I've seen Bill Williams Mountain many times and had never climbed it. So with temps at 115° in Phoenix, I headed north. The temps were in the Mid-70°'s for most of this hike, low 80's finishing up at the TH.
The trailhead is easy to get to and very nice. Since this trail is right next to the Williams Ranger District headquarters it is a flagship for the District and is very well maintained.
The first two miles is Pinyon-Juniper and sort of boring - at best a 3. The next 1.5 miles is a delightful hike through pine forests. Today there were some wildflowers blooming and lots of butterflies so today it deserved a 4.5 rating.
The trail ends when it intersects FR111. At the end of the actual trail there is a great outcropping to the south of the TH that is worth the effort for the views. As I came back in from the outcropping, a Forest Service truck dropped off a trail maintenance crew that was cutting downed trees on the Benham Trail and I had a nice chat with the driver.
The last stretch up to the top follows a Forest Service Road.
The Fire Lookout Tower is one of the smallest lookouts I have visited. I climbed the platform and looked up at a locked panel on the floor & thought "Oh well - nothing ventured, nothing gained", and it magically opened. The spotter had seen me hiking and heard me climbing the tower so he invited me in. He & I had a nice chat reminiscing about the Arizona we have known. He had the book "Standing Watch: The Fire Towers of Arizona" by Eileen Moore (Morten Moore Publishing). At the time of publication, there were 81 Fire Towers in Arizona. Getting to chat with Don and learn about the Forest Service gives this a 5 rating today. If the Lookout tower had been closed, this stretch would have been a 2 rating.
Several mountain bikers at the Summit. They had come up FR111 and 3 of them went back in on the Bill Williams Trail. It's not what I consider a "mountain bike friendly" trail, but I guess it can be done.
A couple groups of hikers and a solo hiker heading up as I was coming down. I don't think either group would make the top.
The HAZ trail description is excellent. This is a very nice hike and well worth the effort so I rate it a 4 overall today.
ps - I stopped in Williams at the Safeway and the Grand Canyon Railroad depot. Then had dinner in Flagstaff at Casa Bonita - I hope this convinces Joe to let me add these photos