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 good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length4.8 miElevation gain744 ftRoute typeLoop
kid friendlyHikingNature tripsBird watchingRunningRiverViewsBlowdownHistoric siteNo dogs
Description
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Getting There

This is a great visit to the industrial legacy of the Bay Area amid a lush redwood forest north of Santa Cruz. There is 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. For more information, please review the park website. https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546

Parking off of Felton Empire Rd.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park website http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=546

Dress in layers -- hiking along Fall Creek is very chilly early in the morning. Bring plenty of water and snacks to sustain your energy level.

Driving directions: From Highway 1 in Santa Cruz, go north on Highway 9 for five miles to Felton. Go west on Felton Empire Road (left turn) for a half-mile to Fall Creek parking area.

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Reviews (589)
Photos (1,374)
Recordings (572)
Completed (1,513)
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Tim Musgrove
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 28, 2021
Hiking

The last leg is marked "closed" but actually is fine. But even if you skip that you still get 80% of the trail, well worth it. Enchanting.

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Mingyu Wu
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Hiking
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Keith Parsons
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Hiking
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Thomas Knapp
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Hiking

Pretty nice, creek is pretty!

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Talha Khan
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Hiking
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Ruby Parra
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Hiking

This hike blew my mind! It was beautifully green and luscious the whole time with fun detour trails and obstacles. Several river crossings - some with bridges and some I had to balance over logs. Definitely a mystical experience, but wear good waterproof hiking boots!

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Megan W
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Hiking
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Beth Kawasaki
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Hiking

A gorgeous soothing morning hike. Limited only be the sections closed by CZU fire damage. Grateful to see some green returning there too.

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Mike Willcox
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Hiking
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Sparky Harlan
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HikingClosed

Except for High School Trail and lower part of Fall Creek Trail this Park was burned badly by the CZU Complex Fire. It is closed until further notice. Ridge Trail was used as fire break and had been bulldozed beyond recognition. Parts of park are still smoldering from fire and will remain so until winter rains. Trees are at risk of falling and dangerous. Go to main Henry Cowell park which was untouched by fire.

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Dan Richardson
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HikingBlowdown

Great trail on a hot day. All shaded. Not crowded (Monday). Some downed trees from a weekend storm, but very manageable. Saw a few families picnicking on the creek banks. Awesome for the little ones.

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Maree Whitten
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2020
HikingBlowdown

Gorgeous hike!! Big storm last weekend. Lots of debris & fallen trees. Even without debris I think getting to the top might be considered moderate hike. Enjoy! The smell is intoxicating! The sounds are so relaxing - like getting a massage!!

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Dan Richardson
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HikingBlowdownGreat!
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Maria Acosta
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Hiking

Very beautiful and refreshing

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Cindy Pelger
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Hiking

great shaded trail. a couple of down trees toward Barrell Mill

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Jeremy Fuentes
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HikingBlowdownBridge outBugsMuddyOff trailOver grown
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Madeline Eppley
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HikingGreat!

Magical little forest! We so enjoyed our hike here. I would recommend adding time to your visit for extra wandering and photo-taking! All of the trails are pleasant, well-maintained, and not too crowded. Plenty of shade and even a few water crossings on bridges!

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Rey Carrasco
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Hiking

Great hike when it’s hot out.

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Marcus Hinojoz
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HikingGreat!

Very Gorgeous trail. Very very little incline at all. Easily enjoyable, and I think good for kids

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Charlotte P
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HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

Beautiful morning hike along Fall Creek under a canopy of redwoods... Got there at 9am and the parking lot was full so had to part along the road. Lots and lots of people on my way back - but most had masks and physical distanced. Definitely would go back!

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Derek Jennings
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Hiking

Great trail, a little crowded towards late morning but still a great hike. I would definitely suggest going backwards

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Prathamesh Karve
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Hiking

Amazing trail, fully shaded and along the creek. temperature was a few notches below outside, so felt pleasant even around noon

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