Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historical Park…

We extended our stay in Ely Nevada due to weather in Great Basin National Park.  As a result we made the drive south to the Success Loop road. Success Loop road is a 33 mile loop road that isn’t actually a loop but can be if you count the drives on the highways that go into and out of Ely, Nevada. Doing so would actually make the loop around 65 miles in length.

The loop drive took us up into the mountains from the low point of the basin. The road started out paved and about seven miles into it we passed Cave Lake State Park. We stopped here and took a short mile or so hike along a beautiful flowing creek surrounded by what appeared to be pussy willows. The bushes were thick with warblers and bushtits feeding voraciously probably due to the colder nighttime temperatures and at least for the warblers a chance to fatten up before migration.

We saw lots of caves along this road as the limestone is perfect for their development. Before long the pavement ended and became a dirt road. It was drizzling and sleet was falling as we drove up to the pass. The higher we got the thicker the aspens got and they were in full fall display. It was an absolutely beautiful drive going up the mountain. Once we summited the rain came down pretty hard and it rained nearly all the way back to Ely preventing us from getting out to explore any sites along the way.

Heyduke© 2014

Another really cool thing we discovered while in Ely was the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historical Park. I had never heard of this place until I began researching what to do nearby.  Imagine 200 years ago some skilled craftsmen from Italy were brought into the middle of nowhere Nevada to construct  charcoal ovens to assist in silver mining operations.

It is unbelievable how super cool these ovens are.... I mean like other worldly! These six ovens are sitting in a row each a neat replica of the other yet with minor differences because each stone had to be cut by hand and then placed in mortar being made in nearby lime kilns. I mean these are as cool as the pyramids (on a minor scale) and a place we feel is a must stop for anyone near this area. After marveling at the construction inside and out we took a couple of trails giving us captivating views of these architectural marvels from afar.  We are certainly glad we took the drive over to hike at Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historical Park to see these unique historical remnants from silver mining days gone by…

We are now near Baker, Nevada and will stay only two days due to cooler weather blowing into the area…


  1. Wow I have never heard of this place!

    Looks like I will have to add it to my "To do" list !

  2. I can't believe that the Italians were the only ones that knew how to build these charcoal ovens. I have never ever heard of them.

  3. What an interesting place to visit, thanks for sharing.

  4. Very interesting- never heard of it either.

  5. I too never heard of it and I lived in Nevada 50 years! Very nice!

  6. Never knew about these...will certainly check them out if we ever get out that way again. Thanks. AND the photo of the Aspen trees is very nice.