Snowmass Balloon Festival

The iconic Snowmass Balloon Festival returns to Snowmass Village for its 48th year, September 22-24, 2023. Experience more than 30 hot air balloons launching into the crisp morning air over a three-day period.

Balloons have launch windows starting at 5.45am, even though published start times range from 7 to 7.30am. If you hit snooze too many times, don’t worry. Snowmass Town Park can only accommodate 6 or 7 balloons at one time so you can experience the staggered launches up until 9am. It takes time to remove the balloon from the trailer, spread it out on the ground, and ensure the balloon is inflated slowly and safely.

What to expect during the event

Attending the event on Friday is less crowded than Saturday and Sunday so if you want to avoid the crowds, plan on arriving to Snowmass on Thursday to experience the hot air balloons early on Friday morning. There are balloon races that take place over the weekend so if you want to witness these unique races, attend on Saturday or Sunday. The races start after all the hot air balloons are in the sky so you can arrive after 9am if this is what you came to see.

Even though this event is almost 50 years old, everything is just as casual as it probably was in the 1970s. Plan on bringing your own snacks, water bottles, and your takeaway coffee mug because we couldn’t find any food trucks or concessions.

Always check the forecast because the balloons can’t launch if there is bad weather in the area. The wind, temperature, and air pressure can fluctuate quickly in the mountains so dress in layers.

How to get to the hot-air balloon launch field

There are public shuttles available from the Snowmass Base Village parking garage, which we recommend so you don’t have to take the time to find parking. If you decide to take your own car, the drive is less than 5 minutes and try Town Park Station or the Rodeo Lot first.

How to watch from afar

Although there are endless ways to see the hot air balloons from an elevated vantage point, our favorite choice is an easy hike from the parking lot. Across Owl Creek is Sky Mountain Park and Lowline trail, perfect for a short yet elevated view of Snowmass Town Park, Mt. Daly, and the Snowmass Golf Course.

Or the East Brush Creek Nature Trail is a short, beginner trail along the Snowmass Golf Course perfect for families and leashed four-legged friends. If you want to bring your dog, we recommend this trail as pets are not allowed on the launch field.

To find lodging during the upcoming festival, click here. We hope to see you out there for Snowmass’ beloved hot-air balloon festival.