Pro Tips.

So whats this Balloon Fiesta thing anyway?

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a big deal, and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Albuquerque area annually. This can cause a bit of traffic congestion, specifically at dawn / dusk. Due to the proximity of our campout to the Balloon Fiesta Park, traffic will be a bit of a mess during the events. Be sure to check the Balloon Fiesta Schedule of Events and try to plan your arrival and any running around during non-peak times.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta mass ascension

Dawn Patrol

The morning starts out with a few veteran hot air balloon crews launching to check the weather patterns and conditions. They report back if it’s okay to launch. They typically launch before the sun comes up over the Sandia Mountains. Bring your coats and gloves, as this is the coldest part of the day, and is on grass, typically wet with dew. There are plenty of vendors already open, many of which serve coffee and hot chocolate.

Mass Ascention

Ever see hundreds of hot air balloons take off all at the same time? It’s rad! If the dawn patrol crews give the all-clear, the balloon crews lay out their balloons and start filling them with air. This is a great place to be when it’s cold, as the heat from the balloon burners can be instantly felt from many feet away. Some balloon crews will even put you to work holding the basket down if you’re close enough. When the balloons are upright and inflated, they launch in a “mass ascension”, seemingly filling the sky with hot air balloons. Once the first wave is aloft, the second group starts setting up. This pattern continues for several hours, sending hundreds and hundreds of balloons of all shapes, sizes and colors into the air. A weather phenomenon known as the “Albuquerque Box” produces an atmospheric wind pattern that results in balloons remaining over the park during the morning hours. This means if the weather cooperates, the balloons can take off AND land at the balloon fiesta park.

Mass Ascension


There are many vendors of all kinds inside the Balloon Fiesta Park. Many food / drink vendors will be there as well as merchandise, craft and art vendors. There is plenty to see in the balloon fiesta park!

Balloon Rides:

Rainbow Ryders is the only private company that offers Balloon Rides from the Balloon Fiesta Park during the mass ascension. All other private balloon ride companies launch from various places around the city. I would HIGHLY recommend booking your ride sooner rather than later as they are VERY popular.


October in New Mexico can be quite interesting. Daytime temps can push into the high 80’s, while overnight temps can dip down into the 30’s. Bring a Coat and gloves but don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat. Remember to stay hydrated. I recommend bringing a backpack to the balloon fiesta park with an extra pair of socks (wet grass, remember?), sunscreen, a hat and a bottle or two of water. Don’t forget extra batteries / film / memory cards for your camera!


Anything else you have questions about or want to know? Let us know.

Raffle prizes

First off, a huge thank you to General Parts

for their amazing raffle prizes (to be announced soon)! If you guys need parts or service, please give them a shout.

Also, we’re still looking for raffle prizes. If you have anything you would like to donate to the raffle, please let us know.

The location

Many moons ago, the now defunct pre-1968 VW Bus club “The Route 66 Splits” started camping in a field during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This event became Buses and Balloons. Over the many years since then the city grew, and the field with a once decent view of the rio grande valley became a church parking lot in a neighborhood. Anyone who has been to Buses and Balloons recently knows that the location, while close to a Wendy’s and an autozone, has left something to be desired.

For a long time we’ve been looking for a rad location close to the balloon fiesta. This year we’ve finally found it!


So what’s the big deal?

Buses and balloons, vw campout, vw camping, vw bus, Volkswagen campout, volkswagon campout, vanagon, Westy

As you can see, it’s literally blocks from Balloon Fiesta Park. It’s about a 10 minute walk or a 5 minute bike ride directly down a really nice bike path.

This means that the balloons should be directly overhead (weather permitting) during the mass ascensions.

Bring your Bike!

Bike ABQ , A local bike advocacy group runs a free bike valet at Balloon Fiesta Park. This means you can bring your bike, ride it to the Balloon Fiesta and have it locked and securely stored while you stroll around the Balloon Fiesta Park.

Getting there:

Due to the proximity to Balloon Fiesta park, traffic will be somewhat heavy, and your best bet for getting in and out smoothly will be from 11am-4pm. Avoid times when there are events planned at the park, usually early morning and dusk.