Floating high above this storied landscape of cities, villages and wide-open plains in a hot-air balloon is both a grand adventure and peaceful and meditative experience. With nearly a million visitors each year, Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta™ may be the world’s largest and best-known ballooning event – but it is not alone, as balloons set sail across New Mexico year-round. Balloon festivals in Taos, White Sands, Gallup, Angel Fire and Elephant Butte join with Albuquerque to make hot-air ballooning in New Mexico and year-round adventure.
For more than three decades, guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque each October to celebrate ballooning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta™. This is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.
The New Mexico skies are painted as hundreds of balloons lift off from Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park. Nothing rivals the power of Mass Ascension on crisp early mornings as these graceful giants leave the ground to take their place in the cerulean desert sky. For ballooning fans worldwide, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta™ is a pilgrimage. There's something for everyone to enjoy . . . whimsical special shapes filled with equal parts of hot air and wonder, and Balloon Glows that create a magical night landscape for spectators to wander. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta™ will leave you awestruck and wanting more.
More than 200 balloons from across the country take to the skies early each December for the Red Rock Balloon Rally in and near Gallup. Frequently described as a balloonist's paradise, a highly prized invitation to this event - the second largest balloon event in the world - offers pilots the opportunity to compete for fine Native American Arts and crafts. You'll want to have your camera ready as these rainbow colored giants come to life, as this is the only ballooning event where spectators are encouraged to become active participants by joining balloon chase crews.
The annual Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta at Elephant Butte Lake State Park each September is one of the country’s most unique balloon adventures. Balloonists, skippers and sponsors come together for mass ascensions and “Splash-n-Dash” balloon-boat relay races. It has evolved into an incredible getaway for recreationists everywhere, with camping, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking and bird watching opportunities
Each June, the skies of Angel Fire play host to an array of color! More than 20 balloons take to the sky, set against the stunning backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Events include daily Mass Ascensions, Balloon Glow, live music, benefit golf tournament, and the Chile Challenge Pro-Grt Mountain Bike Race, one of the state’s most prestigious.
Every year on the last full weekend in October, as the trees in the high country surrounding historic Taos erupt into a painter's canvas of oranges, reds, ambers and yellows, even more color is added to the vista as the Taos skies are filled with dozens of brightly colored hot air balloons lifting into the clear, cold dawn of a Taos Mountain sunrise during the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally. Smaller than many such events, the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally typically hosts 35-50 balloons and crew each year. Because it is smaller and more intimate, has become a popular stop for balloonists, families and crews.