Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park is a park and campground in Ely, Nevada, located in the eastern part of the state. It is a historic park most famous for the six charcoal ovens that have a beehive shape that were used from 1876 to 1879. They are a major feature that people come from all over to visit and were used to process silver ore. Once mining operations ceased in the area, the ovens were used by settlers and travelers for shelter. Stories were also spread that these ovens helped hide stagecoach bandits.

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park offers the opportunity to go fishing in the waterway Willow Creek. You can find some good fishing for trout here, so make sure to bring your fishing gear when you pack your RV. The park also has trail options for hiking and trails for off-road vehicles.

The Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park has a campground with options for tent camping and for RVs. It has two pull-through spaces for your RV, and you can camp for a maximum of 14 days. While you're at the state park, you can enjoy a variety of wildlife watching, from birds to elk and mule deer.

RV Rentals in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

Transportation in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

Driving

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park is located south of the town of Ely in Nevada. You will find it by traveling south several miles on US Route 50/93 before going 11 miles southwest on Cave Valley Road. While you can drive on Cave Valley Road throughout the year, the road is a gravel road that is maintained regularly. Especially if you are traveling in an RV or pulling a camper trailer, you will want to check road conditions before heading out. This is even more important during winter months.

Aside from the care you need when traveling during the winter, you will want to use caution driving your rig through the mountains that surround the park. If you need to get supplies, you will be able to pick them up in the town of Ely before heading to the park.

There is limited room in the park for RVs, so you will want to make reservations well in advance. The park also offers a yurt for camping, but it is difficult to access. You have to get there by using an off-road vehicle, biking to it, or hiking to it. The park offers plenty of camping options, with a parking lot for day-use and camping visitors to use when visiting Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

Campsites in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

Reservations camping

Reservations

Reservations are not permitted. Sites are open on a first-come, first-served basis.

First-come first-served

Willow Creek Campground

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park has a variety of camping locations, but it only has two spots for RVs or camping trailers. These sites are pull-through sites. You can also enjoy primitive tent camping in the park. For a special treat, you can make reservations to stay in the yurt that is open for campers in the park. You can bring your pets to the campground, but they must stay on a leash when in the park.

There is a handicapped accessible site in the park so all members of the family can enjoy their time at Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park. You will find a couple of restroom facilities in the park. In addition, there is potable drinking water available between May and September of every year. You can explore the historic side of the park or come and enjoy the wildlife, bringing your fishing pole to sit on the banks of Willow Creek. The maximum length of time you can stay in the park is 14 days. Keep in mind that sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park

In-Season

Fishing

When you come to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park, you can enjoy fishing in Willow Creek, which runs through the park so bring your gear in your rig. The creek has a population of brown and brook trout that maintain themselves, while it is also stocked with rainbow trout as needed. The creek is small but is considered to still offer a fun challenge for visitors to enjoy. You will need a current Nevada fishing license to go fishing in the park.

Hiking

There are trail systems on either side of the park for you to explore when you come to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park. Make sure that you bring your hiking boots, as well as water bottles and any other gear you might need for hiking when you come in your RV. While you can hike any time of year, it is best to hike during the warmer months as winters can be tough, with snow covering the ground and making it difficult to hike.

Biking

At Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park, you can enjoy the trails on your mountain bike and get in great views of the surrounding mountains. The trails are shared between hikers and bikers, with some trails specifically for off-road vehicle use. For a special treat, if you are not camping in your RV or camping trailer at the park, you can make reservations and bike to the yurt that is maintained in the park for camping purposes.

Off-Season

Sightseeing

History buffs will enjoy the taste of history that is offered at Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park. While visiting the park, you can explore the beehive shaped charcoal ovens that were used when mining silver ore. At different times, you can take a tour that provides more history about the area. Come learn more about the prospectors that sought to make money in the area, before the area that is now the park was abandoned.

Picnicking

Make sure to come to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park and are ready to have a picnic while enjoying your surroundings. Bring a picnic basket in your camping trailer! The park features two day-use areas that offer an area to eat at and enjoy or take a break from hiking. These areas have covered tables, as well as grills that you can cook on. Restrooms are nearby for when you need to take a break.

Viewing Wildlife

Come to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park ready to explore your surroundings. In addition to the lovely Willow Creek, which provides nesting areas for birds and may provide a glimpse of trout, you will find other animals in the park. Bring your binoculars to scope out the surroundings. You can go bird watching or sit quietly and wait to see mule deer or elk. You can take photos of the animals to remember your trip with.

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