Are you planning a visit in our area, including a trip to or hike in The Grand Canyon? “Know Before You Go“
Traveling in our area
Our area is known as “The Gateway To The Grand Canyon,” and as such, we see thousands of visitors ready to fully experience the wondrous natural offerings of The Canyon.
Visitors have four modes of arriving in our area to begin their exploration: driving, tour bus, bicycle or flying. As a fire department, we respond to situations involving the first three modes of travel.
If you’re using the first or third method of travel, please remember these area-specific tips for a safer visit:
1. Slow down and enjoy the scenery as you travel through our area to enter the park. You’ll encounter numerous vehicles including motorhomes, camping trailers and similar vehicles (mainly during high-peak summer months) which may be traveling at a slower rate than you. Again, slow down.
2. If using a bicycle, remember to wear your helmet, have plenty of reflection material on yourself and your bike (inclduing a mounted bike safety flag), and keep a safe distance to the side of the highway.
3. Tour bus passengers should observe all safety announcements from your driver or tour guide as you ride to the park.
4. Reminder; it’s the state law to slow down and pull over when encountering emergency vehiles (no matter their direction of travel)!
5. Click it (seat belt) or get a ticket! This includes all passengers in your vehicle. Know what the Arizona State law is concerning whether or not to place your infant carseat forward or backward; make sure it’s secure and all strapping is snugged up against your child.
6. Know the current travel restrictions in our area including fire or wind potential. Due to our terrain, we often experience gusty and sometimes high winds. During those windy times, blowing dust can reduce your visibility, as well as cause driving problems for high profile vehicles. The same holds true for our winter months during snowy times; use the same cautions.
7. Wildlife — yes, they also use the highway to cross from one grazing area to another, to find water, and to migrate during seasonal changes. The average weight of elk is approximately 500-700 pounds and when a vehicle traveling the speed limit (65 mph on HWY 64), you’ll certainly have major damage to your vehilce. Serious injuries to the people within the vehicle can also occur. Be vigilant, day and night, of roaming elk, deer and other wildlife. Additionally, be aware you’re in rattlesnake country, so know what to do when you encounter them.
8. Enjoy your visit. An unofficial saying here is “They don’t fill The Canyon with dirt every night; it’ll be there tomorrow so slow down and arrive safely.”
Fire, Weather, Temperatures
1. Wild Fires — Pre- and post-monsoon months are oftentimes dry in our area due to our high desert setting. As Smokey the Bear says, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” The same slogan holds true for our area…only YOU can prevent a careless human-caused fire in our wilderness areas from ever starting. It’s the obligation of all, residents and visitors alike, to know when, where and duration of fire restrictions, including red flag warning days! Red Flag Warnings = NO FIRES!!! Don’t forget, use the ashtray AT ALL TIMES no matter what you perceive to be the current conditions.
2. The average temeperatures for our area can be in the low 30s (F) during the winter months up to the mid or high 80s (F) in the summer months. Plan ahead, dress appropriately and be sure to include layers for possible shifts in the temperatures. Daytimes can be very warm while the nights may require a light jacket or sweater even during the summer months.
3. Winter months can include snowy conditions which can require boots, while summer months may include rains, especially during our monsoon season (typically the end of June through August). Always be aware of the possibility of flash flooding during monsoon season, espeically in low lying areas. Do NOT cross water during the monsoon season as the water is typically moving faster than you anticipate.
4. Protection from Sun — The altitude for our area is approximately 6,800′ (plus/minus). Although our temperatures during summer months are comfortable you should remember to use sun screen lotion for your protection from possible sunburn at this higher altitude. The same holds true during the winter months; dress for the cold but apply protection to exposed skin from the sun.
Information Specific to The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon National Park website has a wealth of information for you. Summertime is the peak visiting season, which includes hiking into the canyon river area. Be prepared for dramatic weather changes in conditions between the higher areas and in the lower regions. The altitude change can have an impact upon your ability to “get out,” especially for the less experienced hiker. The South Rim is about 7,000′ (plus in some areas), the North Rim is about 9,000′. The Colorado River is 4,500′ below the South Rim and over 1,000′ below the North Rim. Plan ahead, know the rules, be prepared. View The Park’s “Summer Hiking – Hike Smart” page (here) for more specific information.
Click on this link to learn more about our rich, diverse and historic town and area. We hope you make plans to stay a day or more to experiece Williams before heading off to The Grand Canyon.
We’d Like to Meet You, But….
Our department enjoys meeting visitors to our area….but….we far more enjoy meeting you during non-emergency moments. If you’re in our area and see us, feel free to say hello, ask how you can stay safe in our area, or tell us about your travels thus far. We’re happy to answer your questions or help you find the information from appropriate agencies. And, if you should require our services, our trained volunteers will assist as the circumstances dictate. We take pride in our personal and professional attention to residents and visitors alike. Learn more about us and the services we provide at our department website.
Stay safe….enjoy the beauty of our area! The above is not intended to be all inclusive; be sure to check the internet for additonal valuable travel information for our immediate and general area.