Bill Williams Mountain is an isolated peak about 30 miles west of Flagstaff, sitting atop the Coconino Plateau. The small town of Williams - a popular gateway to the Grand Canyon - sits at its base. Bill Williams is the westernmost mountain above 9,000 feet in Arizona. A road and a pair of good trails lead to the top, which has a manned lookout tower and numerous communications equipment.
The mountain was named after a guide, scout, hunter, and mountain man named Bill Williams. He was killed by Ute Indians while transporting baggage for the Fremont expedition in 1849. The mountain and town are named for him, as is the Bill Williams River in western Arizona mountain, which separates Mohave and La Paz Counties and drains into the Colorado south of Lake Havasu. Although a lone mountain, Bill WIlliams can be thought of as part of a sequence of lava domes rising along a common fault line stretching west from Humphreys Peak; the peaks Sitgreaves Mountain
are the other two popular and well-known peaks along this fault.
Bill WIlliams Peak from Williams the town, June 2006
Getting There/ Trail
From Flagstaff, travel west on I-40 to exit 161 in Williams (about 30 miles). Drive south to the ranger station and continue a quarter-mile east to the trailhead parking area. The trail (#21) is 3.5 miles to the summit, but at mile 3 the trail connects to the Forest Road 111. From there you walk the remainder 1/2 mile to the summit on the road.
To drive to the summit take forest road 173 that runs south from Williams (follow the signs to the ski complex, but stay on the road). Five miles south of Williams turn west onto FR-111. Drive west on road 111 as it winds its way up to the summit. The road is well maintained but steep. Reasonable high clearance is needed for most dry conditions. 4-wheel drive is probably not needed.
Lush tree and ground cover higher up in the canyon. Quite unexpected!
None. A toll was charged around the early 1900's for the view on top, but the toll was dropped.
When To Climb
All year if snows are light. Summer can get warm and thunderstorms always are a concern.
CampingWhite Horse Lake
is a beautiful and popular place to camp near Williams.
for a list of other camping areas
Arizona's 20-20 Challenge
Arizona's 20-20 Challenge is the 20 highest peaks and the 20 deepest canyons. What this means is the 20 highest mountains that are not on protected areas and has a trail to the summit and the 20 deepest canyons with the same criteria.
The mountains all have an elevation gain of at least 1,000 feet. The listing of the Peaks and Canyons are yet to come.
For more information go to Arizona's 20-20 Challenge