If you want to see something ridiculously gorgeous, you need to take a Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride with Calistoga Balloons. I experienced a hot air balloon ride when I was very young, so I didn’t remember much and knew that I had to try it out again (especially with Ian!), so it has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. Thankfully, during our Calistoga trip, we checked it off the bucket list and now, have the best memories.
Calistoga Balloons is the only hot air balloon company in the northern Napa Valley. They say, “Soar 2,000 feet above the valley, vineyards, and mountains, and you’ll enjoy incredible views of Castello di Amorosa, Palisade Cliffs, Mount St. Helena, Old Faithful Geyser, Sterling Vineyards, and Chateau Montelena, the winery featured in the movie Bottle Shock. Your adventure begins just after sunrise when the morning sunlight enhances the natural beauty of Upper Napa Valley.”
When you take a Napa Valley Hot Air Balloons Ride with Calistoga Balloons, you will depart from the railcar station in Calistoga between 6am-7:30, depending on the time of year. Our departure time was 6:00 in the morning. Since our hotel was within walking distance of the railcar station, it did not take us long to get there. Make sure you arrive early to take advantage of the morning refreshments!
Once we arrived at the site to take off, it did take a bit of time to figure out the ideal wind patterns, in order to keep everyone safe during the flight (which is much appreciated!). During this time, we were able to capture some amazing pictures because of the perfect California morning light. It was such a gorgeous morning!
The entire process of getting the balloon in the air was extremely interesting and so much fun to watch. The crew worked so very hard and finally, it was time to fly up and away!
It is very hard to explain how amazing a Napa Valley hot air balloon ride truly is. When you are up in the air, there is very little movement. The basket was not swinging around, people were not screaming, and you don’t even feel the wind. It was surprisingly calm and peaceful. I will admit, there were a few times where I thought about how high we were and I had a mild internal freakout, but you guys – please push past your fears and do it anyway. I promise you that you will not regret it! The views were amazing and it will forever be one of my all-time favorite travel memories.
As if the amazing views, excitement, and life-changing experience isn’t enough, after your flight, you get the opportunity to have a champagne brunch at Solbar (a highlight of our trip!). You will be so impressed with not only the food but also the property – it was amazing! The Executive Chef, Massimo Falsini uses fresh ingredients and unique techniques in order to create seasonal and unique dishes. I have been following him on Instagram for some time now and everything he creates is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous. You will definitely not be disappointed!
If you are in search of a Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride, I would highly suggest Calistoga Balloons. Between the talented pilot, the amazing flight, and the decadent champagne breakfast, you will have the best morning of your life!