Along with Grand Canyon National Park, northern Arizona offers Route 66 towns like Williams, fantastic high country golfing, animal parks and more
Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park offers visitors to northern Arizona a once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with bears, wolves and more.
Just 60 short miles from Grand Canyon's South Rim, Bearizona invites guests to drive into the wilderness and witness herd and pack life from the safety and comfort of their own private vehicle.
The drive-thru portion of the park is approximately three miles long and takes travelers through 160 acres of pristine ponderosa pine forest where they will be able to view a wide variety of animals, including bison, black bears, mountain goats, arctic wolves and bobcats, among other animals.
The park also hosts a 20-acre walk through area where visitors will stroll along winding paths to view smaller animals on exhibit, including adorable bear cubs and wolf pups.
Bearizona's mission is to promote conservation and preservation through safe, affordable, memorable and educational encounters with North American wildlife. Bearizona is a vehicle for connecting visitors to wildlife and the land in which they inhabit, while using best practices for economic, environmental and social sustainability.
Visit Bearizona today, the only park of its kind in the southwest and a must-see for any adventure seeker.
Bearizona is located at Highway 64 and Interstate 40 in historic Williams, Ariz. For more information, call (928) 635-2289 or visit > bearizona.com.
Planes of Fame Air Museum
For a fascinating look at some of history's most unique planes, visitors won't want to miss the Air Museum Planes of Fame in Valle. The museum is only a 30-minute drive from Williams.
Located at the Valle Grand Canyon Airport near the junction of highways 180 and 64, Planes of Fame is open daily from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The Valle Visitor Center is located at the front of the museum.
The museum has a late version of the most produced fighter plane in history, the Messerschmitt BF109G-10, among its collection. You can also view the Martin 404 and Western Airlines Convair 240.
Some of the other WWII fighter planes on display at the museum include T-28 Trainers, the Grumman F3F, the Vampire and the Douglas A-26 Invader. A 1929 Ford 5-AT Trimotor, which was used for flights over the Grand Canyon, is also on display.
A featured display at the museum is dedicated to women aviators from around the world. The display traces the plight of women in the history of flight, from the early pioneers to modern-day space shuttle pilots.
Planes of Fame hosts its annual High Country War Birds Air Display every June. This year, the display will be open in June. Always held on a Saturday, the daylong event offers something for those of all ages.
The Lockheed C-21A Constellation, which was Gen. Douglas McArthur's VIP transport during the Korean War, is also available for viewing.
Call (928) 635-1000 for information or visit > planesoffame.org .
Horseback riding in the Kaibab National Forest
No visit to the West would be complete without seeing at least a portion of the rugged scenery from horseback.
City slickers with no riding experience, or old ranch hands with more time in a saddle than a La-Z-Boy, will find a perfectly-matched mount at Mountain Ranch Stables, six miles east of Williams on Interstate 40 at the Quality Inn Mountain Ranch.
Visitors can choose from a variety of trail rides, ranging from 30 minutes to overnight trips, tailored to the riders' specifications. Regardless of the length of the ride chosen, riders can truly escape today's hectic pace while slipping quietly into the tall pines of Kaibab National Forest.
Helping make the ride pleasurable and safe is stable owner and operator John Moore, along with several wranglers who know the area. Riders will also get a good dose of Western folklore, which Moore and his wranglers are always happy to share.
The stable operates daily, weather permitting. Reservations are recommended but not always necessary.
Call (928) 635-0706 for reservations or visit > mountainranchstables.com.
Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safari
Voted 2011's "Best Adventure/Outdoor Fun" By Experience AZ Magazine, Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris offers unsurpassed fun while providing ecological facts about this remarkable area.
Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris was established in 1993 by John Tatham. At this time no other company was offering tours through the forest to the edge of the Grand Canyon. Tatham spent many hours with forest archeologists and biologists to develop an accurate, fact filled, eco-tour that highlights the beauty of the Grand Canyon area while still maintaining the entertaining, outdoor adventure element.
Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris offers six different tours that focus on the Kaibab Forest and Grand Canyon National Park. The vehicles are fitted to run on natural gas, as well as gasoline, and provide a unique tour experience. They have large, unobstructed open-air viewing windows as well as forward-facing, bucket seats arranged stadium style so that everyone has a terrific view and a comfortable ride.
Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris offers many different tours that emphasize the beauty and uniqueness of this region. For more information about these safari adventures visit their website at http://www.grandcanyonjeeptours.com.
Flintstones Bedrock City
It's a "yabba dabba doo" good time at Bedrock City, located near the intersection of U.S. 180 and State Route 64. Visitors can tour the Bedrock City Shopping Center as well as the homes of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.
The gift shop features T-shirts of Fred, Barney, Dino and other Grand Canyon souvenirs. Fred's Diner is open for breakfast lunch and dinner with Fred's famous Bronto burgers, Dino dogs or Chickasaurus in a basket.
Bedrock's campground offers pull-through campsites with full hookups for large motor homes or cars with trailers. The campground includes restrooms, showers, a grocery store, laundry, television and game room, all adjacent to Bedrock City's Prehistoric Park.
Get your kicks on Route 66
Known as the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon®," Williams is located in the heart of the Kaibab National Forest at an elevation of 6,770 feet and serves as the forest's headquarters.
Founded in 1880, Williams was named for the famous trapper, scout and mountain man, "Old Bill Williams," whose statue stands at the west end of the city. The large mountain directly south of town is named Bill Williams Mountain.
Williams was the last town in America on Historic Route 66 to be bypassed by the freeway. Interstate 40 replaced the last surviving segment on Oct. 13, 1984.
Boasting seven area fishing lakes, hiking trails up Bill Williams Mountain and down into Sycamore Canyon, an alpine ski area and cross country ski trails, four seasons of weather, and an abundance of wildlife, Williams offers unlimited recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast.
Take a self-guided walking tour in the Historic Downtown District with the help of a brochure available at the Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center on Railroad Avenue. Stroll along the antique brick sidewalks for a trip back to yesteryear.
Find more information at the City of Williams/Forest Service Visitor Center, 200 W. Railroad Ave., or call (928) 635-4061, or visit > williamschamber.com.
The second largest canyon in Arizona - the scenic Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area - is part of Red Rock Country.
Three national forests - the Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott - make up the area, which covers 55,937 acres of wilderness. From its forested rim near Williams to its desert canyon mouth in the Verde Valley, this area is home to black bear and mountain lion as well as Arizona's state animal, the ringtail cat.
What you will find while visiting Sycamore Canyon is solitude, hiking and horseback trails, huge red rocks, pinnacles, buttes and arches, an abundance of wildlife, swimming, Indian ruins, cabins and some great fishing.
Motorized vehicles or mountain bikes are not allowed into the wilderness area. For sightseeing, visit Sycamore Canyon Vista, which overlooks the wilderness area. For this trip you can use your car, leaving Williams by County Road 73 to the junction of Forest Road 140. Follow until it joins with FR 56, which dead-ends about 3.5 miles from the parking loop. From there, you must walk south for .25 of a mile until you arrive at the Rim Trail.
Wilderness areas come in many shapes and sizes, and there are many opportunities for anyone in reasonable physical condition to visit. A simple day trip requires a Forest Service trail map, plenty of water, appropriate clothes and an adventuresome spirit.
There are special restrictions on fishing in wilderness areas, so check with Arizona Game and Fish offices for more information before starting out. Water is limited to the lower levels of the stream and camping restrictions apply. Visitors are asked not to remove artifacts or deface ruins while in the area.
For more information or maps, contact the city of Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center at (928) 635-1418.
Elephant Rocks Golf Course
Elephant Rocks Golf Course is known not only as an exceptional venue for golf, but is rich in history as well. Players have enjoyed golf here since the 1920s, but it was not until 2000 that Gary Panks designed the course into a true 18-hole 6,695-yard championship layout. This created one of the top 18-hole courses in northern Arizona. From the moment you arrive at the course, hidden in the tall Ponderosa Pines and passing through distinctive Elephant shaped rocks, you know you are somewhere special.
The golf course boasts some of the best conditioned greens around, as well as three of the strongest finishing holes in the state with tree lined dog legged fairways, culminating with a 100 foot elevation change from tee to green on the 18th.
In 2005, the course added a large meeting/party Pavilion, which is available for hire. This facility is perfect for hosting workshops, large parties and weddings. Most recently, the interior of the clubhouse underwent a remodel, adding a full service kitchen, and modern furnishings.
Elephant Rocks offers a full service practice area, complete with driving range and short game area with PGA instruction available. Contact the Golf Shop to schedule tee times or for driving directions to the course at (928) 635-4935.
Grand Canyon Deer Farm
Have you ever wanted to pet a deer? Can you imagine having your photo taken with a deer close enough to hug? Then head on over to the Grand Canyon Deer Farm.
When you visit the farm, you actually walk with a herd of fallow deer that are tame enough to eat right out of your hand. There are several bottle-raised does that are friendly and love being petted.
The fallow deer aren't the only residents at the Deer Farm. It's also home to reindeer, cute little wallabies, common marmoset (primate family), coatimundis (raccoon-like critters), zebu (mini cattle), mini horses, mini donkeys, pygmy goats, lovely camel Gracie and two beautiful buffalo named Maryann and Ginger.
There are a couple of comedians there, too, like Mozart, an umbrella cockatoo who loves to show off his talents chatting to the customers. He's such a bold bird that Sparky, an Amazon parrot, must try extra hard to be noticed. Both birds can bark like a dog, meow like a cat, make crow sounds and chat up a storm.
The Grand Canyon Deer Farm opened in 1969 and has been a fun stop for visitors of all ages. You don't have to be a child to enjoy the farm - it's a great time for animal lovers of all ages.
Be sure to check out the big barn store for gifts and souvenirs including all kinds of interesting animal figurines, T-shirts, advertising tin signs, stuffed animals and giftwares. To find out more, visit > deerfarm.com.
See the Canyon from the air
Several air tour companies offer aerial tours of Grand Canyon, allowing passengers the opportunity to soar like an eagle high above the clouds via airplane or helicopter. Four companies offer this service from Grand Canyon's South Rim - Grand Canyon Airlines, Grand Canyon Helicopters, Maverick Helicopters and Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. Check our advertisers' index on Page 36 of this guide for contact information.