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Sun, Nov. 17

Town offering a hike to one of region’s top trails
Hiking Williams Mountain should be on every list

The view of Humphrey Peak, tallest in Arizona from summit of Bill Williams Mountain.

The view of Humphrey Peak, tallest in Arizona from summit of Bill Williams Mountain.

My hiking wish list includes: cool breezes, incredible views, convenient access, shade, uncrowded trails, and a decent challenge. I want to feel like I actually accomplished something worthwhile. Therefore, hiking Bill Williams Mountain is on my bucket list since it satisfies everything on my wish list.

You could throw in some curious sights such as rare plants (Arizona Bugbane), twittering birds, and fluttering butterflies for a “not to miss hike.” Sure, there are plenty of such hiking destinations across the Southwest, but I’d also not like to spend more time on the road than on the trail. Bill Williams Mountain is just over an hour north of Prescott Valley. The trail is well defined and well-marked too, so you won’t lose your way. The hike ascends a shallow canyon on the north slope, so the mixed conifer forest creates a feeling like being in the Northwest instead of the Southwest.

Now, if I could just get someone to hike with me. I have hiked solo since December 1976, so I am quite comfortable on my own in the great outdoors. But, many people are not. I am frequently asked for referrals to hiking groups in our area. Therefore, you can have your cake and eat it too, by hiking with us to this perfect destination on August 25. The Parks and Recreation Department (Town of Prescott Valley) is offering a guided hike to Bill Williams Mountain at 8 a.m. Transportation is provided for a nominal fee of $10. Space is limited, so call 928-759-3090 to reserve your spot.

The trailhead to Trail 21 is just off Interstate 40 on the west side of Williams (exit 161). It’s next to the Ranger Station just ½ mile off the freeway. The hike is 6.25 miles roundtrip, a comfortable day hike. Remember what I said though about a challenge, the elevation gain is 2,000 feet, so you will not stay in your comfort zone long. The climb is steady and steep in a couple of spots. It took me an hour and a half to reach the summit, where a very tall lookout tower stands. Climbing the tower is exhilarating and facilitates some awesome views. There are pit toilets at the trailhead and summit for your convenience. So, no excuses. It’s time to hit the trail, Trail 21 that is, all the way to 9,000 feet, atop Bill Williams Mountain on the Kaibab National Forest.

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