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The Best Spots to Experience the Balloon Festival

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2023 Snowmass Balloon Festival     

The iconic Snowmass Balloon Festival returns to Snowmass Village, Colorado for its 48th year, September 22-24, 2023. All three days, walk in, hike up, and bike around to take in the sights and sounds of the morning balloon launches from 7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.

After you’ve seen the balloons in all their beauty, head to the Snowmass Mall or Base Village to eat, stroll, hit the bike park, or check out these great activities happening around the village:

    • Elk Camp Gondola, Lost Forest, and Snowmass Bike Park open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday & Sunday
    • Music on the Mall 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday 
    • Golden Leaf Half Marathon Saturday
    • Yoga with Aaron King at the Collective Rink at 9:30 a.m. Saturday 
    • Game Lounge and Selfie Den open at The Collective 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. 
    • DJ Set featuring Romy Ancona at The Collective from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday
    • Bike Park Clinics

Up Close and Personal:

Get a front-row seat to watch the stars of the weekend as they load up, inflate, and take flight. To watch the balloons from the comfort of your car, parking is available at Town Park Station and the Rodeo Lot. The launch field – located next to Black Saddle at the Snowmass Club – will be open to the public for up-close viewing of the launch. There, you will also find music and food trucks with breakfast and coffee options. Please keep in mind that no dogs are allowed on the launch field.

To Hike Up and Bike Around:

Here are the places you can hike and bike for the best views of this year’s Snowmass Balloon Festival. To capitalize on the miles of incredible trails around Snowmass, we’ve broken down every possible vantage point for you starting at available parking locations around Snowmass Village so that you, your tribe, and your family can partake in this must-see event. All parking in Snowmass Village lots and at the Brush Creek Park and Ride is free.

From the Intercept Lot/Brush Creek Park and Ride:     

Mountain bike – The Brush Creek Park and Ride is an awesome jump-off point for mountain bikers looking to access Sky Mountain Park and the West Sky Mountain Park Loop.

Follow the Brush Creek Bike Path under Highway 82 to Cozy Line and start your climb. This 9.5 mile loop takes you up to Skyline for a bird’s eye view of all the balloon action and rewards you with a fan favorite single track downhill called Deadline. Seven Star and North Rim Trail can also be accessed from this parking lot after a quick ride up Brush Creek Bike Path to Town Park Station.

Hike – The Brush Creek Bike Path/Trail is a great option for those looking to get some exercise in as the sun and balloons rise. This bike and hike friendly path winds along Brush Creek Road and Sky Mountain Park up to the Rodeo Lot.

Class 1 E-bikes are permitted on paved Snowmass trails like the Brush Creek Bike Path and available to rent from Snowmass Sports and Four Mountain Sports on the Snowmass Village Mall!

From the Rodeo Lot next to the Brush Creek round-about and Town Park Station:

Mountain Bike – Options are endless here! This day use parking lot grants access to Sky Mountain Park to the east and trails like Seven Star and North Rim Trail to the west – behind the Snowmass Rec. Center. These trails all ascend to sweeping views up valley towards Mt. Daly and Capital Peak. During the Snowmass Balloon Festival these spots are close to the action during takeoff at Town Park and a perfect place to see the field lift off first thing in the morning.

Hike – From the Rodeo lot you have options galore for just about everyone and every skill level in your tribe. For the avid hiker looking to start the morning with some cardio and a bird’s eye view of the field, Seven Star, and North Rim are as challenging as they are beautiful. Please be aware that these trails are mountain bike accessible as well, uphill traffic has the right-of-way, and we encourage you to share the trail. Across Owl Creek is Sky Mountain Park and Lowline trail. This trail is perfect for a short yet elevated view of Town Park Station that also doesn’t stray too far from the parking lot. The East Brush Creek Nature Trail is a short, beginner trail along the Snowmass Golf Course perfect for families and leashed four-legged friends.

From the Tom Blake Trailhead Parking Lot off Owl Creek Road:

Mountain Bike – The Tom Blake Trailhead Parking Lot is another access point to Sky Mountain Park from the south side of the park. Lowline Trail wraps around the park, adjacent to Owl Creek Road, with elevated views of the Snowmass Club Golf Course and Mt. Daly. You can also follow Lowline to the Rodeo Parking Lot for access to Seven Star and Rim Trail or head up Tom Blake trail towards Elk Camp for views down valley.  

HikeLowline runs adjacent to Owl Creek Road and meanders back towards Town Park Station and the Rodeo Lot. This path has unobstructed views of Mt. Daly and the Snowmass Golf Course, the Rodeo parking lot and the East Brush Creek Nature Trail. Owl Creek Trail can be accessed at the Tom Blake trail head and follows Owl Creek Road along the back of the Snowmass Golf Course. From here, views down valley offer an incredible and accessible vantage for lift off. Cathy Robinson Park and the Little Red School House are perfect resting spots along the way.

From the Little Red School House and Cathy Robinson Playground:

Hike/Walk – Here you have access to the paved trifecta of Owl Creek Trail, Cathy Robinson Playground, and the Snowmass Golf Course loop. The Owl Creek Trail connects with the Brush Creek Trail to circumnavigate the Snowmass Club Golf Course. These trails provide a paved 3-mile loop sure to keep you in the middle of all the action.

Class 1 E-Bikes are permitted on paved trails like Owl Creek Trail and Brush Creek Trail!

From the Snowmass Mall (numbered lots are open and free for the summer) and Snowmass Base Village Parking Garage:

Mountain Biking: The Rim Trail South Trailhead is off Upper Divide Road adjacent to the Snowmass Mall. This trail passes the must-see Spiral Point and can be connected to Rim Trail North at Sinclair Road, and Seven Star for an even longer loop across the west border of Snowmass. Government Trail and Tom Blake Loop is a classic Snowmass cross country trail that winds along the mountain for views down valley, perfect to watch the balloons in flight and easily accessed from the Base Village parking garage.

Hiking – Spiral Point, also called the Yin Yang, is a Snowmass must see. This point is accessed via the Rim Trail South which makes it onto just about every hiking list because of its versatility and truly breathtaking views of Snowmass and the surrounding peaks like Mt. Daly and the entire Town of Snowmass. 

BONUS – Buttermilk Parking Lot

Mountain bikers: head back to Sky Mountain via Airline Trail for a ride that ascends the park alongside the balloons and the sunrise! Park at Buttermilk and follow Owl Creek Road along the back of Aspen Airport to meet up with the trail, you will have to turn off the paved sidewalk so keep your eyes peeled for the trailhead!

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