For the past 30+ years, the small but vibrant town of Winthrop has hosted a hot air balloon festival in the heart of winter. This is one of 4 hot air balloon festivals in the Northwest and is the only winter hot air balloon festival in Washington State.
Winthrop is a tiny old western town with antique boardwalks, great boutiques, restaurants, luxurious to cozy overnight options, and every outdoor recreational pursuit you could wish for! Winthrop is nestled up against the pristine Okanogan National Forest. Winthrop offers something for everyone as it showcases the beauty of nature year-round. In wintertime at its finest, Winthrop is surrounded by snow-capped mountains covered in glistening white snow.
The Winthrop Hot Air Balloon Festival is a special event for many Washington State balloon pilots. Most pilots bring their families for a fun-filled weekend of ballooning, ice skating, and cross country skiing. One of the best ways to experience nature is by hopping into a hot air balloon during the Winthrop Balloon Roundup and soaring over it. You’ll get to fly up 2500 feet in the air, and you’ll be able to see all that this beautiful valley has to offer, including beautiful wildlife!
Each morning at sunrise on March 4th, March 5th, and March 6th 2022, hot air balloons will inflate behind the Winthrop Inn (weather permitting). After a pilot briefing, the hot air balloon fans will start, and you’ll get to experience something amazing. Seeing a single hot air balloon inflate is amazing. Seeing 20-30 balloons all inflating at the same time is unbelievable. There is no way to explain the excitement. Most of the balloons at the festival are privately owned balloons and do not provide passenger rides. Seattle Ballooning is the main ride operator at the Winthrop Balloon Festival and typically has 20 spots each between their numerous balloons. Looking for something super romantic? Book a private flight for two!
The hot air balloon flights in the Methow Valley last right around an hour. We typically take off at the Winthrop Inn and catch the valley drainage down to the airport (About 6 miles away). At times during the flight, we’ll fly at treetop above the river, and at other times the balloon will climb thousands of feet into the air.