Charcoal Kilns

The Charcoal Kilns are located 4 miles west of Hwy. 28 in the Birch Creek Area. Four stabilized brick and adobe kilns remain. Sixteen were originally built to make charcoal for smelting the ore at the Nicholia Mine. The Charcoal Kilns are a historic site with a picnic area nestled against the Lemhi mountains. Running water, picnic tables, and restroom facilities are available.

Charcoal Kilns
 Restoration on kilns began in 2000 and ended in 2001  

During the 1880’s the Birch Creek Valley bustled with activity as miners worked a rich body of ore located about 10 miles east of the Kilns, known as the Viola Mine. It was discovered in 1881 and produced $2,500,000 worth of lead and silver before the ore ran out in 1888. Metal was extracted from the ore by a smelter located near the mine. The smelter contained two blast furnaces, each capable of handling 40 tons of ore per day. The furnace consumed prodigious quantities of fuel, resulting in the building of the Charcoal Kilns.


The Kilns were built in 1886 by Warren King of Butte, Montana. They are made from clay said to be from deposits along Jump Creek on the east side of the valley. Each is about 20 feet in height and diameter, and produce about 1,500 bushels of charcoal per load of wood (30 to 40 cords). Together they produce 44-50,000 bushels of charcoal per month.

In the summer of 2000, the remaining Kilns under went restoration to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

 Restoration process on the kilns
 Restoration process  District employes and the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) crew cleaned-up fallen brick