“I get asked a lot why this park is special. This is sacred ground, this is where the hotshots lost their lives. The ground is honored and protected. It is not only a recreational park, but it is a park where people come to pay their respects. We have had firefighters from all around the world, from Germany to Iraq, come to pay their respects, so I must say that this place is a melting pot of honor.” — Jared Welsh, ranger, Arizona State Parks and Trails
In memory of Andrew Ashcraft, Robert Caldwell, Travis Carter, Dustin DeFord, Christopher MacKenzie, Eric Marsh, Grant McKee, Sean Misner, Scott Norris, Wade Parker, John Percin Jr., Anthony Rose, Jesse Steed, Joe Thurston, Travis Turbyfill, William Warneke, Clayton Whitted, Kevin Woyjeck and Garret Zuppiger.
History & Nature
On June 28th, 2013, a fire broke out as a result of a lightning strike in the Weaver Mountains near Yarnell. A team of Hotshots was deployed to battle the fast-moving fire, which grew from 50 to 500 acres over the first night. Sadly, winds shifted on June 30th, and the Hotshots were trapped in the middle of the fire. Two years later in 2015, Arizona State Parks and Trails purchased 320-acres of land where the fire occurred in dedication to the 19 fallen Hotshots and became Arizona's first memorial state park opening November 30, 2026. The park is located off of Highway 89, which most recently was officially named the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Highway.
Hotshots Trail - This 2.85-mile trail climbs up 1,200 feet. Along the way, hikers will experience over 200 stairs in mostly sunny conditions, however, it is a truly special experience. In memory of the members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, there is a commemorative plaque every 600 feet with a photo and a story for each of the fallen men along the trail. You will also encounter signs, benches, and tokens of remembrance left to pay tribute. The observation deck and tribute wall are located at the end of this trail and hikers are encouraged to leave stickers, patches, or other mementos to pay their respects.
Journey Trail - Once at the observation deck, the trail descends 400 feet over ¾ miles to the Fatality Site. This stretch is known as the Journey Trail. Once at the Fatality Site hikers will encounter 19 gabion baskets with a short path surrounding the site where the nearby memorial flagpole is always at half-mast.
This 7-mile round-trip trail can be challenging, but hikers can still pay tribute if they choose not to hike the entire way. Within just the first ½ mile, there are three granite plaques commemorating the leaders of the Hotshot crew, making it a great place to turn around if needed. There is no available drinking water on the trail, so it is important to bring enough water for the trek (an estimated 2-4 liters of water per person).
Additional Trail Information
There is a shuttle that runs Friday-Sundays from October- May every half hour from 8 am - 5 pm from the Yarnell Hill Fire Department to the Trailhead. This is a unique way to add to the experience of the memorial and there is only one parking lot located at the entrance to the park, which can fill up quickly during the peak visitor season.
Dogs are allowed in the park on leash.
This memorial park is also the only free admission Arizona State Park and runs solely off of grants and donations. If you want to financially support the park there is a donation box at the trailhead.
Yarnell has some wonderful stores, galleries, and restaurants, be sure to explore after visiting the park. A few options to grab a post-hike bite include Hilltop Hotdogs, Gilligans Pizza & Bar, and Ranch House at Yarnell.
Hotels, Lodging & Camping
The park is about 25 miles north of Wickenburg or 36 miles southwest of Prescott where you’ll find lots of lodging options.
Hours & Pricing
Open from sunrise to sunset.
Entrance Fee: Free
For More Information
Arizona State Parks
23751 N. 23rd Ave #190
Phoenix, AZ 85085 1(877) MYPARKS