Jackson Hole Airport
In true Jackson Hole fashion, even the local airport is worth seeing. Situated 10 miles north of the town of Jackson in the heart of Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole’s airport (JAC) is a beautiful timber and stone structure featuring huge, sun-filled windows that frame a spectacular westward view of the Tetons. Complete with a waiting area that includes deep-seated leather chairs with ottomans, fake fireplaces and good, free Wi-Fi, it's no wonder a traveler from Nevada recently wrote to the New York Times to say "It's about the only airport where you get 'angry' when they announce your flight is leaving instead of when they announce it isn't!"
Though it's a small airport, it still has the amenities you’d expect from a major hub. Numerous rental car, shuttle, and taxi services are available for transport to and from the tarmac. Within the boarding area is an American restaurant-bar called “Jedediah’s at the Airport,” free wireless internet and an ATM. Also in the waiting area is The Grand Teton Park Book Shop that sells souvenirs, books and magazines; 100-percent of the store's profits go to the National Park Service.
The airport is just under a 20-minute drive from the Jackson Town Square.
Fun Fact: On weekends between the third weekend in December and the third week in March—between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.—you will be greeted by the Howdy Pardners in the baggage claim area. Proud ambassadors of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, and dressed like the cowboys and cowgirls who settled this valley in the early 1900’s, the Howdys roll out the red carpet at the Jackson Hole Airport during the winter months to greet visitors with mimosas, orange juice and hatpins.
Traveler Tip: With expanded non-stop service to 12 major cities on the roster for this winter, the timing is ripe to start planning your trip to Jackson Hole. And in spring of 2018, American Airlines will begin flying a daily CRJ700 from Dallas Fort Worth to Jackson Hole all year 'round.
Driving to Jackson Hole
Because of the natural geography of this whole "Hole" thing, there are actually only a few roads leading in to the Jackson Hole valley:
- If you're driving from points south you're probably going to be arriving on either U.S. Routes 191 or 89. These two meet and become one north of Hoback Junction, carrying you just 20 more minutes directly to the town of Jackson. Route 191 comes from Pinedale, Wyoming, and Rock Springs, Wyoming which is about 3 hours away where 191 intersects Interstate 80. U.S. 89 comes north to Jackson from Salt Lake City and southern Utah.
- If you're coming into our valley from points west, your options are to get on U.S. 89 down in Alpine, Wyoming and drive up 45 minutes to Jackson from there, or drive in over the famous Teton Pass Hwy 22 from Victor, Idaho.
- Approaching Jackson Hole from the north is trickier because Yellowstone National Park borders us on that side, so to avoid coming through the (sometimes very) slow but obviously scenic two lane road through Yellowstone, you will probably be wanting to drive to Victor, Idaho and approach from the west on Teton Pass Hwy 22, or maybe U.S. 26 over Togwotee pass from Riverton, Wyoming.
- Driving to Jackson Hole from the east is the most straightforward. You can come in over Togwotee Pass on U.S. 26 from Riverton, and Casper, Wyoming. The typical route to get here from further east is by taking Interstate 80 to Rock Springs, Wyoming and taking U.S. 191 north 3 hours to Jackson as described above "driving from points south."
Summer driving around here is easy and these are all good roads (though note the nearly 3,000 foot elevation gain of climbing Teton Pass on Hwy 22).
Road quality during the snowy months is rarely an issue, but you will want to check the weather forecast to make sure you aren't approaching smack in the middle of a storm. Roads can close or become unsafe quickly during winter storms, especially Teton Pass.
Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has a great website to look up webcams and updated road conditions for each route.
Wherever you're coming from and however you're getting here, travel safe. Be sure to keep an eye out for Jackson Hole Traveler's handy print edition in the airport and around town to use as your guide while you're in Jackson. Have a great trip!
Lead photo credit Joseph Brent.