Limekiln State Park

#7 in Best Things To Do in Big Sur
Limekiln State Park picture
Photo Courtesy of California State Parks

Key Info

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.1

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Located about 7 miles north of Sand Dollar Beach, Limekiln State Park is one of the smallest state parks in Big Sur, but it packs some serious history. The 716-acre park is named after the limestone business that once thrived here. In the late 17th century, the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company would quarry limestone then smelt it in a series of wood-fired kilns located in the park. This process produced powdered lime, which is an important ingredient in making cement. The beach at the park acted as a harbor to ship out the powdered lime to other regions. Today, many buildings in both Monterey and San Francisco contain lime that was created in Limekiln State Park.

Along with some unique history, Limekiln State Park is located on the steepest coastal canyon in the continental United States. It is also one of the only parks in Big Sur that offers direct beach access. With many others, including Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer Beach and Sand Dollar Beach, you must take a trail to reach the sand. At Limekiln, all you have to do is park your car and the beach is steps away.

Limekiln State Park only has two trails, both of which are less than a mile long, making it perfect for travelers with only a few hours to spare. The Limekiln Trail splits into two, with one pathway leading to four of the old limekilns and the second going to the 100-foot-tall waterfall. The Hare Trail is less than half a mile long and snakes through some of Monterey County's oldest redwood trees.

Many travelers were taken aback by the beauty of the redwoods and the creeks that run through the park and along the trails. Others were fascinated by the kilns and were impressed by their great condition after all these years. Visitors traveling with children lauded the trails for their ease and opportunities for adventure (some areas require hikers to traverse across logs or wade through the river). On the other hand, older and disabled travelers experienced difficulty walking the pathways and warned future travelers accordingly.

Limekiln State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset and it costs $10 to park your car. Limekiln State Park is located off of Highway 1 and is clearly marked with a sign. You can find more information about Limekiln State Park' by visiting its website.

See all Hotels in Big Sur »

More Best Things To Do in Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park1 of 6
Andrew Molera State Park2 of 6
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Named after one of Big Sur's most beloved pioneers, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a favorite among both locals and tourists. A feast for the eyes, the park features seven marked trails that take travelers to tucked away coves, up to waterfalls, along miles-long creeks, through redwood-clad forests and more. Not to mention, it is one of the few areas in Big Sur where scuba diving is allowed. 

The shortest and most traveled path is Waterfall Overlook Trail. Less than a mile long, the trail takes visitors to one of the most popular attractions in Big Sur: McWay Falls. The site is lauded for its beauty, and is a culmination of all geological features typical to Big Sur: The secluded beach is flanked by jagged bluffs covered in shrubs, wildflowers and cypress trees. The falls, flowing from atop one of the cove's granite cliffs, tumble 80 feet down into the cove and get swept up by the ocean. The cove is also a prime place to spot migrating gray whales that pass through Big Sur from December to February, as well as March to May. In the past, some have even come into the mouth of the cove.

Read more
lucky-photographer/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Big Sur »

Explore More of Big Sur

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 12 Best Language-Learning Apps, Programs and Online Courses

Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill.

The 13 Best Sedona Tours

Get lost in the magic of Sedona's red rocks on these top adventures.

What is an Ecolodge? 21 Top Eco Resorts and Eco Hotels Around the World

Luxury meets environmental welfare at these top-notch ecolodges.

The 12 Best Puerto Rico Tours

Experience island living at its best on one of these guided trips.

I Went On a Cruise During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is What Happened.

Coronavirus concerns, itinerary changes and uncertainty lead to an unusual vacation.

5 Travel-Themed Activities to Do at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Use these suggestions to fill the travel void amid the pandemic.

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know

If you are rescheduling a vacation or booking a future trip, consider purchasing an insurance policy with the CFAR benefit.

The 21 Best Costa Rica Tours

Dive into this natural paradise on these exceptional excursions.

Social Distancing Outside: 8 Safe Places to Go and Things to Do

Here are some creative ways to enjoy the outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak.

14 Things to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed

Know your options when flight delays or cancellations threaten to ruin your vacation.