This Breathtaking Western National Park Is The Only One In America With An Airport Inside Of It

"Two tickets to paradise, please!" That's what you might be saying when you book a flight to Jackson Hole Airport, inside Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming. It's the only airport inside a national park, and with a little planning, you can explore Grand Tetons' 485 square miles of horseback riding, hiking, biking, boating, and wildlife viewing without ever leaving its boundaries. 


It seems as though travelers are still continuing to discover this hidden-gem airport, as it saw just over one million passengers for the first time in 2021. (For reference, some major airports see that many passengers or more per week.) Over 130 flights depart every week during the peak month of July to 13 destinations that include Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Denver, and Dallas/Ft. Worth. The airport offers service to Salt Lake City year-round, but most flights are only offered in summer when this stunning national park is at its peak. 

Shuttles run between the airport and hotels in the area, but the best way to travel between feathered beds and trailheads is to rent a car at the airport. In addition to all the ways there are to get sporty out in nature, the Grand Tetons' spectacular scenic drives are not to be missed, where reviewers on AllTrails frequently report spotting bear, elk, and moose.


Outdoor adventures at Grand Tetons National Park

For visitors flying into Jackson Hole Airport and looking for adventure, we've got great news: There's tons of it. Grand Tetons National Park boasts more than 250 miles of hiking trails, and the most popular, according to AllTrails, is the gently sloping hike along the Cascade Canyon Trail. Visitors report seeing abundant wildlife, including bears, so bring bear spray, which you can rent at the airport (it's not allowed in your luggage). While you're keeping an eye out for Yogi, don't forget about smaller pests: Wyoming is home to itty-bitty biters as well, so here are some tips to stop worrying about ticks. Curious about rock climbing? The Grand Tetons offer something for every ability level. And if you'd rather float than scramble, a rafting trip on the Snake River can be serene or thrilling, depending on your route.


Perhaps one of the best ways to engage with the scenery is on a bike. Teton County has a whopping 70 miles of paved bike trails along the mostly flat valley floor, including 15 miles within the park itself, the most paved trails inside any national park, per Jackson Hole Traveler. You can rent bikes and a bike rack for your rental car at several locations in Jackson Hole. Or, you can bring your own, as most airlines will let you bring a bike as checked baggage for a fee, if packed in a bike-specific cardboard box or bike bag. And for a really memorable trip, why not get creative and plan a vacation riding your bike from rustic inn to rustic inn within the park? 

Rustic and romantic lodgings abound in the Grand Tetons

There are eight lodges within the boundaries of the park itself, ranging from dude ranches to honeymoon-worthy luxury suites (one of the best wedding venues with romantic views is in neighboring Jackson Hole). To rough it in style, check out the Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch. Occupying a former dude ranch, it's operated by the American Alpine Club and offers inexpensive, dormitory-style lodging in quaint log cabins, catering to climbers and mountaineers. Hikers are welcome too, of course, and the Climbers' Ranch is a great place to land if you're flying solo, as the ranch offers a "Partner Finder Board" to help you find hiking and climbing buddies. If you're flying in with your backpack, just remember to bring a sleeping bag because the Climbers' Ranch is BYOB — as in bring your own bedding.


For a soft landing and a stay at the luxurious end of the rustic spectrum, check out Jenny Lake Lodge (pictured above), which received a 2022 Travelers' Choice Award on Tripadvisor. A night in one of its cozy cabins includes breakfast, and an on-site establishment offers a five-course dinner featuring decadent local delicacies like venison Wellington and a foraged salad with toasted walnuts and seasonal berries. After feasting on game at dinner, you can feast your eyes on world-class scenery with a stroll or bike ride around Jenny Lake, taking in views of the soaring mountains.