Yarnell Hill was once considered a nefarious obstacle on old US 89. It didn't matter whether you were doing up or coming down, each direction had its own terrors. The narrow two-lane road was literally hung precariously on the cliffsides of the massive, boulder-strewn mountain. Here is a 1:55 video showing a "representative" stretch of old US 89. The video begins at the trailhead for the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Memorial State Park and ends at the famous white elephant painted on a rock beside the highway. In driving the road April 3, 2018, we counted 40 curves in 4.9 miles and an elevation different of 1,290 feet between the top and bottom of the hill.
When you watch this video, bear in mind, there were once two lanes on this pavement instead of just the one that you see here. From everything we've read and heard, driving the Old Yarnell Hill must have been a truly white-knuckle experience. Today, the uphill lanes are separated from the southbound (downhill) lane. The uphill section is has a passing lane for the entire distance of the climb up Yanell Hill.