Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Day Hike
when Trip Report : October 5, 2019
  Trip Report : February 25, 2017
where Yarnell
the hike     Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park is Arizona’s newest State Park, first opened to the public on November 30, 2016, and dedicated to the 19 members of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots wildland fire crew, who perished on June 30, 2013, while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire.
    Rather than being one of our typical scenic and fun hikes, this three mile trek to an observation area overlooking the newly-dedicated memorial site for the Hotshots crew will be more on a somber and thought-provoking note. A recent article in the Arizona Republic described this hike as “A walk in their shoes.”
    And that’s essentially what we’ll be attempting today as we retrace, with the greatest degree of respect possible, the footsteps of the Granite Mountain Hotshots on that fateful day in June, 2013, as they made a desperate last stand against a raging inferno with violently shifting tornado-like winds that hopelessly trapped the crew, cutting off all possible escape routes in their final moments together.
    From the start to the end of the trail, 19 polished black granite plaques cemented to some of the large boulders that line the trail provide a brief story of each of the Hotshots who perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire. After reaching the observation deck which overlooks the memorial site below and the town of Yarnell to the east, we’ll take a short rest break before descending 400 feet on the 3/4-mile long Journey Trail to the memorial site itself. Here, four large bench seats and 19 gabions, one for each of the Hotshots, surround the memorial site. A memorial flagpole stands at one end.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Camera
distance 7.3 miles
time 4-5 hours
EC +-2000' elevation change
elevations 4,700 feet at the trailhead to 5,900 feet at the observation area
type round trip
starting at
GMHSMSP Trailhead 34° 12.207' N,  112° 46.403' W  [NAD27]
on trail 100%
rating "B-"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Yarnell
meet 6:30 AM in the Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. Park behind Denny’s, near the entrance to the Deer Valley Park & Ride.
•  Take I-17 north to the Carefree Highway (SR 74).
Exit at the Carefree Highway and drive west for 30 miles to Morristown.
•  Near Morristown exit onto Highway 60 to Wickenburg
In Wickenburg, Highway 60 becomes Highway 93.
•  Drive Highway 93 northwest for 6 miles to the junction with Highway 89.
Drive north on Highway 89 for 10 miles to the town of Congress.
•  In Congress, continue northeast on Highway 89 for another 10 miles to Yarnell.
The trailhead is located on the southbound side of Highway 89 about 2 miles south of Yarnell. The highway is divided here.
Watch for a large sign on the right side of the road, reading “Turn Left For The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park.”
About 100 yards up the road make the first left turn and loop back onto the southbound lanes, watching for the trailhead parking area just ahead.
NOTE: There is limited parking for about 15 vehicles at the trailhead. Restrooms are available. If there is not enough space for all of us to park at the trailhead, there is additional overflow parking about a half mile from the trailhead parking area.

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updated October 11, 2019 © Copyright 2019, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.