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Limekiln State Park, Big Sur

#4 of 7 in Nature in Big Sur
State Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Limekiln State Park is a state park of California, United States, on the Big Sur coast. It contains four lime kilns from an 1887–1890 lime-calcining operation, plus a beach, redwood forest, and 100ft Limekiln Falls. It is located 2mi south of Lucia on State Route 1. The 711acre park was established in 1994.
From 1887 to 1890 the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company harvested limestone from a scree slope and fed it into four iron and stone lime kilns they erected onsite. Long exposure to very hot fires extracted lime. Barrels of lime were slid on a cable out to Rockland Cove, where they were loaded onto ships. The lime was a key ingredient in the cement that was used for construction in San Francisco and Monterey. However after three years the company had exhausted most of the limestone as well as the redwood used to fire the kilns. Today an easy.5mi trail leads to the lime smelting ruins, which include four kilns and some stone walls and bridge abutments.
The redwood forest recovered from this industrial use, but in 1984 a private landowner planned to log the west fork of Limekiln Creek. Conservationists objected and succeeded in getting the land preserved as a public park. The campground was family-owned before it was then sold and operated by the Esalen Institute for a number of years. The property was transferred to the California state park system and opened in September 1995.
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Limekiln State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
257 reviews
  • Wanted to drive through to look at the sites as is our usual way to decide but the VERY rude man at the entrance booth would not allow it. We will NOT be camping there. We've warned others in our...  more »
  • What a beautiful campground. Dawnette and her husband the camp host were extremely helpful and was able to score us a spot since we didn't have a reservation. The second night we moved to the most.....  more »
  • Great park for a short hike/outing with kiddos. We did the falls trail and kilns, Fitbit said 4 miles round trip and 170 ft elevation gain. Kiln trail is easy/moderate. The falls trail is moderate as you have to cross the stream several times. Our three year old walked all the way to the falls, only requiring assistance on the stream crossings. Only negative to mention is the lack of interpretive signs at the kilns. They look cool, but no information provided in their history. There is beach access from the parking lot. Beach is small but fun. Strong riptides here so NOT a swimming beach, but there is plenty of sand, and the stream flows right out into the ocean here. $10 for day use access. Restrooms and drinking water available. There is a very small store at the entrance, but selection is minimal, more like emergency supplies. Food and snacks available 2 miles north in town.
  • I saw my very first bug ape here!!! Amazing! They’re so beautiful 😍 bug apes are my favorite marine creature. Also, they have many squirrels! If you’re fast you can catch and eat them, they were very tasty and saved us plenty of money on food!

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