Add this to your day trip itinerary while you're in the northeast Nevada area.
In early silver mining days, charcoal was in great demand. For those of you who only use gas for outdoor cooking, charcoal will be a novel idea.
Somewhere between chopping wood and bagged briquettes, the mining business needed large amounts of charcoal. The charcoal oven was born.
The Ward Charcoal Ovens are some of the best examples.
The 6 beehive shaped ovens are over 125 years old, so the fact that they are mostly intact is impressive. Because you can go inside all the ovens, it is fun for kids to explore or play hide and seek. If you are interested in history, this is a fun stop for the entire family.
The entrance to the actual charcoal oven area is a nicely maintained gravel parking area. A level brick walkway up to the ovens makes this handicapped accessible. From this area, some trailheads are easily found. A short easy trail right at the ovens seems to partially follow a spring feed creek. Even if you don't want to hike, be sure to follow the small trail up the hill behind the ovens, which gives a whole new perspective of these works of art.
This piece of Nevada history lays nicely protected about 16 miles from Ely, Nevada. Even though it is easily accessible from U.S. highway 93, Ward Charcoal Ovens goes unnoticed by tourists. If you are planning a trip through the area, make this your lunch time picnic spot. Great views and easy hiking make this family spot good for the locals also. Located 10 miles south of Ely, the turnoff is clearly marked. The rest of the trip is 7 miles of well- maintained dirt road. The park is open year round, but snow may close the road in winter.
Near the Ovens is a camping area. Some of the spaces are even pull-through spaces for RV's. The park has nice restrooms and is served by a new well. Somewhere in this camping area, is a yurt style cabin for rent in the summer, call the campground for reservations.
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park P.O. Box 151761 Ely Nevada 89315 (775) 289-1693
The views from most of the camping spots are wonderful. The trees in this area are low so views are virtually unobstructed. The valley is expansive and the mountains on either side of this valley are quite beautiful.
The trails in this area are good for mountain biking and hiking. During the winter months these trails provide some great cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. New to the area is an off highway vehicle (OHV) trail that connects to thousands of acres of BLM lands. There is fishing on Willow Creek, which contains brook and brown trout, but is not stocked.