Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
240.00 ft (73.15 m)
Trail type
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Riparian Loop Trail is probably the most scenic of the several trails throughout Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. At 2 miles in length, it contains the most diverse array of landscape, passing from sagebrush flat to pinyon and juniper forest to riparian meadow. It also overlaps with other trails, allowing one the option to add portion of other trails in order to get a lengthier or more challenging hike.

The Riparian Loop Trail is accessible from both the park's day use parking lot or the charcoal ovens parking lot. Beginning at the charcoal ovens, the trail shortly abuts Rocky Point and the historical lime kilns before meandering into the meadow, which offers up an appealing aromatic section of hike as well as the possibility of seasonal wildflowers.

Several small wooden bridges cross Willow Creek, giving hikers the chance to bend down and touch the cool water on those hot and dry summer days. The trail also crosses right next to Willow Creek Campground. Horses, bikes, and leashed pets are permitted on the trail; however, the mostly singletrack trail is closed to all vehicles.

There is seasonally potable water near the trailheads and at the campground, though much of the hike is through shadeless and unprotected sage. The nearest groceries and amenities are availabe in the town of Ely.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round



Scenic hike. Opportunities to stop at the creek.


Trail can be poorly signed.

Trailhead Elevation

7,216.00 ft (2,199.44 m)

Highest point

7,000.00 ft (2,133.60 m)


Vault toilet
Family friendly
Big vistas
Horseback riding

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
Schell Creek + Snake Range Area, Nevada

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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