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Fun2travel

Help planning Albuquerque 2018

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I am hoping to go to the Fiesta next year.  Has anyone been in the standard or box lot at the fiesta?  Curious what you thought of them for convenience and just general  impressions.

Also looking for general recommendations of how long to stay.  We are in no hurry and are set up with solar, so we will be in good shape to stay as long as we want. 

 

Thanks!

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This years balloon fest was one of the best in quite a few years for good weather. Some years if you only come for a couple of days and the weather doesn't cooperate you won't get to see it after coming some distance.  Therefore I recommend getting here before it starts by at least a few days and planning on staying the whole time.  There is plenty to see in easy day trip near here so you won't have to go to the balloon field every day unless you want too.  I volunteer in this area so I already have a spot. The only campgrounds I have used in this area are-Turquise Trail in Cedar Crest, Hidden Valley, and Leasure Mountain, both in Tijeras. All are about 15-20 miles from the Balloon Field. Non are fancy but were fine for my purposes.  I just stayed a couple of nights at each one to see how they were since I sometimes get asked about local campgrounds.

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We regularly stay at "Enchanted Trails". It is an older park but well kept and has large sites. It is also a Passport America park with 2 daws at 1/2 price and any remaining days with a Good Sam discount.

 

ShortyO

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1 hour ago, Fun2travel said:

Thanks!  How easy is it to come and go from the fiesta area if we do stay entire time and want to do other excursions?

In our experience, traffic around the fiesta grounds can be very heavy in the morning for the mass ascensions and in the evening for the Glows. Some folks that do not stay on the fiesta grounds choose to view these events from outside the fiesta grounds from locations like the Sandia Casino.

Be aware that RV parks and campgrounds as far away as Santa Fe are often full for the period of a couple of weeks before the fiesta to a couple of weeks after. Some raise their rates considerably during this period.

1 hour ago, wtgeodog said:

We regularly stay at "Enchanted Trails". It is an older park but well kept and has large sites. It is also a Passport America park with 2 daws at 1/2 price and any remaining days with a Good Sam discount.

I would not count on getting a Passport America discount during the fiesta. This from the Enchanted Trails PPA Ad. "P.A. discount is not valid during October Balloon Fiesta. 50 amp availability is limited, please call ahead to reserve." From the Hidden Valley Resort PPA Ad. "PA is not valid Oct 1st thru Oct 15th." From the Leisure Mountain RV Park PPA Ad. "Not valid during holidays and from October 1st-15th."

The Corps of Engineers campground at Cochiti Lake has become a very popular stop for folks before and after the fiesta. During the fiesta, the electric and water sites are full even though it takes over an hour to get to the fiesta grounds. There are usually plenty of sites in the dry camping area.

Things we enjoyed in addition to the fiesta are: Petroglyph National Monument, the Pueblo Cultural Center, the  Turquoise Trail and the Sandia Crest Highway. 

Edited by trailertraveler

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We volunteered at the Fiesta 4 years ago and worked with the Park & Ride branch. They have over a hundred school buses from the local districts that pick up people from shopping malls and other locations around town and you can purchase the ride tickets on line or pay a higher price at the bus stop. Otherwise, driving during the festival time is a mess, we didn't dare leave the grounds during the event days. Camping on the festival grounds is not cheap, I believe $100/day for FHU and $30/day for boondock.

Greg

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We attended with the Escapees Boomer BOF group and volunteered with a specific balloon team the whole time. We came in two days prior to the start of the Fiesta and left the day after closing.  It was an awesome experience and we got a free balloon ride!  We stayed with the group in the south dry camping area.  Balloons landed right in front of us. The free shuttles began very early morning and ran all day - never more than a 10-minute wait and it dropped us off at the launch field.  There are wastewater dumping trucks and fresh water trucks that service the area.  Traffic from outsiders coming in for the early morning launch and the evening festivities is awful and some roads will be blocked off.  If you can stay on the grounds, do so.  Inbetween these festivities we had no problem taking our car out for touring the area.  Volunteer if you can.  It's great to learn all the details of launching the balloon and chasing it.  Balloon owners are very appreciative.  The launches depend on the weather and if you plan to stay only a few days those could be bad weather days and you won't experience anything.

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Thanks everyone for replying!  Another question, we pull a fifth wheel with our truck, but I also drive a car following. Would that be a problem parking if I have a second car. Anyone do it this way?

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You are getting some good info.  I think using the car is doable most places although at some places you may have to park some distance from your site.  There are is a KOA right off I40 on the east side of Albq. and another a short distance north of Albq. off I25 in the town of Bernalillo. In the town of Bernalillo there is a park by the river operated by that town. You can find info about it on the town website. It is near Santa Anna Casino and I think there is a park called Stagecoach Rv Park I think in that  same area. A little farther north but way closer than Cochita is Hollywood Casino right off I25 that has some full hook up sites that are utilitarian.  About 20 or so miles east of Albq. there is a campground in the town of Edgewood that is just off I40.  There are no developed sites in the Sandia NF but there is some dispsersed camping that I would not recommend for an RV.  Like Mardi Gras and other popular events it is wise to reserve early.

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1 hour ago, bigjim said:

...A little farther north but way closer than Cochita is Hollywood Casino right off I25 that has some full hook up sites that are utilitarian...

We have stayed at the San Felipe Hollywood Casino several times. Most recently just a couple of weeks ago. The RV sites have electric hookups. No sewer. There are two dump stations. Contrary to what the website says, water is not available at the sites, but is available near the dump stations. They also allow free dry camping. The dump stations have a kiosk where paid campers enter the code or dry campers pay with a credit card.

Edited by trailertraveler

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We are making plans for 2018 as well.  It will be our first time in the area and we will be attending in our motorhome. We've decided we want to stay on the grounds. Are the registration pages up for either the Boomer BOF or Convergence groups? I've not been able to find them. TIA 

Edited by Timothy

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We volunteered this year. We were RV volunteers in the south RV park. If you are comfortable dry camping for a few days, I would go into the south park standard site. Reserve days with mass ascension and special shape glows/flights. This year, balloons were landing in the box and among the RV's in the south park area. Plan time at the field and time in the south park. When the box is working, many of the balloons landed in the south park area. You can get next to and even help the balloons until their ground crew arrives. They often take kids and others into their baskets and off the ground while they are waiting  for their crews. Reserve early. The best days go quickly. The sites aren't great, but the experience is worth it.

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We stayed on the Fiesta campgrounds, non-hookup site, a few years ago. Sites are fairly close, but it was not a problem as we were mostly out and about. The shuttle service down to the balloon field was good and we seldom had to wait long for a ride. Sometimes we walked down. We loved watching the balloons float overhead in the mornings and the balloon glows were beautiful from on top of the hill as well as down on the field. Unless you have to have a hookup, I'd recommend staying on the grounds where you are close to the action. Several times we had balloons land in the parking lot near us and my husband helped the ground crew bring it in.  We were able to watch the balloons rise at dawn, then zip back to the RV for a hot drink or breakfast.

 

Balloon Fiesta campground.jpg

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I wouldn't count on leaving the areas in the vicinity of the fields to tour locallay between morning and evening events until you get a sense of the traffic. They just opened a smaller Cabela's at I25 and Paseo del Norte and a friend that lives locally said it took him 1.5 hours to go a short distance from Sandia Casino to Cabela's.  It might be a little better next year as the Cabela's was a draw this year as it just openned prior to Balloon Fest.  It was a destination on its own.

If you go to ride the tram it doesn't come up at the overlook you can drive to on the east side of the mountains it is about 1 1/4- 1 1/2 mile walk along the Crest Trail.

 

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