There's not much left of the 19th century lime processing industry of the San Francisco Bay Area. Processing lime -- a key ingredient ... more »in plaster and mortar -- was big business in the California boom years after the Gold Rush.
New technology (namely Portland cement) made lime obsolete early in the 20th century, leaving the uncanny recuperative powers of the coast redwood to reclaim the forest where factories once stood.
The decaying lime kilns at Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park are about all that remains of the local industry. This hike lets you explore the old kilns up close.
If you're up for a short hike, just follow the sings to the lime kilns and return for a 2.5-mile hike. If you're more ambitious, though, follow this track along Fall Creek to the site of the former barrel mill.
It's mostly rusting junk now, but the hike to it -- along the burbling waters of Fall Creek -- is one of the prettiest in the Bay Area.
Trails on this hike: Bennett Creek Trail > Fall Creek Trail > South Fork Trail > Cape Horn Trail > Fall Creek Trail > Bennett Creek Trail
Best times to go: This is a true four-season park; just bear in mind it can be quite cold in the morning. less «