Flying to Yellowstone and Grand Teton? Here’s What you Need to Know


Knowing which airport is best for arrival and which entrance you will be using for your Yellowstone and Grand Teton vacation will help reduce the stress of planning your trip.

Here is some information that will help you with airport locations, distance to entrances, ticket prices, and route options for your Yellowstone and Grand Teton vacation.

Everyone has their preferred method of travel. The purpose of this article is to help you connect the dots between your location and Yellowstone. If you haven’t been to Yellowstone or if you live a far distance away, you probably don’t know what flights or driving routes are available. The truth is, there are lots of options. This article breaks down the travel options so you can find what is best for you.

Yellowstone has 5 Entrances

The five Yellowstone entrances are:

  1. The North Entrance-located in Gardiner, MT
  2. The Northeast Entrance-located in Silver Gate, MT
  3. The East Entrance-located in Cody, WY
  4. The South Entrance-located in Jackson Hole, WY
  5. The West Entrance-located in West Yellowstone, MT

If you are planning to visit the Grand Teton National Park, you can get there from Yellowstone through the South Entrance.

Grand Teton has 3…no, wait…4 Entrances

There are three main entrances to the Grand Teton:

  1. The Moose Entrance
  2. The Granite Canyon Entrance
  3. The Moran Entrance

The Granite Canyon Entrance offers a slower-paced scenic drive into the park and gets you close to Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake. If you are in a hurry to get to the park you can keep driving to Jackson and then take Highway 89 to the Moose Entrance or the Moran Entrance. So where is entrance number four? As mentioned above, you can get to the Grand Teton by going through the South Entrance of Yellowstone. There is no formal entrance station into the Grand Teton through Yellowstone’s South Entrance.

Nearby Airports

There are easily accessible airports near each of the entrances mentioned above: the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, the Yellowstone Airport, the Idaho Falls Regional Airport, the Yellowstone Regional Airport, and the Jackson Hole Airport.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is the closest airport to the North Entrance of Yellowstone. The West Entrance is also accessible from this airport.

Pros:

-You can get a nonstop flight from airports all over the United States.

-It’s the only airport that serves as a year-round gateway to Yellowstone.

-Bozeman services the most airlines including Alaska, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Sun Country, and United.

-Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has car rental agencies both onsite and offsite.

-This airport also has everything you need to be comfortable at the airport: several restaurants, gift shops, galleries, a post office, a pet relief area, a mother’s room, and free Wi-Fi

-Located only 1.5 hours away from Yellowstone

Cons:

-Tickets may cost more as Bozeman is not a major metropolitan area

Yellowstone Airport

The Yellowstone Airport is located in West Yellowstone, MT and is very close to the West Entrance

Pros:

-Yellowstone Airport is only 2 miles away from Yellowstone National Park

-You can rent cars at the airport through Avis and Budget

-There are plenty of lodging options nearby

Cons:

-Yellowstone is a Delta Airlines exclusive airport, so if you have frequent flyer miles with another airline, you will have to save them for another trip.

-Tickets may cost more because this airport is not within a major metropolitan area.

Idaho Falls Regional Airport

The Idaho Falls Regional Airport is located in Idaho Falls, ID and serves the West Entrance or the South Entrance. It’s about the same distance to both entrances from the airport.

Pros:

-If you live in the Western United States, you can get a nonstop flight from major airports such as Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Denver (A nonstop flight definitely cuts down on travel time, giving you more time to enjoy the sites).

-Pet friendly with a pet relief area.

-Other terminal amenities include: ATMs, free Wi-Fi, and electronic charging stations.

-There are more car rental agencies to choose from: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Rent-A-Car, Hertz, or National.

Cons:

-The Idaho Falls Regional Airport is 109 miles or roughly two hours away from Yellowstone and Grand Teton, so you still have a distance to travel to get there.

-This airport only services three airlines: Delta, United Express, and Allegiant Air.

-Tickets may cost more as this airport is not located in a major metropolitan area.

Yellowstone Regional Airport

The Yellowstone Regional Airport is located in Cody, WY and services the East Entrance to the park.

Pros:

-The Yellowstone Regional Airport is only an hour away from the East Entrance of Yellowstone.

-Car rentals are available from Avis, Thrifty, Budget, Hertz, and Dollar.

-Commercial ground transportation is also available through Cody Cab, Town Taxi, and Explore Cody Transportation, but keep in mind that you will need a car to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Cons:

-The only airport amenity is the full-service restaurant located in the terminal. The restaurant does offer a full menu and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

-Tickets may cost more because this airport is not within a major metropolitan area.

Jackson Hole Airport

Image of the Jackson Hole Airport by Josiah Farrow from Pexels

If you are planning to visit Grand Teton, this is your airport. The Jackson Hole Airport is located inside the national park, at the base of the Teton mountain range.

Pros

-This airport couldn’t be closer to the Grand Teton, making travel time minimal.

-This airport has your typical amenities like free Wi-Fi, ATMs, pet relief areas, and gift shops, but they have other unique amenities as well including a library with comfy leather seats, bean bag chairs and a warm fireplace to sit by while you read.

-There are two routes to choose from when traveling from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone.

Cons:

-The Jackson Hole Airport is located between 2.5 and 3 hours from the South Entrance to Yellowstone.

-This airport only services American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines.

-There is only one restaurant and a coffee kiosk in the airport.

-There are only four car rental agencies as well: Alamo, Enterprise, Hertz, and National, however, there are also offsite rental agencies and the airport provides shuttles to these offsite rental locations.

-Tickets may cost more since the airport is not located in a major metropolitan area.

You will need a car

If you thought about skipping the rental car, you will want to think again about that decision. There are no shuttles available in Yellowstone or the Grand Teton. When planning the financial portion of your Yellowstone vacation, be sure to include a rental car budget. Having an airport located close to each entrance to Yellowstone makes it more convenient to secure a rental car for less money.

Costs

The busiest season for travels is from June to August and Yellowstone is no exception. Here is a breakdown of the costs to fly from six of the biggest airports in the United States to each of the airports near Yellowstone during the busy season:

ChicagoAtlantaHoustonSalt Lake CityLos AngelesSeattle
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport$283-$427$338-$685$311-$569$219-$287$102-$306$172-$376
Yellowstone Airport $312-$718$507-$798$344-$571$331-$371$256-$658$404-$658
Idaho Falls Regional Airport$225-$522$333-$682$335-$663$337-$472$111-$373$271-$620
Yellowstone Regional Airport$327-$664$365-$803$364-$756$343-$375$282-$780$261-$678
Jackson Hole Airport$314-$600$378-$704$314-$764$252-$337$224-$337$163-$314
Airline ticket price range from major airports to Yellowstone airports from June-August

Did someone say, “road trip?”

Travelers have to make a personal decision about cost of gas vs. cost of airplane tickets and compare that with the time it takes to fly vs. the time it takes to drive. The airports listed above will get you nice and close to the parks, but there are some other options for those who enjoy the scenic route.

Chicago to Yellowstone:

A road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone is not for the faint of heart. It’s a 20-hour drive, so get nice and comfy, grab some snacks, and enjoy the sites along the way.

Route:

When you start in Chicago, you can visit the Badlands National Park in South Dakota and Mount Rushmore on your way to Yellowstone. Once you cross over into Wyoming, you can visit the Devil’s Tower National Monument and then head to Yellowstone through Cody, WY.

Denver to Yellowstone:

There are two routes to Yellowstone from Denver. The route through Cheyenne, WY takes 8.5 hours and the route through Vernal, UT takes roughly 11.5 hours. There is more to see if you take the route through Utah.

Route 1:

This route is simple. Head North to Cheyenne, WY and on to Cody, WY. From Cody, you will enter Yellowstone through the East Entrance.

Route 2:

From Denver, CO you will follow I-70 to Vernal, UT and through Flaming Gorge. US-191 N and US-30 W will take you from Flaming Gorge to Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming. Yellowstone is 4 hours north of Fossil Butte National Monument. You will enter Yellowstone through the South Entrance.

Texas to Yellowstone:

The Texas route is the second longest road trip route to Yellowstone, taking roughly 19.5 hours to get there.

Route:

Starting in El Paso, TX you will drive through New Mexico where you can stop to see the White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. On your way to Denver, CO from Santa Fe, NM you can stop to see the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. Head north to Cheyenne, WY and on to Cody, WY (Or, you can take Route 2 from Denver listed above). From Cody, you will enter Yellowstone through the East Entrance.

Salt Lake City to Yellowstone:

Flying into the Salt Lake International Airport may be cheaper than flying into one of the closer airports, which will give you more gas money to spend on the 6.5-hour drive from Salt Lake to Yelllowstone.

Route:

There are two ways you can go from Salt Lake City. You can go through Cache Valley and hit up Bear Lake or you can follow I-15 through Northern Utah and over the Idaho border. Either route will bring you to Pocatello, ID where you can visit the Lava Hot Springs. When you get to Idaho Falls, you can choose to keep going Northwest on US-20 E to West Yellowstone, MT or you can go through Wyoming to Jackson where you can visit the Grand Teton and head on to Yellowstone through the South Entrance.

California to Yellowstone:

No matter where you are located in California, you will want to start in the Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is 12.5 hours from Yellowstone.

Route:

From Yosemite National Park, you will drive through Lake Tahoe, Nevada’s deserts, Pocatello, ID all the way to Jackson, WY. Visit the Grand Teton while you are in Jackson and then head to Yellowstone through the South Entrance.

Seattle to Yellowstone:

The drive from Seattle to Yellowstone National Park is comparable to the drive from California. Seattle is roughly 12 hours from Yellowstone.

Route:

Drive from Seattle to Spokane, WA to check out the Spokane Falls. You will pass through Idaho briefly on your way from Spokane to Missoula, MT. Clark Fork River runs right through Missoula and Mount Sentinel offers views and hiking. Bozeman is the next stop and is roughly 1.5 hours to Yellowstone’s North Entrance.

No matter what traveling style fits you best, whether it be traveling by plane to cut down on travel time so you can spend more time seeing the sites or trekking it out there on a road trip and taking it all in along the way, it is possible to tailor your vacation to fit your needs.

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