Balloon Fiesta Ride

 
Balloon Fiesta Ride - Eric Russell Photo

Balloon Fiesta Ride From Tramway

The Balloon Fiesta Ride is a fun way to view the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta while avoiding the crowds and all the traffic. The best viewpoint depends on which way the balloons are drifting due to the winds. The rides usually start early since the first wave of the mass ascensions start at 0700am on the two Saturdays and Sundays.

The ride follows the North Diversion bikepath to the Paseo del Norte Bikepath which gives a good view of the Balloon Park from the South. From the Paseo del Norte Bikepath you can take Edith north. This is normally closed to traffic to keep cars out of the neighborhoods, so there is no traffic. The Balloon Park is up a hill east of Edith but you might see balloons drifting north or south. Edith continues north under Tramway until it hits the Sandia Pueblo and dead ends. Balloons often land in this area depending on the winds. Tramway does not connect with Edith but you can climb up the overpass to Tramway. There is a path on the southeast corner. Taking Tramway east you pass the north side of the Balloon Park which gives a good view of the entire Balloon Park to the south and there is shoulder and plenty of room off the road to pull off.Return loops on Tramway are possible but there is traffic everywhere. Otherwise, return by the same route you came.

Unfortunately, taking bicycles into the Balloon Park is not really possible due to the crowds. Bicycles are prohibited anyway. New bike paths are being added to the Balloon Museum area.

Lights are required since the rides start early. At this time of year it can be pretty cold. Bring breakfast goodies or meet for brunch afterwards.

Getting There: A traditional starting place is the University Observatory at Tucker and Yale north of Lomas.

Route

Balloon Fiesta Route

Distance: Approximately 30 flat miles, depending on options.

Options:

  • The Sandia Crest provides an interesting view of the balloons. They are pretty far away but a pair of binoculars gives a good view. It is totally dark and really cold starting out, lights are needed. The sunrise is terrific on the east side of the Sandias. The descent is usually still cold. Start at the "Triangle" or Tijeras. There is little traffic. The Crest House is open for snacks.
  • If you can't bicycle, take the "Park and Ride" buses. It's worth it to skip the traffic.

Notes:

  • Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta website.
  • Bring your camera.