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Fly in to resorts and lodges with runways

Western US, Canada boast many locations

For a pilot, what could be better than a world-class resort or lodge with its own private runway? Here are some of our favorites in the western half of the United States and Canada.

  • Seeley Lake is one of Montana’s most beautiful, yet uncrowded, vacation destinations. Land your seaplane on the lake and dock at the Lodges on Seeley Lake. Meanwhile, the Eagle Port Lodge, seen here, is adjacent to Seeley Lake Airport and offers luxurious rooms and hangars for fly-in pilots. Photo courtesy Lodges on Seeley Lake.
  • The quiet dock at Tsuniah Lake Lodge, British Columbia, where another day of world-class trout fishing awaits. Photo courtesy Eric Brebner.
  • Bald eagles and fly-fishermen complete for rainbow trout at Tsuniah Lake Lodge. Luckily, there are more than enough fish for all. Photo courtesy Eric Brebner.
  • The Eagle Port Lodge, adjacent to Seeley Lake Airport, offers plush accommodations for both you and your airplane. Photo courtesy Lodges on Seeley Lake.
  • An aerial view of the Minam River airstrip. The Minam River Lodge is tucked inside the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area in northeastern Oregon and accessible only via airplane, horseback, or on foot. Photo by Evan Schneider.
  • Departing the 2,400-foot Minam River Airstrip. Photo by Evan Schneider.
  • The historic Minam River Lodge has been completely renovated with modern amenities and rooms designed to let the outdoors in. Photo by Evan Schneider.
  • Minam River Lodge guests talk about the day’s activities while relaxing in the wood-fired hot tub, surrounded by mature forest. Photo by Leon Werdinger.
  • Located within Death Valley National Park and adjacent to the Furnace Creek Airport, the Inn at Death Valley is a lush oasis in an otherwise harsh desert. Photo courtesy Xanterra.
  • The Inn at Death Valley was built with local stone that provides a pleasing contrast to the turquoise tile-lined swimming pool. Photo courtesy Xanterra.
  • Players tee up on the famed Furnace Creek Golf Course and enjoy views of the Panamint Range to the west. Photo courtesy Xanterra.
  • Bar 10 guests can ride ATVs into the Grand Canyon. River rafting and helicopter tours are also offered. Photo courtesy Bar 10 Ranch.
  • In addition to lodge accommodations, Bar 10 Ranch has Conestoga Wagons that each sleep two people. Photo courtesy Bar 10 Ranch.
  • At the upscale Horseshoe Bay Resort, you can rent a pontoon or water-skiing boat, party boat, Waverunner, kayak, inner tube, or stand-up paddle board. The resort also offers fine dining, four golf courses, and junior golf camps. Photo courtesy Horseshoe Bay Resort.
  • The Horseshoe Bay Resort’s accommodations include the hotel tower, apartments, and condominiums up to three bedrooms with fully-equipped kitchens. Photo courtesy Horseshoe Bay Resort.

Tsuniah Lake Lodge, British Columbia, Canada: For over 50 years, the Brebner family has made its superlative lodge the ultimate fly-fishing paradise for pilots. The immaculate 4,000-foot turf runway has hosted everything from Stearmans to Citations. The wildlife and landscape photography opportunities are endless. Take a boat or canoe out on the lake and fish for Dolly Varden or have your freshly caught rainbow grilled for a lakeside lunch. Who will catch more, you or the bald eagles watching from the trees? You can hike and ride horses or mountain bikes before you return to the lodge for a well-earned and delicious meal and then tuck into your cabin for the night, dreaming of tomorrow’s adventures.

Seeley Lake, Montana: Seeley Lake is in the Swan Valley between the Mission Mountains and the huge Bob Marshall Wilderness. Fellow aviators Kerry Bennett and Brian Birch own two properties: one with seaplane access and another beside the airport. At the Lodges on Seeley Lake, you can tie your seaplane to their dock and have free access to watercraft—paddle the canoe trail or take a boat to the steakhouse! Four miles away at Seeley Lake Airport is their gorgeous Eagle Port Lodge; keep your airplane in the hangar and enjoy the same lake access or ride a snowmobile in winter.

Minam River Lodge, Oregon: Newly renovated and re-opened in May 2017, this lodge is nestled on 126 acres inside northeast Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness and accessed via a 2,400-foot turf runway. Hand-built log cabins (and wall tents, teepees, or the lodge), an organic garden, wood-fired hot tub, rustic sauna, and massage treatments ensure a healthy and relaxed stay. Fish, ride horses, or hike along the river, surrounded by deep forest.

A Stearman on short final to the private turf runway at Tsuniah Lake Lodge, British Columbia's premier fly-in resort lodge. Photo courtesy Eric Brebner.

The Oasis at Death Valley, California: The famed Furnace Creek Resort, adjacent to the Furnace Creek Airport, is undergoing a $50 million transformation that includes a name change to The Oasis at Death Valley. The resort has two hotels and the 18-hole Furnace Creek Golf Course, the world’s lowest at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn at Death Valley, usually closed May through October, will re-open in November 2017 with new luxury casitas, gardens, and dining areas and remain open year-round. The Ranch at Death Valley, with its palm-and-oasis atmosphere, is evolving too, becoming water-neutral, with a Spanish town square, Western saloon, hitching posts for horses, and more, and is open year-round.

Bar 10 Ranch, Arizona: Fly to the 4,500-foot Grand Canyon Bar Ten Airstrip on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and become part of the down-home atmosphere of this family owned working cattle ranch that also offers ATV and horseback rides, hiking, helicopter tours, and Colorado River whitewater rafting. Back on the rim, try your hand at skeet shooting before you settle in for a homemade dinner buffet. Evening entertainment varies from campfire fellowship to a boot-stomping country-western song-and-dance show with the Bar 10 guys and gals. And don’t miss the chance to fly over the canyon—get the Grand Canyon Aeronautical Chart and plan to fly across the canyon, inside one of the charted corridors.

Black Jack’s Crossing, the golf course at the 27,000-acre Lajitas Golf Resort just north of the Mexican border, has been named the #1 Resort Course in Texas by Texas Outside. The course is named for U.S. Army General “Black Jack” Pershing, who pursued Pancho Villa across the Rio Grande. Photo courtesy Lajitas Golf Resort.

Lajitas Resort and Spa, Texas: Texas’ first destination resort and spa, Lajitas is tucked away in West Texas between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park and offers a private 7,500-foot runway for guests. Activities include a zip-line, birding, shooting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, jeep rentals, museum, spa, fitness center and golf. Black Jack’s Crossing, opened in 2012, was designed by superstar Lenny Wadkins and named the “Most Beautiful Course in Texas” by Golf magazine.

Horseshoe Bay Resort, Texas: Land at the 6,000-foot-long Horseshoe Bay Resort Airport to enjoy all this full-service AAA four-diamond-rated golf resort has to offer. Located on the shores of Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin, the 385-room resort offers 72 holes of golf, waterfront dining and rooms, vacation suites with kitchens, a spa, marina, fishing, and tennis courts and is surrounded by over 30 wineries.

Crista Worthy
Crista V. Worthy
Crista V. Worthy has been flying around the United States with her pilot-husband Fred and their children since 1995, and writing about fun places to fly since 2006. She has single-engine land and sea ratings. Her favorite places to explore are the backcountry strips of Idaho and Utah's red rock country. She currently lives in Idaho and serves as editor of The Flyline, the monthly publication of the Idaho Aviation Association.
Topics: Canada, U.S. Travel

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