Lime Kilns Trail

#6 of 17 trails in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Take the Fall Creek trail to the Powder Magazine Lime Kiln, a historic part of why the Sate Park exists. Enjoy beautiful creeks and forested trails.

3.2 miles Out & Back
Dog Friendly
birding hiking nature trips dogs leash river views
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The Ben Lomond Fault runs along the base of the mountain, exposing huge amounts of limestone. This limestone was formed by heat and pressure crystallizing layers of tiny sea creature fossil remains. Heating raw limestone in kilns for several days yielded lime used in mortar and plaster staples of the building industry. Massachusetts native Henry Cowell bought an interest in the thriving Davis and Jordan Lime Company in 1865. Cowell renamed his venture the IXL Lime Company in 1888. At its highest demand, 80% of lime came from Santa Cruz County. Kilns were built on the North Fork of Fall Creek to convert the quarried rock into usable material. Hundreds of thousands of cords of wood were burned over the years to keep the kiln fires burning leaving the hills bare. Eventually, raw limestone and log supplies dwindled as concerns about deforestation arose and lime processing became obsolete. The Fall Creek kilns closed in 1919 after nearly 70 years of fullscale operation. Today, the old IXL lime kilns can be seen along the South Fork Trail; the second growth redwoods nearby testify to natures resilience as the hillsides become forested once again.

Lisa French

7 Completed8 Reviews

This is a nice hike, a gradual climb but nothing too strenuous. The trail follows Fall Creek for most of the hike. Once you get to the Lime Kilns there are some buildings and informational signs which add interest to this outing. Watch out for tree roots and rocks! The trail can be a bit treacherous.

Alex Capasso

1 Completed1 Reviews

These directions do not take you to a dog-friendly trail. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see the trail clearly marked "no dogs", and unfortunately had to pack up the gang and seek out other options.

Francesca Aiello

1 Completed1 Reviews

Took 3 kids ages 11, 5, and 3 on this! Took us 2 hours with stopping to eat a light backpack lunch in the magical forest by the creek! Tons of amazing picture opportunities, beautiful easy hike. Only a slight up hill to the limn kilns. The history you can feel! Extra large mushrooms growing along the trail. It felt like there may be little fairies hiding in the forest! Pretty magical and the kids absolutely loved it! Highly recommend for those who want a decent quick easy hike!

Kat Prichard

53 Completed52 Reviews