Wowwwww. That’s all I can say about this place. What an overlooked little park! We spent the weekend in Carmel-by-the-sea so that we could explore Big Sur.
I’d been looking forward to visiting Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but Limekiln unexpectedly stole the show.
We went to Pfeiffer first, but since this was the highlight of the trip for me and because I’m impatient, I’ll start out writing about this park first.
Limekiln State Park is a mere 20 minutes south of the exponentially more popular Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and its entrance is very easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it.
Once inside, a modest, riverfront campground with easy access to a beach, historic lime kilns, and the 100′ Limekiln falls awaits. The falls are almost dry this time of year, but still very beautiful. I can only imagine how impressive they are after a nice, hearty rainfall.
According to Wikipedia, the lime kilns at this park were used in the late 1800s to help extract lime from limestone in order to make cement. This cement played an integral part in construction throughout the Bay Area and Monterey peninsula.
After three years of operation, the area became exhausted of all limestone, and use of the kilns was discontinued.
Sadly, Limekiln State Park suffered considerable damage from wildfires in 2008 and was closed for restoration for two years. Then, in 2012, it nearly closed indefinitely due to state budgetary issues.
Fortunately, the park received support from a partner organization so that it could keep its doors open. Let’s hope that it stays that way, because I want to plan a family camping trip here next year!
I tried my best to capture Limekiln falls here, but despite how beautiful they are in person, they just don’t lend themselves to photography very well. Let me just be honest about it: This is an awful picture full of noise and chromatic aberration. With the falls as dry as they are, there were only two tiny streams of water falling. The left side of the falls was covered in heavy shadows, which I’ve tried to lighten here but I wasn’t very successful.
You’ll just have to take my word for it: this is a really beautiful waterfall complete with dewy, glittering moss and tiny rainbows. Perhaps even more magical, though, are the lime kilns themselves.
Four towering kilns sit in peaceful silence as a reminder of simpler times.
The kilns are roped off, but as you can see, that hasn’t stopped many visitors from taking a peek or leaving their mark behind forever.
After retracing our steps to the trail head, we went down to the beach. Just when you thought this cute little park couldn’t get any better!
The beach is small, but pretty, especially because the little creek that runs throughout the park drops off directly into the sea.
What a lovely way to spend an afternoon. We’ll definitely be back! 🙂