Hiking at Limekiln State Park
Exploring Big Sur for a day? Making your way down the PCH? Whether you plan to spend a little time or a lot in this area, Limekiln State Park is a must-see. Located right off highway 1, you can’t miss Limekiln State Park. You can camp here or if you’re just visiting for the day, it will cost you $10 to park. Parking can be limited but we were there in May and there were only three cars. There are restrooms here as well. There are a couple of easy trails here and one not-so easy trail, but they’re all very beautiful and worth the trip. The trails are *mostly clearly marked and for the mostpart, we had the place to ourselves.
Start out by walking past the campsites and you will come to wooden bridge that will take you to the trails. There are three branches off the main trail, Hare Creek Trail, Lime Kiln Trail and the Falls trail. Hare Creek Trail is beautiful, very nicely shaded by redwoods and very easy. It’s not very long, .3 miles but it’s very serene and beautiful and basically takes you along the creek.
The Lime Kiln trail takes you to, well, you guessed it, the Lime Kilns! These structures are awesome. They are beautiful and huge. Apparently, they were only used for a period of three years to heat and purify the limestone from Limekiln Canyon to make concrete in the late 1800s. They’re really something to see. This trail is also not long, less than a mile and very easy. Shaded, quiet and perfect.
The Lime Kiln trail ends at the kilns, but if you head back toward the fork in the trail, you will see a sign that points you to the Falls Trail. I have to admit, this is where I was slightly mind blown. I saw the arrow, but no trail. Just a creek. Hmmmmm. I had no cell reception here, like most of Big Sur, so I couldn’t look it up either! I was feeling slightly defeated and confused, but I really wanted to see this waterfall. Off in a distance, I could see what looked like a trail. Maybe(?) It was worth a try. So we crossed the creek and continued on. Then we came to another dead end. Well not actually a dead end, but a log that went across the creek again.
So basically what I am getting at is that this trail is not really what you might think of as a “trail”. You’’ll have to scramble across boulders and fallen redwoods to get to the waterfall, but once you get there, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the 100 ft waterfall against a limestone cliff. And bragging rights.
After all that hiking and scrambling, be sure to check out the beach at Limekiln. The beach is rocky and the water was pretty rough, so I wouldn’t recommend swimming, but its still beautiful to see. If you head back towards the parking lot, you will find a road that leads you under Highway 1 and that will take you to the beach.
If you’re planning to hike to the waterfall, be sure to bring appropriate shoes. We saw some people trying to climb across the fallen redwoods wearing their flip flops. I can’t imagine that would be fun.
Allow yourself a few hours at Limekiln State Park. Once you get to the waterfall or the beach, you might want to spend some time there.
There are not a lot of parking spaces. We didn’t have an issue with parking, but I was told in the summer the spaces can fill up pretty quickly.