Rustler Canyon | Utah Back Country Pilots Association

Rustler Canyon

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Airstrip Info

Frequency 122.90
Elevation 4669 ft
Lat/Long 38.2724, -109.7263
38° 16.344' , -109° 43.578'
Runway 13/31 2800 ft x 12 ft
Dirt Road
Rwy 13 Uphill 0.4%
Ownership SITLA


See more at the National Weather Center

Description: Sitting at the base of the Needles Overlook Rustler Canyon is one of the closest airstrips to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. An intense 4x4 trail named Lockhart Basin connects Moab to the Needles District and runs along the base of the canyon. The road passing through the airstrip heads out to Newberry Butte Overlook which is part of the Indian Creek Wilderness Study. A section of the Hayduke Trail which spans from Zion to Arches National Park can be accessed from here. In the evening the light on the cliffs can offer a spectacular photo opportunity.  

Runway: The runway is very narrow to the north and allows just enough width for Cub-type gear. Past the midpoint camping area to the south the runway is a little wider. Generally the winds are favorable here even if the surrounding areas are not. The runway orientation is well suited for the prevailing winds. Each end has a turn around that will accommodate most type aircraft. The ground is normally firm and smooth enough that high float tires are not required. 
Parking: Even with the narrowing runway multiple aircraft can park at the midpoint. The ground here is firm and flat and offers a good camping location. No cell phone coverage. 
Approach: Nothing over complicated here. This is shared use with a road and a good runway survey is prudent. 
Karen Larson
1 year ago in a Super Cub with 31” tires

Narrow long strip. Encroaching vegetation, but in good shape. Extremely picturesque on a non-hazy day!

1 Like

Gary Hilley
1 year ago in a Super Cub with 31 tires

Rutting has become worse, but still very usable.

1 Like

Roger Rollins
2 years ago in a Maule M5 180C with 8.50 tires

Echo comments by Randy. This is a picturesque spot. With a little work on the runway, could be a destination for several planes at a time. Not smooth, but quite landable. Pretty flat, so either direction for ldg/to. Was just a bit buggy the day we were there. Not much wind.


Randy Owen
2 years ago in a Zenith 701 with 800 x 6 tires

Flew into Rustler Canyon this morning. It is in surprisingly good shape. Landing 31, there is some minor lengthwise rutting (2-3” deep) caused be water runoff for the first couple hundred feet or so (see closeup photos). The surface seemed plenty firm. Several stretches of the runway have weeds/flowers growing in the center, about a foot high. However, there is no sagebrush, so it’s fairly safe to roll through. One morning with a string trimmer would make it about perfect. I’d never been there before, and I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever flown into. This strip is a hidden gem. I saw no other aircraft tracks, only some pretty old vehicle tracks.


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