January 2022

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Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

At the end of the long, dirt Cave Valley Road, 12 miles south of Ely, Nevada, six 30-foot-high, beehive-shaped stone structures rise from the high desert as a tribute to the Wild West. The 19th century charcoal ovens were once used by fortune seeking miners to help process silver ore discovered in the Willow Creek Basin area. But around 1876, as deposits and timber were depleted, the kilns were abandoned. The historical remnants then took on other purposes, such as emergency lodging and a hideout for notorious stagecoach bandits. In 1994, the site received a historical designation from The Nevada Division of State Parks and today, the photogenic ovens—and adjoining Willow Creek Campground with picnic tables, restrooms, grills, trails for hiking and biking, and diverse wildlife like mule deer and elk—are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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