Flying magazine for pilots flying airplanes and helicopters in the Southwest
SW Aviator Magazine Aviation Magazine - Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah
General aviation flight magazine
current past airport classified events links contact
SW Aviator Feb/Mar 2001
SW Aviator Magazine is available in print free at FBOs and aviation-related businesses throughout the Southwest or by subscription.
- - - - - -
Airshows, Fly-ins, Seminars
2001 Aviation Events Calendar
The web's most comprehensive database of Southwest area aviation events.
- - - - - -
Site of the Minute
Featured Site:
A continuosly changing collection of links to our favorite aviation related web sites.
- - - - - -
Used Aircraft For Sale
- - - - - -

The Marble Canyon Lodge Restaurant

Marble Canyon, Arizona
Mooney M-20E at St. George

Story by Gerrit Paulsen
Photos by Cindy and Gerrit Paulsen

The Marble Canyon Lodge is stunningly situated in a deep, wide canyon between the majestic 3000-foot sheer Vermillion Cliffs and the Colorado River gorge, along a remote stretch of the Colorado at the very northern reach of Grand Canyon National Park. With Glenn Canyon and Lake Powell to the northeast and the Grand Canyon to the south and west, the flight here is worthwhile for the spectacular scenery alone; landing for a nice meal in these majestic surrounding is just an added indulgent bonus.
After a gorgeous early morning flight from Albuquerque we took our time circling down into Marble Canyon, both to admire the abundant geologic wonders surrounding us, and to remain within the 3-mile radius of the airport exempted from the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area airspace restrictions.
The Marble Canyon airstrip’s canyon setting and relatively short narrow runway (3715’ by 35’, with scruffy desert vegetation narrowing the usable width by several feet), makes it a moderately challenging destination — perfectly adequate for most GA aircraft and pilots, but with very little margin for error, and ruthlessly unforgiving of unprepared or sloppy pilots. We chose to land uphill on runway 03, which also provides a clear approach path. Trees, the Lodge, and a 200-foot cliff complicate runway 21 arrivals. Errant pilots who land long and downslope on runway 21 are quickly punished with a trip through the rough unimproved overrun at the far end, followed by a 300-foot vertical drop into the Colorado River gorge.
Visiting pilots are asked to register at the Lodge office, which is directly across the street (US Highway 89A) from the aircraft parking area. There is a reasonable landing fee at this privately owned and maintained public-use airport, but it is generously waived for patrons of the Lodge and restaurant.
After registering our arrival, we made our way through the eclectic, well-stocked Trading Post — that effectively serves the needs of both tourists and local Navajo — to the restaurant. The Marble Canyon Lodge’s restaurant is divided into two distinct areas: an informal diner section with comfortable booth seating and a classic lunch counter, and a more formally appointed dining room with elegant wooden tables and chairs and a large corner fireplace. Both sections of the restaurant are decorated with Native American arts and crafts and fine Navajo weavings, along with vintage photos of the area’s rich history.

Mooney M-20E at St. George

We pulled into a comfortable booth by the front window, with a nice view of the aircraft parking area and the vast expanse of remote solitude beyond. The first thing that caught my eye inside the restaurant was a steam table containing an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Okay, I didn’t need to see a menu; I knew what I was having. There are two levels for the breakfast buffet: The cold buffet ($6.25) is for lighter appetites (not mine), and consists of cereal, fruit, juices, yogurt, and assorted baked goods. Me and my heartier appetite went for the hot buffet, which includes everything on the cold buffet plus scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, homestyle potatoes, biscuits and gravy, French toast, and pancakes (a gluttonous bargain at $8.50).
My attractive dining companion elected to see a menu. She found that all of the aforementioned items are also available individually and freshly prepared from the breakfast menu, with prices ranging from $1.95 for a side order of fruit to $4.95 to $6.75 for the hot entrées. There were also several tempting House Specialties, including a breakfast burrito ($6.95) and a B.E.L.T. (Bacon, fried Egg, Lettuce, and Tomato) on toast with homestyle potatoes ($6.95). My copilot chose the Eggs Begay, another House Specialty for $6.95. This decadent morning treat is Marble Canyon’s version of eggs benedict — a traditional Navajo frybread topped with diced ham, two eggs any style, and hollandaise sauce. Yummy.
After breakfast we spent some quality time in the Trading Post, marveling at the quality and craftsmanship of the Native American arts and crafts for sale. We then burned off another calorie or two by walking over to the nearby Navajo Bridge. The original 1929 span is now a pedestrian bridge, with fabulous dizzying views to the Colorado River 470 feet below. The scenery was just as grand as we circled up out of the canyon after a bumpy but uneventful takeoff from runway 21.
The Marble Canyon Lodge Restaurant is open seven days a week during the summer tourist season, serving breakfast from 6 to 11, lunch 11 to 5, and dinner from 5 to 9:30. Hours are the same in the winter off season (that coincides with the snow closure of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, usually November/December through March/April), with the exception that the restaurant closes on weekdays during the lunch hours of 11 to 5. Keep in mind that Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Call 800-726-1789 or 928-355-2225 for more information.
The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibility for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising fom it
SW Aviator Magazine • 1530 Girard Blvd NE • Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: 505.256.7031 • Fax: 505.256.3172 • e-mail:
©2001 Southwest Regional Publishing, Inc.