Situated on California’s scenic Big Sur Coast, about 55 miles south of Monterey, Limekiln State Park has weathered its fair share of hardships. It began in the late 1800s, when the Rockland Lime and Lumber Co. began stripping the limestone out of the canyon for use as building materials for the burgeoning San Francisco area. At the time, the redwood forest covering these coastal slopes was almost entirely clearcut. Nearly a century later, after recovering, the area was almost clearcut again, but conservation groups intervened. It finally became a state park in 1995. Since then, a portion of the park burned in 2008, then it was threatened with closure in 2012, due to state budget shortfalls. The park was saved once again when the Save the Redwoods League stepped in to assist with funding and maintenance needs. The small campground in Limekiln State Park offers 29 campsites in two areas along Limekiln Creek. About half are in an open area near the highway, with beach access; the other half are located upslope, under a canopy of shady redwoods. Sites are small and can only accommodate trailers up to 15 feet, and RVs up to 24 feet; each site is equipped with picnic tables and fire rings. Both upper and lower camp areas have drinking water, restrooms, showers and picnic areas. Firewood gathering is not permitted in the park, and dogs must remain leashed at all times. Visitors should keep in mind that this is a rugged coastal environment, and exercise caution around cliffs and near the ocean; climbing on the cliffs is not permitted. Campsite rates are $35/night. The main attraction at Limekiln State Park is the old lime kilns that still sit at the base of the hillside, more than a century since their last use. These giant furnaces were used to purify the limestone being mined out of the canyon, before it was shipped north for construction uses. The kilns can be seen via a 0.5-mile trail from the upper camp area. A short side trail on the way to the kilns leads to 100-foot Limekiln Falls. Watch out for poison oak while hiking. The park is also a great place for wildlife watching. Keep your eyes peeled for bobcats, foxes and ringtails on shore, and otters and gray whales in the ocean. More than 200 species of birds are known to inhabit the area, including pelicans, peregrine falcons and California condors.