Sunday, July 13, 2008

Airplane Camping

I still dream of some airplane camping; this is part of the reason I chose to buy a Cessna 182 and currently don't have the wheel pants on. Flying to a location and hopefully camping right there on the field. Hopefully, a nicely wooded area next to the air strip which is probably a backcountry airstrip. There are a few paved strips that seem to have some good camping next to them.

I will try to capture a few ones higher on my list to go check out. Please comment and tell me if you have some favorites or really enjoy these. I have not camped at any of these yet and have just landed at the Idaho ones. Beware that a number of these are more difficult backcountry strips and need training by an instructor such as the ones at McCall Mountain/Canyon Flying Seminars. I have taken the basic course and written about my experience, and it was a good one.
Web sites

I ran into this web site which has some interesting airplane camping info and list of airplane camping places. SW Aviator has a number of interesting articles on some of the strips and airplane camping in general. I found an interesting article on airplane camping on

Guide Books

There are crutial backcountry guide books available for Idaho, Utah, and Montana at QEI Publishing. These and The Flyer's Recreation Guide and The Western US Pilot's Guide are available at the Pilot Getaways Web Store.


Idaho has many backcountry strips. The strips were put in place many years ago since there are many ranches tucked into the mountains without any easy access other than planes. Then some wilderness areas were established, but the air strips remain and are needed/used.

3u2 Johnson Creek. Very well known and a beautiful strip. It has sprinklers to keep the grass strip nice along with nice camping facilites including showers. You can see it live with the Johnson Creek web cam or with a time lapse here. Fishing is nearby.

U60 Big Creek. This one is nice since it has both camping and a lodge. So if you get tired of camping you can go over to the lodge for food or sleep. There is horse riding available; fishing is down the hill. Here is some information about the lodge at Big Creek.

U87 Smiley Creek. A little bit easier strip although high altitude. There is the Smiley Creek Lodge nearby with food and lodging. There is camping on the field too. Here is the web cam for Smiley Creek.

Many, many others exist. Those two are the ones I wonder about taking my family to first.


Kwys West Yellowstone. I have talked about this one before in my blog about Yellowstone and Teton. It is a paved strip with nice camping on the field.

Many backcountry strips exist in Montana. Here are a few.

53u Ferndale : Near Glacier National Park

8u2 Schafer, MT I saw this mentioned in the SW Flying Guide book being a good one for camping.

8u4 spotted bear, MT

3U7 Benchmark, MT


3s7 Nehalem Beach State Park, OR. This looks like a good one for the future. Right near the beach and part of a state park. Other camping exists on the field for car campers and the plane campers are separate. There is some good information on the Nehalem state park on the Oregon State Park web site. The map on that web site gives a good idea of the facilities and area around the airport.


The one I have looked into already is Big Bend Camping. I did one post earlier in my blog on Big Bend. Texas is a big state, so I wonder if there are some other good ones.


Camping is available on these fields according to the Western US Pilots Guide:
0Q5 Shelter Cove. Miscellaneous information on Shelter cove.
S51 Klamath Glen. Information around Klamath Glen Camping Resort from


Utah Backcountry pilots association is key for checking out this area.
Mineral Canyon UT75. Southwest Aviator article on Mineral Canyon.
Mexican Mountain. Southwest Aviator article on Mexican Mountain.


kors Orcas Island. Not camping on airport, but camping on the island

A Possible Airplane Camping Trip

Here is a possible week long trip idea. Idaho, California, Oregon Beach, San Juan Islands, then back through Idaho and Yellowstone:

Maybe someday...



Eugene D. said...


I happened to want a review on the Anywheremap ATC and found your blog. I really enjoy your posts.

I would strongly reccommend the San Juan Islands, I live on Salt Spring Island in BC Canada which is very close to the San Juan's. I have flown into Friday Harbor (KFHR) and it is a beautiful place to land and have lunch.

Your blog has inspired me to start one for my own flying. Feel free to stop by.


Brian said...

Since this post, I have written other blogs about airplane camping. You can read about them in my other blogs about airplane camping listed here.

Ambreen Tariq said...

i always went for california rv camping and called it the luxurious camping and vacations of my life. but after reading your post, i came to know that airplane camping is the next thing in the field of camping and we should also try this out.

Michigan Camping said...

Airplane camping is quite a expensive vacation program and a few people can afford it. plus the fun of visiting different places while passing by the roads is missing in airplane camping

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