Sedona is a magical place, it ranks as one of my top quick getaway destinations each year. Living in Los Angeles, it's an easy weekend escape by either taking a quick flight to Phoenix then driving, or packing the car for an 8 hour trip. Aside from all the great hiking and outdoor activities Sedona has to offer, it's one of the more beautiful and unique places in the country where you can sit back and relax. A fun way to experience the setting and get a full taste of this gorgeous landscape is to see it from above in a hot air balloon!
Sedona has a few companies that do hot air balloon rides over all the red rock landscape- some that you can't access without booking a tour. I booked my flight here at Northern Light Balloons. The groups are small, and they do not over pack the baskets. They start very early in the morning at sunrise because it is not possible to inflate the balloons in windy or extreme heat conditions. The trip lasts a few hours and upon landing, they provide a picnic lunch with champagne!
November is a great time of year to do this and that's usually my favorite time to visit. It is not too hot, and if there has been rain, lots of plant life and greenery are mixed in with the gorgeous red rock. They prep the balloons right where you can watch and once they are fully inflated you jump in and start to take off. Every view is a backdrop to a postcard, so get ready for the full 360! Mars would look like this!
Right when you first get up in the air, the timing is just perfect to see the sun rising up behind the mountains. Looking just below, is the parking lot. Hot air-balloon trips aren't plotted or planned. They travel based on the wind and the heat from the balloon. The team has a landing area that they head for where you are then picked up.
Though the full trip lasts a few hours, you are only airborne for an hour and then you begin to make the descent into the landing area. There is nothing quite like the scenery in Sedona so sit back, relax and soak it all in! The guides on this trip are really great and will point out all of the areas of interest during your flight.
Balloon Ride Prep / Tips:
During the fall months, it's cold in the morning so dress warm in layers
Afraid of heights? No worries, this is totally doable as the movement is really slow and stable
Bring / wear a hat and/or sunglasses. Once the sun rises it's bright and there is no shade
Book with a group if you can to take advantage of filling the whole basket
Bring a go-pro or DSLR camera along with your smartphone on a strap
Eat breakfast! The day feels long until lunch
As you make your slow descent into the area, you can see the other balloons in view. By now it is close to 11 so full sun and more warmth compared to the cool morning. The descent is slow, sort of like riding a parachute. The landing is not rough at all, and your guide makes it super smooth and comfortable! When you finally land, the ground crew who has been following you the whole time will meet you at the spot and head to lunch. Such a breathtaking way to enjoy a morning here!
This is just one of the many great things to see and do in Sedona! I've been heading there at least once a year in the fall so if there is anything that should be on my list please leave in the comments or DM me!
Coming soon-- be on the lookout (subscribe here) for more Sedona posts including the famous Devil's Bridge hike, as well as some other gems in the AZ area.
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