The grand old United States of America is a big country with a lot of natural wonders, and when I say wonders, I mean wonders.
For a country with some of the largest cities in the world and one of the largest populations, you wouldn’t expect anything like the Grand Canyon, cleaved by the mighty Colorado River and so awe-inspiring in scope and majesty that it leaves adults feeling like children.
Of course, there are many more like Niagara Falls, churning in an eternal maelstrom, or Death Valley, a place devoid of anything but entropy, but – in our opinion – none quite compare to the magnificence and sublime nature of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone was the first national park in America and is one of its largest, spanning almost 3500 square miles. In fact, the preservation of the ecosystems, geology, and biomes in Yellowstone earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1978.
So, it’s beautiful and worth visiting, but how exactly do I visit Yellowstone? Could I do it by plane? In this article, we will explore this beautiful environment and detail to you exactly how to get to Yellowstone, if you are planning to fly there.
Where is Yellowstone?
The first thing to work out when talking about a place in the US is where exactly that thing is. Although Yellowstone is a massive place, it makes up just a fraction of the size of America.
Being the third-largest country in the world, after all, would make finding anywhere inside it a difficult process.
Luckily, we have the federal divisions of different states to help us in our endeavor and Yellowstone resides in not just one, but three of these different states, however the majority is in the state of Wyoming (96%) and the rest is in Montana (3%) and Idaho (1%), respectively.
Wyoming is a state that sits in the north of the US and, although it is close to the middle of the country, it is closest to the west coast.
Wyoming is one of the 10 largest states in the Union, but it is also the least populous with Vermont being the next least populous with 100,000 more people in it and being a 10th of the size of Wyoming.
This means that there is a lot of room for the national park to take up without stepping on anyone’s toes.
However, the problems with reaching this national park are many, as most of the urbanization and the transport infrastructure are concentrated in the south of the state, hundreds of miles from Yellowstone itself.
While this can be challenging, Yellowstone has long fascinated and blown our expectations out of the water. As such, people have made the trek there multiple times, proving that it can be done, sometimes with great difficulty.
Best Airport for Yellowstone
The best airport to visit Yellowstone is not actually in the state of Wyoming. It is in Montana. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is in the city of Bozeman, Montana, which is the fourth-largest city in Montana at 53,000 people.
Although the city of Bozeman is not overly big, the airport is actually the busiest in the state and has flights all year round that leave daily.
The reason is that Montana has a lot of natural areas that people love to explore and use. The two biggest are the Big Sky Resort for skiing and snowboarding and, of course, Yellowstone National Park.
The airport itself is only about 90 miles – so about a 1 and a half hour drive – from the park and, in winter, the only entrance into Yellowstone is the north entrance, closest to Bozeman, making it incredibly important for the park itself.
Another airport that you fly into would be Jackson Hole Airport in the town of Jackson, Wyoming. This airport is the only one in the US that is entirely within a national park, that of Great Teton National Park.
It is also actually closer to Yellowstone than Bozeman airport, with it only being 50 miles or 1 hour and 10 minutes driving time away.
This proximity to two stunning national parks makes this airport very popular and convenient for people to use. However, the airport is quite dear in price and many people, ourselves included, find it far better to fly into Bozeman or another airport.
The Yellowstone Regional Airport, located in Cody, Wyoming, is another excellent choice, if you prepare correctly. It is about 70 to 80 miles away from the park and is just under a 2-hour drive, if you rent a car.
The problem with Cody is that it only has flights from two other airports: Denver and Salt Lake City. If you live in those two places and can find some affordable flights, then it is well worth it, but for anyone else looking to get to Yellowstone, you may have to look elsewhere.
Yellowstone airport is the last one we will look at today and, like Cody before it, it is good, if limited. This airport is located in West Yellowstone, Montana, which is a resort town that acts as Montana’s entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
This airport is the closest to the park itself, being only 3 miles away or a 6-minute drive to the western entrance.
It may be the closest airport to the park and may have the quickest and easiest access, but the problems in actually getting to this airport, leave a lot to be desired.
There is only one other airport and one flight provider that can be had for accessing this airport. These are the airport of Salt Lake City and the airline of Delta.
If you want to go to this airport, you must first get to Salt Lake City, which is a bit of a hassle for those not living in Utah.
These airports are the closest to Yellowstone National Park. To use any of these airports to get to the park, you will have to sacrifice something: either time, convenience, or money.
As such, my recommendation would be to simply go to Bozeman Airport, even though it is further away, it is also the place most equipped to get you to the park without charging you an arm or a leg.
Best Airport For Yellowstone – Summary
Yellowstone is a jewel in the crown of America. It is one of the most awe-inspiring and memorable of places and should be protected. On the other hand, getting to see that jewel up close and personal is a huge hassle when there are only a few airports.
With this guide and a list of the airports surrounding the natural wonder, you should be able to organize the flights that suit you best easily, so you will never miss your chance to see one of the world’s premier natural wonders.