Fall Creek to Lime Kilns Trail

MODERATE 82 reviews

Fall Creek to Lime Kilns Trail is a 4.8 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.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
744 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

blowdown

no dogs

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.

1 month ago

Beautiful, easy hike. Lots of water still. Feels like ur in Jurassic Park lol. You can easily extend it and add a more difficulty by way of elevation gain and distance. Small parking lot and the trails get crazy crowded with big groups- beware.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the prettiest hikes I’ve done! I went on a Monday to beat the crowds and still shared the trail with lots of people probably with the same idea, but it wasn’t too packed. I took the Fall Creek trail to The Ridge tail and it dumps you back off higher on the Fall Creek trail. The Ridge trail was mostly uphill and a little too strenuous for my kids, but after some complaining we got it done. The scenery can’t be beat! We saw lots of nature including a baby snake and banana slugs.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail in Fall Creek! The lime kilns are somewhat uneventful, but the actual hike up to them is gorgeous. This is moderate because of the fallen trees and other obstacles, otherwise it is somewhat easy, with a mostly wide trail & relatively low elevation change.

hiking
2 months ago

I would rate as easy, very beautiful !

nature trips
2 months ago

Ah bit crowded, a lot of stuff going on besides nature.

2 months ago

Great for kids. Well maintained. Saw a lot of trail runners too

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful trail. I’d say it’s more on the easy side of moderate. There are a number of down trees so we weren’t able to make it to the turn around point listed here since our baby carriers made it too tricky. I’d definitely come out to this area again. Looks like there’s miles of trails we can connect for this.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail. Despite others opinion, “moderate” is an accurate description. Anyone not agile would have difficulty. The trail has not been cleared of debris from spring rains that caused havoc in the area with landslides (portion of trail re-routed) and many trees to maneuver over and/or under. The trail follows the stream most of the time. Thus, the sounds of water rushing thru the rocks and logs make for an enjoyable hike. We walked up to the Barrel Hill Area and the trail and flora was much the same with more distance to the hike.

4 months ago

Most amazing creek trail my family has ever taken. Runs along the creek with tons of flora to check out. A few inclines, but mostly flat. We would agree that the trail is not truly moderate in difficulty, but somewhere in between moderate and easy.

hiking
5 months ago

Enjoyed mild hiking along the shock resistant trail surrounded by old redwoods and crystal clear creek..

5 months ago

This is my favorite hike in Santa Cruz

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful and busy. If you go farther back towards the mill it becomes more peaceful. Some trail wash out and fallen trees but easy to navigate and find the trail again. Waterproof boots make that part easier. Chilly but refreshing, had a great time!

hiking
6 months ago

Amazing hike - Easy to find TH and plenty of parking. Not the biggest Redwoods but Fall Creek is almost like you are in the Northwest. Trail was in really good condition except for a bunch of trees down - at one point (picture included) I didnt think I could get through however wast too bad. I extended by taking Fall Creek up to Big Ben Trail which connects to Truck trail (very quiet) and then back to Ridge Trail. Saw maybe 10 people all morning. I will come back again

hiking
9 months ago

This is a lovely, easy trail. It came in at 6.2 RT. There are fallen trees blocking the trail just before reaching barrel mill- you will have to scramble and climb to reach it.
Trail is well maintained and well marked.

9 months ago

I love the smell of the redwood. So nice!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Very Pretty! Should be rated easy though... there's only 1 tiny hard part which is the ending... everything else is flat

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Been wanting to come back here for a while and so glad I did! Beautiful! Great hike, good workout. Lots to see and hear. Birds, sound of the creek, breeze in the trees. Love it!

hiking
Friday, February 17, 2017

Fantastic trail. Beautiful views and the sound of the rushing creek was incredible. This was a fairly easy hike, just the right amount of challenge. Not to mention the Limestone Kilns were fascinating to look at. I would recommend doing it when the rainy season isn't so bad. The trail is fairly damaged from the storm. Out of the 5 foot bridges, 3 of them were washed out and I did get soaked crossing them. Worth it to me though. Added another level of challenge to it. As well as the trail at the very last spot of the loop at the end of the hike was completely washed away from the waterfall. It was extremely difficult to pass, so it is probably best to come back when it is dryer. I WILL be back to do this hike again.

hiking
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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.

Friday, August 07, 2015

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.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

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.

hiking
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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!

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