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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.

Trip Tools

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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