Dan and Hannah Slosh to the Limekiln State Park Waterfalls in Big Sur

lk 4 pch

January on the Pacific Coast Highway with Hannah

Yes sir, Big Sur!  It’s an area of nearly one hundred miles on the Pacific Coast Highway that clings to the mountainside, a guardrail away from the unaware plummeting hundreds of feet and meeting their maker.

lk 1 map 3

Returning to Big Sur today, we have California Dreamin’ memories of hiking its big three state parks with their majestic redwoods thanks to the state protection, growth-inducing coastal mist, and temperate climate.  (Click on each name for these blogs – Andrew Molera, Julia Pfeiffer Burns, and Pfeiffer Big Sur.)

lk 1a great creek scene

Redwood country

Fearlessly, Hannah has driven the first 24 miles of the PCH’s winding, cliffhanging two lane road with 15 mph hairpins thrown in for good measure.  Pulling into the middle-of-nowhere park entrance of Limekiln State Park in Big Sur, I think this has got to be the Siberia for California State Park rangers.  Paying a mere $10 to hike their trails, we are drawn to this park for its waterfalls, not its lime kilns.

The lime kilns (see the photo at the end of the blog) were used in the late 1800s to purify the lime that was used for the mortar for the brick buildings in San Francisco to the north.  By the way, the redwoods in this area were clear cut to provide fuel to heat the kilns.

lk 1b more creek

The foot-friendly dirt trails have us checking out the little brother redwoods that fill the forest sky; but they’ve none of the majesty of the towering, ravishing redwoods of their big sister state parks.

The park brochure mentions that hiking to the waterfalls requires some water crossings.  Arriving at the first one, we are amazed to see a raging creek 20’ across, with submerged stones, boulders, and semi-submerged logs.  Seeing three coeds taking off their shoes and socks and wading across the churning creek, we have all the encouragement that we need.

lk 2 h ready to enter water

First crossing

Removing her socks and hiking shoes, Hannah takes three steps into the creek and turns back saying, I can’t do it.  My feet just hurt.

Having forded 20-30’ of cold water streams in Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur and outside of Reno, Nevada, I know that I can no longer cross this stream in my bare feet due to the rounded rocks, swift current, and normal balance issues of a 71 year old.  We do have a Plan B.

lk 3 h at river crossing

Fourth crossing


Taking off our socks and hiking shoes, we pack away our socks and put our hiking shoes back on to slosh across the raging, few inches to a foot and a half deep creek.  It works!  Our soaked-to-the-bone hiking shoes even out the creek bed stones and with the grab of a creek log here and there, we get across.

Success!  Hmmm, not so fast my friend.

lk 3a d and h at waterfall

Water-logged at the Limekiln Falls

Within 50 yards, we have an even wider, swifter crossing.  Stepping into the ice cold stream, we take baby steps, hang on to creek logs and protruding boulders as best we can and successfully navigate the second of four creek crossings.

lk 3d better waterfall

It’s an afternoon of unexpected joy, having stumbled onto this challenging water crossing trail.  It all ends at the fabulous Limekiln Falls.  Enjoy two waterfall videos.



Images from the trail

lk 1 h at start of trail

Skinny redwoods as a backdrop


lk 1d arty mushrooms

This photo was inspired by my artistic Arizona State classmates and photographers extraordinaire, Rich Meyer and Gale Nobes


lk 3b h at waterfall lower


lk lime kiln

One of four one-time lime kilns







9 thoughts on “Dan and Hannah Slosh to the Limekiln State Park Waterfalls in Big Sur

  1. Out of curiosity, did you simply put socks back on in wet shoes after each crossing and tough it out? As an “aversion-ist” to wet shoes this is the cliffhanger of the story to me. I MUST KNOW!

    • We stuffed our socks in our pockets and never put them back on til we were back at the car. We slogged in wet hiking shoes through the creek to and from the falls and on the trail half mile back to our Toyota. I got used to the wet hiking shoes quickly. You can too! Chacun a son gout! Each to his own. Look forward to hitting the trails with you and Ashley.

  2. Ever thought of hiking sticks? It would have been a must for me…otherwise a whole lot more than my feet would have been wet! Just sayin…

    Sounded like a great adventure!

  3. I have hiking sticks. I find they slow me down. That said, they’d have been great when navigating these streams. Generally we only take carry-on luggage so we can’t get the hiking sticks through the TSA check. I recommend hiking sticks for everyone doing the Limekiln Falls trail. Is Big Sur on your bucket list?

  4. We did Big Sur and the PCH 25 years ago for our 25th anniversary. One of the things I would do again if given the opportunity. Started in San Fran and went all the way down to Hearst Castle.

    We have a couple of those telescoping hiking sticks that we pack in our checked baggage. Very lightweight and handy!

  5. Pingback: Dan and Hannah Pickle on their Way to the Mega-Landslide in Big Sur – over60hiker

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