Top 10 Shortest Runways in the United States

You’ve probably heard of Ousel Falls Airport, the Ted Luark Airstrip, or Mile Hi Airstrip, but did you know that Simko Field Airport is the shortest in the country? These airports are often overlooked, but the list is an interesting one. But what about those that are not so small? What makes them special? If you are planning to travel by air, you may want to consider flying to these airports if you have never flown there.

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10. Semchenko Airport

The Semchenko Airport is located at 25th Street Northwest in Max, North Dakota. This airport serves the community of McLean County. It has two runways and is a small airport. It is 11 mi away from the nearest weather station and observes daylight savings time.

  • Located in: North Dakota
  • Length (ft): 1100
  • Elevation (ft): 2065

9. Rahn Airport

While small runways are often welcoming, they can also pose challenges for pilots. These fields are only half the length of the runway at the home airport and are cut into a hillside from a forest. There is no longer room for a long runway, so some airports look like mere landing strips. For example, Rahn Airport in Montana has a runway just 305 meters long and an elevation of 3,090 feet.

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There are several public and private airports in the U.S. that are home to short runways, but very few are more extreme than Rahn Airport in Idaho. The reason for its short length is that it’s steep enough that landing and takeoff will be downhill. With that kind of slope, taking off and landing can be difficult and time-consuming. But that is not an issue for pilots who want to enjoy a unique flight experience.

  • Located in: Montana
  • Length (ft): 1000
  • Elevation (ft): 3090

8. Back Acres Airport

Back Acres Airport is a small regional airport in Kennebunkport, Maine, United States. If you’re planning a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine, or you just need to fly in for a quick vacation, Back Acres Airport is the right place to start. With only one runway and an ICAO designation of ME46, this small airport serves the citizens and visitors of the United States.

  • Located in: Maine
  • Length (ft): 1000
  • Elevation (ft):60

7. Simonds Airstrip

The airport at Simonds Airstrip is situated in Montana. It has a runway length of only 900 feet. Because of this, the airport is used for emergencies and general aviation. Fortunately, the airport has a short flight path, and a grass surface makes it easy to land. However, some restrictions do exist. The runway has a steep slope, meaning that takeoff and landing are uphill. This airport is considered one of the shortest in the U.S., but its location makes it a unique landmark in aviation history.

  • Located in: Idaho
  • Length (ft): 900
  • Elevation (ft): 5243

6. Ousel Falls Airport

Ousel Falls Airport in Idaho is a unique aviation site. Its runway is one of the shortest in the U.S., which means it’s used by light-sport aircraft like the Rans S-7. Nevertheless, the airport is home to one of the ten shortest runways in the United States and is the only public airport in that area.

  • Located in: Montana
  • Length (ft): 900
  • Elevation (ft): 6600

5. James Ranch Airstrip

The length of a typical runway is approximately six thousand feet. This makes James Ranch Airstrip one of the shortest runways in the U.S. But it’s far from the shortest in the world. The James Ranch Airstrip is a great example. Its single runway is only 800 feet long.

  • Located in: Idaho
  • Length (ft): 800
  • Elevation (ft): 2117

4. Dewey Moore Airstrip

You may have seen pictures of the Dewey Moore Airstrip and want to visit it yourself, but you might be wondering what this place is really like. This short but sweet airstrip is located in Idaho and is part of a national forest. While the area does have an airfield, it’s a wilderness airstrip and is closed to all but emergency use. The airport has a taxiway and a 96-foot square vertical takeoff and landing pad. As with any mountain airstrip, you must be a highly experienced mountain pilot to take advantage of this airport.

  • Located in: Idaho
  • Length (ft): 700
  • Elevation (ft): 4494

3. Mile Hi Airstrip

In the United States, there are very few airports with shorter runways than Mile Hi Airstrip. With a distance of just a few hundred feet, the airport’s runway is the shortest of its kind. One of the reasons it’s so short is that it’s situated between two cliffs. With such a short runway, the airspace is challenging, especially during high-altitude flights. Its location in mountainous terrain makes it difficult to navigate. Additionally, the airport sees a large amount of private aircraft, including helicopters, jets, and airplanes.

  • Located in: Idaho
  • Length (ft): 560
  • Elevation (ft): 5831

2. Ted Luark Airstrip

The MT62 airstrip in Huson, Montana, is owned by Ted Luark.  Ted is a private pilot who flies a Kit-Fox aircraft and resides in Huson. Ted Luark Airstrip, also known as MT62, is located near Huson, Montana. It is a ridge with a 500-foot runway, but the ends of the runway drop into a narrow, steep canyon.  The canyons are between 300 and 400 feet deep, making a landing on this airstrip an arduous task.

  • Located in: Montana
  • Length (ft): 500
  • Elevation (ft): 3500

1. Simko Field Airport

Simko Field Airport is the last among the ten short runways in the United States. It is 400 feet long and has a dogleg in the middle. The terrain to the east is very steep, so all approaches must be made from the east. This requires aircraft to fly at a speed of 300 feet per minute to touch down. For this reason, landings at Simko Field Airport are often shaky.

  • Located in: Idaho
  • Length (ft): 400
  • Elevation (ft): 5640

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