14 votes

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

Unnamed Road, Nevada 89701 USA

Open Now
Sun 12a-11:59p
  • Independent
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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“Tour the Historic Ovens!”

During the 19th century, settlers from all over would pass through Cave Valley trying to find their fortunes. Turns out, they were in luck. In 1872 silver was discovered at the town of Toano, which was on the railroad line, making it an easy location to build up a mining settlement. Miners from Pioche, Nevada came to the town and the Ward Minig District was established. Then in 1875, the Martin & White Company poured money into mining operations to extract silver ore, and in the process built up smelters, which were furnaces used to melt the silver ores. The ovens towered at 30-feet high and 27-feet in diameter at their base. The shape resembled a parabolic beehive, which was intended to "reflect heat back into the center of the oven" and reduce heat loss. To help with this the walls were built 20-inches thick, with three rows of ventilation.  After the mining companies left, the ovens were used by stockmen, prospectors and even stagecoach bandits. The State of Nevada purchased the land in the 1960s and the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park was established in 1969 as a State Monument, and in 1994 was made an official State Park. Today you can camp by the ovens and get some killer nighttime photos. - Roadtrippers Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is located in the Egan Mountain Range approximately 18 miles south of Ely, Nevada.  This beautiful park is mostly known for its six beehive-shaped historic charcoal ovens; however, the park offers an array of recreational opportunities. The basin near Ward Charcoal Ovens was a major stopover for settlers who used Cave Valley road to travel from Pioche, Nevada, to the nearby railroad town of Toano (1870–1876). Silver ore was discovered here in 1872 when freighters were looking for oxen that were grazing in the Willow Creek Basin area. The Ward Mining District, located two miles north of the park, was then developed. Small claim mining continued in this area for several years. In April 1875, the Martin & White Company from San Francisco invested money to extract silver ore, bought up several small claims and built smelters (furnaces for melting ores). The beehive shaped ovens replaced an older system of producing charcoal because the ovens were a more efficient way to reduce pinyon pine and juniper into charcoal. The Ward Charcoal Ovens operated from 1876 through 1879, the silver boom years of the Ward mines. The ovens were eventually phased out completely due to depleted ore deposits and a shortage of available timber. The Ward Charcoal Ovens served diverse purposes after their function as charcoal ovens ended. They sheltered stockmen and prospectors during foul weather and had a reputation as a hideout for stagecoach bandits. The area was privately owned and managed by ranchers until 1956. A special-use permit provided by State of Nevada management opened 160 acres to the public. In 1968, the land became public in a land trade. The next year the Nevada State Legislature created Ward Charcoal Ovens State Monument. The State Park designation was added in 1994, and park facilities continue to be added to the site. Today, the ovens continue to represent a unique and fascinating chapter in Nevada mining history. The Nevada Division of State Parks takes pride in the preservation of this park for future generations to enjoy.

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Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,169 Reviews
  • 888 Helpful
April 09, 2016
Rated 4.0

These massive, mysterious structures are actually old charcoal ovens built by an Italian immigrant. They were once in a now-abandoned town called Ward, and are the best-preserved charcoal ovens you'll likely find anywhere.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Kurt Lundquist

  • Road Warrior
  • 20 Reviews
  • 18 Helpful
September 03, 2014

Great view from the overlook loop. Not a long hike or to difficult. But for the day after Black Canyon of the Gunnison, it made me remember my legs still hurt.
Campground was almost empty and it was a holiday weekend. Really nice camp sites, with water and covered tables.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 26, 2018

We went there last year. It is a little off the main road but we'll worth the visit. Great camping at this stage park. Beware it is an off Fairhaven for atv's. Can be noisy in the summer at the camp ground.

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Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
February 26, 2017
Rated 5.0

Beautiful. I learned a ton, too.

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Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

Unnamed Road
89701 USA


Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
State park or forest
Max Length
30 ft
  • Fifty Amp
  • Full Hookup
  • Dump Station
  • Dispersed Sites
  • Open Seasonally
  • Permit Required
  • Potable Water
  • Sewer Hookup
  • Showers
  • Water Hookup
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Campground, Parking, Restrooms

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