Walla Walla Balloon Stampede

by | Oct 19, 2021 | Hot Air Ballooning

Walla Walla Balloon Stampede Oct 2022!

In October 2022, the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede returns celebrating its 48th year.  It is actually the 3rd oldest hot air balloon event in the US and is organized by Lighter Than Air America. The hot air balloon festival attracts over two dozen hot air balloon pilots from around the Pacific Northwest.  Whether you are on the ground watching the balloons or in the air it’s always amazing when 20 plus hot air balloons launch together.  The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede is a great event for families, children, and the entire community. The hot air balloon festival takes place over the weekend and has a few different types of events. 

Walla Walla Balloon Festival
The easy choice to make is booking a reservation to fly during the hot air balloon festival. Whether you have ballooning on your bucket list, want a romantic experience in the sky, or just want to have a new experience friends, Seattle Ballooning has you covered! Seattle Ballooning provides hot air balloon rides during the Walla Walla Balloon festival weekend at both sunrise and sunset. Instead of taking off from Howard Tietan Park and having a 20-30 minute balloon flight over the city of Walla Walla, they start further South.  These South launch locations allow guests to see the world-renowned Washington vineyards, and get a flight time of 60 minutes.  As the experienced commercial hot air balloon pilots fly over the Howard Tietan Park, the additional 20+ balloons will launch.  It’s an incredible experience.

If you don’t want to fly in a hot air balloon, your best option is to visit the mass ascension at sunrise.  The 9 story tall hot air balloons inflate 20 minutes after sunrise, filling Howard Tietan Park with a see of colors.  Although the winds are different each day, the typical flight path takes the balloons North over Downtown Walla Walla to the wheat fields or the Walla Walla airport.

Hot air balloon rides Walla Walla

You won’t want to miss the evening hot air balloon glow.  Hot air balloon glows are a beloved tradition.  The hot air balloons inflate just prior to sunset and use their burners to put on a colorful light show. When hot air balloon pilots squeeze their blast valves, the fabric get illuminated and glows.  The balloon pilots often illuminate their balloons at the same time or in waves giving guests an incredible photo opportunity.  This is also a great time to learn more about ballooning and connect with the local balloon pilots.  You are welcome to walk up to the balloons and ask questions.  We’ll answer your most common questions here!

Balloon glow

Will the balloon leave the ground during the balloon glow?

Nope.  Balloons do not leave the ground during balloon glow events.  In order for balloons to fly at night, they need special lights, a full moon, and an area without any powerlines.  

Can you go up in a balloon during the Walla Walla balloon festival?

Yes!  Seattle Ballooning provides both shared and private hot air balloon rides during the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede.  Your other option is to sponsor the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede and fly in a private small balloon from Howard Tietan Park.

How long is the balloon ride during the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede?

It really depends on the wind. If the wind is slow and in a good direction, balloons launching from Howard Tietan Park can fly up to an hour. If the winds are faster, the balloons typically land within 30 minutes of launching. Seattle Ballooning has multiple launch locations just South of Downtown Walla Walla allowing for 60 minutes of flying at altitude.

Why don’t the commercial balloon ride companies fly from Howard Tietan Park?

Commercial hot air balloons are 2-3 times the size of privately owned hot air balloons.  Due to the increased size, it is easier to let the smaller balloons launch at the same time and have the large commercial balloons join them in flight.  Commercial balloon rides also have a different goal than the private balloon pilots at the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede.  The goal of the Balloon Stampede is to fill the air will beautiful balloons with no minimum or maximum time of being in the air.  Some pilots land after 20 minutes and others fly for an hour depending on the speed and direction of the wind.  Commercial hot air balloon rides typically last right around an hour and that often requires launching from different locations based on the winds that day.  

Covid-19 concerns and the  Walla Walla Balloon Stampede?

Seattle Ballooning has always been committed to the safety of its pilots and guests. Our pilots and crew are all vaccinated. Although hot air ballooning is an outdoor experience, it is not possible to social distance on any type of aircraft. Vaccinated guests can choose to wear a mask or not during the activity itself.  All guests are required to wear a mask in the transport vans regardless of vaccination status.

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.

Seattle Washington


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