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Santa Cruz, CA: Fall Creek to Lime Kilns

Hidden deep inside the Santa Cruz Mountains, this 2.4-mile out-and-back wanders through old-growth forests and past meandering creeks to century-old limestone kilns.


From the dirt lot, begin descending the Bennett Creek Trail to Fall Creek. Quickly lose the sounds of cars traveling on Empire Grade and become enveloped in a thick forest of old-growth redwoods.
In just over half mile, veer left and follow Fall Creek up the ravine on a wide, well-traveled path. At the bridge, veer left again, and begin a gradual ascent up a steep, narrow ravine (zigzagging over fallen trees and twisted roots) to the Lime Kilns. Covered in hanging moss, the kilns look like short, stone-built tunnels. In the 1800s, Henry Cowell (for whom the forest is named) made a fortune quarrying limestone in this area. After exploring, retrace steps back to the Bennett Creek Trailhead.
-Mapped by Tim Shisler

To Trailhead

Head west on High Street. Turn left onto Storey Street. Turn left again onto King Street. After 50 feet, make a left onto CA 1/Mission Street. Stay left on CA 1 and continue for 0.5 mile. Bear left onto CA 9/River Street and continue for 6.4 miles. Take a left onto Felton Empire Road. The trailhead will be on the right side of the road.

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