Hot Air Balloon Rides Over Lake Tahoe

10th August, 2018

Lake Tahoe is a majestic place full of great lookouts and views to be seen everywhere. In fact, you could point your camera in any direction and capture a photo that you would proudly display in your living room. Even if you’re not the biggest adventurer the desire to get a great view of Lake Tahoe is still a thrill. Most will spend the entire day hiking to the top of mountain peaks just for the reward of an unobstructed view. But, even from the highest peak, the clearest view of Lake Tahoe is a bird’s eye view. That means you need to go up, really high up! 

Hot Air Balloon Basket

Lake Tahoe Balloons History 

Originally established in 1992, Lake Tahoe Balloons has successfully operated balloon flights over Lake Tahoe for well over two decades. They are the only balloon ride operation in the world where the entire ballooning process begins and ends on the deck of a boat. The hot air balloon recovery vessel, the Tahoe Flyer was built specifically for the purpose of recovering hot air balloons.

By flying over water and landing on a boat, many issues were eliminated like the hazards of power lines, land-based obstacles, rough landings in high winds, and nearly all the navigational challenges of trying to steer a balloon to a fixed landing location. Having a landing platform that could match the speed and direction of the balloon eliminated the risks that a traditional land-based operation faces.

Hot Air Balloon Mid Flight

The Tahoe Flyer

The Tahoe Flyer is a 120 x 22 foot, double-decker, Catamaran Style aircraft carrier vessel. It was specifically designed and built to inflate and launch hot air balloons off of its upper deck. It is also currently the only vessel of its type in the world and is regulated under the US Coast Guard. The Tahoe Flyer acts as the hot air balloon's chase vessel, following the direction of the balloon as it makes its way around the Lake. Catching the balloon and bringing her safely back down onto the upper deck of the Tahoe Flyer is a safe and effortless maneuver and a once in a lifetime sightseeing adventure.  Actually watching the crew inflating, launching, landing and deflating, is worth the trip all by itself.

The Ride

Boarding the Tahoe Flyer in the Tahoe Keys marina begins just after sunrise because the early bird gets the worm or calm lake conditions. The company doesn’t leave it to chance for good conditions, they study the science behind each atmospheric microlayer and how that affects the balloon in flight. They will only fly if the conditions are right to ensure crew and customer safety. Enjoy a nice continental breakfast or witness the remarkable feat of unpacking, preparing, and inflating a hot air balloon. The balloon will climb as high as 10,000 ft above sea level offering some unrivaled views of Emerald Bay, Cascade Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Desolation Wilderness. You will experience a 360-degree view of all that Lake Tahoe has to offer. As a special treat, the hot air balloon pilot will bring the basket down to gently touch the water’s surface before climbing to land on the chasing Tahoe Flyer. It’s an experience not to be missed!    

Tahoe Touch Down

If you want to get above it all and take in the best views around South Lake Tahoe, then contact Lake Tahoe Balloons today to book your flight. They provide a one-of-a-kind sightseeing tour that is sure to impress and create hard to forget memories. Before or after an awesome hot air balloon adventure make sure you have comfortable Lake Tahoe accommodations for your adventure.‚Äč Book online or contact our in-house reservation team at 1.800.877.1466