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Bus Tour – Red Rock Balloon Rally

December 3, 2015 - December 6, 2015

$399.00 – $579.00

The first weekend of December brings color and excitement to the red sandstone bluffs and canyons of Gallup, New Mexico as 200 balloons from around the world descend upon this spectacular setting. Spectators of all ages will enjoy the incredible sights and soon understand why this is a balloonist’s paradise.

The Red Rock Balloon Rally, New Mexico’s premier ballooning event, has been held annually, the first full weekend in December since 1981. It is the second largest balloon event in the United States. Spectators can get up close to the balloons and even volunteer to crew. Click here to view a rally video.

This ballooning event is unlike others. It is warm and friendly and takes on the feeling of a small town festival. During the day Native American vendors will be providing an excellent opportunity to buy high quality Native American arts and crafts direct from the artisans. What makes this event unusual, is the beauty of the ancient red rocks and the location, right in the heart of the Southwest’s “Indian Country.” You’ll want to have your camera ready as these rainbow colored giants come to life.

The Red Rocks are the cemented sands of a fossilized beach, colored by dissolved iron seeping down from more recent volcanic activity, and then worn smooth by Anasazi residents who carved hand and toe holds into the walls to reach the mesa tops. Now, adventure-seeking balloonists soar above the magnificent canyons where movie producers still film Western epics. This is the only ballooning event where spectators are encouraged to become active participants by joining balloon chase crews.

Day 1: Travel to Flagstaff for an overnight stay at Twin Arrows Casino. Along the way, enjoy scenic routing through Oak Creek Canyon, and a stop in Sedona.

Sedona, strategically situated at the mouth of spectacular Oak Creek Canyon, is universally known as a unique place. Characterized by massive red-rock formations, as well as the contrasting riparian areas of Oak Creek Canyon, the area surrounding this beloved community is considered at least as beautiful as many national parks. Take a narrated tour to fully appreciate what the area has to offer. Choose the Sedona Trolley or a Pink Jeep tour.

The narrated 85-minute Red Rock Magic Trolley Tour is $26 for seniors, and can be reserved upon arrival, or by your escort when you are en route.

Pink Jeep Tour offers two options that take you into more remote areas of the countryside, and last 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

  1. Coyote Canyons – Surround yourself with the red rock canyons in beautiful Sedona. Escape to the astonishing trails of hidden canyon lands where flora, fauna and geological history take center stage. Soaring red rock formations and cobalt-blue skies are the backdrop for this beautiful, information packed tour.  
  2. Scenic Rim – Ascend an amazing 1,500 feet above Sedona along the Mogollon Rim on our Scenic Rim Tour.  Majestic red rock formations blaze the trail for scenic beauty and rugged exploration. A dramatic vantage point for sightseers and a photographer’s dream-come-true.  You’ll be on the top of the world on this panoramic adventure!    

Twin Arrows Casino Resort showcases the rich history of the Navajo people, while providing an unparalleled casino resort experience. It provides the very latest in games and gaming technology, often debuting new slot games before they’re released to other casino properties in the state. Simply put, there’s no better gaming experience to be had in Northern Arizona. Complementing the gaming experience are luxury resort amenities, a world-class spa, gourmet dining, culturally infused casual dining, a fitness center, and heated indoor pool.

Day 2: Arrive in Gallup by early afternoon. Along the way, stop at Painted Desert Visitor Center. A spectacle of hues ranging from lavenders to shades of gray with vibrant colors of red, orange and pink color this incredible landscape. The visitor center offers hands-on exhibits and a 20-minute video.

Gallup was founded in 1891 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. It is situated in the heart of Native American lands. Its historic El Rancho Hotel has hosted a large array of famous people. Long a forerunner in racial diversity and civil rights issues, it is also home to more millionaires per capita than any town in the U.S. Gallup offers numerous museums and exhibits, to highlight the unique culture and history of the area. After a no-host lunch, visit the Cultural Center in the historic Sante Fe depot, Rex Museum for a sense of Gallup’s rich and colorful heritage, and El Rancho Hotel.

Later, check in at the Comfort Inn, a nicely-appointed three story hotel with indoor heated pool and spa. Every room includes a refrigerator, microwave, free high speed internet access, cable TV, coffeemaker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board. Complimentary breakfast features eggs, meat, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal and your choice of hot waffle flavors. Cracker Barrel, Applebee’s, Furr’s Cafeteria and Golden Corral are located nearby for evening dining.

This evening, attend Glow in the Rocks and see Native American Dancers at Red Rock Park.

Day 3: Following a complimentary hotel breakfast, head to Red Rock Park for a mass balloon ascension. Up to 200 balloons of all shapes and colors drift through beautiful canyons and over formations carved by wind and rain thousands of years ago. Spectators are welcome to get up close to the balloons and their pilots. A balloon may even land near the place where you sit or stand to say “Hi”. This is a photographer’s paradise!

As the day progresses, explore the sights and sounds of Gallup. There will be opportunities to visit the Saturday Flea Market (an authentic example of Gallup’s people, arts and food), Code Talker Museum (recognizes the role Navajo Indians played in WWII using their native language to encipher and decipher military information for radio transmission) and Gallup’s outdoor public murals. A large percentage of the world’s Native art is made in or near Gallup — shop the many trading companies for jewelry, rugs, baskets and museum-quality pieces. Lunch on green chile stew at Earl’s for a true Gallup experience.

Set up a lawn chair to view the Gallup Christmas Parade this afternoon.

This evening, experience Balloominaria, a glow event. Get up close to all the cool balloons involved in the Rally.

Day 4: Following your complimentary hotel breakfast, head back to Red Rock Park for a second magnificent mass balloon ascension. Bid a fond farewell to friendly Gallup. The homeward bound route takes us through Tonto National Forest to Payson, where we stop for lunch at Mazatzal Casino. Anticipated arrival in Mesa is 3:30 pm. Yuma drop-offs anticipated 7:30 – 8:00 pm.

High Activity Level tour. Considerable walking involved, possibly on uneven surfaces. Elevators may not be present at all destinations. Tour involves activities at higher elevations.  This tour is considered inappropriate for persons with mobility limitations.

Depart Yuma 6:00 am
Depart Foothills 6:30 am
Depart Mesa 10:30 am


Don’t forget your camera and lawn chair. Events are outside, so pack warm clothing and dress in layers.

$399 pp/do …Escorted tour includes 1 night accommodations at Twin Arrows Casino, 2 nights accommodations at Comfort Inn, balloon rally events as described, sightseeing and museums as described, and deluxe motorcoach transportation.  $579 single

December 3 – 6
Thursday – Sunday

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December 3, 2015
December 6, 2015
$399.00 – $579.00
Event Category:


Earleen Winters


Red Rock Balloon Rally
Gallup, NM United States + Google Map