Hidden away near Humphrey’s Peak, the highest point in the state of Arizona, the remains of a plane crash that killed eight people can still be found, a junked memorial to their tragic accident.
During the night of September 25, 1944, a U.S. Army Corps B-24 Liberator Bomber crashed into a boulder field near the top of Humphrey’s Peak, obliterating the craft and killing the eight members of crew on board. The remote crash site, located high up, in a largely inaccessible portion of the slopes, was left essentially how it was when the crash occurred, with engine parts and silvery metal sticking out all over among the boulders.
Even today, the wreckage remains, although it has become no more accessible. Nonetheless, adventurous hikers who are looking for a unique and hidden memorial to a military tragedy, have still been able to locate the crash. According to some reports, engine parts, structural debris, and even an almost entirely intact wing can still be found littering the rocky field. On a sunny day, pieces may even be seen from the parking lot at the head of the Humphrey’s Peak Trail, glinting in the sun. In the 1950s the USFS decided to dynamite the wreckage further distributing it over the mountain; this was due to increasing numbers of interstate travelers reporting a “new plane wreck” reflecting afternoon sunlight on the western flank of Mount Humpherys.
Hikers looking to seek out the wreckage should do so at their own risk. It is apparently not immediately easy to find, and traversing the boulder field can be treacherous. However, those that can locate the torn metal will be privy to one of the more remote memorials in the country.
Know Before You Go
Take the Humphreys trail about 7 switchbacks up. Once you get to the rock field, cross over it and take it till it ends. From here it's not real clear how to find it. You want to keep heading up the mountain while heading north. If you go too far north, not north enough or angle too steep, you will miss it. Keep your eyes open for the propellers of the plane. Once you find pieces of it, head straight up and you will enter a clearing in the trees and there it is.