Monday, August 26, 2013

Paris Mountain’s Charcoal Kiln, Cemetery, and Trails

Front Gate

Great trip to Paris Mountain State Park last week. Five days at one of the State Park System’s premier Parks.

Tent Pad

Did I mention that Paris Mountain is very tent-camper friendly? Many of the campsites include well maintained tent pads like the one you see in the photo above. In fact, this trip I saw more tent campers than RV campers. Unusual. Almost makes me wish I had my little dome-shaped Tetragon tent with me again. Almost, but not quite. The Aliner sure was a comfort when near-torrential rains fell this trip.

Kiln Sign

I’d hope to learn more about the charcoal kiln and cemetery site in the middle of the campground but didn’t get a chance. The excellent, but dated, article from USC’s Institute of Archaeology describing their 1970 dig, published in 1974, will have to do. Click here to access the full article. It’s not long and worth a read.

Kiln 2

Charcoal making was an important – essential! – activity in early America. Everything from gunpowder to iron production required charcoal. No wonder it became one of our earliest manufactures.  Click here for all you ever wanted to know about production of charcoal and how it’s changed over time. A long, but interesting piece from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kiln 1

It would be nice to have one of the Park’s information boards nearby, since the site itself doesn’t give much away. Just disturbed earth with a surrounding split rail fence.

Hiking Trails

Ask visitors to Paris Mountain what they like best about the Park and nine out of ten will say “the hiking trails.” This 1200-some acre Park maintains several. Click the photo of the map above to go to the site. I count nine altogether. Some comfortable, or easy, like the Turtle Trail I wrote about a few years ago. [Click here to see the photos, and a video]. Others are a real challenge. All are well maintained by Park staff and a host of volunteers. Impressive!

Bird House 2

Now, look at this. It’s a bird house! With a nest in back, by the way. Imagine how many hours went into creation of this delightful display. Just had to show you a photo.


Made in the image of the famous Paris Mountain State Park Office building. Which includes shower areas for swimmers, by the way. A great example of the CCC’s art.

CCC Exhibit

Speaking of which, be sure to go inside to see the CCC exhibit pictured above. Scads of information about this Depression-era undertaking. Make sure you watch the video.


Swimming seems to be making a comeback at some of the Parks I’ve visited recently. Here’s Paris Mountain’s swimming area. The Park also maintains a fleet of kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats for those who want to stay dry as they explore “Lake Placid.”

Well, lots more to describe. But we’re out of space here. Be sure to stop by, even if it’s only for a few hours. Plenty for the day visitor to do as well as the RV camper. Thanks again to Park Manager Jason and his staff for a delightful week.

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