Originally, a bawdy “wild west” mountain town and logging center, Williams, Arizona is now a quaint mountain settlement where shoppers peruse 19th century storefronts and listen for the nostalgic sound of the train whistle from the historic depot of the Grand Canyon Railway at the center of town. Surrounding the town are canyons and mountains whose breathtaking beauty is impossible to imagine unless seen first hand; and then, once seen, impossible to forget.
Williams is nestled at the base of the Bill Williams Mountain, in the Kaibab National Forest, off interstate 40, just 30 minutes west of Flagstaff. Route 66 runs through the center of town, looking much the same as it did in the 1960s. Spring flowers and fall colors decorate the roadsides of famous Route 66, once known as America’s Main Street, which served as a national thoroughfare from Chicago to Santa Monica for Dust Bowl migrants, World War II troops, and millions of travelers heading West. Visitors enjoy the ambiance of those days in soda fountains, restaurants, vintage shops, and motels that line the historic road.
The climate in Williams is temperate. The low winter temperature average is 23 degrees, and the summer high average is 80 degrees. Williams is known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”, and offers the shortest path to the Grand Canyon from Interstate 40 (only 59 miles).
The Grand Canyon Railroad provides daily trips to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monuments are an hour away; sites of several 12th-century Indian ruins are nearby; Sunset Crater, the remains of a once-active volcano; and the San Francisco Peaks, the highest elevation in Arizona, all are within a short drive of Williams.
Williams has four beautiful lakes with excellent fishing and an abundance of outdoor activities: Cataract Lake, Kaibab Lake, Dogtown Lake and White Horse Lake. The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area is the site of the second largest canyon in Arizona. Visitors can enjoy the most scenic point of the canyon at an overlook just minutes away from Williams. Kaibab National Forest surrounding Williams has seasonal hunting for deer, elk, mountain lions and bear. The popular Williams ski area provides excellent downhill skiing, sledding and nearby cross-country ski trails.
Helicopter and airplane tours are available as are ground tours featuring around-the-rim bus trips, jeep tours and safaris, and even in-park mule rides which provide an up-close Grand Canyon adventure experience. There are many hiking opportunities to explore this Natural Wonder of the World. There are also tours of the Colorado River that give the opportunity to experience, as did explorer John Wesley Powell, the incredible view of the Grand Canyon from the bottom up.
Williams is close to Flagstaff, Sedona, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and other Northern Arizona tourist attractions. It is the ideal destination for a nostalgic trip back in time and as a gateway to the wonders of Grand Canyon and to outdoor adventure on a grand scale.