The Great Reno Balloon Races - What to Know!

The Great Reno Balloon Races - What to Know!


  • What: 42nd annual Great Reno Balloon Race
  • When: Friday, Sept. 8-Sunday, Sept. 10 starting at 5 a.m.
  • Where: Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
  • Cost: Free


  • Parking near Rancho San Rafael Regional Park begins at 3:30 a.m. daily on the corner of Sierra St. and McCarran Blvd. for a donation of $25
  • You can park for free at UNR in the lots just northwest of Mackay Stadium but cars must be moved by 10 a.m. daily
  • Parking along McCarran Blvd. is prohibited and will be strictly enforced

Park & ride and public transit

  • The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) will be offering free park & ride services from the Reno-Sparks Convention Center daily with buses running every 15 minutes
  • RTC is also offering extra, free services on the RAPID Virginia Line for the duration of the event from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily


  • Glow shows: Balloons tethered to the ground light up to the beat of the music starting at 5 a.m. each day
  • Dawn patrol: A group of elite pilots who are licensed to fly in the dark take to the early-morning skies for an ascension at 5:30 a.m. daily
  • Mass ascension: Nearly 100 hot air balloons take flight from the park and fill the skies of north Reno starting at 7 a.m. Balloons can be seen across the Truckee Meadows

Is it Actually a Race?

Yes! The goal is simple — pilots carry a yellow bean bag during the flights, and, after positioning themselves near the X marks, toss the bean bag as close as they can to the center. Touching the ground first gets you disqualified.

What's the Inside Scoop??

  • Arrive EARLY and prepare for traffic and crowds. It is busy, its early and its dark! Take your time and drive safe. We're not kidding about 3:30am.
  • Parking in the park is a donation to the event and CASH ONLY.
  • Dress in layers - it will be cold in the morning but as soon as the sun comes up, you'll be warm. 
  • Pack a chair, blanket or both.
  • You will be hiking in the dark to get to the grass, bring a flashlight.
  • You'll want find a spot on the grass to sit. Be cautious of where the balloons will be laid out, the pilot teams may ask you to move if you're too close or in the way.
  • There are vendors with coffee, food and more, but the lines do get long. Bring your own if you can and remember to pack out what you pack in.
  • Sit back, relax (take a quick nap) and wait for the magic to happen!


Work With Harmony

Harmony has the skills and strategies to ensure a smooth process and lead you to exciting results. With a background in marketing and luxury development, she is adept at strategically marketing homes in a variety of ways.

Follow Us on Instagram