Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
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Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, located about 20 miles south of the town of Ely in eastern Nevada's Steptoe Valley, is a relatively small state park area with several recreational opportunities. Named for the six charcoal ovens that served the mining town of Ward just a couple of miles away, the beehive shaped ovens remain standing and well preserved. In the years since Nevada was granted the formerly private land, the park has added camping facilities and maintains four mapped and marked trails along with a picnic area and OHV trails offering the chance to ride into the backcountry.

While never growing much larger than a few thousand people, the town of Ward, located slightly higher up in the Egan Mountain Range, used the charcoal ovens to aid in their silver mining production. The six ovens operated from 1876 through 1879. The town declined shortly after, and in 1883 a fire destroyed about a third of the town. 

Today the six ovens remain the most iconic attraction inside the park. The park's trail system includes paths from the short and easy Interpretive Loop Trail and slightly longer easy Ridgeline Loop Trail to the longer Riparian Loop Trail, which passes historical lime kilns, to the Overlook Loop Trail, which involves some climbing to points looking out over the 700-acre park.

Willow Creek Campground has about a dozen basic sites, along with ADA and group sites, giving visitors the opportunity to camp inside the park. Willow Creek's flow varies throughout the year, but it can offer fishing to visitors.

Entrance fees for the park are $5 per vehicle or $2 for horse/bike in access. The park has vault toilets and generally has spigots with water, depending on conditions. All other amenities are available in the town of Ely about 20 miles north.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Interesting. Variety of recreation options.

Cons

Small.

Features

Vault toilet
Historically significant
Big vistas
Family friendly
Picnic tables
Wildflowers
Potable water

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

06/05/2019
The access road to Ward Charcoal Ovens requires a lot of care when it is wet, high clearance is required throughout and 4 wheel drive is helpful, though not absolutely necessary. Also I wouldn't even try going there before early June.
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