Travel Tips 

National Parks: How Do You Get There?

There is a reason visitors flock to America’s National Parks every year. Unprecedented beauty, untrammeled wilderness and an experience of a lifetime are all reasons that most major National Parks float to the top of every persons bucket list. But in order to experience the majesty of these parks, you first have to get there. The following is a guide to the five biggest International airports nearest to some of America’s most popular National Parks.
Prepared By:

James Wynn

Adventurer & Photographer

Yellowstone Boardwalk
Mesa Verde National Park is in southwest Colorado. It’s known for its Puebloan cliff dwellings

Denver International Airport

Denver currently has non-stop service to 205 destinations throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. It is the fourth airport in the United States to reach the 200 marker. It also has the largest domestic network of any airport in the country with flights to around 185 U.S. destinations. As of 2017, DIA was the 20th busiest airport in the world and the fifth busiest in the United States by passenger traffic handling 61,379,396 passengers.

  • PYellowstone National Park

    500 miles – 8 hr drive

  • PRocky Mountain National Park

    78 miles – 1.5 hr drive

  • PMesa Verde National Park

    361 miles – 6 hr, 38 min driv

  • PGrand Teton National Park

    518 miles –  8.5 hr drive

  • PBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

    287 miles – 5 hrs, 22 min drive

Yellowstone Boardwalk
Arches National Park lies north of Moab in the state of Utah. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch.

Salt Lake City Airport

In 2017, 24,198,697 passengers flew through Salt Lake City. It is the 25th busiest in North America and 85th worldwide with regards to passenger numbers. There were 327,292 aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings) in 2017, about 900 per day. On an average day at SLC, there are over 343 scheduled nonstop airline departures per day to 93 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Salt Lake City International Airport continues to rank high for on-time departures/arrivals and fewest flight cancellations among major US airports. The airport ranked first for on time departures and arrivals.

  • PYellowstone National Park

    468 miles – 7 hr, 45 min drive

  • PCanyonlands National Park

    243 miles – 4 hr drive

  • PCapital Reef National Park

    223 miles – 3 hr, 40 min driv

  • PGrand Teton National Park

    300 miles –  5 hr drive

  • PArches National Park

    236 miles – 4 hr drive

  • PBryce Canyon National Park

    275 miles – 4 hr, 15 min drive

Yellowstone Boardwalk
Joshua Tree National Park is a vast protected area in southern California. It’s characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

In 2017, PHX served 43,921,670 passengers, making it the forty-first busiest airport in the world. It handles nearly 1,200 aircraft operations a day and 120,000 passengers. The airport serves as the sixth-largest hub for American Airlines with over 300 daily departures to 95 destinations in 4 countries. American carries nearly 46% of all PHX passengers as of December 2017. The airport also serves as one of the largest operating bases for Southwest Airlines with 188 daily departures to 53 cities across the United States.

  • PGrand Teton National Park

    234 miles –  3 hr, 40 min drive

  • PPetrified National Park

    206 miles – 3.5 hr drive

  • PSaguro National Park

    130 miles – 2 hr drive

  • PJoshua Tree National Park

    280 miles – 4.5 hr drive

Yellowstone Boardwalk
Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.Joshua Tree National Park is a vast protected area in southern California. It’s characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes.

San Francisco International Airport

SFO is the largest airport in Northern California and the second-busiest in California and on the Western Coast of North America, after Los Angeles International Airport. In 2017, it was the seventh-busiest airport in the United States and the 24th-busiest in the world by passenger count. It is the fifth-largest hub for United Airlines and functions as United’s primary transpacific gateway. It also serves as a secondary hub for Alaska Airlines. It is a major maintenance hub for United Airlines, and houses the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library. It has flights to points throughout North America and is a major gateway to Europe and Asia.

  • PYosemite National Park

    187 miles –  4 hr drive

  • PKings Canyon National Park

    265 miles – 4.5 hr drive

  • PSequoia National Park

    268 miles – 5 hr drive

  • PLassen Volcanic National Park

    247 miles – 4.5 hr drive

  • PRedwood National Park

    324 miles – 6 hr drive

  • PPinnacles National Park

    115 miles – 2 hr drive

Yellowstone Boardwalk
North Cascades National Park is in northern Washington State. It’s a vast wilderness of conifer-clad mountains, glaciers and lakes. The North Cascades Highway passes leads to trails such as the steep Thunder Creek Trail.

Portland International Airport

Portland International Airport  is within Portland’s city limits just south of the Columbia River in Multnomah County, 12 miles by highway northeast of downtown Portland. Portland International Airport is often referred to by its IATA airport code, PDX. The airport covers 3,000 acres of land. Portland International Airport has direct flights and connections to most major airports throughout the United States, and non-stop international flights to Canada, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In 2013, a Travel + Leisure magazine readers’ poll named PDX as the best US airport, based on its on-time record, dining, shopping, and mass transportation into the main parts of the city.

  • PCrater Lake National Park

    263 miles –  5 hr drive

  • PMount Rainier National Park

    155 miles – 3 hr drive

  • POlympic National Park

    230 miles – 4 hr drive

  • PNorth Cascades National Park

    319 miles – 5 hr drive

  • PGlacier National Park

    667 miles – 12 hr drive

  • PPinnacles National Park

    115 miles – 2 hr drive

Yellowstone Boardwalk
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is an American national park in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas, east of El Paso. The mountain range includes Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet, and El Capitan which was used as a landmark by travelers along the route later followed by the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line.

Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport

With nearly 900 daily flights, American Airlines at DFW is the second largest airline hub in the world and the United States, behind Delta’s Atlanta hub. At 17,207 acres, DFW is larger than the island of Manhattan, and is the second largest airport by land area in the United States, after Denver International Airport. It has its own post office and United States Postal Service city designation (“DFW Airport, TX”), as well as its own police, fire protection and emergency medical services. As of December 2018, DFW Airport has service to 244 destinations, including 62 international and 182 domestic destinations within the U.S. In surpassing 200 destinations, DFW joined a small group of airports worldwide with that distinction.

  • PBig Bend National Park

    495 miles –  7.5 hr drive

  • PGuadalupe Mountain National Park

    155 miles – 3 hr drive

  • PCarlsbad Caverns National Park

    493 miles – 7.5 hr drive

  • PHot Springs National Park

    308 miles – 5 hr drive

Yellowstone Boardwalk
Shanendoah National Park is mostly forested. The park features wetlands, waterfalls and rocky peaks like Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains.

Charlotte Douglass International Airport

The airport gained its current name in 1982 and, as of September 2017, it is the second largest hub for American Airlines after Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with service to 161 domestic and international destinations. As of 2016 it was the 11th busiest airport in the United States, ranked by passenger traffic and 6th by aircraft movements. It was also the 7th busiest airport in the world ranked by aircraft movements.

  • PGreat Smoky Mountain National Park

    200 miles –  4 hr drive

  • PMammoth Cave National Park

    417 miles – 8 hr drive

  • PCongaree National Park

    11 miles – 1 hr drive

  • PShenandoah National Park

    313 miles – 5 hr drive

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