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America’s Airports of the Wilderness

A United 737 waiting takeoff clearance at Bozeman-Yellowstone Intl. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

While some airports are located closer to these nature areas than others, few have the distinction of being named after one. Here are just a few of the commercial airports around the United States that are named after parks and nature preserves.

Glacier Park International Airport

Glacier Park International Airport serves the city of Kalispell, Montana and is less than a 30-minute car ride from the western gate of the National Park.

Over the course of the year, the airport sees service from five airlines: Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta and United, to eight year-round destinations and four seasonal destinations.

The sights of the park are prevalent throughout the passenger terminal with over 100 photos from around the park. Even the entrance road pays homage to the park, it resembles the “Going-to-the-Sun” Road; a 50-mile two-lane highway that spans the width of Glacier Park and crosses the Continental Divide.

This is a unique airport as most use the same three-letter identifier for both the FAA and the IATA but not this one. It is referred to as GPI by the FAA as well as on the airport’s website, but to airlines and the IATA, it’s referred to as FCA. The reasoning behind this is that Guapi Airport in Colombia carriers the IATA code of GPI.

Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport

Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport serves the city of Belgrade, Montana and is located about 90 miles from both the north and west entrances of Yellowstone National Park.

The airport itself has a backdrop of the mountains, giving passengers the feeling that they are in the wild before even landing. A store right inside the terminal sells park entrance passes and hands out brochures and information about the park.

Over the course of the year, the airport sees year-round flights to about 21 destinations all over the United States on 11 different carriers, including this coming season newcomer: Sun Country Airlines. The airport sees flights as far east as LaGuardia in New York City and west to Long Beach and Seattle.

Most of the seasonal flights to the airport occur during the summer months to capitalize on the park’s beautiful scenery, geysers, hiking and hot springs.

Yellowstone Regional Airport

Yet another airport named after Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Regional Airport is located in Cody, Wyoming about 53 miles from the park’s east entrance. This airport is smaller and doesn’t see nearly as much service as either Bozeman or Glacier Park.

The airport sits at the bottom of a mountain, just another example of how airports can be built to fit into our landscape without destroying the natural beauty around it.

The airport sees year-round service from Denver on United Express and seasonal service from Salt Lake City on SkyWest and Delta during the summer months and into the early fall, onboard the ERJ-145 and CRJ-200 respectively. This is just another one of the many options for visitors and nature lovers to visit one of the country’s most known parks.

Yellowstone Airport

 The airport claims the title as “Yellowstone National Park’s Local Airport” and for a very good reason. This airport is located just two miles away from the park’s west entrance in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana which is the reason the facility carrying the airport code of (WYS).

The airport manager Jeff Kadlec has said: “There’s no more convenient way to get to the park than to come here”, and while that is true, it can sometimes be hard to fly into the airport without making more than one stop.

The airport is the smallest of the three named after the park and only receives commercial service seasonally from one destination: Salt Lake City, on regional carrier SkyWest. The service only runs for about three months during the summer onboard a CRJ-200. But if you are not opposed to making an extra stop, WYS is definitely going be the easiest way to reach the park.

On approach to Adirondack Regional Airport, with a view of Whiteface Mountain. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Adirondack Regional Airport

This area is well known in the Northeast United States for its beautiful scenery and amazing fall colors throughout most of the fall months and activities in the winter months and is home to the only commercial airport located inside a Forest Preserve. The airport is located near the village of Saranac Lake, New York which accounts for its airport code of SLK and is referred to as such by the locals.

You might recognize the name Saranac Lake, and that’s due to the weather station here frequently recording the coldest spot in the lower 48 during the winter months.

On approach to the airport, you fly between the high peaks of New York State including White Face Mountain which is known for its outstanding skiing and hiking trails.

On approach to the airport, you will also receive views of Olympic venues in Lake Placid that held the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, including the ice rink that was home to the famous ‘Miracle on Ice’.

The airport sees three daily flights on Cape Air’s Cessna 402 year-round all of which go to Boston. The flights are all funded by the government’s Essential Air Service (EAS) Program. Soon the flights will be switched to the new Tecnam P2012 once Cape Air receives more of them.

Joey Gerardi


  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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