“A heavy mist envelops the Rio Grande, just as the sun reveals its first rays of the day. Beavers busily swim by, while birds soar gracefully overhead. As you paddle your canoe or kayak through the water, you look up to spot a colorful balloon floating silently through the sky, looking as though it belongs there just as naturally as the clouds. Then you see another, and another, until they’re dotting the landscape like whimsically colored apples sprouting across an orchard . . .
“Yes, the trips start early—participants arrive at 5:30 am - but they offer a way to experience the Fiesta unlike anything else.”
AAA New Mexico Journey, September, 2014
The best seat imaginable for Albuquerque’s annual International Balloon Fiesta! You’ll float along the river, far from the massive crowds, as hundreds of balloons soar overhead!
With Albuquerque’s prevailing winds coming out of the south, many balloons fly directly up the Rio Grande. While virtually all trips will provide tremendous views of the mass ascensions, when the wind speeds and direction are ideal, the experience can be extraordinary - four consecutive events in 2014 - and seven of nine in 2015 - featured several "splash and dashes" right in the midst of our paddlers!
" A+ rating from our group of 12! We went down the river during the Balloon Fiesta and it was absolutely the BEST thing we did all week! . . . the wind blew the balloons right over the river and we were able to see them "Splash and Dash". They even flew right over the great brunch table the guys were setting up for us and we could high 5 the pilots! . . . Everyone agreed that the price of the trip was not nearly enough for the experience we had. Thank you to everyone at Quiet Waters Paddling."
A TripAdvisor Traveler Review, October, 2019
As with all guided trips, you can choose either a kayak or stand up paddleboard (Canoes are available on request), which includes PFD’s and all required equipment. You’ll be accompanied by our professional guides, and the views are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime!
"Float the Fiesta!" Adventures Include:
- Hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate upon your arrival, along with an assortment of breakfast bars, and fresh fruits.
- Your choice of kayak, stand up paddleboard and paddle
- PFD (life vest) and all required safety equipment
- Passenger Van Shuttle to and from the river
- Interpretive guide(s)
- Pre-launch orientation addressing the fundamentals of river dynamics and basic paddling instruction
- Bottled water throughout the tour
- A light brunch on the river, typically including yogurt parfait, an assortment of fresh fruits, breakfast bars and baked goods, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and assorted fruit juices
"Float the Fiesta!" International Balloon Festival Tours are offered to the public on seven of the nine days of the International Balloon Fiesta. Monday and Tuesday are also available for private outings (12 or more people)
Please call us at (505) 771-1234 if you'd like to arrange a private outing for either of those dates.
Saturday, October 3, 2020: Mass Ascension
Sunday, October 4, 2020: Mass Ascension
Monday, October 5, 2020: Balloon Flying Competition
Tuesday, October 6, 2020: Balloon Flying Competition
Wednesday, October 7, 2020: Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension
Thursday, October 8, 2020: Special Shapes Rodeo
Friday, October 9, 2020: Special Shapes Rodeo
Saturday, October 10, 2020: Mass Ascension
Sunday, October 11, 2020: Farewell Mass Ascension
Or call (505) 771-1234
- "Child under 12 floating with an Adult" rate applies to children floating along with one adult in a kayak, solo canoe or SUP, or with two adults in a canoe.
- River Classifications refer to the "Expanded Class I River Classification System". Please see the Current River Conditions page for more details.
- Both Balloon Fiesta events and float trips are dependent upon weather and wind conditions. As with all of our trips, active thunderstorms in the area and NOAA wind advisory conditions may force cancellations. Balloons are more susceptible to wind conditions than paddlecraft, however. There's always a possibility that early morning wind conditions will preclude balloon launches. If this should happen, we will continue with the tour as planned, and cannot issue any refunds.
- Please see the Waiver, Terms and Policies page for a link to our waiver, as well as our reservation policies, terms and procedures