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Williams smaller

Cool summers and high elevations make Williams, located in Northern Arizona east of Flagstaff, one of the most picturesque and visitor-friendly communities along historic Route 66. A quaint mountain town, Williams has the personality of an authentic Western village, plus the convenience of nostalgic Route 66 motels, RV parks and cozy B&Bs. Nestled in the largest stand of ponderosa pines, Williams is known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon®” and is just an hour’s drive away. You can also hop aboard the vintage Grand Canyon Railway for a two-hour journey by rail right into the national park.

Williams was the last town located on Route 66 to be bypassed by I-40, and continues to celebrate that historic route with vintage car shows and the Route 66 Cultural Heritage Days. Historic old town Williams is full of interesting shops and galleries. We believe you'll discover that Williams offers the best combination of lodging, meals, shopping and entertainment closest to the Grand Canyon.


With average summer temperatures of 85 degrees and located nearly 6,800 feet above sea level, Williams offers visitors a wonderful variety of activities and events to choose from: golf, hunting, hiking, shopping, camping, fishing or simply cruising along Route 66. Springtime is celebrated with the Memorial Day Parade, the 4-H BBQ and barrel racing. In the summer, the streets of Williams come alive with outlaws from the Cataract Creek Gang performing nightly on Route 66, as well as annual motorcycle events, the August Cool Country Cruise-in with vintage cars, music and the Miss Williams Route 66 Pageant, parades, the Cowpunchers’ Reunion Rodeo and the High Country Warbirds Air Display.

Enjoy the change of colors in the fall, the Labor Day parade, barrel races, roping competitions and the Cultural Heritage Days with its Taste of Williams, classic car show and so much more.

The winter months bring snow, the Polar ExpressTM — a magical train that departs nightly for the "North Pole," the Mountain Village Holiday celebrations and the Wild Wonderland at Bearizona. 


In the early 1800s, fur trappers known as "Mountain Men" hunted in Arizona. One of the most experienced Mountain Men - and the town's namesake - was Bill Williams, who loved this area. Surrounding Bill Williams Mountain are valleys and meadows that attracted sheep and cattle ranchers after the Civil War. The Sante Fe Railroad arrived in September 1882 and Williams became a center for the railroad, ranching and lumber industries.

The town developed a reputation as a rough and rowdy frontier town by the turn of the century with its saloons, brothels, opium dens and gambling houses. Competition from the automobile shut down rail service to the Grand Canyon for about 20 years, but the line was reopened in September 1989. The Grand Canyon Railway now carries almost 200,000 visitors a year to the Canyon.


For Visitors Information:

200 West Railroad Avenue

Williams, AZ 86046

(800) 863-0546

Visit the Official Williams Website

  • County: Coconino
  • Year of Incorporation: 1901
  • Elevation: 6,780
  • Population: 3,100

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This Halloween, Visit Arizona For A Screaming Good Time
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Arizona Golf: Where Beauty is Par for the Course
The Grand Canyon by Rail
Arizona Geotourism Getaways
Snow Play in the Grand Canyon State
Short Trips to Scenic Drives
All Aboard in Arizona: Scenic Rail Tours
Your Passport to Route 66
7 Awesome Grand Canyon Adventures for Families
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Experience Williams – An Extraordinary Way to Enjoy the Grand Canyon
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Travel guide to Arizona’s coolest small towns
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Arizona’s Route 66 Still a Kick
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