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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bill Williams Mountain Trail, AZ

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Guide 109 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Williams
3.6 of 5 by 35
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.65 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,896 feet
Elevation Gain 2,367 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,474 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.02
Interest Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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22  2019-06-15
B Williams Mtn - JCR Tunnel - Stone to Steel
3  2018-09-28 DixieFlyer
7  2018-09-22 Nightstalker
12  2018-05-02 chumley
8  2017-10-07
Bill Williams - Bixler Combo
13  2017-10-07
Bill Williams - Bixler Combo
15  2017-10-07
Bill Williams - Bixler Combo
6  2017-07-15 wallyfrack
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author desertgirl
author avatar Guides 20
Routes 1
Photos 3,098
Trips 428 map ( 3,024 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Seasons   Early Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:33pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
it's billy a cool hike
by desertgirl

Likely In-Season!
This hike starts at the Williams Ranger District Office, 1 mile west of Williams. (Exit 161 on I-40 and follow signs).

Bill Williams is a wonderful hike - great views from the summit as well as the lush forests along the hike - Fir; towering aspens and plenty of underbrush along the trails, giving opportunity for wildflowers along the trailside on the upper reaches of the hike. There is no water available along this trail, so bring plenty.

This trail was originally built in 1902 and operated as a toll trail for horses but eventually fell out of service. Forest service used it as a means to reach the fire lookout on top of the Bill Williams Mountain. There is a gravel road to the top.

The trail accesses the summit of Bill Williams Mountain via the north face making it a lush trail. The trail quickly climbs in the 1st mile with the route leveling off for most of the 2nd mile. At 0.15 miles you will meet a side trail that takes off for Clover Springs to the left meeting back up to the main trail at 0.9 miles. In the lower elevations, you are hiking through mostly lower profile forest of alligator juniper, pinyon pine and gambel oak with a few occasional ponderosa pines. The trail runs through a shady ravine where you encounter stands of Douglas firs and incredibly tall stands of aspens and undergrowth thickening with ferns, Oregon grape and Arizona wild rose.

Past the 2-mile point the trail begins to climb up steadily towards to summit and reach the gravel road (FR111) that accesses the fire lookout tower and the radio towers on the summit. The intersection of the trail and FR111 has a nice area with log benches. Make sure to check out the incredible views from the rock outcrop to the right (Behind the benches). You can continue to hike up along FR111 to the summit and checkout the 360-degree views of the area peaks from the fire look out tower.

You return options are many: 1) Hike back the way you came up 2) Take the Benham Trail that drops down along the East flank (You need to have a shuttle pick up at the Benham trailhead on the eastern side of the mountain) 3) Hike down the road and take the Bixler Saddle Trail #72 back down the west face of the mountain (You need to have a shuttle pick up (High Clearance Vehicle recommended) at the Bixler Saddle trailhead on the western side of the mountain) 4) Have a shuttle pick up at the top or drop you off at the top for - the hike

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2002-10-05 desertgirl
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007

Kaibab FS Details

This trail starts in ponderosa pine and oak thickets. As it crosses West Cataract Creek, it goes through stands of aspen and fir carpeted by a dense ground cover of ferns, Oregon grape and Arizona wild rose. At several places on the trail, the hiker has a good view of the valley below and the peaks in the distance. There is no water available along the trail, but cool summer temperatures make this an enjoyable hike.

Bill Williams Mountain marks the traditional boundary of lands inhabited by the early ancestors of the Hopi people. For that reason, they view the area as sacred. Your respectful use of this area while you are visiting here will be appreciated. This trail was originally built as a "toll road" in 1902. Builder Esan Lamb charged hikers and horseback riders a fee to ride to the top.

Trail Layout: This is a short (day) hike, with moderately difficult slopes going up the mountain and easy down-grades coming back down. If arrangements can be made for someone to drive to the top of the mountain on FR 111 and meet the hikers, a one way trip is possible. The trail ends near the end of the road at 9256 feet. By leaving a vehicle at Williams District and also at the start of Benham Trail, day-hikers can go up one trail and down the other for a total hike of about 8.5 miles. It is also possible to connect with the Bixler Saddle Trail #72 to make a longer hike.

Length: 4.0 miles

Hiking Time: About 5 to 6 hours round trip.

Rating: Moderate

Trailhead Location: Trailhead at 7000 feet. Trail starts at Williams Ranger Station (Camp Clover).

Recommended Season: Late spring to early fall.

USGS Map(s): Bill Williams Mountain

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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I had to take advantage of the weather and get one last gasp of winter fun in before the whole state burns up. Radar returns and webcam photos decided the destination for me and it could not have been more perfect.

100% nature 🍆 today! :y:
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Bill Williams - Bixler Combo
The I40 is under construction in this area. Add my talking and I missed the turn. Ashfork 15 miles... ](*,) Joe likes the Oaks and we all agreed Bixler would be a good one. The Flying Focus won't make it to the Bixler trailhead so we started at Bill Williams.Great trail and weather. There were a handful of trees down that I don't think were down this summer when I was here with Wally. Bixler does have a ton of Oaks so Joe was a happy hiker. The top section has some loose dirt and lots of leaves so the footing was a little iffy. A handful of trees down on this trail too. Still a nice trail. We took a break at the bottom then headed up Bixler and on to Bill Williams summit. Bruce set the pace and it seemed easier going up. Even the footing seemed better. Some nice Aspen on the top section. We saw a couple cars up top and a only a few hikers on Bill Williams which surprised me. Nice day with these two out on the trail.
On a happy note. Another milestone for Joe. He drove himself to the meetup for the first time in four months! Way to go, Joe! :app:
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Bill Williams - Bixler Combo
After a late start, we were off in search of color.

A welcome almost chilly start of 49 degrees. BWMT gets you breathing deeply almost from the start. Part way up you start seeing spotty areas of yellow aspen. At the intersection with Bixler Saddle Trail we opted to head down through the oaks to the Bixler Mountain saddle.

After a break, we made the 900' climb back to the BWMT. This climb was actually much easier than we though it was going to be. From here, an additional 600' to the summit.

We took a brief break in the Bill Williams Lookout, were Curley and Larry plied their craft.

[ youtube video ]

We skipped the Benham Trail option, in favor of an additional hike elsewhere and headed down.

When we got back to the TH, we skipped the additional hike option and opted to go for food instead.

This was probably the prime weekend for color on this hike.

Mainly Aspen in Prime Yellow, Oaks were past prime in many areas
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Bill Williams - Bixler Combo
While most flock to Aspens & Maples for Autumn foliage I enjoy the Oaks too.

Bixler is in need of downed tree removal and a good steel rake for numerous slippery pebble rocks on slanted runs. Nevertheless it flaunts one of the nicest Oak forest in Arizona.

Bill Williams Mountain Trail had more bite ascending than I recall :y: It sports some nice Aspen views but isn't much of a hit with the secret social tourist society. Out of 2-4 groups hiking we were the young guns.

Weather was nice overall. Chilly around 50 degrees on the dark northern side and borderline toasty esque in the open stretches at maybe 70 degrees.

No huge swaths of entire mountsides plastered in color so extreme would have the eastern foliage snobs gasping. Plenty of color for desert dwellers.
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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On Sunday, the four of us headed over to Bill Williams. We started from the Benham trail on the east side and headed up. The trail is in good condition as it makes a solid climb. We kept at it as we headed for the summit. It was another beautiful day and there will be no issues with rain like the previous day on the Sycamore Canyon Rim Loop. Once up top, we took a short break and enjoyed the views. From there we started our descent. I left the group to head down the standard trail heading to the north. I was meeting Kyle who opted to skip this hike since Lily wasn’t feeling too well. This worked really well for me! This was my first time on Bill Williams and I really enjoyed the hike. I would definitely hike here again!
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Wally and I hit the trail a little after 7am. The trail was in good shape with only one downed tree. The weather was good with shade most of the way. We made good time up and then visited with Mark in the tower for 20 minutes. Nice guy and I think Wally has him leaning towards cactus to clouds in his future. We made good time on the way down and Wally turned it up a little on the last two miles :) . Always like this one and I think Wally enjoyed it as well! :y:
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Williams and the three B's
I hit the trail early so I could do all three trails and be home in time for sleep and work. My numbers are kind of a guess except for the time.

Bill Williams is in good shape and only had five downed trees. Juniper,Oak,Pine and some Aspen towards the top with pretty good footing. I like how the Aspen leaves sprinkle the trail towards the top. Always enjoy this one.

First time on Benham and I missed my turn. I was half way to the towers before I caught it. Once on the trail I had no problem staying on it. A lot of oak on the top of this one and mostly Pine towards the bottom. Trail in good shape with a carpet of oak leaves towards the top. I saw some Bear tracks on this one. Route scout startled a Deer and a Fox. I always wonder if Route Scout will keep me from seeing wildlife. I think it might have helped this time. A few views on this one. I hiked it down and then back up to the towers. The best Aspen showing was up there.

I hiked down and up Bixler from there. There is a lot of Oak on this one with a fair amount of Pine and Juniper. A couple nice spots bedded with Pine needles or Oak leaves. The bottom of this trail gets thick and a little spooky if hiking alone. The piles of bear scat and some kind of mangled up hide didn't help. Some good views on this one. The climb towards the top wore me down and I was glad it was my last.

From there it was just down Bill Williams and back to the car. A nice variety of birds out today. Quite a few squirrels and they looked pretty healthy as did the deer and fox. I saw no other hikers the whole day. Great temps as well. A great day out on the trail! :D :y:
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Had some stuff to do in Flagstaff and decided to get a few miles in after. Couldn't figure out where Packard lives, so I settled for the other BobP. Somehow haz legend and peakbagger Bob had never crossed paths with Bill, so we headed west and enjoyed a short trip up the hill and back. It was borderline warm in the sun at the bottom. Almost hit 70 in the tower. Some poofy clouds after noon.

Fire lookout is taking forestry at NAU and thinks 80 trees per acre is good. Forestry program must have changed since I could swear I read 6 trees per acre was the way to go. Either way, this mountain is totally overgrown and needs serious thinning. An unplanned fire here would devastate the town below.

Nice to get this one again. Great views of the peaks.
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Whew, I am wiped out after this one! But it was gorgeous.

I started at the Benham Trail. Hiked up it to the Bill Williams Trail and down that one to the Bixler Saddle Trail turnoff. Then down Bixler to the saddle. Then I slogged back up Bixler and BW, and summited Bill Williams Mountain. Then retraced my steps down the Benham Trail.

Nice day in high summer. A Sunday, so I did see people. A trail runner and a mountain biker on the Benham Trail (both locals who stopped to chat with me) and two hikers on the Bixler Trail. Saw some deer and a fair number of flowers.

My left foot and ankle are aching. Not sure what's up with that.
Bill Williams Mountain Trail
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Up, up, and away. Ryan had to check in on work at the top so I just enjoyed the rest and the views. On the way back down we did an out and back of about .75 mile on the Bixler trail. Liked that trail. Took the short detour to Clover Spring and then looped back to the trailhead. Warm day.

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Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
1 mile West of Williams. From Interstate 40 take Exit 161 and follow signs to Williams Ranger District Office.

Access: Go west from downtown Williams on Bill Williams Avenue about one mile; turn left at Clover Hill and proceed along the frontage road to the turnoff to Williams Ranger District office. Follow the signs to the trailhead.

Travel Time: About 10 minutes from Williams to the Ranger Station.

Road Condition: Paved roads.

1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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