Ward Charcoal Ovens
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is mostly known for its six beehive-shaped historic charcoal ovens; however, the park offers an array of recreational opportunities.
In April 1875, the Martin & White Company from San Francisco invested money to extract silver ore, bought up several small claims and built smelters (furnaces for melting ores). The Ward Charcoal Ovens operated from 1876 through 1879, the silver boom years of the Ward mines. The Ward Charcoal Ovens served diverse purposes after their function as charcoal ovens ended. They sheltered stockmen and prospectors during foul weather and had a reputation as a hideout for stagecoach bandits.
The ovens are 30-feet high and 27-feet in diameter at the base. The parabolic, beehive shape reflected heat back into the center of the oven reducing heat loss. The walls are 20-inches thick with three rows of vents.
There are two day-use areas that provide a great spot for a day hike and picnic. These areas have covered tables, restrooms, grills and wonderful views. Willow Creek Campground has two large pull-through spaces, which are great for RVs, and many other distinct spaces for every type
Fees are charged for day-use and camping.
There is a trail system that covers each end of the park suitable for many types of activities, including hiking and mountain biking. During winter months these trails are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There is also an off-highway vehicle trail that connects into thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management lands. There is also opportunity for fishing on Willow Creek.
Visit the official website for more information.
Ward Charcoal Ovens is located about 18 miles southeast of Ely via U.S. 93. Visitors can drive about 11 miles on the dirt road of Cave Valley Road or can continue on U.S. 93 and turn onto a 7-mile dirt road that has signs for the park.