A Side Trip From The Famous Grand Canyon

by Yasmina Soria Platt
Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2019 issue

My husband, Jared, and I recently took a trip (a 10-year wedding anniversary trip!) to an area of Arizona’s Grand Canyon we had never been to – Hualapai’s Indian Reservation. I could write a blog about the wonderful 35-plus-mile hiking trip we did to multiple gorgeous waterfalls past Supai, the reservation’s “capital,” but we are not here to discuss hiking/camping trips. On our return trip from the wonderful experience, though, we stopped at the Grand Canyon Caverns on the original Route 66, near Peach Springs, because I had seen in a magazine where one could dine inside the caverns. I’m always looking for unique experiences and that sounded like one. It sure was… but, in addition to that, we also learned that one could fly into the Grand Canyon Caverns Airport (L37) and partake in other activities. That’s what I want to tell you about here.

Grand Canyon Caverns Airport

The Grand Canyon Caverns Airport (L37) (https://www.airnav.com/airport/L37), owned by Grand Canyon Caverns & Inn, LLC, is a privately-owned, public-use airport with a 5,100 x 45 ft. gravel runway (5/23) at an elevation of 5,397 feet. Keep in mind that the airfield does not sell fuel. The closest airport with fuel may be Kingman, Arizona (KIGM) (https://www.airnav.com/airport/KIGM) to the southwest, but L37 is strategically located within walking/biking distance of their recreational complex.

For more information and a video of a takeoff from the airport, visit: https://gccaverns.com/grand-canyon-caverns-airport/

Recreational Complex

As its name implies, the recreational complex has caverns, the largest dry caverns in the U.S., located 200 to 300 feet below the surface, and accessible via an elevator (or multiple sets of stairs). The caverns date back 345 million years, at the bottom of an ancient sea. You can read more about its history on their website: https://gccaverns.com/about/history.

During our visit to the caverns and lunch at “The Grotto,” we had the opportunity to meet owner John McEnulty, who offered to give us a private tour.

In addition, there’s a gas station, gift shop, motel, ranch house, campground, one underground suite inside the cave, convenience market, and (technically) two restaurants – the regular restaurant by the gift shop and The Grotto inside the caves. A variety of tours are also offered: one and two-day rafting trips covering the last 70 miles of the Colorado River; horseback riding; wagon rides; cattle drives; and a rodeo, in addition to tours of the caverns, of course.

Conclusion

We only live once and life is short, so make it count! Travel, fly, explore, experience…!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yasminia Platt has been with the international airport planning and development consulting firm AECOM since 2016. She also writes an aviation travel blog called “Air Trails” (www.airtrails.weebly.com), in addition to articles on pilot destinations for Midwest Flyer Magazine. Pilots can locate articles Yasmina Platt has written by going to www.MidwestFlyer.comhttp://www.MidwestFlyer.com and typing in her name in the search box.

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