Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park lies among the Weaver Mountains just outside the small Northwestern Arizona town of Yarnell.
The park was created as a way to honor the 19 firefighters (Hotshots) who lost their lives battling the ferocious Yarnell Hill Fire here on June 30, 2013.
Visitors are able to pay their respects to the fallen while hiking the trails that lead to an Observation Center and views of the Fatality Site as well as spectacular views of the mountains, wildflowers and wildlife.
Activities at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park
Plan to visit this serene Arizona state park early in the morning or at least before noontime. Pack a picnic lunch, plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen. And plan to hike for several hours.
Keep in mind that there isn’t any water or garbage cans along the trail so prepare ahead. (Portable toilets are located at the trailhead).
Here’s what you can expect during your visit to Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park:
A Dedication to the Fallen Firefighters at Granite Mountain Hotshots
‘Nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots perished while protecting us, their sacrifice is not forgotten.’
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park was dedicated in 2016 as a place to remember the 19 brave firefighters who were lost here on June 30, 2013 while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire. Visitors from around the country have left items of remembrance, gratitude on the Tribute Wall dedicated to these heroes.
Trails at Granite Mountain Hotshots
There are 2 hiking trails at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park that connect and lead to the Fatality Site. The entire trail system forms a one-way trail that is 7 miles round trip and may be challenging for some. Since there is only one entrance/exit point to the park, at the parking lot, you must hike 7 miles in order to get back out.
Be prepared before hiking: bring plenty of water, snacks and a flashlight; wear sunscreen, comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for rising Arizona temperatures. And always be respectful while using these trails; remember why they are here.
Here’s more information on these two trails at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park:
Hotshots Trail – Moderate to difficult 2.85 mile trail that starts at the parking lot and leads up to the Observation Deck. This first leg of the trail takes you through the Weaver Mountains, past wildflowers and wildlife and up 200 rock-carved stairs. At this 1200 ft elevation point you will have spectacular views of the surrounding area.
As you hike along this path you will come across granite plaques containing memorials to each fallen firefighter, benches to rest on and interpretive signs. Once at the Observation Site you will see the Fatality Site 400 ft below and also the Town of Yarnell to the east. You may leave stickers, patches and other mementos along the Tribute Wall located here.
- Journey Trail – Moderate .75 mile trail that leads from the Observation Deck down to the Fatality Site. This shorter trail follows the last steps of the Hotshots as they made their last stand before being enveloped by the raging fire. The Fatality Site is encircled with 19 gabion baskets attached together to represent the 19 Hotshots and their eternal team.
The trail can be challenging and may take up to 5 hours to complete. Prepare ahead:
- Carry 2-4 liters of water per person
- Wear comfortable sturdy hiking boots/shoes
- Wear hat/sunscreen
- Bring snacks, a flashlight and anything else you may need in case of an emergency
- Plan ahead and don’t hike in the dark
Wildlife Viewing at Granite Mountain Hotshots
You’ll see a variety of wildlife along the trails inside the park, more during the winter months and less during the scorching summer months. Some you may see here are buzzards, coyotes, squirrels, deer, raccoons, woodpeckers, hawks, falcon, quail, warblers and many types of snakes and lizards.
Pets at Granite Mountain Hotshots
Pets are allowed at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park but must be attended to at all times and kept on a leash no longer than six-feet. Please clean up after your pet.
Lodging Near Granite Mountain Hotshots
After exploring the trails at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park you’ll want to rest and stay somewhere nearby. There are several great choices close by for overnight accommodations. So whether you’re just looking for a place to park your RV or you’d like to stay in a comfortable hotel with air conditioning and a pool, here are a few options for you to consider:
North Ranch Escapees RV Park
This full service RV park is only 10 miles south, in Congress. They have full hookups, laundry facilities, hot showers, a dog park, clubhouse and many other amenities and activities.
Los Viajeros Inn
Old west style casual hotel rooms, free breakfast and a pool; located 25 minutes south of the park in Wickenburg.
Rancho de los Caballeros
This resort hotel/dude ranch is also located in Wickenburg and just 30 minutes south of the park. It features elegant rooms, a restaurant, pool, golf course and horseback riding.
The Gold Bar Ranch Campground and B&B
Primitive campsites and a guest cottage located on the beautiful grounds of the Gold Bar Ranch in Kirkland.
Attractions Near Granite Mountain Hotshots
Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots Learning & Tribute Center
This center highlights each member of the Hotshots and displays information on the fires they fought and items that were left by the public after their deaths. The center also sells merchandise and accepts donations on behalf of the wildland firefighter community.
Alamo Lake State Park
Pristine lake, mountainous terrain and opportunities for camping, boating, fishing, swimming, bird watching, stargazing and more.
Open Daily: Sunrise to Sunset
October – May
Fri-Sat-Sun 8am to 5pm (shuttles leave every ½ hour)
Park Entrance: 2 miles south of Yarnell on Hwy 89 (White Spar)
Park Rangers are available at the trailhead with maps and information; portable restrooms are also available here.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park
White Spar Hwy # 89
Yarnell, AZ 85362
Here is a short YouTube video of a park ranger giving an overview of Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park: