Seattle Sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride

Our flights begin one hour before dusk.  You can see the sunset from the sky.

Top off your day aloft over Woodinville’s Wine Country on a Hot Air Balloon Ride…..

Our evening sunset Hot Air Balloon Rides are, in fact, Seattle’s most popular Balloon Flights. Since the evening flight meets 2 hours and 15 minutes before sunset, this may be something that can be done after a busy summer day of activities or a long day of work. It is the perfect time to unwind and marvel at the beauty of Western Washington on a sunset cruise over Woodinville's Wine Country. With such close proximity to Seattle our hot air balloon rides deliver undeniably the most spectacular views of the Seattle skyline and the world renowned Space Needle.
Cascade Mountain range
Centrally located between Mt. Rainer, Mt. Baker and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges and overlooking Lake Washington, Lake Union and many other smaller lakes, the views are breathtaking!! All of the gorgeous vistas Puget Sound has to offer will feel like they are just beyond your fingertips…..
Multiple valleys in all directions reside in the flying radius of Woodinville providing great landing sites we can use as destinations. This allows us to fly accommodating different wind speeds and directions. With so much flexibility we are able to offer the longest sunset hot air balloon rides in the Seattle area. Our Seattle Ballooning location in Woodinville gives you the easiest access to and from Seattle for your hot air balloon experience. We are only 20 miles from downtown Seattle by car or 13 miles as the crow flies; we definitely recommend driving!

The beginning

first summer flight of the year, 2020
Our Sunset Hot Air Balloon Rides meet at, The Woodinville Towne Center in the parking lot in front of Haggen’s, a grocery store, in Woodinville. The address is 17641 Garden Way NE. A few minutes before the meeting time one of our white Ford vans will arrive parking in the parking spots closest to Garden Way (the street) which is where we recommend you park as well.
The meeting time for the sunset flight is 2 hours and 15 minutes before sunset and you will need to allocate approximately 3 hours from your arrival time.
This allows us time to meet and check everyone in. Then you'll board the van for the 10-15 minute drive to the launch site. During check in, the Pilots are continuing to analyze the local winds and other weather conditions to choose the best launch site for the evening. Once we get to the appropriate take-off site, you will receive a quick briefing by your Captain at which time he will ask for two volunteers. If you would like to participate with the inflation, here’s your chance! Or if you would prefer to watch and take pictures, that’s okay too.
Our goal is to have the balloons prepared for launch approximately an hour to an hour and a half before sunset. This grants us enough time to carry out the longest flight possible for your enjoyment!
The meeting times are not flexible for safety reasons….The last 2 hours before sunset traditionally provide the calmest, most favorable wind conditions. 

Our evening sunset hot air balloon ride meeting times fluctuate drastically throughout the summer depending on the official sunset time. In June we meet around 7:00 pm. Starting in mid-July, expect meeting times to get earlier each week until late September when we are meeting around 4:30pm. You can discover the exact time for any date you have in mind by simply checking our schedule. If the time indicated for your particular date works with your plans for the evening, don’t forget to allow for commute time and be sure to consider dinner plans, a babysitter if needed, etc. We would love to see you this summer on Seattle's favorite Hot Air Balloon Ride!

Let's go Ballooning

Seattle hot air balloon inflation in a grass field
With volunteers and crew in position it's time to start the inflator fans which are noisy. They will force air into the fabric part of the balloon, referred to as the envelope, as it stretches out horizontally on the ground. The volunteers will be keeping the balloon opening open to make it easier for the air from the fans to enter. Approximately 180,000 cubic feet of air will be pushed inside the balloon. Everyone is always quite surprised to see how huge the balloon is and how rapidly the inflation goes; often only 10 to 15 minutes! Before you know it the balloon is getting fat and round – still basically horizontal. Your Pilot will have conducted a thorough Pre-Flight Inspection of all parts of the system. When your Captain is comfortable that everything is as it should be, he begins blasting the burners to heat the air the envelope has collected – also loud. You probably know that hot air rises so the warm air brings the envelope upright bringing the basket upright with it. Now, the fans can be shut off eliminating a bit of the noise. The balloon and system are ready for liftoff! Everyone quickly climbs into the basket. Once all are in position, the Pilot will provide information on procedures for take-off and landing. As the balloon warms up the crew begins to loosen the tether. And so the adventure begins!
This evening in Snohomish, we were getting the hot air balloon ready for the arrival of the passengers a deer happened to wander past.
Gradually, the balloon rises above Mother Earth and you can’t help but notice how the ground below shrinks. The buildings, houses, cars, trucks – even trees and especially people look smaller and smaller like Monopoly pieces as the burners periodically continue to heat the air in the balloon. Up and up and away! It doesn’t take long to realize all the panoramic views. 360 degrees of all the landmarks Seattle is famous for – the Space Needle next to the Seattle skyline with Puget Sound beyond. Then in the background the Olympics are in view. As you turn more to the south you are stunned at how close Mt. Rainier seems! To the east are the majestic Cascade Mountains with miles and miles of forested land dotted with a few structures here and there. Mt. Baker is usually visible to the North with the Snohomish Valley lying in between. All of these famous landmarks are in sight up high as you carefreely float over the Woodinville Wine Country.
Private Hot Air Balloon ride
The vision is so thrilling, but for some people the highlight of the flight is time spent at treetop level with a few smaller lakes breaking up the greenery. And sometimes, the balloon has a bird’s eye view as it meanders over neighborhoods of homes including some that can only be described as estates worthy of celebrities. Residents on the ground often excitedly rush to find a spot to best observe aa you fly over. You might notice many of the local residents taking pictures to share with their neighbors by posting them on Woodinville Neighbors | Facebook often waving and shouting “hellos” hoping for a return greeting.
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Mother Nature Rules

sunset hot air balloon landing at dusk
This event is truly an adventure. As explained earlier, the launch site isn’t selected until the last minute – literally while you were checking in. We utilize about a dozen different locations based on carefully considered weather conditions gathered from a few official weather forecasters. Much of the time summer evening Hot Air Balloon flights are affected by winds which more often than not are out of the northwest. That explains why we often take to the air from locations in the south end of Snohomish County.
Amid all of the exquisite aerial perspectives, we will be providing the opportunity to sip and savor some of the nicest wines available in the Woodinville Wine Country! And what better way to enjoy a taste of Woodinville than taking in Woodinville scenery! And at that time your Pilot will share a bit of a story about the beginning of Hot Air Ballooning ending with a toast.
Hot Air Balloon landing in grass field with trees in background
All of this while the Hot Air Balloon ferries you over some of the most beautiful scenery in the Pacific Northwest. In full view to the east is the foothills leading to the sweeping Cascade Mt. range. Then off to the west you will observe Puget Sound and several islands, the beautiful skylines of Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and other urban areas with the stunning Olympic Mountains as a backdrop as we effortlessly sail back towards the Woodinville Wine Country skimming over the forested area of the Paradise Valley Conservation Area inhabited by (and occasionally spotted from the Hot Air Balloons) deer, bear, coyote, bald eagles, other birds and several species of fish, including migrating salmon. It’s not unusual for our guests to get a very close vantage point to see many smaller local lakes. Often people are delighted to pass right over treetops – looking down on them is a very unique viewpoint.
Actually, no one knows for sure exactly where the Hot Air Balloon will set down. The pilot has a goal which was a factor in choosing the launch site but no guarantees.
While aloft you’ll observe that burners render complete control to the pilot of ascending and descending. But, the Hot Air Balloon is propelled horizontally by the wind with speeds and directions that usually vary at different altitudes. The use of those diversities is what showcases the Pilot’s skill as he maneuvers taking full advantage of what is being furnished in the heavens at that moment.
The crew has been following along on the ground and staying in contact with the Captain providing information from inspections of the wind all along the way.


all smiles landing
When the Pilot has spotted a satisfactory place to set down, he informs the crew who immediately zooms in ready to assist as necessary to provide a nice soft landing. A majority of the time, it is quite surprising how gently the balloon sets down on terra firma. Occasionally, if there is a little more wind than usual, the basket may tip over. Passengers find that scenario to be very exhilarating, exciting and fun! After touching down, the envelope begins to lay back down on the ground just as it started.
The Hot Air Balloon Ride part of the evening has now concluded so it’s time to deboard. The crew begins packing everything back up. It’s hard to believe it all really fits back into the bag.
Finally, we will shuttle all back to their vehicles at Haggen’s parking lot. While riding, sometimes guests go through their many photos sharing and perhaps exchanging with fellow passengers. You may have made new friends you wish to keep in touch with. After a full evening, it’s time for a fond farewell.
There are several restaurants in the area to enjoy. Since the meeting times are late in the beginning of the season you may wish to eat before the meeting time. As the days get shorter, you can decide if you prefer before or after. Do check with the eatery of your choice to determine their hours.
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