Jump to content


The Grandeur of Yellowstone

Recommended Posts

The Grandeur of Yellowstone

For 2019-06-15

Today we shall take a couple of hours to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This will work best if we fly low in the valleys where possible to get a good sense of the landscape. (In some stretches, we shall fly high over the mountain ridges.)


Flight Description       
We depart from Red Lodge [KRED] to follow the majestic Beartooth Highway (US Route 212) over the Beartooth mountains. The first set of waypoints [BEAR1 – BEAR4] show the way through the valley and up onto the high country of the pass. We shall have to climb to 11,000 feet to clear the terrain. 

We then descend to Luckinbill Airstrip (WY06), a rough grass field with a line of trees just south of the strip. (Some pilots may wish to execute a touch-and-go or simply a low flyover.) Bearing sharply north after takeoff, we proceed along US 212 in the valley of the Clark Fork of the Yellowstone River [CLARK]. And then turn southwest over Cooke City [COOKE], over the Park's North East Entry Gate [NEGATE] and into the Lamar Valley [LAMAR], home of Yellowstone's bison herd.

We reach the waypoint [YCAN1] which sets us up for the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The adventurous pilot might be tempted to follow the canyon by flying below the rim. At [LFALLS] you will get a view of the stunning Lower Falls of the Yellowstone – which drop twice the depth of Niagara Falls. Pop up quickly to pass over the waterfall and then enjoy the Upper Falls [UFALLS]. (Again, the waypoints [YCAN1-YCAN2-YCAN3] help mark the turns in the canyon. At two points you will come to what seems to be a fork in the canyon. In both instances, keep to the right.)

Then climb out to the west and follow the Norris Canyon Road, past some fire-burnt areas, to the Norris Geyser Basin [NORGB], the most dynamic of the Park's thermal regions. Steamboat Geyser, at the south end of the basin, is the world's tallest currently-active geyser. (It blows only erratically, sometimes with years separating the eruptions. Since 2017, it has been more active on a more-or-less monthly schedule.) Turn north and fly along the Grand Loop Road, before diving down Kingman Pass [KPASS] to Mammoth Hot Springs [MAMOTH] (not depicted) and then a landing just outside the park at Gardiner [29S].

Next, turn northwest and climb up over the Gallatin Range – you may need 11,000' or more to crest the peaks – to visit two of the nation's famous skiing resorts. First we fly over the Yellowstone Club's golf course and resort (photoreal) [YCLUB] and pass the ski slopes of Pioneer Mountain [PIONEER]. This is a private residential resort whose membership includes many world-famous personalities. We proceed to turn over the grand setting of Cedar Mountain with its enclosed lake and waterfall [CEDAR]. Then we examine the peak of Lone Mountain [LONE] and optionally slalom down the slopes to the expansive (photoreal) Big Sky resort below [BSKY].

Next turn southeast 14nm over the ridges to the land at Nine Quarter Circle Ranch (1MT0). This is a grass strip that the owners say can handle twins – so no worries for the skilled pilot. Just approach East-to-West and reverse the directions for takeoff. (The high altitude runway is sloped.) This long-successful dude ranch might be able to serve up a steak sandwich with all the fixin's – you can see the smoke from the working kitchens.

Next, fly over Sage Peak and Mount Hebgen to land at West Yellowstone (KWYS). Located here is the Aerial Fire Center, a base for smokejumpers and tankers whose firefighting resources serve the broader region.

Now depart to fly low-and-very-slow over the Park's most famous thermal features. Start with the Western Entry Gate [WGATE] and follow Route 191 along the Madison River to Madison Camp [MADISON] where the highway turns south. Within six miles you will see the extensive Lower Geyser Basin and turn over the steam emanating from the colorful Fountain Paint Pots [PAINT]. Then 2nm to the southwest to pass over the Great Prismatic Hot Springs [PRISM]. This spectacular sight might be worth a quick circle to take in the colors.

Then, following the highway, we turn over the Black Opal Pool and the West Geyser [WESTG] and enter the grand Upper Basin with its large number of geysers. Tracing the Firehole River, we bend at Castle Geyser [CASTLG] before flying over the historic Old Faithful Inn [OFINN] and Old Faithful itself [FAITHG]. Again, it might be worth circling over the complex to see Old Faithful in action – in the simulator it is not continuous although it does erupt more often than the real thing.

Finally, we turn south for 50nm to enter Jackson Hole, admire Jackson Lake, pass over the famous Jackson Lake Lodge [JLLOD] and turn to the southwest over the Snake River [SNAKE]. The dramatic Grand Tetons to our west will provide a spectacular backdrop. We land safely at Jackson Hole Airport [KJAC]. We have dinner reservations at the Blue Lion.

The route is 273nm and will involve some low-and-slow flight coupled with some climbs over the mountain peaks. Recommended aircraft: modestly quick GA aircraft with a speed of 150-170 KTAS or more. Some popular options include the Beech Bonanza, Vans RV7, Wittman Tailwind, SIAI Marchetti SF.260, and Lancair Legacy. Anything you like will be fine. Note that two landings will be grass strips. No need for a high altitude cruiser – we shall be flying mostly scenic legs near the ground – for the sheer fun of it.

Strongly recommended scenery: Orbx Central Rocky Mountains region which includes Yellowstone Park. North American Landclass and Vector should be fine. The flight will be especially enjoyable for those who own the detailed photoreal scenery.
Recommended are the Orbx payware airports for West Yellowstone and Jackson Hole.

The digital flightplan (in *.pln and *.gfp formats) is available here.
(GTN users might look at the Little Nav Map rendition of the *.pln to identify the many named waypoints.)
Also included is a Pilot's Guide to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

Simulator Date and Weather
For departure, please set your simulator time for 5:00pm Local (2300 UTC). We shall fly real weather if possible. If we have low cloud cover that impedes our mountain sight-seeing, we shall choose the weather of Tuesday, June 11 at 2000 UTC.

Where & When
Date and time: Saturday June 15, 2019. 1800 UTC.
Where: AVSIM RTWR Teamspeak - Casual Flights Channel
Teamspeak Server Address: ts.teamavsim.com
Cross-Platform Multiplayer: JoinFS. (FSX, FSX-SE, and P3D).

Multiplayer Experience
If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much for this 

I had a very fine flight over an area that was unknown to me

Saw many geysers and fumaroles-at least 3 of each

Orbyx has made a fine job of the scenery-active  waterfalls etc

All your work much appreciated- I flew in a Alabeo Cruz Pipersport with your .pln installed-an easy plane to see out of


  • Upvote 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy to hear that you enjoyed this.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, i have been rebuilding my pc the last couple of weeks,


seems a bit longer before i can rejoin.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...