Mine Sites and Charcoal Ovens
in Eastern Nevada
In May of 2006, I set off solo for Pioche Nevada. Internet research had shown an interesting tramway there and the Delorme Nevada Atlas showed quite a few mines in the area. After crossing Hoover Dam and making my way up the west side of Lake Mead to I-15 I intended to turn west to Moapa Nevada and drive a dirt road along the railroad tracks from Moapa to Caliente. I was soon stopped by a road maintenance crew however and was told that the road ahead was locked off. They suggested that I take another road to the east, the Carp- Elgin road instead. They said that once I was at Elgin I could continue along the tracks to Caliente. The Carp-Elgin road was a nice drive through the Mormon Mountains back to the railroad tracks just north of Carp. Meadow Valley wash which runs along the tracks was flowing and there were tall cottownwoods growing along the banks. As I followed the tracks northward, I could see signs of heavy run-off in the wash. At Elgin, the road along the tracks was closed because it was completely washed out! It was necessary to divert many miles to the west and circle back north and east to Caliente. It was a disappointment not to be able to follow the tracks to Caliente but I would not have gone over to the ghost town of Delamar without the diversion. The rairlroad station at Caliente was very impressive. I found out later that in the desert south of Caliente there is an A12/SR71 crash site.
Click on Photos to Enlarge
The tramway, assorted mines and the town of Pioche were very interesting!
After wandering a bit around Pioche, I drove a loop road out west of town looking in on three of the many old mine sites shown on the maps.
Mine Site 1:
Mine Site 2:
Mine Site 3:
From Pioche, the next areas to check out were to the west and north. First there were the Bristol Charcoal Ovens and then further northward just south of Ely, Nevada were the Ward Charcoal Ovens.
To the west of the Ward Charcoal Ovens were the Ward Mines. A modern building sits on the site.
As I left the Ward Charcoal Ovens, the weather was turning cold and cloudy. So I made a mad dash to Ely for gas and then hurried out to find the old Belmont Mill. Once again, I seemed to find the slow but scenic road in! With one eye on the weather, I quickly looked over the mill and peeked into the cabins and then decided to go for broke and push on up the canyon to see what was at the other end of the tram line. Unfortunately, it was not far that the road was blocked with snow, so I hiked up the hills to the tram line and bush whacked beneath it until I got to the end. As I looked over the upper station, it began to snow. I thought that I had better not push it to climb on upwards to the mine. The road that I had come in on was muddy and soft as it was. It was time to abandon ship.
Below the mill, I came across a much better road out to the highway. It was a good thing because the weather really cut loose. Since it was too wet and cold to stop and set up a camp I decided to drive until the weather broke. First came Ely, then Pioche, then Caliente. Finally south of Caliente it was dry. I was able to pull off and have a fire and a dry camp! The next day, it was beat foot it back to Arizona. I had spent 5 thoroughly enjoyable days in eastern Nevada. The only folks that I saw in the hills the whole time were a couple of guys at Delamar!