Guide To The Williams Alpine Coaster In Arizona

alpine coaster arizona

All it took to get me to Williams was an alpine coaster. For as long as lived in Arizona, I’ve never spent a night in the small town on Route 66. As a dad, I’ve had to make a few stops at the excellent Bearizona park just east of town. But not once did I manage to spend the night or do anything else. 

Once I heard about the Canyon Coaster Adventure Park, I knew it was time to head to Williams. 

What Is An Alpine Coaster?

Imagine an unpowered roller coaster gliding down a track and you have the general idea. From what I understand, not all alpine coasters are like the Canyon Coaster, which allows the rider to get powered to the top while riding in their cart. From what I understand, some coasters require the rider to hike to the top. 

Alpine slides are a bit different. This is more like a bobsled track minus ice, and it looks considerably slower but still fun. I plan to work an alpine sled into a future trip. 

What To Know About The Canyon Coaster

Unlike a rollercoaster, you have some control of the speed of your alpine coaster. It has a brake to slow you down. Park employees like you to keep a certain distance — about 80 feet — from the next coaster. If you have a younger person with you, you can have two people on the coaster (look for the size restrictions later in the post). 

Here are some other fun facts.

Length And Speed

According to Canyon Coaster Adventure Park, the track is a mile long. I think they’re including the uphill part of the track. According to the Strava data I collected, the actual downhill portion is about .6 miles.

I averaged 20.5 miles per hour. The high point of the track is at 7,094 feet of altitude and the low is 6,782. So that’s a drop of about 300 feet in less than two-thirds of a mile! My high speed was 37.7 mph. 

The ride felt faster than I expected. I could really feel the twists, turns and G-forces. All in all, it was more fun than I expected. 

My total downhill moving time was 1:53.

The Line Moves Slowly

The line can be pretty slow. We probably spent 20 minutes in line on a hot Saturday in July. You might wait even longer when the weather is more conducive to cruising around Route 66. 

alpine coaster arizona

You Can’t Take Your Own Video

Canyon Coaster Adventure Park won’t let you bring your own camera aboard to take video, unfortunately. Surprise, surprise — they will sell you video of your ride for $15. They have some nice edits that includes some B roll, still photos and drone footage (the drone footage won’t actually be you, though). 

The edit is nice, but I’d rather get raw footage and edit it myself.

Skip The Summer Mountain Tubes

During our visit, the park also offered a package deal to add a few rides down the tube slides. Honestly, your money is better spent skipping the tubes and getting another coaster ride. The tubes are just way too slow.

Your kids may object — you can tell them that this plan is 8-year-old endorsed!


Here’s the price info, straight from the Canyon Coaster Adventure Park website:

Single Ride – $20

over 54″ tall

Small Child Ticket – $10

38” – 54” tall and minimum of 3 years old with a driver 18 years or older.

Double Riding

Double riding is permitted if the combined weight does not exceed 375 lbs in dry conditions or 330 lbs in wet conditions. The operator must be 18 years or older and each rider requires a ticket.

Where Else To Find An Alpine Coaster

Right now, Colorado, Vermont and Utah seem to be the best places to find an alpine coaster in the U.S. has a solid roundup of alpine coasters in the U.S. and they’re smart enough to distinguish them from alpine slides.

What Else To Know About Williams

Most of Williams and its attractions are sandwiched between two one-way street. There’s a pretty extreme amount of Route 66 and Old West kitsch, especially since I’ve had a near lifetime of that stuff and am over it. 

You’ll hear a lot of foreign languages in Williams — because those European visitors definitely have not gotten there fill of such kitsch!


First off, food seemed higher-priced than usual in Williams. But there’s some good stuff to find. Grand Canyon Brewing and Frontier BBQ and Beer Garden are some of the most kid-friendly restaurants you’ll ever see.

Grand Canyon Brewing had a solid variety on their kids menu, plus an upstairs area with arcade games. Between the menu and the overall vibe, kids will stay happy while you have dinner and a few beers. They make a nice charcuterie platter based on a massive pretzel, plus they have typical pub food.

grand canyon brewing charcuterie

Frontier is also dialed on the kid-friendly fun, from a mining activity to cornhole and other games. And parents, you should like the food. They know how to smoke a proper brisket, and the cowboy beans and Brussels sprouts are top-quality sides. I honestly like the beers they had on tap better than what Grand Canyon offered. 

Hardcore coffee people who know their stuff won’t find Williams up to par. I’m not saying the coffee is bad, but you’re not going to find anything like real Third Wave coffee here. 


Williams has a bit of a dire hotel situation. Here’s the deal: You want to be in the downtown area so you can move around town without driving (it’s all walkable). But that means settling for a downtown hotel, none of which seem all that spectacular. 

The place I booked, for example, didn’t have the room I’d booked on They also didn’t have anything big enough for a family of 3. 

I walked around a bit and fortunately found a room at the Westerner Motel. This was not a fancy place at all, but the front office staff was also by far the friendliest I encountered while trying tyo scoop up a room last minute. If you stay here during the summer, immediately crank the air conditioning so you can get a good night of sleep. 

Other Activities

I mentioned Bearizona, which is a great zoo-ish sort of attraction. You drive your car right through the animal exhibits. It’s more fun than it sounds.

There’s also the Grand Canyon Railway, which is probably the best way to go see the canyon. You’ll get to soak in the scenery instead of driving, which is always great. 

grand canyon deer farm arizona

There’s also the Grand Canyon Deer Farm about 8 miles down the road. It’s honestly a hoot — I’m not even bothered by all the deer drool on my shoelaces. 

Into cycling? There are some pretty solid gravel riding routes around. Williams isn’t known for road biking or mountain biking, though.

The Bottom Line: Thanks To The Alpine Coaster, Williams Deserves A Visit

Judging from Canyon Coaster Adventure Park, alpine coasters are great fun. And Arizona so far only has one. That’s a good reason to put Williams on your itinerary.

This post just might contain affiliate links. Fear not, they’re non-spammy and benign. Hey, I have to keep this thing running somehow!

By Wandering Justin

Writer. Traveler. Gastronomic daredevil. Fitness fan. Homebrewer. Metal dude \m/. Cat and dog lover.

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