10 Best Places To Ride A Hot Air Balloon This Fall

Best Places to Ride a Hot Air Balloon this Fall

When you're ready to take off on your hot air adventure, head to one of the best destinations in the U.S. for top-notch adventure with an unbeatable view.

Albuquerque, N.M.

Home to the largest ballooning event on earth—the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta—this city is the premiere destination for all things hot air balloon. Visit during the first week of October to see more than 500 elaborately colored balloons take flight during the festival. The show is magnificent from the ground, but it's even better to be part of the sky-bound display. Check online for the event schedule and information on balloon rides throughout the festival.

Letchworth State Park, N.Y.

Not far from the world famous Niagara Falls, you'll find a lesser-known gem called Letchworth State Park. The park, regularly called "The Grand Canyon of the East," is home to 20 stunning waterfalls, old railroad tracks and natural rock gorges that reach up to 600 feet high. The incredible scenery is best seen from the basket of a hot air balloon in the fall, when the brilliant yellows, reds and oranges are out in full force. Take the ride with Balloons Over Letchworth, the only company that launches from within the park.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Set in the middle of Colorado, alongside the Rockies, a hot air balloon ride in Colorado Springs will put you in the midst of some of the most beautiful alpine scenery in the country. Particularly beautiful at the end of September and beginning of October, riders might be able to catch a glimpse of wildlife wandering below. Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides offers the highest altitude flights in the U.S. and have a great reputation, visitors should consider flying with them.

Black Hills, S.D.

Take to the sky over the Custer Valley and into Custer State Park as you watch mountains, lakes and prairies drift beneath you. The area, famous for free-roaming wildlife, is especially breathtaking in the fall. Black Hills Balloons is a great outfitter in the area, offering a few different flight options.

Lake Champlain, Vt.

When it comes to spotting fall foliage from the sky, there are few places more fantastic than Lake Champlain in Vermont. Board a hot air balloon and soar above the shores of the lake, over the foothills of the Green Mountains and, on some high-altitude rides, spot the Adirondacks. The vibrant displays on the changing trees and the scurrying wildlife below are some of the benefits of an autumn ride. Above Reality Hot Air Balloon Rides is one great company to consider in the region.

Napa Valley, Calif.

Best known for world famous wineries and miles of beautiful vineyards, Napa Valley is also a top spot for scenic hot air balloon rides. On top of the stunning scenery, some of the companies in the area pair the flight a wine tour or a bike tour of the region, which can make for an exceptional day. Two top-notch options are Napa Valley Balloons (which offers the wine and bike tours) and Napa Valley Aloft.

Las Vegas, Nev.

There's so much more to Vegas than drinking and gambling—case in point, the hot air balloon rides are spectacular. With views of the strip, the Red Rock Mountains and the surrounding country, a balloon flight in Vegas is about more than simply seeing the city. Watch for wildlife below as you float far from the city center and finish with a champagne toast. Vegas Balloon Rides is a popular choice, but there are other companies too.

Charlottesville, Va.

Fly over Charlottesville and along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for a balloon ride you'll remember forever. The trip is gorgeous any time of year, but the fall foliage along the Blue Ridge is unlike anything you've ever seen. Blue Ridge Ballooning offers several trip options, including sunrise and sunset flights.

Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Soar high above America's largest alpine lake and look down into the clear water to spot a vibrant reflection of your hot air balloon. Pull your attention away from the water and catch a panorama with views that can occasionally stretch up to 150 miles. The scenery is almost impossible to beat and the balloon takes off and lands on a floating balloon recovery vessel. Take flight with Lake Tahoe Balloons for an incredible experience.

Lancaster, Pa.

Take off in Lancaster for unrivaled views that stretch on for miles and a one-of-a-kind look at farmland below. The flat landscape affords riders views that stretch on beyond comprehension. When you fly with The United States Hot Air Balloon Team you can help the crew get the balloon ready for launch and when it's time to land, you'll touch down among local farms.