Hiking Storm King Mountain Memorial

On July 2nd, 1994 a forest fire started by lightening burned on Storm King Mountain.  On July 6th, at 4:00a.m., fire crews, including Heli-attack and hot shots were sent in to fight the fire. There were over 30 fire fighters working the fire at different locations from ridge tops to hillsides attempting to contain the fire.  As the day became warmer and winds increased, fire activity intensified and crews combated several spot fires that crossed the fire line.  Steep terrain and dense vegetation made it difficult to see what the fire below was doing.  At 4:00p.m., a dry cold front hit the area.  Fanned by winds gusting to 45 miles per hour, the fire exploded.  It jumped down slope, and then began racing uphill at speeds up to 35 feet per second.  Unable to escape the fire, 14 firefighters perished.

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Today what exists is a somber, lonesome, 7,000 acre area of burned vegetation and memorials of those fire fighters who risked there lives to save the area.

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The trailhead is marked with those who died in the fire.

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The trail can be challenging and teaches us how fit, "hot shot crews" must be to combat such difficult terrain while carrying a heavy pack.

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A descriptive map is shown here detailing the events of this fire.

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The destruction of fire can erase hundreds of years of growth.

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Steep terrain gives one great views of the Dakota hog back and coal seam area.

 There are many things to admire about a forest fire fighter: their strength, courage, spirit and love for nature, and many stories of perseverance that go untold, but upon visiting this memorial one seems to understand it a little more clearer what soul they all have.  "Today here, the souls of the firefighters exist in the wind that blows, and in the snow that glistens." (author unknown)

*Feature written and photographed by Phillips, December 2002.  All event details and descriptions were provided by the National Forest Service.



Storm King Mountain is located just a few miles west of Glenwood Springs. To get there, (coming from east) take I-70 west bound to exit 109, Canyon Creek. After exiting the highway, take a right on to the frontage road and follow it east approximately 1 mile to the trailhead.

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Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623