Bill Williams Mountain …
I met a fellow (Robert Finlay) on the my Gila Monster-Castle Rock ride in Kingman who told me, “You have got to ride Bill Williams Mountain.” Since Robert routinely does several 250 mile rides in the area I figured he knew what he was talking about.
His words were, “Climb Bill Williams Mountain using the Benham Trail, then descend the mountain on the Bill Williams Trail.” He added, “The Bill Williams Trail is a great downhill ride.”
When we got to the town of Williams I was immediately worried. Looking at the looming mountain above I noticed some of the lower, exposed areas appeared to be clear. But many upper parts seemed to be covered in blankets of snow.
Scouting Out the bottom
So the day before attempting Bill Williams Mountain Jeremiah (my future son-in-law) and I hiked 2.5 miles up from the bottom of the 5 mile Bill Williams Trail.
We saw no snow around us and the section of mountain rising above us showed no snow. Since the Bill Williams Trail seemed to have a western exposure I hoped the snow had melted from the warm afternoon sun and was ride-able.
The rest of the family was waiting below at the car and that is why we only passed half way up the trail.
The next day Cindy dropped me off at the bottom of the Bill Williams Trail.
INTERACTIVE MAP FOR BILL WILLIAMS RIDE
- Click the green balloon for driving directions to the trailhead.
- Click Tracks or Icons for More Specific Information.
From there I rode into town and up past a reservoir sitting behind a limestone dam which looked to be built by ancient Egyptians. Almost 3 miles past the dam I made a right turn into the Benham Trailhead.
Climbing Bill Williams Mountain
I took the Benham Trail all the way to the summit, 4.4 miles of biking and hiking (the hiking due to a severe lack of air and sometimes to cross heavy patches of snow).
The top of Bill Williams mountain sits at 9,258 feet and I found it cold and windy. In most places the ground was blanketed with a foot of snow.
I sat on the leeward side of a building and ate a snack where I found a dry patch of pavement. The wind made howling sounds as it passed through the radio towers overhead.
Once I had stuffed myself (actually I don’t eat much on a ride) I circled the buildings to get photos. I could see for at least 50 miles in all directions … maybe farther.
I couldn’t see the north rim of the Grand Canyon as others had claimed but I could see the one small mountain that lay just south of the park, which is 50+ miles from the town of Williams.
To get to the actual Bill Williams Trail I had to ride back down the road a quarter mile or so. What I found didn’t please me.
Not only was the trail entirely covered with snow, one of the two benches that sit at the top of the trail was nearly hidden in the snow.
I started to walk my bike down where I thought the trail headed, hoping the get to the part of the trail which I knew was clear (based on the previous day’s hike). But after the second switchback I found myself sinking up to my hip in snow. I could stand the cold on my bare legs but the effort required to move each step farther was incredible.
Then I began to get worried … I might get lost or too tired or hurt … and not make it to the clear part of the trail before dark.
When I turned around I was probably 40 yards down the hill, and it probably took me 20 minutes to get back up to the benches.
Riding back down the Benham Trail was a blast. Since I was traveling downhill I didn’t have to dismount to walk up steep sections or traverse patches of snow … I just churned right through.
What took me a couple of hours to climb took less than a half hour to ride down.
The only time I had to stop was to allow some horseback riders to pass by.
They were the only other people (or other animals) I came in contact with on the mountain.
To finish the day I rode back to the KOA, where we were staying in a “Kamper Kabin.”
Riding these 10 miles gave me a lot of time to reflect on my trek on Bill Williams Mountain.
Maybe I should have kept pushing through the snow, maybe the snow level would have decreased if I had just kept going. Maybe I gave up too easily. Maybe I just wasn’t tough enough. My final thought …
I want to go back some day and ride the entire trail as it is supposed to be ridden, not walked.
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured on my Bill Williams Ride … 61 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery Site.
The following link can give you all the stats for my Bill Williams ride … just click on the box below.