Lime Kilns Trail is a 5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Felton, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Visit the industrial legacy of the Bay Area amid a lush redwood forest north of Santa Cruz. There's not much left of the 19th century lime processing industry of the San Francisco Bay Area. Processing lime -- a key ingredient in plaster and mortar -- was big business in the California boom years after the Gold Rush. New technology (namely Portland cement) made lime obsolete early in the 20th century, leaving the uncanny recuperative powers of the coast redwood to reclaim the forest where factories once stood. The decaying lime kilns at Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park are about all that remains of the local industry. This hike lets you explore the old kilns up close. It's mostly rusting junk now, but the hike to it -- along the burbling waters of Fall Creek -- is one of the prettiest in the Bay Area. Best times to go: This is a true four-season park; just bear in mind it can be quite cold in the morning.
It was a beautiful hike listening to the creek flowing and an occasion distant steam train whistle from Roaring Camp. A fresh mountain slide blocking the trail was the only thing that made it slightly treacherous. The rest was a breeze. I can imagine a couple of places on Fall Creek Trail leading in that might be slick without hiking boots during rainy weather.
This is a nice hike, a gradual climb but nothing too strenuous. The trail follows Fall Creek for most of the hike. Once you get to the Lime Kilns there are some buildings and informational signs which add interest to this outing. Watch out for tree roots and rocks! The trail can be a bit treacherous.
These directions do not take you to a dog-friendly trail. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see the trail clearly marked "no dogs", and unfortunately had to pack up the gang and seek out other options.
Took 3 kids ages 11, 5, and 3 on this! Took us 2 hours with stopping to eat a light backpack lunch in the magical forest by the creek! Tons of amazing picture opportunities, beautiful easy hike. Only a slight up hill to the limn kilns. The history you can feel! Extra large mushrooms growing along the trail. It felt like there may be little fairies hiding in the forest! Pretty magical and the kids absolutely loved it! Highly recommend for those who want a decent quick easy hike!