Lime Kiln Trail – Granite Falls, Washington - Atlas Obscura
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Granite Falls, Washington

Lime Kiln Trail

Four abandoned limekilns tower above the Douglas fir forest in Washington.  

Lime Kiln Trail is a tiny hidden treasure in the Cascade mountains about an hour’s drive from downtown Seattle. The trail is set far back from any main roads outside of the tiny town of Granite Falls. Home to old limekilns dating back to 1800s, this trail takes you through history.

Back in the late 1800s, the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company would harvest limestone from a nearby slope and feed it into four towering limekilns made of iron and stone, where it was then heated using nearby Douglas firs. Barrels of processed limestone was then taken out of the woods on a cable car to nearby Rockland Cove where they were loaded on ships and sent to nearby cities for use in construction. 

After a few years, Rockland Lime and Lumber Company exhausted the limestone supply and Douglas firs used to heat the fires.  Abandoning operations completely, the company left behind its four towering lime kilns. After a time, the forest rebounded as the Douglas fir population grew and the woods were turned into a public park. 

Today, the trail meanders through the forest. The first part of the trail is mostly ferns and narrow, tall trees covered in moss. A slight rise leads to a gradual drop down into the Robe Canyon, where you begin to hear water burbling on either side of you as you walk. As you get closer to the limekilns, you hear water rushing louder and faster, and eventually, the Stillaguamish river comes into view. Walking along the trail above the river takes you across several tiny footbridges and around sharp bends until finally, you arrive at the limekilns. 

Know Before You Go

It is a free trail that can be easily hiked by small children. It is about five miles round trip but has no public bathrooms or trashcans, so plan accordingly. 

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