Grand Canyon Travel Guide from Williams

Traveling from Williams to the Grand Canyon

The quaint town of Williams Arizona lies along historic Rt. 66 and still holds much on its old west charm.  Williams was the original gateway city to the Grand Canyon, which is still its largest tourist attraction.  Williams is only a 45-minute drive to the Grand Canyon South Entrance and aside from Tusayan (right outside the South Entrance), it’s the closest town to the park for travelers coming from Las Vegas. Williams has great recreational activities outside the National Park.  There are several lakes to fish right outside of town and trophy elk hunting.  Elk Ridge Ski area is a short drive up Perkinsville Road, which is an amazing scenic drive that goes all the way to Jerome, AZ along an old dirt road.  This route also offers great hikes and camping, including a few spots right along the Verde River.  Just east of town, rock climbing enthusiasts will enjoy Paradise Forks, which offer great crack climbing, hiking, and a seasonal waterfall.

Both the town and mountain backdrop are namesakes of Bill Williams, who among other things was a legendary trapper.  At nearly 7,000 feet in elevation Williams enjoys 4-seasons and has a climate similar to nearby Flagstaff and the South Rim.  After the construction of interstate 40, Williams like many other Rt. 66 destinations nearly turned into a ghost town, but nearby Grand Canyon National Park keep things alive.  With the Rebirth of Rt. 66, happy days were here again, and a new type of tourist began to flood into this dusty town.  Historic Rt. 66 enthusiasts will find several dinners, bars and shops reminiscent of the good old days in this modern piece of Americana. Read the guide below to learn more about travel from Williams to the Grand Canyon, or check out our Williams map to see all the nearby destinations and attractions.

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Travel Information, Tours and Lodging

Driving Distance from Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon

  • Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon South Rim is 59 miles, a 1 hour 5-minute drive.
  • Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon West Rim is 183 miles, a 3 hour 10-minute drive.
  • Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon East Rim is 158 miles, a 2 hour 30-minute drive.
  • Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon North Rim is 241 miles, a 4 hour 5-minute drive.

Williams and Grand Canyon Tours

The most popular tour from Williams to the Grand Canyon by far is the Grand Canyon Railway. The Grand Canyon Railway which runs daily between Williams and the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is a popular activity for train enthusiasts and families alike.  Williams also offers several jeep tours and bus tours, along with many other Grand Canyon Tours available at the South Rim and Tusayan. You can check out some recommended Grand Canyon tours and tickets below.

Best Hotels in Williams 

During the busy summer season, Williams is a good place to find a hotel if Grand Canyon lodging options are booked. There are several hotels and lodges in Williams and the drive to the Grand Canyon from Williams is only an hour to Grand Canyon Village, making it a good base camp. You can check out some popular Williams hotels here.

Best Restaurants and Dining Options

Although Williams, AZ is a small town, there are several good restaurants to choose from and even some world famous western bars for a little nightlife. Even if you’re staying at the Grand Canyon or Tusayan, getting some food in Williams can be a good way to break up your trip and avoid longer waits at restaurants in the park.

Recommended Grand Canyon Tours near Williams

Grand Canyon South Rim Helicopter Flight

45-minute South Rim Helicopter Flight

Duration: 45 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $279 on Viator

Book Now


Grand Canyon Railway Train Tickets

Duration: 8 hours
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
from $124 on Viator

Book Now

Grand Canyon East Rim Jeep Ride and IMAX

Grand Canyon East Rim Jeep Ride and IMAX

Duration: 3 hours
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
from $128 on Viator

Book Now

One Day Whitewater Rafting

One-Day Whitewater Rafting (Self-Drive)

Duration: 10-12 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $399 on G.C. West

Book Now

Find Popular Williams Hotels

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