Signature Event

Great Reno Balloon Race

Northwestern NV

Since its humble beginnings in 1982, The Great Reno Balloon Race has grown exponentially—from just 20 hot air balloons to a world-renowned event featuring nearly 100 balloons lifting off from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. This beloved annual event features a rainbow of hot air balloons that rise above Reno in the early morning, visible from the hiking trails of North Reno to the sidewalks of the University of Nevada and vantages all around town. 

Reno’s most pajama-friendly event has been giving families a lofty reason to get up early since 1982. Pack your camera—it’s tough not to go home with some truly memorable snapshots.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is nothing short of tradition in Washoe County. On the ground, spectators—some still comfortably clad in pajamas—sit atop blankets and camp chairs or even bundled up in sleeping bags, gripping hot beverages and gazing into the pre-dawn sky for the ethereal Super Glow Show that takes place before the sun even peeks above the horizon. During Dawn Patrol, a handful of balloons qualified to fly in the dark twinkle in the sky to choreographed music. The dozens of remaining hot air balloons take off just after sunrise during Mass Ascension.

Some attendees opt for a more luxurious seat and view the hundreds of hot air balloons in Reno from the comfort of a clear, heated tent with a 360-degree view at the Cloud 9 VIP Club. This ticketed experience features catered food, a hosted mimosa and Bloody Mary bar, and special parking passes.

What to Expect at the Great Reno Balloon Race

A select group begins the competition portion of the race as tens of thousands of visitors look on in awe, while vendors sell snacks and souvenirs and families take tethered rides in the balloons that aren’t gunning for the win. For hassle-free Great Reno Balloon Race parking, follow the expert recommendations from event organizers.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Experience the Great Reno Balloon Race from the sky! Balloon Nevada is the event’s official hot air balloon ride provider, and if you book the exclusive Great Reno Balloon Ride package, you can be in the air above Rancho San Rafael as Mass Ascension takes place.

Spectators can expect to see a variety of specialty-shaped balloons along Balloon Boulevard, including favorites like Smokey Bear, Humpty Dumpty, a fish named Sushi, Montie the Black Sheep, dogs Buster and Bella, and more.

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