Limekiln State Park

In 1887, the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company began extracting limestone from a slope in the Santa Lucia Mountains, heating it in four stone and iron kilns erected at the site to produce lime. Massive redwoods that grow in the canyon were used to fuel the kilns. The purified lime was packed in barrels and hauled down to Rockland Landing (today's beach) and loaded onto ships bound for Monterey and San Francisco, where it was used to make cement. By 1890, the supply of both limestone and redwood was depleted and the kilns ceased operation. By 1906, the land was purchased by the Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company and placed in a trust.

In 1937, the completion of the Carmel-San Simeon Highway (Highway 1 after 1939) made reaching the remote area easier; prior to its completion, only a narrow trail existed. The Cowell Foundation leased the land to hunters for decades, and for a brief period in the late 1960s an illegal hippie commune was located there. After the trespassing hippies were evicted, another lessee developed a private campground (still in use by the State Park). In 1989, the property was put up for sale for $5 million. Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, made a lower offer and was turned down. By 1994, the California Department of Parks and Recreation was able to raise funds to purchase the land and on September 1, 1995 Limekiln State Park was opened to the public.

Today the Park features a small campground, with trails leading down to the beach as well as up the canyon, through groves of redwood trees to both the kilns and the 100' Limekiln Falls. The kilns are about ½ mile from the parking area.

I Visited Limekiln State Park
12.15.2019

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