Your Guide to Getting the Most out of Your Weekend

Hot Air Balloon RodeoThe Hot Air Balloon Rodeo is one of the most colorful and beautiful weekends in Steamboat Springs. The 37th annual event is a highly anticipated event full of balloons and art in colorful Colorado for a weekend to remember. From balloons floating across the valley in the early morning light, to illuminating at dusk at the base of the mountain, this vibrant Rocky Mountain weekend is one not to be missed.

As the balloons navigate the valley, here are some things to know to navigate the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo for the best viewing experiences:

Getting Around

Balloons will launch Saturday and Sunday morning at Bald Eagle Lake, located on the east side of town. The launch field at Bald Eagle Lake opens at 6 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday with balloons going up at 6:30 a.m. Arriving early will help folks get the best viewing spot of the balloons rising over the lake. Free parking is available in the Meadows Parking Lot, located at the base of the mountain, with free shuttles to the launch field at Bald Eagle Lake. No parking will be available at Bald Eagle Lake. The Hot Air Balloon Rodeo is a busy weekend in Steamboat, so we recommend taking the free bus in town or riding bikes. And as much as we love our dogs here in Steamboat, please leave them at home - dogs are not permitted at the launch field.

While You’re There

Bald Eagle Lake has picturesque, up close views of the balloons as well as stunning reflections in the early morning light. Pilots skim the water’s surface in their balloons and compete in what can only be described as a vertical game of darts. Dropping bean bags out of their baskets, balloon pilots and riders see how close to the target they can get. As the balloons fill the sky, enjoy coffee or breakfast from our local vendors and enjoy the view. Whether you’re close to the action or getting a wide views, this is the perfect time to hone your photography skills. Colorful balloons create the perfect backdrop against a bluebird Colorado sky. Plus, Bald Eagle Lake offers a picturesque surface to capture reflections of the balloons.

Hot Air Balloon GlowAfter Dark

From sunrise to sunset, the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo offers a full day of color and festivities. Balloon Glow begins Saturday at 8:30 p.m., where spectators can enjoy eight illuminated balloons tied down at the base of the mountain. The Promenade walkway and the Torian Lawn in front of Slopeside Grill will have the best close up viewing of the balloons. Great spots to snap the perfect picture are Bear River Deck, Saddles Deck, Gondola Square, and Torian Plum Plaza.

Pilots and event coordinators are always keeping an eye on weather conditions. If conditions turn unfavorable for inflating at night, like just enough wind to be dangerous, pilots will do a candlestick burn instead. Fire shooting into the night sky provides another great opportunity for dramatic photographs.

With so many ways to enjoy the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, you’re sure to have a weekend packed with color and excitement. Check out our calendar for other events to round out your weekend.