Saturday, August 16, 2008

Idaho and Yellowstone Airplane Camping

Big Creek Idaho airstrip
This past long weekend, we made it out on our airplane camping trip to Idaho and Yellowstone. I have been talking about it in my past blogs about a future Yellowstone flying trip and general airplane camping thoughts. It was a great success and incredible what we experienced in a five days.

  • Beautiful scenary
  • Beautiful airstrips
  • Great camping (similar to car/tent camping without the trailers around.)
  • Some out of the way restaurants for some fun dining.
  • Easy access to Yellowstone which is hard by car
  • A bit of money on gas, but the rest of the trip was very cheap.

Our overall route: klmo-lar-kafo-ksun-u87-k2u7-k0u0-k3u2-ku60-kwys-dnw-lar-klmo

Getting there

The weather was IFR in Denver area, but was VFR in Idaho, so we filed and took off. Look at my weather planning blog entry for how I go about my planning. The departure was fairly routine and there was some slight turns made in Wyoming to avoid some thunderstorms. Our fuel stop was in Afton, Wyoming (KAFO). There was a thunderstorm on the normal approach path, so I decided to cancel IFR and proceed VFR around the storm and to the airport. This worked out pretty well. This was the first trip in IFR with XM Weather using my new Anywhere Travel Companion, and I really appreciated it. I also have a stormscope and the combination is nice.

Desired VFR route: klmo-lar-kafo
IFR Route: klmo-yammi-lar-v4-grips-kafo

Afton was a nice place to stop with cheap self-serve fuel prices and a brand new Afton FBO building. The people there were very nice and offered their courtesy car for the short distance to the burger barn near the field or any of the other restaurants. We had our own lunch, so we passed this time, but it is nice to know it is there and easy for next time.

From Afton to our first destination (Smiley Creek, U87) was VFR and pretty easy. Around Sun Valley, ID it gets very pretty.

Idaho Sawtooth Range

VFR route: kafo-ksun-u87

Our Destinations

The places we visited this trip were Smiley Creek, ID (U87), Big Creek, ID (U60), and West Yellowstone (KWYS). There is a bit to say about each one, so I think I will leave it for separate blog entries. All three were great places to visit!

To Big Creek: u87-k2u7-k0u0-k3u2-ku60
To West Yellowstone: ku60-kwys

Big Creek Campground

Camping at each place was great. This picture is of the Big Creek campsite.

Getting back

The weather was nice coming back and flying back along Teton National Park and the Wind River Range is beautiful. There were clear skies, a tail wind, but a few bumps. 3.5 hours back from Yellowstone and my son slept most of the way.

Teton National Park

Route: kwys-dnw-lar-klmo


This will be a trip to remember for a long time. Hopefully it will be the start of more trips like this. As I recount our trip, there were a number of things that were highlights for me and my 6 year old son.

  • Flying out IFR to an area with mostly clear skies and then landing on grass
  • Teepees in Smiley Creek
  • Hummingbirds in Smiley Creek
  • My son hanging out with a new friend
  • Enjoying campfires in Big Creek and Yellowstone
  • Horses in Big Creek the paint pots in Yellowstone
  • Seeing old faithful from the air
  • The grizzly center in West Yellowstone


If you get a chance and you have interest in camping, mix up the airplane and camping. It is a great experience!

I will do separate blog entries on Smiley Creek, Big Creek, and West Yellowstone next.



Brian said...

Follow on blog entries are:

Smiley Creek Airstrip and Camping
Big Creek Airstrip and Camping
West Yellowstone Airport Camping

Anonymous said...

You have enjoyed beautiful sights on your airplane camping trip.

Hank Freid said...

It is really nice way to enjoy a trip. It is not difficult now to prepare an adventure trip. Here you can get suggestions, tips of professional to change your travel into adventure travel