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.
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.
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.
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.
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.