see the first fork in the trail for Hare Creek (right) and Falls / Limekilns (left). Take the quick <0.5-mile hike to the end of Hare Creek, where you’ll come across an ancient redwoods and a small waterfall. At the waterfall, there will be a sign denoting the end of the trail. From here, head back to the fork and begin your trek to the falls.

En route to the falls, you’ll cross Limekiln Creek on a wooden bridge before meeting up with the fork to separate the limekilns (left) and the falls (right). On the branch to the falls, be prepared for a few stream crossings – your shoes will get wet! Also, there’s a small scramble to get to the waterfall, which you’ll see flowing down a large limestone wall. The 100’ waterfall marks the end of the trail. Head back toward the fork to see the Limekilns.

It’s a short hike to the Limekilns once you make it back to the fork. You may ask why should I see these? No problem, here’s a quick history lesson. In the late 1800s, these limekilns were used to smelt limestone and create lime powder, which was used in cement. This cement was shipped from the harbor at Limekiln SP up to Monterey and to SF to construct buildings. There it is!

Need something to tide you over on the drive back, head to La Tortuga Torteria in Seaside.

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Tags

Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Monoliths in the Forest

Easy hike to knock out in a couple hours. Went in December, very few people around. Could've sat by the falls all day. Definitely check out the lime kilns, very interesting and ominous to see in this setting.

Pretty and quiet

Made for a fun afternoon hike, nothing difficult or mind-blowing, but beautiful in a calm and intimate kind of way. The kilns are pretty amazing to see in the middle of the forest. The creek is reassuring and cheerful. If you're in the area, stop by.

The trail is very shaded, even on a warm and sunny day remember to wear layers. There are LOTS of photo opportunities so take your time.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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