Top 8 tips for enjoying the Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival

The annual Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday.

Staff report
Steamboat Pilot & Today

Here are some tips to help maximize your enjoyment of this weekend’s festival.

1. Getting around: Downtown Steamboat Springs will be busy this weekend so we suggest riding your bike, taking the free bus, carpooling or walking to the Balloon Glow at Howelsen Hill on Saturday evening. Bus schedules can be found at, and visitors can also find the location of buses in real time with estimated arrival and departure times at

2. Pets: Steamboat loves its dogs but not at the Balloon Festival. Dogs are not allowed at either of the balloon launches or the Balloon Glow so please leave your pups at home. Smoking is also prohibited at all festival events.

3. Help out: Volunteers are still needed for festival events. If you’d like to get an up-close and personal view of the Balloon Launch, apply at

4. Parking: There is no public parking at Bald Eagle Lake, the site of the Saturday and Sunday morning balloon launches site off of U.S. Highway 40. Free shuttle transportation to Bald Eagle Lake is provided from the Meadows Parking Lot on Pine Grove Road and Bangtail Way starting at 6 a.m. both mornings. A donation of $10 per car is suggested to support the Steamboat Lions Club, which donates 100% of their proceeds back to the Steamboat Springs community. Also, be advised that parking along U.S. 40 is strictly prohibited.

5. Family fun: The Balloon Festival is a great event for the whole family with kids activities planned at both launches and the Balloon Glow. There will food and drink vendors at the Balloon Glow and live music so plan to spend the evening at the event’s new location at Howelsen Hill.

6. Lake views: The early morning launches of more than two dozen hot air balloons at Bald Eagle Lake provide several great viewing options. As the balloons float up into the air, they can be seen from throughout Steamboat but the best place to watch is from the shore of the lake.

7. Take care and share: Like any outdoor festival, make sure you stay hydrated, be prepared to navigate the crowds and take plenty of pictures. Attendees are encouraged to share their photos from the festival using the hashtag #SteamboatBalloonFest.

8. Learn: The Balloon Festival features over 30 balloons, and the events are planned to allow festival-goers to engage and interact with the pilots. This is a great opportunity to learn more about hot air balloons and the skill it takes to fly the beautiful aircrafts, especially in the mountains.