Perched in the upper reaches of Wildrose Canyon in Death Valley National Park sit the Charcoal Kilns, one of the more unique human-made remants of the region's 19th-centurty mining past.
The 10 kilns were constructed in 1877 to provide charcoal to smelters in the Panamint Valley. The abundance of piñyons in the upper reaches of the Panamint Range were harvested and burned in the kilns, with the resulting charcoal transported 25 miles to smelters adjacent to lead and silver mines in the valley below. The operational life of the kilns was believed to be just two years. Since then, the kilns have been remarkably well preserved. This is in due to their short functional lifespan, their isolated location, and perservation and restoration efforts. All this means that visitors today can experience the kilns much as they were when operations ceased in late 1800s. If you've a keen sense of smell, you might even pick up the smell of creosote within the kilns.
Access to the kilns is via Wildrose Canyon at the trailhead for the Wildrose Peak hike. The kilns aburptly come into view as you drive through the upper bounds of the canyon. Parking is available on the southern side of the road, with the kilns lined up along the northern side of the road. There's also an ADA-accessible vault toilet in the parking lot. Please note that there is no regular or dependable supply of potable water.