Ward Charcoal Ovens
Ward Charcoal Ovens Overview
Located 20 minutes from Ely in the Egan Mountain Range in eastern Nevada you will find the scenic 700-acre Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. Click here to view other Nevada State Parks.
The park features six beehive-shaped charcoal ovens that were used from 1876 through 1879 to help process rich silver ore that was discovered in the area.
Once mining ended, the ovens were used to shelter travelers and even had a reputation as a hideout for stagecoach bandits.
Visitors to the Ward Charcoal Ovens can also enjoy nearby outdoor activities such as camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing while surrounded by a diversity of wildlife within the park, including mule deer, grouse, and elk.
The Ward Charcoal Ovens are always open.
The entrance fee is $5.00 unless you have a Nevada State Parks Pass.
Camping fees are $15.00 per night.
P.O. Box 151761
Ely, NV 89315
How to Get to Ward Charcoal Ovens
The Ward Charcoal Ovens is located on White Pine County Road 16 off of the Great Basin Highway.
Historical Ward Charcoal Oven
The Ward Charcoal Ovens are Nevada State Historical Marker #184 for the categories of architecture, lumber, and mining.
The marker is a blue marker and the transcription is below:.
These ovens were constructed during the mid 1870’s and are larger and of finer construction than most other ovens found in Nevada. They are 27 feet in diameter and 30 feet high with a capacity of about 35 cords of wood which was burned for a period of 12 days to produce about 50 bushels of good solid charcoal per cord.
The charcoal was used in the smelters at nearby Ward, about 30 to 50 bushels being required to reduce one ton of ore.
Each filling of one of these ovens required the total tree crop from 5 or 6 acres of land. During the late 1870’s the hills and mountains around many mining camps were completely stripped of all timber for a radius of up to 35 miles.
As railroads penetrated the west charcoal was replaced by coke made from coal, and the charcoal industry faded.
“The real worth of the old charcoal ovens is their historical function in reminding present day Americans of a now-vanished industry, without which the great silver and lead bonanzas of the early west could not have been harvested.” Nell Murbarger.
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 184
NEVADA STATE PARK SYSTEM
Hiking at Ward Charcoal Ovens
The trail map is above the trails. There is a trail system that covers each end of the park and is 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 are several hiking trails ranging from 0.01 miles (okay, not really that long to be considered a hiking trail) to 2.2 miles.
- Day Use Trail – 0.01 miles
- Campground Ovens Trail – 0.6 miles
- Interpretive Loop – 0.6 miles
- Overlook Loop – 0.9 miles
- Ridgeline Loop – 1.6 miles
- Riparian Loop – 2.0 miles
- Ward Legacy Trail – 2.2 miles
Willow Creek Campground is a 14-site campground with two large pull-through spaces for RV’s and one handicapped designated site.
There are two vault-type restrooms centrally located.
Potable drinking water is available from May through September from one hydrant located near the campground entrance.
A camping limit of 14 days in a 30-day period is enforced.
There is a group camping facility in the campground.
Please contact the park for reservations.
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.
There is fishing in Willow Creek. Rainbow trout are stocked as needed and the browns and brook trout are naturally reproducing.
There is an off-highway vehicle trail that connects to thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management lands.
- Nevada State Park – Ward Charcoal Ovens
- Nevada State Park – Ward Charcoal Ovens History
- State Historic Preservation Office – Ward Charcoal Ovens