We go to Lake Pillsbury each year to go boating and camping, and sometimes if needed I’ll fly the 40 minutes it takes to get there (if business gets in the way, or I need to fly someone in or out). In which case my wife drives a truck and boat there on a nasty dirt road for a total of about a five hour trip. I know what you are thinking. I do drive more than fly to Pillsbury, so I’m not that bad of a husband.
There is an airstrip there called Gravelly Valley, and its a bit rough, both the surface and the characters you find there. Its generally considered a “one-way” airstrip meaning you have to land one way and take off the other, because it sits right at the base of Hull Mountain. But really you do have some room and I’ve heard of small planes landing both directions. My plane, when considering this airstrip, isn’t small so I do land the correct way and I’m very careful to make sure I have a good stable approach.
Its rough, there is no doubt about it, and its roughest right at the beginning near the road. So if you fly in, come in high over the road and land a little long. Its tough to do because you are staring at Hull Mountain, but there is plenty of runway and its slightly uphill. Its rough because of the good size gravel, and also because yahoos like to spin doughnuts on the runway in spite of signs that say it is a runway.
But I wouldn’t call them yahoos to their face. Right at the end of the runway is a very busy shooting range where from the noise its obvious people carry big guns here. (actually, I’ve been shooting there myself with my brother-in-law and it was fun).
You can walk (or taxi your plane) to a campsite near the lake and if you fly in you may not have a choice, but it isn’t a very nice one (kind of hot and dry). A better one is up the road two miles at Fuller Grove campground.
The famous Pillsbury rope swing. The tree fell down a few years back. Thank god. Now we zip line at the same spot.
This is what Pillsbury is famous for. Calm, glassy water.