The Mountains of Arizona •
High School Hill • San Francisco Volcanic Field
• Kaibab National Forest
• City of Williams, Coconino County

High School Hill, Arizona
High School Hill as viewed from Williams and one of its iconic trains
High School Hill, Arizona
View along the trail
High School Hill, Arizona
Another view later on
High School Hill, Arizona
And yet another
High School Hill, Arizona
View of the summit area
High School Hill, Arizona
South view from summit, Wounded Ranger Knoll
High School Hill, Arizona
West view of Bill Williams Mountain
High School Hill, Arizona
East view, more cloudiness
High School Hill, Arizona
Hiking out, Bill Williams Mountain
High School Hill, Arizona
City of Williams and Santa Fe Dam

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Date: July 26, 2019 • Elevation: 7,698 feet • Prominence: 458 feet • Distance: 3.6 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Gain: 738 feet • Conditions: Sunny and warm with scattered clouds

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High School Hill rises southeast of Williams, some of the homes lying on the hill's north slopes. The hill has steep lower slopes, and a flattish mesa-like top, with a hill on the east end being the highest point. I am not sure how the name came to be. The high school itself lies on the west side of the city.

I was driving to Henderson (NV) to visit my folks. I left Scottsdale about 7 a.m. and went north through Prescott Valley, catching US-89 and taking it to Ash Fork. From there, I followed Interstate-40 east to Williams, arriving about 9:45 a.m.. I wanted to hike this hill to split up my drive.

In Williams, I exited at the main Grand Canyon Boulevard exit, stopped at a gas station to get drinks, then drove south on Grand Canyon Boulevard through the touristy parts of town. Past the shops, the road is renamed 2nd Street. I followed it south up a steep grade and parked in a small turn-around located beyond the last home on the road, about a mile past downtown and a couple miles from the highway.

It was warm for this elevation, about 83 degrees, when I started hiking. There were clouds above me, puffy ones but nothing organizing into actual storms (yet). I found a trail and walked up, angling left toward a rock pile. The trail angles right, so I followed it. It travelled southeasterly for about a quarter-mile, gaining steadily in chest-high scrub and some scattered juniper.

The trail then makes a couple lefts and starts steeply up the slopes overlooking Santa Fe Dam down below. Now travelling northeasterly, the trail achieves the flatter highlands and levels out, with lenient grades. Here, I met two older men coming down. They said they hike it every day, and I was the first person they'd seen in a long time. We had a five-minute chat, mainly an excuse for me to rest.

We went our own ways, and I continued on the good trail through a mix of ponderosa and gambel oak, plus grasses and scrubbier plants and a few cactus plants. I made good time, moving well. The good trail then ends in a patch of ponderosa, and a lesser trail angles right. It was weak, but most of it had cairns. I followed this path uphill, gaining about 120 feet, until I was near the summit ridge.

The highest point is a jumble of rocks on the little hill's east end. Thre was lots of brush, and views were limited to the west, south and southeast. I had a commanding view of Bill Williams Mountain and of the smaller volcanic hills that sprinkle this area. The weather was pleasant and a little breezy. It had taken me about 45 minutes to get here in 1.6 miles, a gain of about 740 feet, which surprised me a little.

I retraced my route exactly for the egress. I took a longer rest along the way, but still made it out in a little over a half hour, my total time about 90 minutes. I changed into more confortable driving clothes and resumed my journey west to Nevada.

The hike was a pleasant outing, with a good trail and good views along the way. I had hoped to hike a few more hills in the area, but I had a lot of miles to drive. I decided to play tourist and take the scenic route from Seligman along AZ-66 (old US-66) through Peach Springs and into Kingman. I hit some rain along this stretch. In Kingman, I had traffic, but things were not too bad into Nevada. I crossed the bridge and then followed the new Interstate-11 for about 15 miles, satisfying my nerdy desire to drive any new freeway at least once.

I had a good visit with my parents. I returned to Scottsdale two days later.

(c) 2019 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.