Top 7 tips for enjoying this weekend’s 40th annual Steamboat Pilot & Today Hot Air Balloon Rodeo

Here are some tips to help maximize your enjoyment of this weekend’s 40th annual Steamboat Pilot & Today Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, even if you can’t make it to the launch site Saturday or Sunday.

1. Getting around: Downtown Steamboat Springs will be busy this weekend with several events in addition to the Balloon Rodeo so we suggest riding your bike, taking the free bus, carpooling or walking around town. Bus schedules can be found at, and visitors can also find the location of buses in real time with estimated arrival and departure times at

2. Parking: There is no public parking at Bald Eagle Lake, the site of the balloon launches Saturday and Sunday morning located off U.S. Highway 40. Shuttles will be transporting ticket holders — which are now sold out for both days — to Bald Eagle Lake from the Meadows Parking Lot on Pine Grove Road and Bangtail Way starting at 5:30 a.m. both mornings. Be advised that parking along U.S. 40 is strictly prohibited. People are welcome to ride and park their bicycle at the event, but must have already purchased a ticket.

3. Viewing: If you weren’t able to purchase a ticket to be at the launch site, you can still watch the balloons. The early morning launches of more than two dozen hot air balloons at Bald Eagle Lake provide several great viewing options. As the balloons float up into the air, they can be seen from throughout Steamboat. You can find a detailed map of the best locations here. There’s also going to be a live feed from the launch site at, as well as Facebook Live videos on the Steamboat Pilot & Today Facebook page.

4. Pets: Steamboat loves its dogs but not at the Balloon Rodeo to ensure safety for all spectators and crew members. Dogs are not allowed at the balloon launch site at Bald Eagle Lake so please leave your pups at home. Smoking is also prohibited at the launch site.

5. Family fun: The Balloon Rodeo is a great event for the whole family. There will food and drink vendors at the launch site.

6. Take care and share: Like any outdoor festival, make sure you stay hydrated, be prepared to navigate the crowds and take plenty of pictures and video. Attendees are encouraged to share their photos from the festival on social media using the hashtags #BalloonRodeo and #SteamboatSnaps or simply email to We’ll be running a photo gallery in print and online with staff and submitted photos from the event, so yours could be included.

7. Learn: The Balloon Rodeo features over 25 balloons, and the event is planned to allow festival-goers to engage and interact with the pilots. This is a great opportunity to learn more about hot air balloons and the skill it takes to fly the beautiful aircraft, especially in the mountains.

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