Route 66 to Williams, Arizona

Greetings from Williams, Arizona ... Gateway to the Grand Canyon

We have traveled Historic Route 66 across Arizona multiple times over the years, both eastbound and westbound.

Some of the journey is on I-40, which parallels the old Route 66 in many places. We always drive the segments of the Mother Road where it still remains. Exits to Route 66 are marked in many locales.

One of our favorite places and scenes along the Mother Road is Williams, Arizona, west of Flagstaff.

Founded in 1882, Williams was named for Bill Williams Mountain, the volcanic peak that rises above it. The mountain has long been important to native peoples of the region including the Havasupai, Hualapai, Yavapai and Hopi.

Williams is located just an hour south of the Grand Canyon and is known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” because of the variety of lodging choices, activities for the whole family, its connection with Historic Route 66, and plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy.

The historic Grand Canyon Railway ferries hundreds of thousands of tourists every year from Williams to and from the Canyon. The Kaibab National Forest and the Bill Williams Mountain area provide ample opportunities for camping, hiking and outdoor adventures.

Map showing the location of Williams, Arizona on Historic U.S. Route 66
Map showing the location of Williams, Arizona on Historic U.S. Route 66

A Route 66 Stopover in Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon

From Flagstaff Historic Route 66 passed through Williams, the jumping off point to the Grand Canyon, folllowed by Ash Fork, and then into Seligman. The last section of Route 66 nationally was decommissioned through Williams in 1984, replaced by I-40.

Williams, Arizona

Williams, Arizona was founded in 1881, and is today known as the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon".

Williams, Arizona, founded in 1881 ... Gateway to the Grand Canyon

Scenes Around Williams, Arizona

Pete's Gas Station Museum
Pete's Gas Station Museum in Williams, Arizona
Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams
Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams, Arizona
Williams Railroad Station
Williams, Arizona Railroad Station ... gateway to Grand Canyon National Park
Bearizona in Williams
Bearizona in Williams, Arizona

Shown below is a mural in Williams ... Last town by-passed by I-40 on October 13, 1984.
Williams, Arizona mural ... Last town bypassed by I-40

Williams, Arizona ... The Best of Route 66 Williams, Arizona ... the Gateway to Grand Canyon National Park

City of Williams, Arizona Visitor Information Center

Visitor Information Center in Williams

Located at 200 W. Railroad Ave in Williams

Visitor Information Center website

Location and Access to Grand Canyon National Park

The park is located about 270 miles east of Las Vegas, and about 75 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Grand Canyon Railway unloading passengers at the parkGrand Canyon Railway unloading passengers at the park

There are two access routes to the Grand Canyon, the most popular one being Highway 64 north from Williams, located on Interstate 40 and Route 66. Another option is taking Highway 64 west from its junction with U.S. 89 at Cameron.

Those visitors approaching the park from Flagstaff will take U.S. Highway 180 northwest from Flagstaff to Valle, and then U.S. 64 north to the park.

Another mode of transportation into the park is via the Grand Canyon Railway, which runs from Williams, Arizona directly into the park. The railroad has operated since 1901.

The South Rim of the canyon, with an elevation of about 7,000 feet, is open year-round, while the North Rim is open only part of the year, during the warmer months.

While traveling Route 66, make a side trip to the Grand Canyon ... click for details!

The majestic Grand Canyon in Arizona

Lodging and Dining Options in Williams


Hotels in Williams, Arizona with traveler reviews

Restaurants and dining in Williams, Arizona

Attractions and things to do in Williams, Arizona

Interactive Map of the Williams, Arizona Area


Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Williams

Earlier times on Route 66: Del Sue Motor Inn in Williams, Arizona


We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Williams and Route 66.

What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around and across Williams? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new?

What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.

Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.

These portray the historic road in its prime and help us to visualize, and appreciate, "earlier times" as we drive Route 66 today across Williams.

Williams Motel
The Williams Motel in Williams, Arizona on US Highway 66
Aerial View Williams, AZ
Aerial view of downtown Williams, Arizona
Sun Dial Motel
Sun Dial Motel in Williams, Arizona on US Route 66
Fred Harvey Hotel
Fray Marcus Harvey Hotel in Williams, Arizona
Street Scene 1950s
Street scene in Williams, Arizona circa late 1950s
Harvey's Hacienda Restaurant
Harvey's Hacienda Restaurant in Williams, Arizona
Thunderbird Inn
Thunderbird Inn ... Williams, Arizona
Hull's Motel
Hull's Motel in Williams, Arizona
Route 66 - San Francisco Peaks
San Francisco Peaks, seen from Historic Route 66 between Williams and Flagstaff, Arizona
Williams Travel Lodge
Travel Lodge in Williams, Arizona
Westerner Motel
Westerner Motel at 530 W. Bill Williams ... Williams, Arizona
El Coronado Court
El Coronado Court on US Highway 66 in Williams, Arizona


Driving West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

Seligman to Kingman, Arizona

Route 66 Road Trip westbound from Seligman to Kingman, Arizona