The area around where Yarnell is today was covered with small mining claims. Then in 1889, Harrison Yarnell found gold near Antelope Peak. The town grew slowly and was eventually named after him. Yarnell continued to own and operate the Yarnell Mine through the 1890�s. The town�s post office was established in 1892. Then in the 1940�s, the mine was no longer profitable and was closed down. Today, Yarnell enjoys its small town feel. The town continues to have mining and cattle ranching as its major sources of economic activity. Yarnell also is developing a nice restaurant industry to feed the visitors to the area.
While there are many “Events” going on in Yarnell to keep her residents happy; there are two major events held in Yarnell. These are: The “Buzzard’s Bash” and “Yarnell Daze.” “Generally Speaking” the fourth week of March hosts the annual “Buzzard’s Bash”, which welcomes back the seasonal flocks of Turkey Vultures ( Cathartes aura ) that migrate to Yarnell every year from Mexico. And “Yarnell Daze” is then “generally” held on the first weekend in May every year. This year in 2010, “Buzzard’s Bash” was not held; “Yarnell Daze” is to be held on May 1, 2010. Be sure to come up and have some fun!
Yarnell is located on the Highway 89, Scenic Route to Prescott, Arizona. Yarnell is also listed as one of the communities to visit along the American Heritage Trail route. There is a link to the Yarnell Chamber Of Commerce at the bottom of this page.
“Rocky” was painted by Sara Perkins. Sara and her husband Eli Perkins, a newspaper man and state legislator, had taken up residence on Martinez Wash near the present day Arrowhead Bar And Restaurant. Sara had taken her sons out exploring the area and she soon discovered that there was a rock formation nearby that looked like a frog. It wasn’t too long until Sara had painted the rocks bright green with black spots and a white underbelly. Later, in 1928 Highway 89 was built nearby and ever since then there have been numerous tourists stopping to photograph this unusual rock formation.
In 1939 a group of Catholics called the Catholic Action League of Arizona, from Phoenix, commissioned Felix Lucero, a Native American from Trinidad, Colorado; to create the Stations of the Cross, in the Weaver Mountains, about a half-mile west of “downtown” Yarnell. While not as famous has his Garden of Gethsemane in Tucson, the Stations of the Cross in Yarnell is just as impressive and in a similar magnificent setting. This hillside shrine has a chapel, the Way of the Cross, replicas of the Garden of Gethsemane and the Last Supper. Felix Lucero sculpted all of the work out of reinforced concrete. The life-sized pieces are set among an oak tree-shaded area amidst the boulders. Visitors can take a trail through the stations of the cross to see the statues or mediate in its beautiful park – like setting.
Yarnell also includes a small community known as Glen Ilah and Yarnell is located about 3 miles south of the small town of Peeples Valley. Yarnell has its roots in mining and ranching. Yarnell’s official location is: 34 degrees 13 minutes 21 seconds N, 112 degrees 44 minutes 59 seconds W ( 34.222569, -112.749608 )GR1.
Another attraction of Yarnell is the thrill of one being able to ride a motorcycle up or down Yarnell Hill. This makes Yarnell a “Mecca” to the hundreds of motorcycle riders that love to ride through Yarnell to other areas of Yavapai County just about every week of the year. The “Ranch House Restaurant”, in Yarnell is one of the favorite eating establishments for these bikers as well as just about anyone else in the area. However, there are several other restaurants that welcome “bikers” in Yarnell.
Although the town is named after a later prospector, it was Charles Genung (1839-1916), a well-known area pioneer, who first discovered gold near Yarnell. This was in 1865, two years after Abraham Harlow Peeples’ discovered gold on Rich hill in neighboring Peeples Valley.
Of course, one of the best attractions of Yarnell is it’s clean air and beautiful night time skies. Evidenced below with the two photographs of comets that graced Yarnell’s sky just about a year apart in 1996 and 1997. Then there are the two photos of Comet Holmes during October of 2007.
Later, in 1922, a road was built from Prescott to Yarnell, and in 1933 it was extended and paved. When cars came up Yarnell hill, both the automobiles and their occupants needed respite. Passengers, thirsty and exhausted by the climb, were as dry as their cars’ radiators. Merchants in Yarnell could take care of both kinds of thirst. In fact, Yarnell proved to be a very popular tourist stop; however, this diminished somewhat when the Black Canyon Highway (now known as I-17) rerouted traffic moving from the populous valley floor through Central Arizona.
About half way down Yarnell Hill on U. S. Highway 89, you will see a white elephant painted on the rocks to the right side of the road. This is at a bend in the road that “bends like an elephants trunk.” Thus, the white elephant on the side of the highway! This popular attraction is called, “Scooby The Elephant” or “Elephant Bend.” The Arizona Highway Department calls it “grafitti” and tries to paint it over, but the local residents put “Scooby” back on the rocks where he belongs! The local paramedics use “Elephant Bend” as a location marker when they are dispatched to the aid of some unfortunate soul that needs their help. ie..”Below The Elephant or Above The Elephant.”
Yarnell is home to several retirees and a place where people can escape the summer heat, smog, dust, and congestion of nearby Phoenix. It’s ideal temperature and climate enable it’s residents to grow wonderful gardens and fruit trees. In fact, some of the best tasting apples in Arizona can be grown in this ideal climate. The drinking water is slightly soft and very good to drink right from the faucet. There also are several small businesses and community services in Yarnell that meet the needs of it’s residents and visitors.
The climate of Yarnell is mild all year round with a winter average temperature of 40.4 F degrees and a summer average temperature of 77.4 F degrees. It’s winter record lowest temperature is -8 F degrees and it’s summer record highest temperature is 105 F degrees. It’s snowfall average is 1.6 Inches and it’s average precipation is 1.3 Inches. It is said that Yarnell is “Where The Desert Breeze Meets The Mountain Air!”
With regard to public buildings, early on Yarnell shared the honor of hosting the area’s post office with Peeples Valley. Citizens established a school in 1937, the same year that a Catholic church was built there. The famous shrine to Saint Joseph was begun the following year.
Even before the area received its name, it was an important point on the stage route extending from Ehrenberg to Wickenburg. The line branched at Yarnell and then continued through Antelope Valley to Prescott, and the stage stopped at a stone house in Glen Ilah, a “boulder park” in Yarnell.
Harrison Yarnell, after whom the area is named, was a young man when made his discovery in 1873. The claim was sold a number of times, and although the find was a rich one, Yarnell found it necessary to apply for entrance to the Pioneer Home in Prescott in 1914. Obviously ashamed of his penury, he reportedly said, “I’ve tried hard to keep from this but I’ve fought my battle and I’m through”. He died at the Pioneer Home two years later at the age of 63.
Continuing down Yarnell Hill, you will notice a green frog on the west side of Highway 89 a little bit across from the Arrowhead Bar And Resturant. His name is “Rocky The Frog” and he has a story that he can tell.
The quiet, small, unincorporated, community of Yarnell is located in Northern Arizona, in southern Yavapai County on U.S. Highway 89, at the top of Yarnell Hill, between Antelope Peak and the Weaver Mountains. It sits at an elevation of about 4,800 feet. It is surrounded by huge boulders, nestled among Oak and Juniper trees, intertwined with Skunk Bush, Scrub Oak, and Manzanita. Yarnell is about 75 miles northwest of Phoenix, 25 miles north of Wickenburg, and 33 miles south of Prescott.
U. S. Highway 89 travels four miles and drops 2,500 feet down the side of Table Top Mountain. The lookout point provides a panoramic view of the desert regions below. It is a view you won�t soon forget.
A little known fact is that, a man and his faithful dog, are buried next to the “Rocky.” The man’s name is, William Miller. He requested to be buried next to “Rocky.” Mr. Miller passed away on January 19, 1940.
A little known fact about Yarnell is that it was the home of Alessio Carraro, an Italian immigrant who had made his fortune in sheet metal in San Francisco. Alessio Carraro is the builder and first owner of the famous Tovrea Castle, in Phoenix. Tovrea Castle was listed on the Phoenix City Historic Property Registry in 1990 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.