Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park to open November 30

A 3.6-mile trail leads to the fatality site.

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park

Above: the fatality site in Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park honoring the 19 firefighters. Arizona State Parks photo.

A new state park that honors the 19 firefighters who were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire is set to open to the public on November 30, 2016.

On June 30, 2013 the Granite Mountain Hotshots were fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire near Yarnell, Arizona, 90 miles northwest of Phoenix. A passing thunderstorm created very strong outflow winds that suddenly changed the direction the fire was spreading, forcing it to make a right turn. The fire raced toward 19 men on the crew, trapping and killing them in a box canyon.

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park
A bench at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park. Photo by Arizona State Parks.

Legislation appropriated funds to purchase the 308 acres of land on June 30, 2015. The park came to life thanks to public donations, volunteers, staff from Arizona State Parks, and a generous donation from the Arizona Public Service Foundation.

Granite Mountain HotshotsFrom the trailhead on Highway 89 approximately two miles west of Yarnell, hiking 2.85 miles up a steep slope then along a ridge will take the visitor to an observation deck overlooking the fatality site. Another .75 mile downhill and you will be at the location where the Hotshots deployed their fire shelters. There is an approximate 1,200 foot elevation gain.

Along the trail are 19 stone plaques honoring each of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots and six interpretive signs that tell their story. At the end of the trail steel and stones now surround the barren earth to protect and preserve the area where the hotshots bravely made their last stand. A quiet path and benches offer a space to reflect.

Yarnell Hill Fire firefighters killed
The 19 firefighters that were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

“The families and the communities of Prescott and Yarnell have worked hand-in-hand with the state to develop Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park,” said Sue Black, Executive Director of Arizona State Parks. “We truly want the memorial to be a place for healing and to honor the lives and legacy of 19 hotshots.”

A dedication ceremony for family members and involved officials is scheduled for November 29, and the park will open to the public the following day.

(Maps are below)

map trailhead for Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park
Map showing the approximate location of the trailhead for Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park. Wildfire Today. Click to enlarge.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park
The trail to Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park. Arizona State Parks.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Chris.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

4 thoughts on “Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park to open November 30”

  1. Today, is Thanksgiving Day & I continue to give thanks for all our fire fighters–whether wildland or city & all the people who work behind the scenes. I also wanted to find out when the GM Hotshots Memorial State Park would open to the public in Yarnell Az. Upon reading the article, I reached the paragraph that stated, “…where the Hotshots deployed their fire shelters” and completely broke down in tears. It caught me by surprise. After nearly three and a half years I still continue to remember these boys with great emotion and always will.

  2. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oc66p6kr81xfie4/AACap21RDhAWQ7_t41XPWmxSa?dl=0

    It was an amazing hike- The OPENING DAY had more folks men and women from ages 68-87 years old…alot from Prescott and some from other states and few locals…couple young guys in their 20s…a runner and her dog and a hunter with his dog and Grand Canyon State Park guy named Mark hiked it too…some photos above to share to my favorite man who keeps people in the fire loop-

    recent fire:
    someone asked-
    Could you provide links to any pertinent information about the cause and management by the Chimney Tops 2 fire in east Tennessee?

    It does not appear on inciweb. This fire appears to have started 11/23 and helicopter water drops began 11/27 despite severe drought and proximity to Gatlinburg.

    This fire has taken civilian life, caused substantial loss of property and also has burned into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Wildfire Today is providing some coverage. Many Thanks

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