Hike the 3 Branches of the Limekiln

Rate this Adventure San Francisco Limekiln Trails

Added by Pascual Dutton

  • See the former redwood-lit kilns used to purify limestone for building on this 2-3 mile hike
  • Have 3 separate adventures on these short trails along a creek, to a waterfall and to the limekilns
  • Duration: 1-2 hours

The Limekiln Trails offer up a moderate hike with defined trails, creek crossings, and limited elevation. From the parking area, head east under the canopy of redwoods until you get to the bridge, where there’s a kiosk marking the trail.

The three branches are ~0.5 miles each, making it easy to take in all 3. You may want to start with the Hare Creek branch first, followed by the Falls branch and finally the Limekilns branch, but the choice is really yours.

Shortly into the hike, you’ll see the first fork in the trail for Hare Creek (right) and Falls / Limekilns (left). Take the quick <0.5-mile hike to the end of Hare Creek, where you’ll come across an ancient redwoods and a small waterfall. At the waterfall, there will be a sign denoting the end of the trail. From here, head back to the fork and begin your trek to the falls.

En route to the falls, you’ll cross Limekiln Creek on a wooden bridge before meeting up with the fork to separate the limekilns (left) and the falls (right). On the branch to the falls, be prepared for a few stream crossings – your shoes will get wet! Also, there’s a small scramble to get to the waterfall, which you’ll see flowing down a large limestone wall. The 100’ waterfall marks the end of the trail. Head back toward the fork to see the Limekilns.

It’s a short hike to the Limekilns once you make it back to the fork. You may ask why should I see these? No problem, here’s a quick history lesson. In the late 1800s, these limekilns were used to smelt limestone and create lime powder, which was used in cement. This cement was shipped from the harbor at Limekiln SP up to Monterey and to SF to construct buildings. There it is!

Need something to tide you over on the drive back, head to La Tortuga Torteria in Seaside.

Pack List

  • Athletic shoes
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More




Skill Level:



Year Round


Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

over 2 years ago

The trail is very shaded, even on a warm and sunny day remember to wear layers. There are LOTS of photo opportunities so take your time.

over 2 years ago

More Adventures Nearby

Backpack to Mississippi Lake

San Francisco / Henry W. Coe SP Headquarters

If you're tired of trying and failing to get reservations for backcountry camping around the bay area, then Henry Coe State Park is the perfect place to visit.

Saif Choudhary
3 Saves

Run Sawyer Camp Trail

San Francisco / Sawyer Camp Trail

The Sawyer Camp Trail is a popular paved trail that stretches alongside the Crystal Springs Reservoir all the way to Hillcrest Blvd.

Rachel Davidson
12 Saves

Hike Bolinas Ridge

San Francisco / Cross Marin Trailhead

Nestled in the Samuel P. Taylor State Park this ten miler was a perfect escape from the chaos of the city. Hikers are able to pay a $10.

Heidi M
4 Saves