Exploring Death Valley Eureka mine and Wildrose Charcoal Kilns


Abuereberry Camp          

We got a slow start this morning.  Well maybe slow is not the right word, maybe relax is a better word. We decided to just relax around camp this morning, since we were not planning a full day of touring the sights in Death Valley.  If you have lots of time when you are travelling there is no need to go, go, go all day long. Which of course is something hard for me not to do.   My wife and I are retired, so it’s time I start acting like a retiree.  Maybe it is time to stop and smell the roses once and a while.  Not that there are any roses in Death Valley mind you.

We pulled out of camp for today’s excursion around 10:30 am.  Our first stop was the ranger station about 200 yards from our camping spot.  We were looking for advice and a park map.  The ranger station was closed. The map we got from the gift shop last night was going to have to make due (later my wife Heather said the newspapers flier they were handing out was better than those glossy national park brochures).  

We headed back out the way we came in to the park.  Our plan was to check out the Eureka mine, and the Charcoal Kilns.  The road to the mine and the kilns are off on short gravel spur roads, off the same paved road.  The road is narrow and windy, so they restrict the road to vehicles 25 feet or less.  Even so I drove up on a very large triple axle fifth wheel trailer driving up the road.  They stopped right in the road to let us pass, because there was no small shoulder, passing lanes, or pull outs in the spot we met up with them.  Considerate at least, but very foolish to be driving this road due to the road conditions and restrictions.

The turnoff to the Eureka mine came first on our trek.  It was to the left and is a few miles back on a well-groomed gravel road.  At the mine, there are a number of buildings, structures and old relics from the old mining boom era, to stroll around.  Gold was discovered here in 1905 by Shorty Harris and greenhorn named Pete Abuereberry.  The mining camp ruins at the site was the home for Pete Abuereberry, who lived here for 40 years while working his mining claim.   A number of mine shafts were punched deep in the hillside around the mining camp.   

The building on the right is Pete Abuereberry cabin.  He lived at the camp from 1907 until 1945.  The  building in the middle was built as a guest house in 1941.  There doesn’t seem to be anything really known about the structure on the left, except that is was built after Pete’s death in 1946.

Abuerebeery Camp from one of the mines

There was a mill on site called Cashier mill, which was built in 1909.  At the mill, they crushed ore with gasoline powered equipment.  The gold was extracted from the pulverized ore using mercury and Cyanide.  This mill was originally on Shorty Harris land claim that was sold to the Cashier mining company, then eventually was acquired by Pete Avuereberry in 1909, after some legal dispute of some kind.

Cashier Mill

We strolled around the mining sites for an hour or more.  We found a number of mine shafts, and discarded relics from those rough and tough mining years. All of the mine shafts went way back.  But of course we couldn’t get back in them because they were all closed up with metal gates and bars.   The mines are now a winter habitat for bats.

The only mine shaft with a set of tracks

Bullet Riddled Car.

Pete Abuereberry worked and lived at Abuereberry Camp from 1907 his death in 1945. It was estimated that he extracted $175,000 of gold over his 40-year mining stint (then valued at $20 an ounce). The gold Mr. Abuereberry extracted, at the price of gold when this blog was written that would be worth $32,527,950.  Not a bad amount of earnings in a lifetime, but it must have been a hard life. 

After leaving the Eureka mine site, we headed back to the paved road, turned left and drove an the additional 20 or so miles up to the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns. The Kilns are located way up a windy road in the Wildrose Canyon.  The last few miles we traveled on a gravel road that was rutted in spots due to water running down the road.  Even so, it could easily be transited in most passenger cars, except those with very little ground clearance.   We were so high up there was snow and ice on the ground, and it was bitterly cold, mainly due to the wind and the associated chill factor. Not the kind of weather you think of when you imagine Death Valley.

The kilns were completed by the Modock Consolidated Mining Company in 1877.   Each of the bee hive shaped kilns are 25 feet in height.  The kilns were used to produce charcoal fuel.  The charcoal was used to fueled a couple of smelting operations, located about 25 miles from the kilns.   It seems that the kilns where only used for about 3 years.  It’s not clear why, but maybe all the trees had been cut down, or they started using some other fuel for the smelters. This might be why these 100+ year old kilns are still in such good shape today.

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

With our sightseeing done for the day, we turned around and headed back to camp.  Heather spotted 3 wild mules grazing on the hillside.  These mules are decedent of the those old 20-mule train teams that pulled ore down a long, dusty, wagon road to the Borax processing plant.

Once back on highway 191 the roadway was straight, almost all the way back to Stovepipe Wells Campground.

The long straight road home

It was about 3 pm when we arrived back at camp.  It was nice to just relax back at the trailer after a good and rewarding day of exploring.  We had an early dinner, and then started planning our other treks in and around Death Valley. 

If you like the post please provide a comment.  More posts about Death Valley coming in the future, so stay tuned…


  1. Thanks for sharing this Greg! Looks like an interesting place to visit.

  2. Thank you for sharing! We are new podders ready to adventure out this spring and summer.

  3. Very interesting. Been there 3 times & not seen it all yet. Camp ground is amazing nice. Be sure to see Titus Canyon while your there and make a whole day of it. There are several old gold mine camp in Titus canyon to explore. Every time we were there Bad Water was closed we still want to see it. Rhyolite Ghost town is 1/4 mile from Titus canyon entrance. Scotties Castle is very interesting. If you driving back in the direction of Vegas & lake Mead be sure to see Rogers Spring about 2 miles from Lake Mead on the west side of the lake.


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