Take a (Day)Hike: The Limestone Kilns
The elusive lime kilns have finally been reached. This year has been one frustrating trip after another trying to find these little guys. Flooded river crossings, schedule complications, and landslides, like full mountainside landslides, have made for a series of failed attempts at reaching these colonial artifacts.
What Are Lime Kilns?
The lime kilns are ovens carved five to ten feet deep into the mountainside near Bearwallow Creek and the Toxaway River. Colonial settlers mined marble in the gorge, naturally occurring limestone marble, and they then baked this marble into quicklime. Quicklime had both constructional and agricultural qualities (See NCParks Website) and was used throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Where Are the Lime Kilns?
The kilns can be found off the Auger Hole Trail in Gorges State Park, North Carolina. The closest access point is off Frozen Creek Road, but due to the recent landslides (yes, plural) the Auger Hole Trail is closed beyond its fork with Wintergreen. The alternate paths are by way of the Foothills Trail -> Auger Hole Trail -> Lime Kiln Trail orby following the Grassy Ridge entrance to the Auger Hole Trail and then following the Lime Kiln spur. Either of these two options places hikers at a 20+ mile day as opposed to the ten-miler from Frozen Creek, so access is limited right now.
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