In addition to seeing Limekiln Falls at Limekiln State Park (CA), hiking to the historic lime kilns is also a must. It’s pretty strange seeing these huge iron and stone furnaces in the middle of a redwood forest where they look so completely out of place:
According to the Limekiln State Park brochure:
Beginning in 1887, the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company extracted, processed and exported thousands of barrels of lime from Limekiln Canyon. Four stone and iron furnaces were built at the base of a large talus slope eroding from the limestone deposit. Limestone rocks were loaded into the kilns, where very hot wood fires burned for long periods to purify lime.
The lime was packed into barrels, hauled by wagon to Rockland Landing on the coast and loaded onto ships that carried it to northern ports for use in concrete.
After only 3 years, the limestone deposit was depleted, as was the redwood forest that had been nearly clear-cut to use for lumber and fuel.
Today the four kilns, some stone walls and bridge abutments are the only remains of the thriving lime industry that existed here.
To get to the historic lime kilns, you follow the same directions as to Limekiln Falls, but take the fork to the left and remain on Limekiln Trail instead of right onto Falls Trail. The trail is quite easy without the obstacles that Falls Trail has, and the scenery is quite beautiful as you hike along West Fork Creek: