I have driven through HWY 395 several times in the past. Never did I imagine that a piece of history was hiding within the route under plain sight. I came across the cottonwood charcoal kilns while researching for attractions along HWY 395. This kiln is located just north of Olancha in Lone Pine.
On my way back from the fall trip that I took in October 2018, I decided to take a quick detour to check this kiln out. This charcoal kiln sits on the Cottonwood Creek, on the banks of Ovens Valley, which is now a dried up lake bed, in Lone Pine. You have to look out for the historical marker sign on HWY 395 for Cottonwood Creek on your way to/from Olancha or else you can easily miss the turnout.
The drive was roughly a mile or so on the dirt road towards the east to access this area. It’s not a paved road so check the weather and road condition before venturing. Technically, you can drive a normal sedan but you have to be careful as the road gets uneven at some places due to heavy rain runoff.
When I arrived at the ruins of the two kiln, they were surrounded by a fence with barb wires on the top. Luckily, I was able to access the protected area via a door that was left open. So I walked right in with caution not to disturb or damage the ruins. I was happy to see the history up close and in person.
I was a little surprised to see how tall and big both the Kilns were, It was interesting to see and photograph a piece of history in such close proximity. I took some close up shots to capture the details of the kiln walls and stacked shots to capture the whole structure.
I would certainly visit this place again the next time when I am on HWY 395. It was a great detour and I am glad that I got a chance to visit this piece of history. It was good that I could see it before the ruins disintegrated completely and the remains return slowly back to the earth.
More images from this place…