From Flagstaff, drive west across the golden meadowland known as Garland Prairie. During spring and summer, the meadow is a carpet of wildflowers. The fields shimmer with azure blues and dashing reds. As you continue toward Williams, you drive through the pine-scented, lush greenery of the Kaibab National Forest. Like many northern Arizona communities, Williams is a sportsman’s paradise. The town sits in the shadow of Bill Williams Mountain, a 9,286-foot-high peak just south of this small community. Good walking trails scale both sides of the mountain. Seven fishing lakes, many with cabins and boating facilities, surround the town. During the winter, there’s a small (450-foot vertical drop) downhill ski run. In addition to skiing, The Benham Snow Play Area, just south of town on County Road 173, echoes with “snow tubers,” kids and adults careening down snowy slopes in inner tubes. Grand Canyon Caverns is one of the world’s largest completely dry cave systems. Meandering twenty-one stories beneath the earth, Grand Canyon Caverns are known to be closely related geologically to the Grand Canyon. Yet because of the off-the-beaten path location, tourists often ignore them. Professional cave explorers are well acquainted with the caverns, and excavation goes on continuously because experts are certain that more rocky rooms wait to be discovered. This chapter from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of Flagstaff. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
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