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The Ultimate Guide to the Snowmass Balloon Festival

colorado balloon fest

Last updated on September 11th, 2023 at 02:55 am

The iconic annual Snowmass Balloon Festival in the heart of the Colorado Rockies is upon us! It is a spectacular event that has captured the hearts of both locals and tourists alike.

 Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned festival-goer, prepare to be captivated by the magic of hot air balloons, soar to new experience heights, and dive into the wonder of the Snowmass Balloon Festival!

This comprehensive guide will take you on a high-flying adventure through the festival spirit.

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Introduction to the Snowmass Balloon Festival

History of the Snowmass Balloon Festival 

The onset of the Snowmass Balloon Festival is a tale of dreams taking flight. It has a history dating back to 1975 when a small group of adventurous hot air balloonists gathered to paint the Colorado skies with vibrant colors.

Snowmass Balloon Festival Today

The Snowmass Balloon Festival has grown into one of Colorado’s premier balloon festivals, attracting participants and spectators from around the world.

It has evolved into a world-renowned celebration of artistry and aeronautics in this unique area of Pitkin County, United States.

Quick Facts About the Snowmass Balloon Festival 

  • The Snowmass Balloon Festival is one of the most highly anticipated hot air balloon events in Colorado.
  • It is a free event held every September.
  • The Snowmass Balloon Festival is a family-friendly event.
  • The hot air balloon pilots at the Snowmass Balloon Festival are vetted to ensure they meet flight regulations.
snowmass balloon festival

Snowmass Balloon Festival Dates and Location

To be a part of this mesmerizing event, mark your calendar with the festival dates. The Snowmass Balloon Festival usually takes place during the late summer, allowing you to embrace the crisp mountain air and breathtaking vistas. 

As for the location, Snowmass Village, Colorado, is your destination – a charming town surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains.

2023 Snowmass Balloon Festival Dates

The Snowmass Balloon Festival will be from Friday, September 22- Sunday, September 24, at Snowmass Town Park.

2023 Snowmass Balloon Festival Location

2909 Brush Creek Rd, Aspen, CO 81611

Snowmass Balloon Festival Events

Morning Balloon Launches

Each day at the Snowmass Balloon Festival fills the air with excitement and promises a unique adventure.

Rise and shine early to witness the morning balloon launches as they gracefully ascend into the sky between 7:30 AM- 9:00 AM. 

Evening Balloon Glow Show

The Friday Evening Balloon Night Glow is a must-see! Hot air balloons illuminate the night sky, creating a captivating visual spectacle.

Prepare for a magical experience where brightly colored balloons light up the night like giant lanterns. It is a stunning sight that you may remember for a long time.

Tip: You can watch the balloons from a distance at the following locations

balloon festival in snowmass colorado

Getting To the Snowmass Balloon Festival 

Whether you’re a local or an out-of-town visitor, traveling to the Snowmass Balloon Festival is a breeze. Here’s how to make your way to this exciting event:

For Locals:

Drive

Driving to the festival is a convenient option if you’re a local resident of Snowmass Village or nearby towns. 

Public Transit

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) offers free public transportation from Aspen and Brush Creek to Town Park Station, near the balloon festival venue.

Snowmass Village Shuttle 

For Out-of-Town Visitors

Fly to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE)

If traveling from afar, the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is the closest airport to Snowmass. This airport is well-connected to major cities and just a short drive from Snowmass Village.

Travel Tip: Use Sky Scanner to get the best flight deals to Snowmass.

Shuttle Services

Once you land at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, if staying at a local hotel, shuttle services to your hotel and around Snowmass Village are available. These shuttles offer a convenient and hassle-free way to reach the festival. 

Additionally, the Snowmass Village Shuttle offers free transportation to the balloon festival. 

Rent a Car

 If you prefer flexibility in your transportation, consider renting a car at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. This option allows you to explore the area at your own pace and easily reach the festival.

Rideshare

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also available in the area and can provide transportation to the Snowmass Balloon Festival.

Biking and Walking

If you’re staying in Aspen or nearby, you can also consider biking or walking to the festival if the weather and distance permit. Snowmass Village has a network of scenic trails and bike paths.

Local Transportation

While in Snowmass Village, you can navigate the area using the (previously mentioned) free Snowmass Village Shuttle. It’s a convenient way to get around the village during your stay.

balloon festival usa

Parking at the Snowmass Balloon Festival 

Free parking is available at the Town Park Station Lot (formerly known as Rodeo Parking Lot).

What to Wear to the Snowmass Balloon Festival

Colorado’s weather can be unpredictable, with varying temperatures. So, knowing how to dress for the occasion is essential to ensure you stay comfortable throughout the festival. To that end, the following are some tips for what to wear to the Snowmass Balloon Festival.

Casual Attire

The festival has a relaxed and casual atmosphere, so there’s no need for overly dressy clothing. However, if you choose to make an effort, consider wearing vibrant and colorful clothing that matches the festive atmosphere.

Layered Clothing

 Dress in layers to accommodate changing temperatures throughout the day. Mornings can be cool, while afternoons can warm up considerably. A light jacket or sweater is a good base layer.

Tip: Consider bringing a lightweight scarf or bandana that can serve multiple purposes, from keeping you warm to covering your face in windy conditions.

Comfortable Shoes

Wear comfortable and supportive walking shoes, as you may be on your feet exploring the festival grounds.

If you plan on volunteering or participating in any activities, closed-toe shoes are a safer choice.

Sun Protection

Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck. In addition to sun protection, a hat or cap can keep your hair in check on windy days.

Bags

You may want to carry a small backpack or tote bag to hold essentials like water, snacks, a camera, and sunscreen.

Ladies, opt for a crossbody bag or tote with a secure closure to keep your belongings safe and easily accessible.

Snowmass Balloon Festival Aesthetic

The Snowmass Balloon Festival is three days of festive balloons that are works of art in their own right. It is an excellent opportunity to admire the intricate designs and vibrant colors as they float gracefully above. 

We truly enjoyed learning about the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into creating these magnificent flying canvases.

snowmass colorado balloon festival

Snowmass Balloon Festival Balloon Rides

If you are seeking an extraordinary adventure, consider taking a balloon ride yourself.

Booking a balloon adventure allows you to ascend into the clouds and witness the world from a breathtaking perspective. You will be able to enjoy the stunning background of Snowmass picturesque landscapes.

Snowmass Balloon Festival Live Entertainment

The festival isn’t just about balloons; it’s an entertainment extravaganza. Enjoy daytime events,  special activities, live music, and performances that add to the festive atmosphere. 

Families will find endless fun at the Kids’ Corner, while foodies can indulge in a diverse range of culinary delights from local vendors and food trucks.

Capture the Snowmass Balloon Festival Magic 

Don’t forget your camera — the festival is a photographer’s dream! There are many opportunities to capture spectacular photos of the brightly colored balloons.

You will discover the most Instagram-worthy spots to capture the magic of the balloons and all their beauty. 

Tip: If you bring a camera, attach a comfortable strap to keep it secure and accessible for capturing those memorable moments.

 hot air balloon events, food truck culinary delights, live entertainment and more

Tips for Your Snowmass Balloon Festival Experience 

To make the most of your Snowmass Balloon Festival experience, the following are some things to consider: 

  • Plan your itinerary ahead of time. Discover the must-see balloons and events that you won’t want to miss.
  • Arrive early. For the best place for up-close viewing, arrive at the launch field before the scheduled event start times. This will ensure you lock down the best views. 
  • Best view time. This will depend on whether you want to see the balloons by day or night. 
  • Layer your clothing. Colorado weather can change quickly, so dress in layers to stay comfortable, especially during the early morning hours
  • Sun protection. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the high-altitude sun.
 the iconic balloon fest returns to brush creek road and returns to snowmass village

  • Hydration. Stay hydrated throughout the day, especially due to the higher altitudes in Snowmass Village.
  • Snack smart. Carry snacks for energy, but also sample the delicious food from local vendors.
  • Comfortable shoes. Wear comfortable walking shoes to explore different areas of the festival.
  • Bring a camera. Capture the breathtaking moments with your camera or smartphone. You won’t want to miss the photo opportunities.
  • Balloon ride booking.  If possible, book a balloon ride in advance to secure your spot if you plan to take a balloon ride.
  • Cash and cards. Bring both cash and cards, as festival vendors may have varying payment options.
  • Festival map. Grab a festival map upon arrival to navigate the grounds and locate restrooms and amenities.
  • Kids’ Corner. Explore the Kids’ Corner for family-friendly activities and entertainment if you have children.
  • Respect safety rules. Follow festival safety rules and guidelines to ensure everyone’s well-being.
  • Support the Community.  Learn how to support the local community and the festival’s positive impact.

Snowmass Balloon Festival Video

YouTube video

Where to Stay During the Snowmass Balloon Festival 

 After a day of excitement at the festival, you’ll want a comfortable place to rest your head. Explore the local accommodations, which offer everything from cozy cabins to luxurious hotels, ensuring you’ll find the perfect place to recharge.

Travel Tip: Search below for the best Snowmass Village hotel rates.

(We enjoyed our stay at Timberline Condominiums)

Beyond the Snowmass Balloon Festival: Explore Nearby Attractions

Travel Tip: Check out our Snowmass Village Travel Guide for details about what to expect at Snowmass Village.

While the balloons are the show’s stars, there’s much more to explore in the Roaring Fork Valley. Discover other events, nearby attractions and embark on outdoor adventures, including hiking trails, scenic drives, and wildlife encounters.

  • Stroll the Snowmass Mall or Base Village
  • Tee off at the Snowmass Golf Course
  • Hop on the Elk Camp Gondola
  • Explore the Snowmass Village Recreation Center
  • Hike at nearby trails
  • Enjoy breakfast or brunch at local restaurants.
  • Explore other events at Snowmass Village

Snowmass Village Travel Guide

For more things to do in Snowmass Village, check out our 38 Fun Things to do in Snowmass Village Guide.

Exciting things to do in Snowmass Village to enjoy breakfast, hike up bike around, beauty stroll the snowmass mall, or nearby glenwood springs

Final Thoughts About Snowmass Balloon Festival 

As far as hot air balloon festivals go, Snowmass’ annual event was one of our favorites! 

When we departed Snowmass Village, we took with us not just photographs but the spirit of adventure and the knowledge that the sky is never the limit when it comes to creating lasting memories. 

We hope this travel guide has inspired you to grace the Snowmass Village Festival. 

May your travels be as colorful as some of the most beautiful hot air balloons that grace the Colorado skies during this fun-filled event!

More Hot Air Balloon Experiences

If you are a die-hard hot air balloon enthusiast, you may be interested in exploring festivals and experiences in other areas of the United States.

Check out our Texas Balloon Festivals Guide and Dallas Hot Air Balloon Rides Guide for details.

P.S. If you found this post helpful or want to save it for later, please pin it on Pinterest. Thank you!

A guide to the iconic snowmass festival held annually at the launch field on brush creek rd

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