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Wildrose Charcoal Kilns in Death Valley

Some of the most remarkable manmade features of Death Valley National Park

Best time: all year round

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns
Wildrose Charcoal Kilns
Wildrose Charcoal Kilns
Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

Some of the most remarkable historical and architectural features in Death Valley are the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns. These ten 7.6-meter high beehive-shaped kilns are located in Wildrose Canyon within Death Valley National Park.

This complex of kilns was constructed in 1877 for an ore mining company. After two years of operating, the nearby mines were closed and the kilns abandoned due to worsening ore quality. The kilns were constructed from local limestone and mortared with lime, gravel, and sand. They are believed to be the best-known examples of such kilns found in the western states. Located in what is now Death Valley National Park, the kilns can be freely explored by visitors.

Practical info

When were the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns built?

It was in the year 1877, the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns were built for an ore mining organization. Charcoal production was the main process that transformed and cleared the silver and lead ores that were extracted from the surrounding mountains. The mines closed two years after its operation and the kilns got abandoned. The kilns are now maintained by the National Park Service and have been officially registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Show more

Where are the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns located?

Situated in the Wildrose Canyon in Death Valley National Park, the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns are known for their extreme isolation and untouched beauty. Arriving at the kilns requires traveling on a dirt path called the Wildrose Road that extends straight from Highway 178. Services are unavailable in this area for visitors, making it important to carry essential supplies. Hiking and admiring the stars are few of the recreational activities available for visitors. Show more

How were the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns used in mining?

Charcoal production was the key process behind the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, essential for the smelting and refining of silver and lead ores that got extracted from the surrounding mountains. Charcoal was crucial for the mining process in the 19th century since it released higher heat for a cleaner burn. Skillful workers were responsible for the operation of the kilns, handling the loading of wood, lighting the fires, and regulating temperature and airflow within the kilns. Show more

What other historical sites can be found in Death Valley National Park?

Death Valley National Park has a wide array of historical sites that are well preserved and of interest to visitors. The park encompasses abandoned mines, ghost towns, and Native American rock art sites that provide insight into the rich history of the park. The Harmony Borax Works, the Keane Wonder Mine ruins, and the Ubehebe Crater are a few of the notable sites to be explored. Additionally, the park has various trails for visitors to hike and view the surrounding mountains and desert. Show more

Can visitors go inside the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns?

Visitors are more than welcome to approach, explore or enter the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, which have been adjusted and maintained for public access. The kilns are free for visitors and offer a rare chance to appreciate the mining history of the region. The structures should be respected by visitors and should avoid climbing or interfering with any artifacts or debris. Visitors should carry ample supplies, including water, as the kilns are situated in a relatively deserted place. Show more

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