Skip to main content

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 23; former US Route 66 and US Route 89 in Williams

After leaving the Grand Canyon I headed south on Arizona State Route 64 towards Williams for the night.  While Williams is famous is being part of US Route 66 it also has significance as part of US Route 89 and the south terminus of the Grand Canyon Railroad.


This article serves the 23rd entry in the 2016 Fall Mountain Trip Series.  Part 22 on Arizona State Route 64, Grand Canyon National Park, and the western terminus of US Route 180 can be found here:

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 22; Arizona State Route 64, Grand Canyon National Park, and the weird west terminus of US Route 180

Williams was plotted out in 1879 as a rail siding of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.  Williams was named after Bill Williams who was a well known traveler of what would become the American Southwest in the early 19th century.


Williams can be seen on the Third Operating Map of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in 1882.


Williams is famously the last town in Arizona along the alignment of US 66 to be bypassed by I-40 which occurred on October 13, 1984.  US 66 traversed Williams on Grand Canyon Avenue eastbound and Railroad Avenue westbound through downtown.  Downtown Williams is filled with all sorts of Route 66 oriented businesses and displays a huge number of trinkets from a bygone era.


Amusingly most people tend to forget regarding Williams is that during the entire service life of US 66 it was multiplexed with US 89.   US 89 northbound followed Grand Canyon Avenue whereas US 89 southbound followed Railroad Avenue.  US 89 actually outlived US 66 by almost a decade in Williams as it wasn't truncated to Flagstaff until 1992.  US 89 even multiplexed I-40 for a time when the freeway bypass of Williams opened in 1984.

Williams is also famous for the Grand Canyon Railroad which was built in 1901 by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad 1901.  The ATSF operated the Grand Canyon Railroad for passengers until 1968 and for freight until 1974.  The Grand Canyon Railroad changed ownership various times in the ensuing decades but reopened in 1989.  The line still operates from downtown Williams north to Grand Canyon Village in Grand Canyon National Park.





Today former US 66/US 89 in Williams is signed as Historic US 66 and the I-40 Business Loop.



Upon entering Williams I followed Railroad Avenue westbound into downtown.  Even by 2016 standards using a Crown Victoria as a scarecrow Police Car was outdated.



Williams has a small park along Railroad Avenue which has a couple vintage rail cars and even a US Route 66 shield.


Railroad Avenue westbound has Historic US 66 shields and is signed as an Arizona Scenic Highway.


Turning around onto Grand Canyon Avenue eastbound the US Route 66 motif is immediately apparent on almost every business facade.  As much as I like US 66 it would be nice to see US 89 promoted as least a little by the City of Williams. 







After I arrived at my hotel I made sure to check to see if my car was leaking fluids after hitting a deer on UT 95 during the morning hours.  Thankfully the damage to my car was "mostly" cosmetic.  Nonetheless, I ended up picking an extra bottle of coolant since the radiator was slightly pushed in from the body damage.  Regardless, I made my final push for Phoenix taking the indirect way via former US Route 89A on current Arizona State Route 89A the next morning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park)

This week I hiked much of what was the original alignment of the Big Oak Flat Road which is located to the north of the modern roadway.  Unlike the original alignment of the Wawona Road the Old Big Oak Flat Road is surprisingly intact.


The complete history of the Big Oak Flat Road including the original alignment can be found on a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road.

U.S. Department of the Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road

The Big Oak Flat Road began construction east from the mining community of Big Oak Flat in towards Yosemite Valley in 1869.  The Big Oak Flat Road was constructed by the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company which had secured the franchise rights for a toll road to the Yosemite Grant (the designation prior to Yosemite National Park).  By the summer of 1871 the Big Oak Flat Road reached the northern cliffs above Yosemite Valley which is when the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company ran out of funding.  After the…

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…