Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Hot Air Balloon Ride

When you take a Balloon Fiesta hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque, you can expect to see a variety of breathtaking sights.

Aerial Adventures: Exploring Albuquerque from a New Perspective

For years I have wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. And for years, I’ve been too scared.

Back in 2019, we went to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for my 60th birthday.

I had the opportunity to go up in a balloon as part of my media pass.

It would have been an awesome 60th birthday present.

But once again, I was too scared. I’m scared of heights, to begin with.

Yes, I’ve been in airplanes (not a fan of those either!)

So, it didn’t happen.

We attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 50th Anniversary last year, 2022.

Many hot air balloons flying over tents and tents.

And once again, I had the opportunity to go up in one again as part of my media pass.

And you know what? I finally got the nerve to go…on the day we were leaving.

Hot Air Balloon Rides Weight Limits

We were going on the Humpty Dumpty balloon. Each hot air balloon has a weight limit according to the basket size.

A group of balloons flying in the sky.

Since Humpty Dumpty is a personal balloon and not a commercial balloon, it was small.

Two men standing next to a hot air balloon.

On the hot air balloon was the Pilot, myself, and another girl named Chancey who worked for the Albuquerque Journal.

A group of people posing in a hot air balloon.

But besides the weight of the three of us, there were also several helium tanks and the weight of the balloon.

Hot Air Balloons Big and Small

Hot air balloons come in various sizes, from small to large, to accommodate different purposes, passenger capacities, and payload capacities.

Here’s an overview of hot air balloons of various sizes:

  1. Standard-Sized Passenger Balloons: These are the most common hot air balloons used for recreational rides and are designed to carry a pilot and a specific number of passengers. Typically, they can accommodate anywhere from 2 to 20 passengers, depending on their size and design.
  2. Small Solo Balloons: These are small hot air balloons designed to carry only one person, usually the pilot. They are often used for solo flights, training, or in situations where only one person needs to be transported.
  3. Special Shape Balloons: These balloons come in various sizes and are known for their unique shapes, often resembling animals, objects, or characters. They are used mainly for promotional and entertainment purposes at festivals and events.
  4. Tethered Balloons: Tethered balloons are usually smaller than regular passenger balloons and are designed to be anchored to the ground with ropes. They provide short, controlled rides to passengers and are often used at events and festivals.
  5. Giant Balloons: Some hot air balloons are massive and can carry a large number of passengers or cargo. These balloons are used for special events, advertising, or as attractions at theme parks. They can accommodate dozens of passengers.
  6. Experimental and Record-Breaking Balloons: In the world of ballooning, there are also experimental balloons that are built for specific purposes, such as breaking altitude records or circumnavigating the globe. These balloons can vary significantly in size and design, depending on the mission.
  7. Competition Balloons: Balloon competitions, such as distance races or target-landing events, often involve specialized balloons that are designed for optimal performance in these specific competitions. They may vary in size to suit the competition rules.
  8. Ultralight Balloons: These are small, lightweight hot air balloons designed for solo flights. They are typically smaller than standard-sized balloons and are used for recreational ballooning.
A group of balloons with a snowman on them.

Big and Small

When it comes to hot air balloons, size is a crucial factor in determining their capacity, flight characteristics, and purpose.

Balloonists choose the appropriate size and type of balloon based on their specific needs and preferences.

Whether it’s for leisurely flights, promotional events, competitive ballooning, or record-breaking endeavors.

Book Two Hot Air Balloon Rides

Backup Plan: Weather conditions can sometimes affect hot air balloon rides.

rainbow ryders hot air balloon rides balloon fiesta

Booking two rides on separate days or during a multi-day trip can serve as a backup plan in case one of the rides gets canceled due to adverse weather conditions.

What You Will See

Albuquerque, New Mexico, is known for its stunning landscapes and unique geography, making it a popular destination for hot-air ballooning enthusiasts.

Hot air balloons flying over a parking lot.

When you take a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque, you can expect to see a variety of breathtaking sights.

Here’s what you might see from a hot air balloon in Albuquerque:

  1. Albuquerque’s Scenic Landscape: Albuquerque is situated in the Rio Grande Valley, surrounded by the Sandia Mountains to the east and the Petroglyph National Monument to the west. From a hot air balloon, you’ll have panoramic views of this diverse landscape, which includes desert terrain, rolling hills, and rugged mountains.
  2. The Rio Grande River: The Rio Grande River flows through the heart of Albuquerque. You may get to see the meandering river from above, with its lush green banks contrasting against the arid surroundings.
  3. Sandia Mountains: The Sandia Mountains, which translate to “watermelon” in Spanish due to their pinkish hue at sunset, provide a stunning backdrop for your balloon ride. As you ascend, you’ll have the opportunity to see these mountains up close and appreciate their natural beauty.
  4. The Albuquerque Skyline: As you float above the city, you’ll have a unique perspective of Albuquerque’s skyline. This is especially impressive during sunrise or sunset when the city is bathed in warm, golden light.

Additional Sightings

  1. Petroglyph National Monument: To the west of Albuquerque, you might catch glimpses of the Petroglyph National Monument, which features thousands of ancient rock carvings. While you won’t see the individual petroglyphs in detail, you can appreciate the vast expanse of this archaeological site from above.
  2. Balloon Fiesta Park: If you’re flying during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, you’ll experience the sight of hundreds of colorful balloons filling the sky below you. This annual event is one of the largest hot-air balloon festivals in the world.
  3. Wildlife: Depending on the time of day and location of your balloon ride, you may spot wildlife such as coyotes, rabbits, and various bird species in their natural habitat.
  4. The New Mexico Sunrise or Sunset: Albuquerque is renowned for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. A hot air balloon ride offers a perfect vantage point to witness the sky ablaze with vibrant colors as the sun dips below the horizon.


Keep in mind that the specific sights you’ll see can vary depending on the route and altitude your balloon pilot takes, as well as the time of year and weather conditions.

Regardless of the details, a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque promises a memorable and visually captivating experience that showcases the natural beauty of this Southwestern city.

A hot air balloon is being inflated in a parking lot.
A hot air balloon is being inflated in a parking lot.
A group of people standing next to a hot air balloon.

How Much Does A Hot Air Balloon Ride Cost At The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The cost of a hot air balloon ride at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta can vary depending on several factors. Type of ride, the duration, and the specific balloon ride operator.

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here’s a general idea of the pricing:

  1. Standard Rides: These are typically shared rides with other passengers. Prices can range from $150 to $250 per person for a one-hour ride. Prices may be higher during the peak Balloon Fiesta days.
  2. Private Rides: If you want a more exclusive experience with just your group, you can opt for a private hot air balloon ride. Prices for private rides can vary widely. But they are generally more expensive than standard rides and can range from $400 to $600 or more per person.
  3. Special Packages: Some balloon ride operators offer special packages that may include extras like champagne, breakfast, or shuttle services. These packages can cost more, often ranging from $250 to $400 or higher per person.

Keep in mind that these prices are approximate and can change over time.

Check the Website

The best way to get the most accurate and up-to-date pricing is to contact the balloon ride operators directly.

They can provide you with specific details on their pricing, availability, and any special offers they may have.

During the Fiesta, there may be special deals or packages offered by balloon ride operators in conjunction with the event.

It’s a popular time for balloon rides, so booking in advance is often recommended to secure your spot.

Please check the official website of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta or contact local balloon ride operators for the most current information on pricing and availability for hot air balloon rides during the festival.

Prices may have changed since my last knowledge update in September 2021.

What Should You Wear on A Balloon Ride

When preparing for a hot air balloon ride at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the occasion.

A woman smiling in front of a hot air balloon in santa fe, new mexico.

Taking into account the cool morning temperatures and the possibility of variable weather conditions.

Here are some clothing and accessory recommendations:

  1. Layers: Wear multiple layers of clothing to adapt to changing temperatures. Mornings in Albuquerque can be quite cool, so start with a long-sleeve shirt, a light sweater, or a fleece jacket. You can shed layers as it warms up.
  2. Comfortable pants: Opt for comfortable, lightweight pants or jeans. Avoid shorts, as the mornings can be chilly.
  3. Closed-toe shoes: Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain. Sneakers or hiking boots are good options. Avoid sandals or flip-flops.
  4. Hat and sunglasses: Bring a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun and sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the bright sunlight.
  5. Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen to exposed skin to prevent sunburn. Even in the morning, the high altitude can lead to strong sun exposure.
  6. Windbreaker or light jacket: Depending on the weather forecast, bring a windbreaker or a light jacket that you can easily put on or take off as needed.
  7. Gloves: In the cooler months, it can get quite chilly at higher altitudes, so consider bringing a pair of lightweight gloves to keep your hands warm.
  8. Camera or smartphone: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning scenery and colorful balloons. Make sure it’s securely attached with a strap to prevent accidents.
  9. Backpack or bag: Bring a small backpack or bag to carry your essentials, such as water, snacks, and any personal items.
  10. Cash: You may need cash for parking, food, or souvenirs, so it’s a good idea to have some on hand.

Additional Tips for a Hot Air Balloon Ride

It’s important to check the weather forecast for the day of your hot air balloon ride and adjust your clothing accordingly.

Additionally, the specific requirements or recommendations from your chosen balloon ride operator should be followed to ensure your safety and comfort during the experience.

Enjoy the breathtaking views and memorable moments at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!


  • The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2023 is a much-anticipated event taking place from October 7th to 15th, offering breathtaking displays of hot air balloons and thrilling events.
  • Visitors can grab a Balloon Fiesta map or book one of the packages to ensure they don’t miss any of the spectacular experiences.
  • This particular event coincides with the solar eclipse 2023, offering an unforgettable experience for all who attend.
  • For unique perspectives, visitors can take a ride with Rainbow Ryders. Follow Balloon Fiesta on Twitter for updates and photos.
  • Parking is made easy with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park and Ride service. Weather should be monitored when planning your visit.
  • Prices and packages suit all budgets, promising to be an enchanting experience for everyone who attends.

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Balloon fiesta hot air balloon ride.

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