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Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail, AZ

no permit
220 21 2
Guide 21 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Black Canyon
4.5 of 5 by 15
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,334 feet
Elevation Gain 1,200 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.14
Interest Historic
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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3  2019-02-02 capcyclone
2  2018-04-15 trekkin_gecko
16  2018-01-10 muskybankr
7  2018-01-05
Wagoner Cemetery
14  2017-11-26 jamminaz
12  2017-01-07 AZBeaver
15  2016-12-28 SkyIslander18
11  2016-12-15 GeeEss
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Nov, Mar, Oct
Sun  6:19am - 6:28pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
honor the sacrifice
by HAZ_Hikebot

2.85 mi Hotshots Trail
0.75 mi Journey Trail

From the trailhead, the Hotshots Trail is a 2.85 mile path up to the Observation Deck. Every 600 feet, 19 granite plaques set into rocks share a photo and a story of each fallen Hotshot. Additional interpretive signage provides information about wildland firefighting.

From the Observation Deck, you can see the Fatality Site 400’ below and the Town of Yarnell to the east. Additional interpretive signage outlines the tragic events of the Yarnell Hill Fire. A Tribute Wall will be available to leave stickers, patches and other mementos in honor of the sacrifice the Granite Mountain Hotshots made to protect our community.

The 3/4-mile Journey Trails allows you to follow the last steps of the Hotshots down to the Fatality Site where they made their last stand. Encircling the Fatality Site, 19 gabions, one for each Hotshot, are united by chains representing their eternal team. A path surrounds the gabions and a memorial flagpole. Please, take a moment to pay your respects, but remain outside of the gabion enclosure out of respect for the Hotshots and their families.

The trail is 7.2 miles round-trip, please dress appropriately, bring adequate water, food and plan for a four hour plus round-trip hike. There is no access to drinking water along the trail. Those making the seven-mile hike should begin before 12pm. and carry a flashlight in the event hiking out after dark becomes necessary. The hike back to the trailhead will take about 2 hours. Please plan accordingly.

Please pack in & pack out any trash. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail and owners must pick-up after them.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
  • Park PDF
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    Park PDF
  • Park PDF - 2
    guide related
    Park PDF - 2
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
this hike has been on my radar for a couple years
john and i were looking for something new, so we made the drive to yarnell
left town early and found only one other car in the small parking lot
got going a little before 0700
didn't look closely at the time, didn't track anything - wanted to take however long felt appropriate
cool to start with, but decent elevation gain right off to warm up
plenty of switchbacks!
nicely constructed and routed trail through granite boulders
terrain and vegetation similar to granite mountain
as mentioned in description and triplogs, plaques of each hotshot on boulders spread out along the way
an observation point on a ridgeline with space for tributes and some informational signage
the discovery trail led down to the fatality site
plenty of photos posted of this and i didn't feel like taking any
we had the trail to ourselves until back to the observation point, then started seeing people coming up
i've read quite a bit about the fire, and today learned a few new things to fill in the gaps
the whole experience was sad, moving and heartbreaking
i thought the trail and memorials were very well done, and recommend a visit
thanks for doing it with me, john

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Wagoner Cemetery
Today, I set out to do the hike I skipped a few weeks ago do to me having a cold and it being below freezing up in Yavapai County.

Driving my wife’s Subaru Forester, we had no problem with FR 682 to Cellar Springs Creek. It is even car-drivable, with caution, as far as the windmill at the second gate. On the way south on Wagoner Road, it was obvious there was a hunt going on. What for, I don’t know. When we arrived at the third gate on FR 682, at Cellar Springs Creek, there was a truck & horse trailer parked in the pullout. It was from Maughan Ranches, who own most of the ranches in the between Wagoner and Peeples Valley. (500,000 acres in all!) I didn’t want to park right next to someone else in that remote an area, FR 682 looked pretty rocky past gate 3, and Cellar Springs Creek was pretty brushy and I didn’t want to be trashing around down range of someone with a rifle. So, I bailed.

Since I was in the area, I checked out what remained of the Wagoner Cemetery. Oh, man, I got tore up by catclaw. The cemetery is not really visible on sat view, so I was expecting it to be a small family plot, or maybe a miner’s grave. It did turn out to be for a single burial, but surprisingly for a U.S. soldier, Captain J.C. Hunt of the 1st Cavalry. (Dead of natural causes, not due to Apache.)

Still needing exercise, I decided to hike the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Park. I felt a bit guilty hiking the trail for exercise rather than a pilgrimage. Not counting a 20 minute break, drinking a beer, and chatting with another hiker, I made the round trip to/from the overlook in 2:04. (I skipped the deployment site.)

Most of the memorials had had small rocks placed around them, and now had a white flower. Some had other mementos left behind. At the overlook, there was a firefighter memorial USA flag, black with a single red stripe. There was also a tribute wall, where many fire and police departments had left their patches.


Unfortunately, not all the changes were positive. Most of the many switchbacks have been cut so heavily that it is often hard to tell the difference between the originally constructed trail and the ones left by incredibly lazy people. Besides the immediate damage to the trail, it increases the threat of erosion, causing even more damage. 😟

But that was not the worst insult.

That would be the insensitive clod who left their bag of dog shit on the trail.

Yarnell Hill is hallowed ground. Treating it like it is a suburban Phoenix trail is unconscionable. To think I felt guilty even being there, and they felt nothing about descerating it!? 🤬


Wagoner Cemetery Video: [ youtube video ]

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
On a day that dawned with news of another act of senseless violence, on the morning after finishing Ken Burns's 10-part document of incomprehensible combat violence, I set out on what must be the most emotionally powerful hike I've ever undertaken; to remember the lives of 19 brave young Prescott wildland firefighters, and to visit their final resting place.

I've been in a reflective place of late.

As my pace tends toward the slow and easy on most hikes, along the Hotshots Trail I allowed plenty of time to read each of the 19 granite plaques along the way (marked as waypoints on my route). The vantage point from high above the Fatality Site allowed me several opportunities to get a sense of the terrain they encountered. My occasionally aching knees and lower back gave me pause to consider the weight each of them carried under summer skies, hiking off-trail, loaded with gear, protective clothing, and heavy hand tools, as they sought out fire. At the tranquility of the Fatality Site, I paused for a meditation on the nature of sacrifice and duty while taking in a truly thoughtful symbolic arrangement that brought the individuals I'd learned about along the way together in a spatial representation that respected not only their bond but the setting in which they gave their lives. The materials (metal and stone) will continue to stand, silently acknowledging and simultaneously defying an environment that is almost certain to see fire once again.

As for the trail itself, it's in fine shape, with only minor issues and no major obstructions.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Took a heart-wrenching hike with two girlfriends Saturday to the Granite Mountain HotShots Memorial State Park near Yarnell, AZ. It was a great hike. Lots of uphill to get the heart-rate going hiking around huge granite boulders. This park memorializes 19 brave Hotshots firefighters who gave their lives on the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013 while trying to protect their community of Yarnell and surrounding area. The Hotshots Trail is 7+ miles round trip through the Weaver Mountains to include a 1,200 ft elevation gain with a 5.8% grade. At 600 foot intervals, 19 memorial granite plaques share a story and photos of each Hotshot. There are other signage telling the story of the Yarnell Hill Fire. At 5,460 feet above sea level, the Hotshot Trail ends at the Observation Deck looking down to the Fatality Site. To reach the Fatality Site 400 ft below, you continue on the .75 mile Journey Trail. The memorial consists of 19 gabions, which surround and protect the markers of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots. This is sacred ground.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
This was the last stop on our 3 day road trip coming back from Alamo Lake.
Lauren followed Addie & myself out from Alamo to join us for this most "must do" trail of the entire trip.
We arrived at the almost full parking lot, geared up and headed up .....

From the start I was very impressed with the layout of this trail. Every step and switchback has been very well done and we took our time stopping at each granite plaque & info sign along the entire way. Reaching the top of the saddle the trail became a little sloppy from the day before rain & snow all the way to the observation deck. The views down and across from the top of the granite boulders and snow capped mountain range were beautiful!!!
We then took the trail down to the fatality site arriving with others and a couple all ready there.
A quite time spent at the site paying our respects and each taking in to our own what took place there and sharing some personal thoughts.
We arrived back at the start and spent some time talking with the well informed Ranger about the mountain and other question we had before parting ways with Lauren and continuing on to Safford.

Very well designed memorial trail, very humbling experience & a hike I will remember forever.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
In June, 2013 a lightening strike wildfire near the sleepy little ranching/mining community of Yarnell, AZ led to a shocking tragedy in which 19 hotshot firefighters lost their lives. As you can imagine, this was a huge local story, and one with which our readers may have some familiarity. On Nov 30, 2016 a memorial hiking trail, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, opened to the public. This is a seven mile, 1600' (1200' + 400') elevation gain hike to the very site at which these brave firefighters lost their lives. Individual placards along the trail feature photos and bios of each firefighter and provide information regarding wildfires in general, and of course, this tragic event in particular. A large memorial has been placed at the actual site of the multiple fatalities.

The trail is of particular interest because it leads to the Weaver Mountains, which up until now have been inaccessible due to private property restrictions around the perimeter, so we were excited to see if anything unusual is growing up there. We have hiked the surrounding area and found parryi, mckelveyana, chrysantha, chrysantha × mckelveyana, and even chrysantha × mckelveyana × parryi, so an interesting bunch.

In the end, nothing too exciting plantwise, but some nice Agave mckelveyana and Echinocereus yavapaiensis. I must say however, that this was an entirely unique experience. I don't know how many memorial hiking trails there are in our country, but this was carefully crafted with great skill, reverence, and respect, and I doubt I'll ever forget what I saw and experienced up there today.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
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I have not been much on Haz in almost year, as I've been mostly doing my own thing -- link at bottom, stop by and say hello! -- but I felt this might be an appropriate moment for a brief return.

I first passed through Yarnell, that I remember, a week before the fire. Afterwards, I thought about hiking the burn area, to try to get a better understanding about the events of June 30, 2013. Eventually, I decided it wasn't my place to do so. Then, earlier this year, I heard about the nascent Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, and made plans to hike it soon after it opened.

PrescottStyle and I did the hike together, him lugging his large format camera the whole way.

The trail is well laid out, with many switchbacks, and the surface is perfect. The volunteer trail crew did a magnificent job constructing it.

Every 600 feet or so, there is polished granite plaque honoring one of the fallen hotshots. They are placed in order of seniority, from superintendent Eric Marsh, above the trailhead, to Sean Misner, near the observation deck. Each plaque has a laser-etched photo and a family-written memorial message. The attached GPS file gives the exact location of each memorial.

Informational displays, and rest benches, are scattered along the trail. There is also a bench, as well as shade, at the observation deck. (It will be quite hot on the memorial trail during the summer months.)

The deployment site is surrounded by 19 gabions (a rock-filled cage), connected by chains, symbolizing the hotshots’ eternal bond. Inside the ring of gabions, there is one cross for each hotshot, placed where he fell. A bit off to the side is a flag pole, at the base of which visitors are allowed to leave mementos.

Physically, I could have hiked the trail quicker, but I wanted to honor the hotshots, and so took my time, taking a moment to reflect and read each memorial. I got teary-eyed a few times. Like Paul said, the hike was tough, but not physically.

Of course I made a video ( ). It is long, but I think it would be worth your time to watch, pausing frequently to reflect, as Paul and I did, upon the sacrifice the Granite Mountain Hotshots made.

To paraphrase Grant McKee’s memorial: Their bright light will forever shine upon us.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
We can talk alot about this hike, from the Trail construction to the smell of burned trees as we hike down the Journey Trail to the Fatality Site, but it's really about the 19 Hotshots that gave their lives protecting the town of Yarnell and the surrounding area. As with all Memorial sites around the world, it is very humbling and quietly surreal as we paid our respects to those that serve. A must Hike for all of us that enjoy the beauty and challenges that we encounter, as we head out to our next adventure.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Decided to check out this trail. My sister and I arrived just before 11am and ended up leaving just a bit after 3pm. The trail is excellently done with lots of benches for reflection and with the tribute to each of the hotshots along the way.. they did steps of stone that are good for short legged people. The site really puts into perspective the incident.

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Map Drive

To hike

Take I-17 north to Carefree Highway (74) (west)
Head west on US 60 to Wickenburg (north)
Take Highway 93 towards Congress (north)
Take Highway 89 (White Spar Hwy.) to Yarnell

Take Highway 89 (White Spar Hwy.) south to Yarnell
page created by joebartels on Dec 01 2016 3:55 pm
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