Route 66 to Williams, Arizona
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.
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 was founded in 1881, and is today known as the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon".
Scenes Around Williams, Arizona
|Pete's Gas Station Museum
||Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams
|Williams Railroad Station
||Bearizona in Williams
Shown below is a mural in Williams ... Last town by-passed by I-40 on October 13, 1984.
Visitor Information Center in Williams
Located at 200 W. Railroad Ave in Williams
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 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.
Lodging and Dining Options in Williams
Interactive Map of the Williams, Arizona Area
Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Williams
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.
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