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Williams Az

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williams arizona gateway to the grand canyon

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Williams Arizona

Williams, Arizona is a small city in the northeastern part of the state, 30 miles west of Flagstaff and 60 miles west of the Grand Canyon. Williams has an august history that is tied to the development of the Grand Canyon as a tourist attraction. With forests, lakes and mountains in the area, Williams is a desirable destination for all those who enjoy outdoor activities.

History of Williams

Williams, Arizona started out as an area of pine-covered hills and mountains that brought a variety of adventures types to make their living off the land. William “Old Bill” Sherley Williams was one o the fur-trading mountain men that called the area his home. As sheep and cattle ranchers came to the area, the town came to be a frontier outpost of saloons, brothels and gambling houses. The town became a logging center and incorporated in 1901. As auto travel became popular, Williams grew in size and population, due to its location on historic Route 66, the first highway that ran across the country from Chicago to Los Angeles. Williams can be reached by train, on the Southwest Chief Amtrak line. It is also the southern terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway that takes passenger to the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. Williams is home to 3,000 people, according to the 2010 census figures

Attractions in Williams

The Grand Canyon Railway is one of the most popular attractions in Williams. The train is relaxing way to get to the Canyon with enjoyable landscapes and entertainments along the way. The Williams Depot offers a gift shop, buffet and Wild West show. Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum takes you back to the days when Route 66 was the major road across the country. Old photo and auto memorabilia makes this a good stop for the car enthusiast in the family. The Bearizona Wildlife Park is a good stop for children with a variety of animals and bird show in a well-cared-for, open setting. For those interested in flight, the Planes of Fame Air Museum offers a number of aircraft on display and gift shop for souvenirs. For a great time for the kids and adults alike, try the Flintstone’s Bedrock City to recall the great days of this old cartoon show.

Outdoor Activities

The nearby Grand Canyon National Park offers hiking, camping and the famous mule rides to the bottom of the Canyon. The park also has a number of exhibits, talks, library and gift shops. Elk Ridge Ski Resort offers family skiing, tubing and snowboarding in winter. Visitors can also climb Williams Mountain for great views of the Grand Canyon and the red rocks of Sedona.


Williams has a wide variety of lodging types to suit any taste. Chain hotels, small motels, bed and breakfasts and RV parks are available. Super 8, Econo Lodge, Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Motel 6 and Rodeway Inn are just a few of the offerings. Camping is available in the Kaibab National Forest and a number of private campgrounds.