Welcome to the Jackson Hole Airport
Here at Flat Creek Inn, we don’t own a private plane. (Because they’re bad for the environment, and no other reason.) When we need to make an out-of-town trip to Jackson Hole, we usually opt to make the scenic trip in a car like normal people. But for those who like to jet around in their own plane, or who aren’t lucky enough to live within easy driving distance of this stunning locale, the Jackson Hole Airport is a must. So put up your seat back and tray tables, don’t unbuckle your seatbelt until the airplane has stopped, and prepare for a tour of Wyoming’s busiest airport.
Interesting Facts about the Jackson Hole Airport
- The Jackson Hole Airport, about ten miles north of the town of Jackson, has been around since the 1930s.
- It’s the only airport in the United States inside a national park. Because of that, the airport doesn’t allow any jets louder than a stage-III. The FAA classifies jet engines in four stages, from the oldest and loudest (stage-I) to the newest and quietest (stage-IV).
- The airport once had an unusual terminal resembling a pioneer log cabin. The terminal was rebuilt between 2009 and 2014, but the new terminal blends rustic decor with modern aesthetics. (See our tour below.)
- The airport’s security screeners are trained through the TSA Screening Partnership Program, meaning they are employed by the Jackson Hole Airport Board rather than the TSA. It’s one of only 16 airports in the nation to do so.
Take a Tour of the Airport
The first thing you’ll notice as you approach the security checkpoint is this helpful sign directing you to drop your bear spray here. Please don’t try to take it through security. Just take our word for it.
As someone who has been forced to endure long layovers in multiple airports, I sort of wished I could stay here a little longer and relax in the extensive leather seating next to several roaring fires. The whole place has a definite “fancy ski resort” vibe.
Be sure to stop by the National Park Shop. You’ll find the usual stuffed animals, books clothing, postcards, and assorted gift shop memorabilia, plus some unexpected things. I discovered a bookmark entitled “Advice from Lichen,” with suggestions like “Be Resilient” and “Work together.” (The inconsistent capitalization bothered me more than the generic nature of the suggestions, but I’m digressing pretty hard here.)
Look! Another roaring fire, with more comfy chairs. Along with a cool mural. It’s just like every other airport you’ve been in, except it’s generally smaller, nicer, more welcoming, and generally more pleasant.
One area where the airport is little lacking is the availability of food options. If you’re hoping for some undercooked Panda Express, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The airport has exactly one restaurant, Jedediah’s. However, it does have brisket and a killer view.
Here’s a better view of the, well, view. The experience of walking outside to board your plane, surrounded by the vast expanse of Wyoming, adds a unique touch to the departure process.
We’re not being paid by the airport to sing its praises (though we’re totally open to such an arrangement), but we can confidently say that the Jackson Hole Airport is Jackson in a nutshell. A walk around its premises gives you a feel for the town itself: walkable, rustic yet modern, eager to show you the national parks, and comfortable. Next time you visit Jackson Hole, consider coming by air.
(And once you’re here, you know where to stay.)
Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He once slept overnight in the Denver Airport after finding a mysterious room full of recliners. When he tried to find it later, it was GONE.