Williams is in the valleys and meadows at the base of
Bill Williams Mountain, in the beautiful Kaibab National Forest
of north-central Arizona. Known as the Gateway to the Grand
Canyon, it offers the shortest route from Interstate 40 to the
splendors of the Canyon.
Founded in 1880 and incorporated in 1901, Williams, the city
and the mountain, were named for William S. “Bill” Williams, a
famous master trapper and scout on the Santa Fe Trail.
Williams, at an elevation of 6,780 feet, maintains its attractive
small-town atmosphere, while large-town conveniences and
entertainment are only 30 minutes away in Flagstaff via I-40.
The Grand Canyon Railroad offers historic steam-engine train
rides between Williams and the Grand Canyon.
Williams' location, just west of state Highway 64 on I-40, 59
miles south of the Grand Canyon, makes tourist-oriented retail
and service firms a major segment of its economy. Williams'
proximity to ski runs and cross-country skiing, coupled with the
more than five million tourists at the Grand Canyon annually,
create an average traffic flow of more than 15,000 vehicles a
day. The resulting business is reflected in the fact that nearly
53 percent of the city's total employment is in trade and ser-vices.
The Forest Service, cattle and sheep ranching, dry farming,
small industries, and rock quarrying also contribute to the over-all
Williams economy, although agricultural and mining
employment is not reflected in city figures. The city is encouraging
diversification for the future.
In addition to the Grand Canyon, attractions in the Williams area
include Bill Williams Mountain, elevation 9,264 feet, and White
Horse Lake and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area to the south.
Within an hour's drive are Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National
Monuments, sites of several 12th-century Indian ruins; Sunset
Crater, the remains of a once-active volcano; and the San
Francisco Peaks, the highest elevation in Arizona. Air and ground
scenic tours are available in Williams.
The surrounding Kaibab National Forest provides hunting for
deer, turkey, antelope, elk, lion and bear in season. Small game
includes rabbit, squirrel, quail, dove, duck and geese. For the
fishing enthusiast, six well-stocked lakes surround Williams.
Camping is available with 200 National Forest campsites and
300 private sites serving the surrounding region. The Williams
Ski Area provides downhill skiing and sledding during the winter
months and there are cross-country ski trails nearby.