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Limekiln State Park picture in Big Sur
Photo Courtesy of California State Parks

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

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#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 ...

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#2 Andrew Molera State Park

This 4,800-acre park is the largest state park on the Big Sur coast and offers multiple activities and attractions, not to mention several hiking trails. Named after the man who brought ...

Read more » Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

#3 Pfeiffer Beach

If you're on a tight itinerary and don't have time to traverse any state park trails, head to Pfeiffer Beach. Located about 7 miles south of Andrew Molera ...

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#4 Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Not to be confused with Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or Pfeiffer Beach, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest and covers 1,600 ...

Read more » Gary Denham / Flickr

#5 Garrapata State Park

Situated between the base of the St. Lucia Mountains and the rugged Pacific coastline, this 3,000-acre state park is overflowing with trails highlighting the park's diverse landscape. From ...

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#6 Sand Dollar Beach

A great option for those who don't want to work up a sweat on the trails but want to experience Big Sur's beauty from outside the car is ...

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#7 Limekiln State Park

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 ...

Read more » Photo Courtesy of California State Parks

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McWay Falls is the star attraction at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The 80-foot waterfall used to fall directly into the ocean until a landslide created the beach it now graces.  lucky-photographer / Getty Images

Get your fill of coastal views at Andrew Molera State Park. The 8-mile-long Andrew Molera Loop takes visitors  on the edge of the coast with smaller trails leading down to secluded beaches. Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

It's not uncommon to see hordes of photographers at Pfeiffer State Beach, especially at sunset. The keyhole arch rock is considered to be one of the most photographed natural attractions in Big Sur after Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls. Eric Lowenbach / Getty Images

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is the only state park in the region that doesn't offer coastal trails or coastal access. But that doesn't mean it's lacking in attractions. The Buzzard's Roost Trail, pictured above, snakes through the Big Sur Valley, as well as redwood groves.  Gary Denham / Flickr

Of all the state parks in Big Sur, Garrapata is the hardest to find. There is no sign indicating its presence, only turnout points on the highway leading to certain trails. On the upside, it is by far the least crowded. Ingmar Wesemann / Getty Images

Sand Dollar Beach is heaven for treasure hunters. On the southern end of the beach, visitors can find serpentine or jade if they look hard enough. Skyhobo / Getty Images

Limekiln Park got its name from a limestone business that used to operate out of the park's forest. Venture down the Limekiln Trail and you'll see four old limekilns that once provided materials for making cement.   Photo Courtesy of California State Parks

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