Hot Air Balloon Rides and Festivals In Walla Walla

Walla Walla Hot Air Ballooning and Wine Tastings

How does checking hot air ballooning off of your bucket list and participating in wine tastings at local wineries in Walla Walla sound? I’m sold.

Hot air ballooning is a ton of fun, but hot air ballooning in Walla Walla Washington is extraordinary. If you’ve never been on a hot air balloon, you are in for quite an adventure. Hot air ballooning, in general, is a bucket list item for most people, and let’s be honest, with Covid a lot of those bucket list items have gone unchecked. It’s time to change that!

Balloon stampede Walla Walla
3 balloons launched during the weekend of the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede

Seattle Ballooning provides commercial hot air balloon rides at sunrise and sunset and fly over the luscious grapevines of Walla Walla. Post-flight the balloon company serves tasty hors d’oeuvres and delicious champagne.

Balloons launching walla walla washignton
Balloons launching Walla Walla Washington during the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede weekend

Walla Walla Hot Air Ballooning History

Hot air ballooning and wine have gone together since 1783 and folks have been flying balloons in Walla Walla for over 40 years! The first hot air balloon flight took place over grapevines in France by the Montgolfier brothers. The balloonists (Aeronauts) would carry champagne on all their flights to give to landowners as a thank you for letting them put the balloon down on their property. Although the sport started in the 1700s, hot air ballooning has come a long way and is now a popular tourist activity all over the world. There are two places to purchase hot air balloon rides in Washington State: Seattle and Walla Walla. Both locations offer exquisite 360 degrees views and a safe flying environment.

Balloon france 1783
Balloon inflation in france (First balloon inflation)

Wine Country

Walla Walla Washington is home to some of the best wine country in the United States. There are 200+ wineries in the area. The vineyards are incredible to see from a few thousand feet in a balloon, and is an experience you won’t want to miss! Balloon rides in Walla Walla take place during the spring and fall when the grapevines are in bloom or harvest.

The views are incredible. You can see for miles over the vineyards and farmlands below. You can also see the city of Walla Walla and the Blue Mountains in the distance. During the fall the leaves change color filling the city with warm colors. It’s truly a photographer’s paradise. Hot air ballooning is a must-do on a list of things to do in Walla Walla Washington.

Hot air balloon over walla walla vineyards
Hot air balloon over walla walla vineyards

Hot Air Balloon Rides In Walla Walla

Guests can select to share the basket and fly with other passengers or opt for a private hot air ballooning experience. Seattle Ballooning’s hot air balloon rides hold 2 to 12 people. It’s the perfect activity for the whole family or a romantic weekend away with your significant other.  Hot Air Ballooning in Walla Walla is fastly becoming one of the most popular hot air balloon tour activities in Washington state. There is nothing more thrilling than floating through the sky like a bird at sunrise or sunset with the rolling hills and blue mountains in the background. Hot air balloon tours over Walla Walla wine country are available throughout the year and offer beautiful views no matter what time of year you choose to go.

Tourists and locals love Seattle Ballooning’s experiences. With hundreds of 5-star reviews, Seattle Ballooning promises a mind-blowing experience, and they are the only company in Walla Walla Washington that offers it!

balloon pilot walla walla balloon stampede
Chief pilot Eliav from Seattle Ballooning flying during the weekend of the walla walla balloon stampede

Hot Air Balloon Festivals

There are only a few hot air balloon festivals in the Northwest. There are two annual events in Oregon and two in Washington State. If you are looking for a special experience and are in town during the weekend of the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede, you are in for a treat. This year the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede takes place over Mother’s Day Weekend May 10th through May 14th! Hot air balloon pilots (Aeronauts) from all over the Northwest congregate in Walla Walla for the weekend. Typically over 2 dozen pilots participate in the mass balloon ascension and launch from Howard Tietan Park. It’s really neat seeing 20+ 10 story tall hot air balloons flying through the sky.

Walla Walla Balloon Festival
Hot air ballooning Walla Walla Washington

Walla Walla Balloon Stampede

The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede is an annual event that has been around for almost 50 years. It brings together the entire Walla Walla community. If you are wanting to fly amongst the balloons flying in the Walla Walla balloon festival, you can book a commercial flight with Seattle Ballooning. The event doesn’t allow commercial hot air balloon companies like Seattle Ballooning to launch from the Tietan park field as they aren’t officially part of the festival. As the local hot air balloon operation in Walla Walla, Seattle Ballooning provides commercial balloon operations at sunrise and sunset during the weekend of the Walla Walla Balloon weekend in May. Instead of launching from the beautiful Howard Tietan park with the festival balloons, Seattle Ballooning launches over wine country. They have secured multiple launch locations during the weekend of the Walla Walla balloon festival allowing the commercial balloon rides to join the other balloons in flight. These launch locations give guests a fantastic experience of flying with lots of balloons while also viewing the vineyards. Typically the commercial balloons and balloons that are part of the festival find themselves next to each other halfway through the balloon ride. Most of the balloons either land near the Walla Walla airport or in the wheat fields North of Downtown Walla Walla.

Balloon glow
Walla Walla Balloon glow

Hot Air Balloon Glow

Every hot air balloon event in the world includes a hot air balloon glow. Hot air balloons are tethered to the ground and the heat from the propane burners creates a beautiful light that illuminates the colors in the fabric. It’s pure entertainment for kids and adults! This beloved tradition is held at night and is a magnificent sight to behold. The balloon glow is typically held Saturday night at Howard Tietan Park balloon grounds. Events like these provide an incredible photo opportunity as well as an educational opportunity for young people.  If you have questions about ballooning or becoming a pilot, feel free to walk up and chat with the aeronauts. You’ll want to bring your own food and drinks with you as there isn’t typically a food truck or concession stands. 

Weather Dependent

All hot air balloon activities are weather-dependent and flight decisions are made by Seattle Ballooning’s team of weather experts. They look at wind patterns, short and long-term weather forecasts, and utilize a variety of weather resources. Although balloons are at the mercy of the wind, hot air balloon pilots use the wind direction at different altitudes for control as there is no steering wheel. For safety reasons, balloon pilots do not fly in rough winds or poor/ marginal weather conditions.  If a flight is canceled for weather, passengers will have the option to rebook or get a refund.  If you are ready to book your flight, you can give Seattle Ballooning a call at 206 747 5802 or book your adventure online.

Other fun things to do in Walla Walla

If you are looking for other fun things to do in Walla Walla besides your hot air balloon ride, we’ve compiled a complete list of fun things to do in Walla Walla. Check it out.

Hot Air Balloon Pilot Eliav C.
About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it’s not considered work.

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