You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Lime Kiln Trail

Lime Kiln Trail

» REI » Amazon

A portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.

The Lime Kiln Trail not only takes you deep into a lush and remote canyon carved by the South Fork Stillaguamish River, but also leads you deep back into history. Developed almost entirely by volunteers, this delightful trail serves up a unique journey into the heart of Snohomish County's 970-acre Robe Canyon Historical Park. The fairly new park protects over 7 miles of frontage along the South Fork Stillaguamish, as well as preserving an old townsite and a century-old limekiln. The kiln, located 2.6 miles up the trail, is a 20-foot tall stone structure once used to cook limestone. The powdered lime was then transported by the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway to smelters and mills in Everett. Built in 1892 and abandoned in 1934, a section of this rail line has been resurrected as part of the Lime Kiln Trail.

Before embarking on this historical hike, take time to read the informative kiosk at the trailhead. It'll help you more fully appreciate the journey you are about to set off on. The wide and graveled trail takes off through a scrappy forest recovering from years of timber harvesting. The way temporarily leaves the park to traverse private land. Please stay on the path. Cross a small creek and emerge onto an old road. Continue on a slightly rolling course, following directional signs, and after 0.75 mile reenter the park, leave the road, and continue once again on real trail.

Pass Hubbard Pond, a shallow body of water surrounded by old cedars and thickets of salal. Cross its outlet creek on a sturdy bridge, then follow another old road a short distance to a well-marked junction. Here a sign directs you to head left and leave the roadway for a descent into a cool, lush, emerald ravine. Amid giant cottonwoods, Hubbard Creek provides a background score of tumbling tunes.

Emerge on a bench high above the roaring waters of the South Fork Stilly. Now using the former railbed of the old Everett and Monte Cristo Railway, the trail travels upriver through a narrow canyon. Under a canopy of towering moss-draped maples, the fern-lined trail continues on its way to the old limekiln.

En route you'll pass scores of historical relics literally littering the forest floor. Old saw blades, bricks, bottles, stove parts, and bed frames testify that this remote locale once supported a thriving community, Cut-Off Junction (please leave all artifacts in place for others to enjoy). Just up ahead (2.6 miles from your start) lies the source of this past activity, the limekiln, which remains remarkably intact (please stay off of it to ensure it stands another hundred years).

Beyond the old kiln, the trail continues for another 0.8 mile, ending at where a rail bridge once spanned the river. A short loop path takes off left, leading to a graveled bar on the river-a perfect spot to sit and reflect on the area's history and its natural beauty.
Driving Directions:

Follow State Route 92 east to Granite Falls. At the blinking-light four-way stop in town, turn right onto Granite Avenue. Continue south for three blocks, turning left onto Pioneer Street and then reaching the city limits in 0.3 mile, where Pioneer Street becomes Menzel Lake Road. Continue another 0.9 mile and turn left onto Waite Mill Road. In 0.6 mile (just beyond a school bus turnaround sign), bear left at a Y intersection onto a gravel road. Reach the turnoff for Robe Canyon Historical Park in 500 feet and then turn left into the trailhead parking area (elev. 575 ft). Privy available.

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 133 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Lime Kiln Trail — Apr 21, 2014 — ohrylie
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Expand report text Hide report text
During our hike we encountered several groups of Snohomish County workers clearing fallen logs, buil...
During our hike we encountered several groups of Snohomish County workers clearing fallen logs, building benches, and placing a new bridge over a washed out section of trail, in preparation for spring. The trail is clear and hikeable the whole way, and absolutely beautiful! Tons of old growth, great views of the river cascading over boulders and gravel bars, and the old lime kiln is really gorgeous. Some steep areas, a few ups and downs/ rocky or muddy parts. Good day hike. Took us about 2 and a half hours to hike the whole thing at a moderate pace.
Read full report
Lime Kiln Trail — Feb 28, 2014 — Ravenranger
Day hike
Issues: Mud/Rockslide | Washouts
Expand report text Hide report text
**TRAIL ADVISORY** The trail is closed 2 miles from the trail head due to a massive wash out. The mu...
**TRAIL ADVISORY** The trail is closed 2 miles from the trail head due to a massive wash out. The mud is deep and the ground is unstable. The debris pile shifted when I tried to climb on it, at that point I decided not to attempt passing over it. At least it was a warm & sunny day to be outside on this short hike!
Read full report with photos
Lime Kiln Trail — Feb 26, 2014 — Ravenranger
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mud/Rockslide | Washouts
Expand report text Hide report text
Reports of blow downs & a small washout was the purpose of my adventure today. A few large branches ...
Reports of blow downs & a small washout was the purpose of my adventure today. A few large branches over the trail that were easily cut and removed in the first mile. The hand rail on the tree bridge is broken so be careful when crossing and hold onto your little ones. About 2 miles in was a MAJOR landslide that has BLOCKED THE TRAIL!! The area is saturated and unstable from all the mud. The trail looks clear past the washout but I wasn't willing to risk crawling over loose logs/branches and flowing water just to get there. You might be able to make it across but I wouldn't risk it in case another slide hit that area, you will be trapped on the wrong side of the trail!! I enjoyed the short hike in the sun and have made it to the river countless times so I know I wasn't missing out on too much. No cars when I arrived around 1pm, but 3 when I got back around 3:30.
Read full report
Lime Kiln Trail — Feb 08, 2014 — banana slug
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
Hiking along the old rail-bed through a towering forest that includes ferns, moss and artifacts of t...
Hiking along the old rail-bed through a towering forest that includes ferns, moss and artifacts of this historical site indeed add to the charm of this hike. But the pot of gold at the end of this hike is picking a boulder on the riverbed to eat your lunch on, or to just sit and watch the turquoise river flow by you.

Many previous trip reports have warned of car break-ins. On this Saturday when we returned to the parking lot (that had about 18 cars), a Snohomish County Park Ranger was there monitoring the lot from their truck. This may be what is needed, so Historic Robe Canyon can be enjoyed without worry of car vandalism.
Read full report with photos
Lime Kiln Trail — Jan 20, 2014 — mc
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
WARNING! Fun hike, but when we returned to the parking lot, found two cars with broken windows and a...
WARNING! Fun hike, but when we returned to the parking lot, found two cars with broken windows and another attempted break-in. This was mid-day on a holiday, so don't leave your valuables in your car!!
Read full report
Lime Kiln.jpg
One of the best parts of the Lime Kiln Trail is finding old relics from its mining, railroad and logging past - like this old metal saw. Photo by Opus.
Location
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Snohomish County Parks
Statistics
Roundtrip 7.0 miles
Elevation Gain 625 ft
Highest Point 750 ft
Features
Rivers
Old growth
Fall foliage
User info
Good for kids
Guidebooks & Maps
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades, by Joan Burton, Mountaineers Books
Green Trails Granite Falls No. 109 (trail not shown)

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Map it
Red MarkerLime Kiln Trail
48.0773666667 -121.932466667
(48.0774, -121.9325) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »