GPS Coordinates: 36.2467, -117.0763 (36° 14′ 48.1″N 117° 04′ 34.7″W)
The Charcoal Kilns located at approximately 6800 feet elevation, offers to escape from both the heat and crowd from the desert below. These Kilns are located within viewing distance from the parking area. A short walk on the uneven terrain is all it takes to explore around the kilns.
These kilns are well-preserved attractions you can find in Death Valley that can be accessed only via a high ground clearance vehicle, at least for the last 4.5 miles. This makes it harder for many to access these kilns. That could be one of the reasons why they are so well preserved.
History goes that these conical structures in the Wildrose canyon were built by a man named Morris in the year 1877. Labor was provided by many groups including Native American Indians, Chinese and the Mexicans for the Modock Consolidated Mining Company. From 1879 to 1882, the kilns were used to produce charcoal using pine and then sent to the nearby Modock Mines smelters. These kilns were restored in the 1930s and then again in 1970s, which is what we see today.
From this spot, adventure seekers can take the 9-mile loop trail to Wildrose peak or the 14-mile loop to the Telescope Peak.
Best Time to Visit / Photograph
You could visit this spot at any time of the day. Also, this is an ideal spot for stargazing and astrophotography. However, some might find it a little haunting at night because it’s so isolated and extremely dark.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Digital Camera with Ultrawide or Normal to Mid-Range Zoom Lens
- Cable shutter release or Remote Shutter Release
- Neutral Density filters and polarizers
- Star tracker unit for Astrophotography / Telescope for stargazing
- Steady Tripod
- High powered flashlight for light painting and regular night time use
- Layered clothing to adapt to the changing weather, or pack a sweater or windbreaker
- Carry plenty of water and snacks to keep yourself full and hydrated
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Headlamps and portable battery packs to keep your electronics charged
- Ball cap to protect your head from the heat
How to get there
From Stovepipe Wells, head west on HWY 190 for about 9 miles and turn left (south) just past the Emigrant Campground on to Emigrant Canyon Road. Drive for about 21 miles to Wildrose Campground, stay left at the fork and continue another 7 miles to the Charcoal Kilns. The last 4.5 miles are unpaved graded gravel which may close in winter. The last 4.5 miles may need a decent ground clearance vehicle a Small SUV with a decent ground clearance can easily make it through.
Place to Stay
The closest campground near the Charcoal Kilns is Thorndike Campground and Mahogany Flat Campground. You sure need a high ground clearance vehicle to reach these campgrounds or you can drive back to Wildrose campground. Again all these places are available on a first come first serve basis.
Pictorial Highlights from this place…