The historic Limekiln Trail offers visitors a glimpse into Big Sur’s industrial heritage, as the area once served the booming construction of San Francisco's early buildings. In the late 1800s the canyons in Limekiln State Park were significant sources for lime extraction and lumber harvesting. Rockland Lime and Lumber Company erected four large stone and iron furnace kilns to process raw limestone deposits that were quarried within the park's canyons. The limestone was transported to Rockland Landing, the cove and beach at Limekiln State Park, to be carried away by schooners to the burgeoning population centers located up the coast. The local limestone deposits were depleted within three years.
Slighty less than half a mile long, the Limekiln Trail explores the shaded west fork of Limekiln Creek, meandering through dense redwood forest that once fueled the long burning fires used to purify the lime. After crossing a few bridges and bearing left at the Limekiln Falls Trail junction, the trail ends at the ruins of the large rusted limekilns. These wide iron cylinders built on stone formations are located in the peculiar setting. At first glance the rusted furnaces almost seem to blend into the forest. This is a nice hike offering a cool microclimate if you are looking to escape a hot fall day on the central Big Sur coast.
The Limekilns Trailhead is located beyond the park's entrance station at the back of the state park campground. There is day use parking within the park, or you can park in the pullout on Highway 1 near the top of the park entrance road for free.