Limekiln State Park is 700 rugged acres just south of Big Sur and on the coastal side of the Santa Lucia Mountains. This underrated park has beach access with 12 campsites, young redwoods towering over another 12 campsites, over 100 year-old kilns still standing and a 100 foot waterfall. All of this is accessed by 3 miles of well maintained trails with the constant sound of Limekiln Creek and Hare Creek rushing by.
Sounds amazing right? Of course it is! And this is what we focused on as so many things went wrong on our visit here. 🙂
Limekiln State Park
Christmas morning we headed south to Limekiln State Park full of excitement for our camping adventures ahead! Little did we know we, and our camping equipment, would be put to the test.
Reaching Limekiln SP, after stopping at all the great spots along the coast in the wind and rain, we found our campsite #5 and started to set up camp. We didn’t want to set up camp in the dark so we did that first. Just to let you in on a little secret, campsite #5 isn’t great for tent camping. The stakes were difficult to pound down due to all the rocks. It was also windy at the beach. Right off the bat one of our straps that the stakes go in broke. No big deal! Grab a large rock and put it inside the tent in that corner to hold it down.
After we were done setting up camp we headed out on our hike hoping to reach the 100 foot waterfall!
Limekiln Creek Hike
From the day use or your campsite you can reach the first of 3 beautiful bridges that carry you over the creeks. Crossing over Hare Creek you are greeted by tall young redwoods and mossy boulders in the creek.
Follow the trail toward the lime kilns and the waterfall. Shortly after crossing over another bridge you will come to one of our favorite spots, 2 creeks flow into one! If you follow the one to the right toward the falls trail you will need to cross some well thought out branches and logs to reach the other side of the creek. We definitely want to see the falls so we followed the trail. The first one went just fine. The second creek crossing was a little more difficult and the bosslady lost her footing and her foot became trapped between two logs in the freezing cold water. No big deal! Keep going with one squishy shoe!
We reached the next creek crossing and there was no way of reaching the other side without being in knee deep freezing cold rushing water. We paused, debated on whether or not the waterfall was worth it and finally turned around. No photo is worth getting hurt over or freezing for the rest of the night.
Following Limekiln Creek we reached the four stone and iron furnaces. Definitely a sight to see! Back in the late 1800’s these furnaces were used to purify the lime by burning super hot. What wood did they use to burn in the furnaces? Yep, you guessed it! Redwoods. After three years the limestone deposit here was depleted and the small redwood forest was almost completely cut down. Hindsight is always 20/20…hopefully history does not repeat itself again.
Thanks to the Save the Redwoods League, this property was saved in 1994 and restored to what we all get to enjoy now!
After touring around the old furnaces, we headed back down the trail and took the Hare Creek trail as far as we could go. Downed trees prevented us from getting too far. It’s a beautiful creek and we LOVED being in the redwoods! We started to feel a few drops of rain so we headed back to camp.
Camping at Limekiln SP
Out of the shelter of the redwood canyon and back at the beach, the wind kicked up as the storm rolled in over the ocean. We could see the dark clouds looming in the distance and knew rain would soon be on its way. Planning ahead for this, we heated up dinner early and were ready to head into the tent to eat and play cards. Then the skies opened up and it started pouring.
The hubs had poured us each a glass of wine (thankfully) while we heated up dinner. When he went to put the 1.5 liter jug of Simi red table wine inside the tent, it broke. THE ENTIRE 1.5 LITERS OF WINE BROKE INSIDE OUR TENT! Minus the two small glasses already poured. Almost 2 bottles worth of wine was floating in the bottom of our tent! The hubs hollered for some paper towels and I threw him a small throw blanket we’ve had for a long time and he was able to soak it all up, then throw the wine soaked-broken glass filled blanket away. It was our first day of camping and no really good way of cleaning it. No big deal! We love the smell of wine. Thankfully we weren’t in bear country!
We ate our dinner, drank our 1 glass of wine each and sat in the tent while getting hit in the head by the tent because the wind was gusting so strong it was pushing the tent down on us. Anticipating a long night inside a tent we had downloaded a few shows on the phone just in case we got bored with cards. After dealing with the tent hitting us constantly we jumped in the truck to watch a couple shows…with the heated seats on and the truck speakers playing the sound. About an hour into this the truck battery died. No big deal! We were warm and could still watch our show on the phone knowing the ranger would be there in the morning to give us a jump.
After another hour or so of the wind shaking the truck, the rain pounding the windshield and us wondering if our tent would end up flying into the ocean we hopped out of the truck and into the tent. Our body weight would keep it held down right? We left our solar light on low and attempted to sleep. The wind and the rain was so crazy all night! The stream flowing by our campsite and the stormy ocean waves in the background should have lulled us to sleep. We kept our solar lantern on until about 4 am just in case we needed it.
Once the wind died down around 2 am we got out of the tent to use the restroom…oh my goodness!!! The stars were so spectacular! The clouds had moved on, the wind was still there and the sky was amazing! One of the most beautiful starry skies we’ve seen!
The next morning we woke before the sun and climbed out of the tent to get a front row seat for the sunrise. Heading down to the beach with a blanket and cameras we watched the pinks and purples light up the clouds as the waves crashed on the rocky shore. This sunrise was absolutely magical!
When we headed back to our campsite to get a jump for the truck battery we noticed there was snow on the mountains behind us! What?! Snow that close to the beach!? It was almost a white Christmas at the beach!
After all this beauty the hubs asked our campsite neighbor to jump the truck battery while the bosslady attempted to make breakfast…what now you ask? Our camp stove of 16 years was acting up! The propane wasn’t getting to the stove. We tried our back up propane and it sort of worked. It took 10 minutes to heat up the water for our coffee and bone broth. No big deal! We could buy a second cup of coffee for the hubs on the way up to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, our next destination.
So many things went wrong during our stay at Limekiln State Park that had absolutely nothing to do with the park and so many things went right that had everything to do with the park! Have you been to Limekiln SP? It truly is a treasure of the state park system!
Parking is included with the $35 campsite, or $10 for day use. Easy 2.5 mile hike straight from the campground. Hot showers! Quarters only. Campfires allowed, no dogs on trails but ok in the campground. Nearest town is Big Sur.
Things We Love:
A friend of of ours gave us this solar lantern for our camping trips. This was the first time we used it for the tent and absolutely loved it! We are ordering 2 more! We had it on for 12 hours straight until we turned it off and it still had power the next day!
It is a perfect alternative to battery powered lanterns and it collapses down and can hook onto your backpack and recharge while you are hiking! The solar lantern is easy to blow up with just a couple big breaths and voila you have a 5x5x5 lantern! It was easy to hang in the tent and worked perfectly in the cabin we stayed in the next night.
Click on the photo below to head on over to Amazon and grab one for yourself! Leave a comment below if you have one already and let us know how you like yours!
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