From Burning to Beauty in Limekiln State Park

posted in: Big Sur, Places | 2

After hiking Cone Peak in the grueling Big Sur sunshine, Denali was one hot Husky under all that fluffy white fur. She basically demanded that we go to a waterfall and do something in the shade, so I decided to take her to Limekiln State Park where the shade flows as freely as the 100-foot Limekiln Falls. The hikes are easy, the campground is busy, and it feels a little gimmicky paying $10 to go see this waterfall, but if you can look past the touristy aspect of it, a dip in this gorgeous falls is worth it on a hot day.

When Denali hit that first pool of clear, cold stream water and waded around in the shallows, she gave me that look like thanks, dude. You finally did something logical.

Whatever, Denali.

Anyway, she does this goofy thing where she sticks her whole mouth into the water to take big gulps instead of lapping like a lady, and it’s hilarious:



I laugh, she looks at me like shut your dirty mouth, and we continue up the trail towards the lime green luster of the waterfall.

Limekiln trails are serene, especially if one can get time alone on them. The hike wanders through redwoods, along cascading transparent streams, and in between clover fields that have you wondering when that little leprechaun is going to jump out and give me my damn Lucky Charms (ugh that cereal was so good, but so bad for me).



The towering trees cast mind-bending shadows (the pictures above had minimal edits), and one feels enchanted in such a lush, calm setting. Arriving at the waterfall is no different after just a mile. Set against a backdrop of limestone painted by the delicate touch of life’s sweet elixir, Limekiln Falls gives the feeling that one is in the presence of a wise, old sage, and it’s waters will enchant any who touch them (or maybe I’ve just read too much Lord of the Rings). Either way, I believe in the healing power of water – and so does Denali – so we both bathed in it’s cool waters.20150813-DSC_0428


After cooling off in the pooling waters below the falls (no I did not bathe in my jeans, I was naked – as I should be) we backtracked to another trail that lead to the kilns, where 100 years ago limestone was gathered from the hills, heated and sold as lime, part of which was used to build San Francisco and Monterey. When the redwoods in this area were harvested and the limestone ran low, the kilns were shut down and eventually the area was turned into a park when loggers wanted to reap the land more than it already had been. This left for an eerie, ghost town ambiance in the quiet of the looming, fire stained and rusted kilns.

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If you are ever in Big Sur, and want an easy, cool day hike to escape the heat, Limekiln is a great place to start in the southern half of the area. We didn’t check out the beach, but there is one that is part of the park across the highway. Although tourists and the dollars may have turned me off, visiting this place made me realize that without turning them into parks, sacred places such as this one may not exist in the beauty and grandeur that they hold. Humans can either desecrate or preserve, and if my $10 helps do the latter, then it’s worth it to me to invest my time, and money, into the environment. Stay wild my friends!

2 Responses

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  2. ja

    Beautiful adventure!
    We’re glad you realize your purpose in life is to make Denali happy…

    xx Amber’s pack

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