The Lime Kiln Trail is probably the best known "historic hike" in the area. In fact it's so well known we were easily able to locate information about it on major trail websites.
Although Granite Falls is a ways off the freeway, it's easy to access. This trail is not far from downtown, which was especially nice in winter. The roads getting to the trailhead are not well marked, but that didn't cause us trouble. The last stretch of road is gravel, and almost feels like someone's driveway, but once we saw the park sign, it was simple.
This is a very well maintained trailhead. Judging by all the NO PARKING signs along the private driveways, we get the feeling it's popular. But on this day we only saw a couple cars in the parking lot.
The kiosk has a bad glare, and the signs are fading, but it's worth stopping to check it out. A lot of people have put great care into researching this area, and you can pick up some great info here before heading into the woods.
The first stretch of trail is your average lowland second growth forest. After less than a mile it intersects with an old logging road. We turned right onto the old road and walked for a bit through mixed forest until we came to an intersection. Here the right quickly ended and the left narrowed into a trail, we went left.
The trail drops down into a wetland thick with trees. After walking this stretch it opens up to a nice bridge.
After the bridge the trail winds to the left and picks up what feels like an old road bed. It continues straight but an entrance into the forest on the left guided us toward our destination.
We dropped down steeply while following the creek we crossed via the bridge earlier. At the bottom another sign greeted us before the trail bent right, hugging the steep bank.
While we had descended quite a bit over the course of the trail, we were still high above the South Fork of the Stillaguamish. While no signs of the old railroad were visible, we did come across several signs of what caused it's demise: nature. This creek washout is so big it's hard to imagine. For scale, Julie is standing in the picture. Can you spot her?
The path continues on, with the river on the left and hill on the right. We encountered this sign for a place called Cutoff Junction, which we had never heard of. We found ourselves wishing they had more in depth interpretive signs so we could learn more.
We had heard this trail was rich with artifacts, but we encountered very few. We hope that moss has covered them rather than the sad idea that people have carried them off.
Then the trail's namesake loomed out of the forest. This lime kiln would have been adjacent to the Everett Monte Cristo Railroad. It's finished product was taken up to the mill at Monte Cristo, where it was used in processing mined rock, called ore.
We couldn't find much information on this lime kiln. Our understanding is that there was wood supporting structures around it originally. Raw limestone quarried nearby would have been loaded into the top. The baked and powdered lime would have eventually been scooped out of the bottom.
After a couple walks around the kiln, we headed down the trail to see what else what was around. We ran into another sign, mentioning the other industry of the area, logging.
The last stretch of trail is a loop. It goes past a nice beach spot and the former crossing of the railroad. You can see the concrete reinforcements on both side, where the bridge used to be, but we don't have a picture to show. It was muddy, steep, and badly maintained so we didn't linger.
If this trail continued across the river, it would eventually connect with Robe Canyon. Between these two parks are where are the old tunnels occur. We hope one day they will be safely and legally accessible.
Thank you for reading about our adventure. If you choose your own adventure to this spot, we hope you will drop us a line.