ABQ Balloon Fiesta?

Has anyone on here ever gone? Heading over this Fall to chill in Santa Fe for a week and may hit it. Any good tips?

Red, Green or Christmas are all appropriate answers (green is my go to, but you do you). Hatch chiles should be available, so take advantage. And the Farmers Market in Robinson Park for early morning weekend eats.


If you have never tried it, see if you can ride on one of the balloons. I did Park City Autumn Aloft a while back. The ride didn’t disappoint.


I got this part covered. Lol. I’m actually driving the whole way and going down to Hatch, Las Cruces and Roswell to see some of my Family history. Also, got a few friends who owns some spots but none have done the fiesta. It’s weird.

Hitting Bonni Raitt show but think I can squeeze in some of the Fiesta and watch a launch or two.

I thought about it. Not gonna lie, I am not a huge fan of being in a basket suspended like that. Ha

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It’s an amazing event. For two weeks the sky is filled with all types of balloons. Ride one if you dare. It’s a little pricey, $200 per person when I did it, but with a champagne brunch when you land…it’s a blast. Hatch Chile roast happens at the same time. The whole city smells of roasted chiles.

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Not enough stars for Bonnie Raitt

The one I looked at was $450 a piece. I’m afraid of a bargain balloon.

Yeah, gotta let my daughter see the greats.

I did it years ago. It was no bargain basement deal. It was 1st class. I’m not surprised to see the prices have more than doubled.

Yeah, I bet. Everything seems like it’s done top-notch and a well-oiled machine. I probably will stay on the ground and just enjoy it from there this year.

If you are going as far down as Roswell, hit Carlsbad Caverns. One of the most amazing places I have visited.

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I live next to Mammoth Cave. I tend to hate the cave parks but I may hit it. I def will hit White Sands.

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Cave /= Cavern - Carlsbad has some cool formations.

RE: Balloon Fiesta - grew up in ABQ so here are a few tips:

  • I’m sure you know it’s from the 1st to 2nd weekends (inclusive) of Oct. Mass Ascensions on Sat/Sun and I think usually the Fri (check the schedule).
  • Think about arriving at the park (either parking or park & ride) around 4:30-5:00 am. There are certain routes to get there but law enforcement funnels you into the right places.
  • Dawn patrol usually goes up around 5:30
  • There are usually multiple waves of balloons inflating and taking off. What’s great is that you can wander around the grass lawn (used to be dirt). Or just set a blanket out and watch. You can interact with pilots. For kids, many of them have cards (like baseball cards). Look for the ‘zebras’ (referees) giving the go ahead to balance traffic as the balloons take off (they usually have crazy outfits).
  • Wind is the killer of fun - if the forecast is windy, it’s likely they won’t go up
  • Balloon glows (morning or evenings) are fun - in the evenings they usually have fireworks now.
  • Special Shape rodeos are really fun. I think that’s usually like Thu/Fri afternoons? (check the schedule)
  • You don’t have to go to the park to enjoy mass ascensions, but doing it once or twice is worth it.
  • Definitely get a breakfast burrito with green chile (my fav is sausage - usually from Golden Pride). A funnel cake around 9-10am is a good treat.
  • It can be cold but get pleasant once the sun comes up. Dress in layers (duh).

Make sure you take a lot of pictures. When it used to be sponsored by Kodak, it was the most photographed event in the world. So colorful and beautiful.


I’m sure but as this review states: ’ However, with 412 miles mapped, Mammoth Cave is the longest surveyed cave in the entire world. By comparison, Carlsbad Cavern has about 33 surveyed miles, nowhere near the size of Mammoth Cave . So each cave is bigger and smaller than the other. Walking in Mammoth, the paths are wider and flatter, and more colorful.’

I am in what is classified Cave Country and the stuff Carlsbad has is probably different but not extreme.

I do really appreciate the Fiesta tips. I really think the Glow sounds like more my kind of thing and def will stay around for the Rodeo. That just appeals to the kid in me.

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As my mom spent 6 years in Albuquerque growing up, I probably need to do a proper road trip there.

Grandpa ran the maintenance yard there for the Santa Fe RR before getting transferred to Barstow just after WWII.


I’ve only been once to Carlsbad when I was a kid and it seemed cool (to a kid). Size doesn’t matter (that’s what she said) when one is likely only going to walk 1-2 miles of it. When we were in your neck of the woods a couple years ago, we decided to skip Mammoth (partially because covid restricted it to not very interesting stuff). From pictures though, it seemed like Mammoth was more of a huge cave but didn’t have as many formations or varieties thereof. But I’ve only been a few caves/caverns - spelunked in caves that didn’t have many cool formations and also been to stuff like Wind Cave in SD that was kind of cool (also national park). Totally understand if the underworld isn’t your thing - definitely some other cool stuff as you pass through to fill your time :slight_smile:

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