An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America’s First National Park

Robin Buck, a full-time RVer and travel blogger, shares all about her trip to Yellowstone National Park, America’s very first National Park. 

Yellowstone National Park is an amazing RV destination filled with dramatic scenery, abundant wildlife, and numerous options for outdoor fun. Every year millions of visitors are captivated by the endless beauty that spans its 3,471 square miles across parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park is so big that it has five separate entrances!

Established in 1872, Yellowstone holds the prestigious title of being America’s first national park. Its popularity consistently draws visitors during the summer months, but if you want to avoid the crowds you might try the shoulder months in the spring and fall. For the very hearty, parts of Yellowstone are even open in the winter, although you need to be part of a snow coach or snowmobile tour group for some areas.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

There are campgrounds with many activities both inside the park and in the towns surrounding the various entrances. We stayed on Hebgen Lake, just 15 minutes west of Yellowstone where we boated, fished, and even went on trail rides and ate a great chuck wagon meal at a nearby dude ranch when we weren’t in the park. Whichever time you choose to visit, planning early is key in this popular spot. In fact, now is a great time to be booking for 2024!

Geothermal Marvels

Yellowstone sits in a 30- by 45-mile basin that was created by huge volcanic eruptions many years ago. An underground super volcano feeds the world’s largest collection of hydrothermal features, which involve heated water in the earth’s crust. The park is home to more than 10,000 of these natural wonders including geysers, hot springs, and steam vents. It is so cool to see plumes of steam floating skyward, giant water sprays, and bubbling hot pools throughout the area.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park
An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

One of the park’s most popular attractions is Old Faithful. It is the most famous geyser and was so named because of its history of faithfully erupting at predictable times (about every 90 minutes). There is even a schedule so you can plan your visit. Although I had seen pictures, nothing compared to witnessing the geyser expel 8,000 gallons of boiling water high into the air!

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

My personal favorite sight at Yellowstone is the enormous Grand Prismatic Spring. Its colors are mesmerizing! The deep blue center is surrounded by steamy rings of vibrant green, yellow, orange and red. You don’t expect to see such brilliant colors in nature, which are due to temperature-dependent algae that thrive within the spring between a very hot 149 to 189 degrees. We first did a short hike on the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail to get a great panoramic view of the spring. Then we parked near the spring to walk the wooden boardwalk out to this beautiful thermal pool where you can feel the heat and steam up close.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Wildlife Encounters

Yellowstone’s expansive wilderness provides the opportunity to observe an incredible array of wildlife in their natural habitats. The most abundant large animal is the elk which live in herds of up to 10,000! We spotted several as we drove on the main road into the park from West Yellowstone. The best animal views are during this early morning time when they tend to be more active.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Other popular animals in the park are bison, black bear, grizzly bear, wolves, coyotes, pronghorn, and moose. The Lamar Valley is particularly renowned for its abundant wildlife and is a great spot for photographers. It has even been nicknamed the “Serengeti of North America” for its numerous wildlife sightings.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

If encountering animals in the wild makes you a bit nervous, there is a great nonprofit park and educational center in the town of West Yellowstone. The Grizzly Wolf and Discovery Center has a variety of animals, but the star attraction is the grizzly bears. These bears are unable to survive in the wild and now serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. A bonus is they do not hibernate so you can see them all the time. I loved watching them participate in testing “bear resistant” garbage containers as part of their play time.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Scenic Beauty

In addition to the geothermal features and wildlife, Yellowstone’s landscapes are a photographer’s dream. The park spans over 2.2 million acres, featuring mountain ranges, dramatic canyons, pristine lakes, and alpine meadows. You won’t have to look far to find a picturesque spot here!

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National ParkAn RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Situated in the northern section of the park, Mammoth Hot Springs is a captivating sight of beautiful travertine terraces. These stairstep-like formations are formed from deposits left after hot water rises to the surface. The soft white and beige terraces look like frozen waterfalls in a winter wonderland (even in the summer!). Boardwalks allow visitors a closer look at the unique formations and thermal features.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

One of the most photographed views in the park is at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. From a place called Artist Point you will see water plunging 300 feet over the Lower Falls and then roaring down the 1000-foot-deep canyon. We did several hikes along the north and south rim trails where overlooks provide an up-close look at the powerful rush of water at the falls. These were moderate hikes because of the terrain, but well worth it.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

If you prefer a more tranquil setting, visit the largest high-elevation lake in North America. Lake Yellowstone is 400 feet deep and has 141 miles of shoreline in the southeastern area of the park. The reflections of the surrounding mountains and forests on the lake’s surface create a mirror-like effect that is breathtaking.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Outdoor Activities

Yellowstone is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities to satisfy visitors of all ages. Hiking trails crisscross the park, ranging from easy walks suitable for families to challenging backcountry routes for experienced adventurers. We enjoyed a morning hike on the Purple Mountain Trail where we climbed 1500 feet over 3 miles to be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Gibbon and Madison River valley. Much of the trail is wooded and there is a register to sign when you make it to the top. Hikes are a great way to escape the crowds on a hot day.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Fishing is also a popular activity in Yellowstone, with numerous rivers and lakes offering a great place to wet a line. Permits are required and park guidelines must be followed. Boating and kayaking are also popular on Yellowstone Lake, while horseback trail rides give a unique perspective from the land. You can even enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter season of December to March when snow blankets the landscape.

An RVers Guide to Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Get Ready for Adventure!

From the awe-inspiring geothermal features to the diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, Yellowstone is the perfect place to witness the beauty of this amazing area. With so many acres to discover, you will be sure to find sights and activities that enthrall you. After visiting many national parks, Yellowstone still stands apart as one of my favorites. Plan your trip soon and be ready to make incredible memories!

Robin Buck

Robin and her husband, Mike, are Air Force veterans and empty nesters who have been traveling full-time in their Entegra Anthem motorhome for 5 years. Always ready to explore, they love nature and wildlife, meeting new friends and discovering America one stop at a time. Robin writes about their travel adventures, RVing tips, and the full-time RV lifestyle on her blog RVing with Robin.

Your Ultimate RVer’s Guide to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2024

I’d never imagined what it would be like, walking through the entrance gate, through a break in the row of festival tents set up on the perimeter of an enormous, grassy field, in the midst of a bustling, joyous crowd of onlookers and participants… to witness hundreds of huge, brilliantly-colored hot air balloons suspended in the air directly in front of you, some landing RIGHT THERE; some gently bobbing along, at higher and lower elevations, to other destinations…

Q: So how can you experience the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in your RV?
A: Your Ultimate RVer’s Guide to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2024!


According to AIBF (Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta):

Intense competition for RV camping spaces in January 2023: The website to reserve one of 1,785 spaces opened at 9 a.m. sharp… 70 minutes later a record was set as all spaces were gone and a waiting list was activated. The website received 2.5 million requests per second… [and crashed repeatedly]

I had no idea… The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta wasn’t on our RV Bucket List, since we’re usually on the East Coast, heading toward Florida in October. The Balloon Fiesta, of course, is in Albuquerque, 1,800 miles away from our winter destination. 

However, when our best RV friends, fellow Entegra owners and NIRVC family, called us in January to join in the registration challenge for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend with our besties… How could we refuse?

Registration Day was insanity: Chaos! Between the four of us, we tried to coordinate being on the website, and communicate by phone and text, at exactly the moment registration opened, to grab two RV spaces in any of the six different camping areas surrounding Balloon Fiesta Park: TOTAL FAIL. We did, however, somehow manage to get on a Wait List, for one of the areas… I don’t even know which lot it was.

For the lucky people who were fortunate enough to get a reservation in that crazy process, I’m told it feels like winning the lottery! Fortunately, for the rest of us… I didn’t know it at the time, but there are other ways and means to get an RV site at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival:

  • GET ON THE WAITLIST: Patience. Wait it out. (Much like an AIM Club Rally! 😉) Six months later, in June, we received an email: “Congratulations Mr. Caldwell! There has been a match to your criteria on the waitlist for October 5th – October 15th in Standard.” Yay?!?!
  • Back-up plan: By then, we had come up with another plan. In April, we signed up for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Rally Event with ECOA – Entegra Coach Owners Association [].

NOTE: If you are at all interested in attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the very first thing you’ll want to do is GO TO THE WEBSITE: – Scroll down and sign up for the E-Newsletter… as soon as you’re done reading this article!

Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Xfinity Balloon landing in the SOUTH RV LOT!


  • Balloon Fiesta RV Camping
    • After you sign up for the Newsletter, go directly to the RV Information page on the website to familiarize yourself with the RV Camping options. There are maps, descriptions, pricing, and all the current information to prepare for the online-only Registration Event in January.
    • RV parking at Balloon Fiesta Park is mostly DRY CAMPING, with a 3rd party vendor available for pumping and fills at additional cost, cash only.
    • Before Reservation Day, there will be even more detailed instructions and a video to help you through the process for booking reservations.
    • When Reservation Day comes around in January: Be ready. Be online and signed in at the exact moment the window opens! Have your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th and 5th choice in mind… and then reserve anything you can get into, by the end of it. If your choices are full, BE SURE TO GET ON THE WAITLISTS!
    • May the odds be ever in your favor.
  • Other Albuquerque Campgrounds: If you have to wait out the waitlist, or make other arrangements, there are plenty of RV camping options to consider in the greater Albuquerque area. All accommodations book out EARLY around the dates of the Balloon Fiesta, You’ll want to reserve as far in advance as possible. 
    • Research campgrounds, resorts, and free camping (if you boondock) in the area on your favorite RV trip planner. Check campground reviews and Google to find your best match. 
    • Another great source of general area information and RV campgrounds in any city is the local Visit[city].org Convention & Visitors Bureau online. For Albuquerque:
        • FOR THE WIN: RV Clubs & Groups! This is how we got in, and how we would choose to go again. We were able to sign up for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Rally with our Entegra Coach Owners’ Association. Not only did we secure great resort reservations, well in advance of the event, we enjoyed camping with our tribe: Entegra friends, old and new. It was an organized rally, with scheduled events at the Balloon Fiesta and at the resort, with all the arrangements, reservations, tickets, transportation to/from Balloon Fiesta Park, entertainment, and several meals provided. Other group options for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta include:
          • Brand Groups – Like our ENTEGRA Group, there are many other RV brand-specific owners’ groups that organize rallies for the Balloon Fiesta. We camped with ECOA at the Route 66 Casino RV Resort, which is about 30 miles from Balloon Fiesta Park. Our NEWMAR friends enjoyed their group rally, camped in the Balloon Fiesta Park RV SOUTH LOT – fantastic location! – right there, amidst all the action! They enjoyed the view and proximity to the Balloon Fiesta, with organized events and activities. Check into your brand and manufacturer’s groups!
          • Tour Groups – Fantasy Tours (AIM Sponsor) & Adventure Caravans. While these are more expensive options, they are generally more organized, with more amenities, events, activities and services, including entertainment, Happy Hours, catered meals and organized sightseeing adventures in the Albuquerque area. We had NIRVC friends who camped with both tour companies in 2023. Both were in different sections of the Balloon Fiesta Park RV SOUTH LOT. From both accounts, FANTASY TOURS is the recommendation:

            We were in the SOUTH LOT w/ 30 amp and water. One free pump out which Fantasy handled. Great location. Easy to walk to balloon field or catch shuttles. Balloons flew over each day. You can tell Fantasy is a well-oiled machine. All ambassadors were very friendly. I would recommend this to someone for a first trip there. — Thanks for the review, Ruth Candler! 🙂

            • Other RV Groups – Escapees RV Club and closely affiliated Xscapers Group both offer unique Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Rally experiences to their members.

            Xscapers 2023 Registration Info:

            Parking is in the Box View section of the SOUTH RV LOT. It is walking distance to the event or you can take one of the free shuttles offered on-site (wait times can be long).  All parking will be dry camping, so please plan appropriately. There is a dump service and water fill available on grounds throughout the week for an additional fee.

            • Another opportunity – Monaco International Group offers a number of Rally Experiences throughout the year, including Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. The group is open to new members as follows:

            If you own any FMCA-approved recreational vehicle and are a member in good standing of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), we invite you to explore our website and consider joining our organization.

            3) BALLOON FIESTA PREP

            Once you’ve secured your reservations, it’s time for some pre-planning!

            • FOLLOW GROUP / CAMPGROUND INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY: As far as your dates, schedule, timing, directions, and arrival instructions, especially if you’re going to be in Balloon Fiesta RV Parking. It gets complicated, with hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area every October. Fortunately, after 51 years, it is a highly coordinated and well-choreographed event, as far as people moving, accommodations, and schedule.
            • Before & After Balloon Fiesta: Don’t forget to plan your travel days and schedule before & after Fiesta camping reservations in advance, according to your Albuquerque arrival and departure dates and timing.
            • Boondocking: If you’re going to be boondocking or dry camping in the Balloon Fiesta RV Camping Lots, reserve your before & after campgrounds as close as possible, to prep before, and dump tanks after. Arrive with black and gray tanks empty, fresh water full, and all the provisions you’ll need, so you can focus on the fun at the event!
              • Balloon Fiesta Park is in an urban area, with many restaurants, stores, and services close by. However, it can be difficult to get in and out of the area during heavy traffic and event times.
              • For more info & advice about dry camping at events, see: Roughing It At RV Shows & Rallies – You Can Do It!
            Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

            Early morning Dawn Patrol Launch testing The Albuquerque Box

            4) WHY ALBUQUERQUE?

            • Weather: Albuquerque is known as the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World due to its high desert location (elevation: 4,967’), geography, and weather – 310 days of sunshine a year! October averages: 71°/44℉, 10% chance of rain. It will be COLD in the early mornings and at night. It will be WARM during the afternoon!
            • The Albuquerque Box – Wind conditions and air temperatures contribute to the famous Albuquerque Box phenomenon: The wind blows predictably north at one elevation and south at another, allowing pilots to launch, fly a great distance, change altitude and backtrack to return close to the launch site.

            5) SOURCES OF INFO

            Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

            Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2023 – Full Schedule of Events

            • Schedule – The Balloon Fiesta runs 9 straight days: 5AM to 10PM on weekends (including Thursday); and 5AM to NOON on weekdays (and final Sunday). You can see above on the 2023 schedule, it’s jam-packed from Day 1 to Day 9. Even on the weekdays, you have to consider, with traffic and transportation, to see it all, you’ll be getting up by 4AM and going all day, every day. 
              • For that reason, many people (and group schedules) choose to attend part of the week, including either Opening Weekend – or – Closing Weekend. We were there Closing Weekend, and it was fabulous! I’ve heard from other friends that Opening Weekend is “quieter.” Weekends are definitely more popular, busy, and CROWDED. Consider your energy levels and preferences when scheduling your time at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
              • On the busy weekends, consider getting naps in, between the AM & PM Sessions.
            • Download the App – The schedule is available online and they hand out the VIEW FROM ABOVE brochure at the entry gate, before all sessions. The official FIESTA App, for your smartphone, includes interactive maps, FAQs, the list of vendor booths, entertainment, and daily weather updates and event info. Much of the Balloon Fiesta is also simulcast Live on TV on local station KOB 4 in Albuquerque.
            • Weather dependent – It happens! Two of the 14 sessions in 2023 were canceled due to poor weather conditions. If an event is canceled due to weather, you can use your ticket for another session.
            • Sightseeing – Albuquerque and nearby Santa Fe are great places to explore on weekday afternoons, or if the balloons are grounded due to weather. Both cities’ Convention & Visitors Bureaus staff booths onsite at Balloon Fiesta Park with info, maps, and suggestions about the local area.
            • Event Tickets – AM & PM sessions are ticketed separately, general admission. Tickets are $15 per person, per session. Tickets are not specific to a day or session. Tickets can be purchased online in advance (recommended) or at the gate. Kids 12 and under are free.

            6) GETTING INVOLVED

            One of the best ways to experience the Balloon Fiesta is to get involved! Yes, you! Those friends who dragged us into the Reservation Day arena in January, then recruited us onto the Chase Crew for HAM-LET – The World’s Largest Flying Pig!

            Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

            Getting ready to Chase HAM-LET – The World’s Largest Flying Pig!

            It was truly the experience of a lifetime, wrangling a big pink hot air balloon pig for a week! 

            There are several ways to get involved at Balloon Fiesta:

            • Chase Crew: Helps the pilot inflate the balloon and launch or tether in place. 
              • After launch, Chase Crew follows the balloon in a chase vehicle on the ground to help land safely, deflate, and pack it all away.
              • If the balloon is stationary, or tethered, Chase Crew assists with crowd control and interaction— answering questions and handing out balloon cards!
              • Chase Crew does require some early mornings and physical stamina!
              • If you are interested in being on a chase crew, you can register online at or visit the Chase Crew Tower on the launch field to sign up.
              • You might also see people with CREW NEEDED signs walking around. If a pilot doesn’t have enough people to help, they can’t fly the balloon.
            • Navigators: 1,134 Navigators volunteered at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2023. Navigators (not including Chase Crew) are volunteers who provide guest services, administrative service, balloon coordination and safety, set-up and logistics, and much more, in over 40 different operational areas of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. More info:
            • Balloon Rides: Media and volunteers might have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to literally see the world from above in a hot air balloon at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! Another opportunity to get a lift is to purchase a hot air balloon ride at the Balloon Fiesta with Rainbow Ryders. Rainbow Ryders is the ONLY company authorized to give balloon rides from BALLOON FIESTA® PARK for the world’s largest balloon event, the ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA. Again, be sure to schedule your reservation IN ADVANCE!  
            Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

            Rainbow Ryders Balloons taking paid guests aloft at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2023

            7) INSIDE THE GATE

            → Be prepared for CROWDS and TRAFFIC – especially on the weekends!

            • Transportation: There are several options, around the Albuquerque area and Balloon Fiesta Park. No matter which you choose, give yourself extra time to allow for heavy traffic:
              • General parking is available at Balloon Fiesta Park for $20 per session.
              • Park & Ride is available and encouraged during Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, with pick up and drop off locations throughout the city. **Admission to Balloon Fiesta Park is included with your Park and Ride Ticket**
              • Courtesy Shuttles are on designated routes in and around Balloon Fiesta Park, and can get you where you need to be, to/from the parking lots or RV Camping areas.
            • Weather Reminder: In October, mornings and nights can be COLD, while it can be very WARM during the day. Dress in layers!
            • Getting through Security:
              • ALLOWED – Backpacks, folding chairs, picnic blankets and soft-sided coolers (including food and non-alcoholic beverages) are allowed.
              • NO alcohol, glass containers or hard-sided coolers.
              • NO DOGS OR ANIMALS ALLOWED – except for service animals. 
            • On the inside: Balloon Fiesta Park is more than 360 acres, the size of 54 football fields, all put together. Guests walk the field and are part of the action. That’s a lot of walking! Wear comfortable shoes. Stay light and mobile. A limited number of benches, bleachers, and picnic tables are available. You can bring your own folding chairs and picnic blankets.


            Honestly, I’m really not an early morning / sunrise kind of girl. And yet, somehow, after the first morning (when I did second guess myself all the way to Balloon Fiesta Park)… It was second nature: get up at 3:30AM to leave by 4:00AM to GET THERE! We had to leave early to get through traffic, especially toward the weekend, to park and get through the gate by 5:00AM; or earlier, if you want to stand in line at the Official AIBF Merchandise Tent to purchase one of the Limited Edition Balloon Fiesta Event Collector’s Pins, very limited quantities only released at AM/PM opening.

            Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

            Dawn Patrol Launch

            Not-to-be-missed balloon events during AM Sessions:

            • SAT/SUN – 5:45 AM: DRONE LIGHT SHOW – Incredible drone formations light up the early morning sky above Balloon Fiesta Park, and again on weekend nights after all the activities of the day. The shows are absolutely breathtaking.
            • DAILY – DAWN PATROL / DAWN PATROL SHOW – Choreographed inflation and launch set to music. A dozen balloons light up and launch before dawn to test the air currents and conditions of The Albuquerque Box. It is spectacular. Dawn Patrol inflations begin, weather permitting, about 5:45 AM, with launch around 6:00 AM.
            • SAT/SUN & WEDS: AM BALLOON GLOWS – In the predawn darkness, as the balloons are inflated, still tethered to the ground, Balloon Glows are early morning light shows: firing up the propane burners and lighting up the colorful balloons in an ethereal display before the launches begin.
            • EVERY MORNING – 7:00 AM: OPENING CEREMONIES – Weather permitting, the balloons go up every day, in different launch sequences. Always led by a designated balloon flying the American Flag, with the singing of The Star Spangled Banner by a featured guest, broadcast over loud speakers across Balloon Fiesta Park. Accompanied by spectacular aerial flyovers by military and other flight groups.
            • SAT/SUN – 7:00 AM: MASS ASCENSIONDuring mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, also known as zebras because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as traffic cops, coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner.
            • THUR/FRI – 7:00 AM: SPECIAL SHAPES RODEO™ – Featuring the 100+ Special Shapes Hot Air Balloons (our HAM-LET, The World’s Largest Flying Pig and all the others!) lighting up and launching in the first coordinated wave.
            • AM SESSION CONTINUES UNTIL ABOUT NOON EACH DAY: While the balloons are flying and chase crews are chasing, the activities and fun continue at Balloon Fiesta Park, with shopping and entertainment, Chainsaw Carving Exhibitions & Auctions, Kite Shows, Remote Control Balloon Exhibitions, various Hot Air Balloon Competitions, and so much more!
                    Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

                    Mass Ascension begins…

                    There is a break, each day, between the AM & PM Sessions, when everything shuts down for the afternoon. On the weekends, when there is a PM Session, this is a great time to get in a nap, to be rested and ready for evening events, from 4:00PM until…

                    9) PM EXPERIENCE: SUNSET

                    Saturday/Sunday Opening Weekend & Thur/Fri/Saturday Closing Weekend: As glorious as the AM Session events are, the PM Session is just as thrilling:

                    At twilight the burners of tethered balloons are ignited, illuminating the night with colorfully glowing envelopes [balloons] that guests can wander amongst before enjoying the Drone Light and AfterGlow™ Fireworks shows. 

                    • 5:00 PM – TEAM FASTRAX™ SKYDIVING: Before and after the PM Balloon Glows, professional skydivers enchant the crowd below with incredible aerial manuevers, with smoke trails and light shows in the gathering darkness at sunset.
                    • 6:00 PM – PM BALLOON GLOWS: Every Night Glow event is just a little different, with TWILIGHT TWINKLE GLOW™ (1st Saturday); The Original BALLOON GLOW (Sunday); SPECIAL SHAPES GLOWDEO™ (Thursday & Friday); and NIGHT MAGIC™ GLOW (2nd Saturday).
                      • The evening balloon glows are magical! The crowd is intimately involved in the action. The balloons are inflated and tethered to the ground, and onlookers are invited to mingle and explore at will, taking pictures with their favorite balloons, asking pilot & crew questions, and collecting balloon trading cards!
                      • The SPECIAL SHAPE GLOWDEO™ features the special shape balloons, some very intricate, like our HAM-LET, The World’s Largest Flying Pig, with wings and tails and legs – it’s a lot to fill with hot air and wrangle, on the ground and in the sky! In 2023, there were 107 special shape hot air balloons, including BEAGLE MAXIMUS – an enormous flying dog! – DARTH VADER & YODA from Star Wars – a many-faced Jester (kinda creepy!) and many others, including favorite classic cartoon characters. 
                    Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

                    Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Drone Light Show 2023

                    • 7:45 PM – DRONE LIGHT SHOW: As the crowd settles in for the spectacular closing events each night, chase crews deflate the balloons and pack them away. Hundreds of small, lighted drones fly in formation, enchanting the crowd below with intricate choreography to form objects and scenes in homage to Albuquerque culture, flavor, and history.
                    • 8:00 PM – AFTERGLOW™ FIREWORKS SHOW: As the drones fly off into the night, fireworks light up the sky in the most amazing display I have ever seen, with a spectacular fireball finale– you have to see it to believe it! 
                    Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

                    Collect Balloon Cards at Balloon Fiesta – just ask a crew member!

                    10) BALLOON FIESTA SECRETS ROUND-UP

                    • Arrive early – getting there & getting through traffic & security.
                    • Check into RV Rally Camping with the Monaco Group!
                    • NO DOGS in Balloon Fiesta Park. (Service animals are welcome.)
                    • NO SMOKING!!!
                    • Enjoy close-up, ACCESS TO BALLOONS ON THE FIELD!
                    • ⚠️ WATCH YOUR STEP, when you are walking on the field: balloons are fragile – never step on them! There are ropes everywhere, above and below. The balloon baskets are very heavy and can slide along the ground before they lift off. Pay attention to the zebras! 🦓
                    • Collect Balloon Trading Cards! Each balloon has its own Balloon Card. Some of the chase vehicles do, too! Ask the Chase Crew! 😃
                    • Purchase Balloon Fiesta Pins! Event Pins & Limited Edition Special Pins available at AIBF Merchandise Tents or online at 
                    • FOOD is twice the price at BF Park. Consider venturing outside to Blake’s LottaBurger – local fast food recommendation. 😉 (4th & Pueblo best location, according to locals!)
                    • REMEMBER: Weekends are BUSIER, with more going on AM &  PM – ALL DAY.
                    Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

                    HAM-LET mascot Kim Silva with Balloon Fiesta Zebras (launch coordinators)

                    At the end of your time at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, you’ll leave with incredible memories and hopefully some amazing photographs, too! You might be exhausted from early mornings, long days, and a whole lot of walking, but it’s all worth it for a lifetime of colorful, balloon-filled stories and memories.

                    I hope you’ve enjoyed Your Ultimate RVer’s Guide to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

                    Best Wishes for Blue Skies & Safe Travels!

                    National Indoor RV Centers blogger Sherri Caldwell profile image

                    Sherri Caldwell is the founder of, a full-time RV travel blog and PODCAST! 😉🎙️🤠  Click to enjoy Episode 12: Insider’s Guide 🤗 RVing the ABQ Balloon Fiesta about our 2023 Chase Crew Adventure! With her husband, Russ, she is currently living, working, and traveling full-time in their 2016 Entegra Aspire.

                    7 Easy Ways to Preserve Your RV Travel Memories

                    Robin Buck, a full-time RVer and travel blogger, shares about ways you can preserve your travel memories. 

                    A great benefit of owning an RV is the ability to travel the country to visit new and interesting places. Whether you are taking a quick summer vacation or going on an extended trip, you will want to remember all of the fun times you had. We like being able to share our journey with family and friends, but also want to make sure our travel experiences stay vivid and unforgettable later on. These 7 creative ways to preserve your trip will help you capture those wonderful memories and make sure they stay with you long after the trip is over.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    1. Journal Your Adventures

                    One of the most traditional yet timeless methods of preserving travel memories is by keeping a travel journal. The act of putting pen to paper can help you relive your experiences, capture your emotions, and document the small details that often get forgotten. Try to write daily entries about your activities, the people you meet, and your impressions of the places you visit. As an alternative to a full-blown journal, I have found that a planning calendar can be a good place to document travels, notes, and timelines.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    2. Compile a Travel Scrapbook

                    One step up from a travel journal is a travel scrapbook. Here you can combine your journal entries along with sketches, photographs, and mementos all in one place. Many people enjoy including postcards they sent to themselves from each place or ticket stubs and brochures from attractions they visited. This tactile and creative approach allows you to craft a personalized keepsake to hold your cherished memories.  By using decorative paper, stickers, and markers to embellish your pages you’ll not only see but also feel the memories come to life.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    3. Collect Souvenirs with Meaning

                    Souvenirs are more than just trinkets; they are everyday reminders of fun times and new places. Choose souvenirs that have a special meaning or tell a story about your trip. Since space can be a concern when you are traveling in an RV, we usually look for small items like refrigerator magnets, keychains, flattened pennies, or park tokens. Sometimes, though, I might purchase a handmade craft, a t-shirt, or even jewelry as a memento. Displaying these souvenirs in your home or RV can spark conversations and bring back pleasant memories for you to share.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    4. Map Your Journeys

                    Many people like the visual appeal of seeing their travels and routes displayed on a map. You can plot your travel adventures using pins, stickers, or color-coded markers to represent each destination. Another fun option is a scratch off map. We have one for all of the national parks and scratch off a sticker for each place we have visited. If you want to go digital there are sites like Google Maps or MyTravelMap where you can input your travels and then print it out or share with friends.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    5. Capture the Moments with Photography

                    Photographs are perhaps the most immediate and visually stimulating way to preserve travel memories. You can use a good camera or even a smartphone to capture breathtaking landscapes, vibrant street scenes, and candid moments with locals or other travelers you meet. Experiment with different angles and lighting to make your photos unique or try an action shot of fun activities. Interesting new foods, unusual architecture, and famous landmarks are other great subjects for your pictures.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    One key thing about photos is that they can pile up quickly. I suggest going through them frequently to pick out your favorites while everything is still fresh in your mind. Once you know which photos you want to keep you can create a digital album on your computer, or you may also want to print them out for a traditional photo album. Mixbook, Shutterfly, and Snapfish are just a few of the online companies that will help you create a high-quality bound photo book with just a few clicks. Better yet, I like to view mine on a Nixplay digital picture frame and even have one set up with my parents, so I can email pictures directly onto their frame too!

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    6. Create Dynamic Video Memories

                    If a single image can speak a thousand words, imagine what a video can convey! Videography captures not only the visual but also the auditory and emotional aspects of your journey. You can use your camera, cellphone, or even a GoPro to document a bustling city scene, your serene hike at sunrise, or an amazing swim with dolphins experience. Many people post their videos on YouTube channels so they can easily share with family and friends. Videos take a great deal more space than photos, though, so make sure you filter and edit them, or your collection will take up a lot of your camera or computer memory.

                    7. Share Your Travels Online

                    In today’s digital age, creating a travel blog or website has become an accessible and engaging way to document your adventures. Like a travel journal, a blog is an excellent way to write about your travels and allows you to include more in-depth information and even insert pictures and links.  I started my travel blog so that we could share our experiences with our family and friends, but I’ve since expanded to include sharing advice and tips for other RVers as well.

                    Ways to Preserve Travel Memories

                    Many online platforms, like WordPress and Blogger, make it easy for beginners to get started. If you are not up for the ongoing upkeep of a blog, you might just focus on sharing via social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. There you can upload pictures or albums to share your trip quickly and easily.

                    Enjoy Making Memories

                    Documenting our experiences has become part of the fun as we visit new places in our RV. Travel memories are precious and preserving them ensures that you can relive your adventures for years to come. Whether you prefer the traditional approach of journaling and scrapbooking or the modern methods of blogging and videography, there are countless ways to capture the essence of your travels. By combining these creative techniques, you can create a comprehensive and meaningful record of your journeys that will continue to inspire and enrich your life.

                    Robin Buck

                    Robin and her husband, Mike, are Air Force veterans and empty nesters who have been traveling full-time in their Entegra Anthem motorhome for 5 years. Always ready to explore, they love nature and wildlife, meeting new friends and discovering America one stop at a time. Robin writes about their travel adventures, RVing tips, and the full-time RV lifestyle on her blog RVing with Robin.

                    Glacier National Park: Crown of the Continent

                    Robin Buck, a full-time RVer and travel blogger, shares her firsthand experience with NIRVC.

                    Visiting some of our country’s beautiful national parks is often at the top of many RVers’ bucket lists. After all, it is the perfect way to appreciate nature in a very up-close and personal way. While we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in each national park we’ve been to, some of them really stand out as favorites. One that is at the top of my list is Glacier National Park.

                    Glacier National Park is located about as far north as you can go in the wilderness of northern Montana. We were so close to Canada that our phones even dinged with a “Welcome to Canada” message! Nicknamed the “Crown of the Continent,” this park’s 1 million acres are home to stunning mountains, frozen glaciers, thundering waterfalls, pristine lakes, glorious meadows, and an abundance of wildlife. This vast diversity offers something for everyone whether you choose to enjoy it by car, from a boat tour, or on foot on one of the many hiking trails.

                    Going to the Sun Road

                    By far the #1 attraction in Glacier National Park is the Going to the Sun Road. This 50-mile-long scenic drive crosses the park from east to west and offers some of the most breathtaking natural views in the country. The narrow road hugs the mountainside as you twist and turn your way up and over the Continental Divide. At the top, Logan’s Pass is the highest point in the park that can be reached by car at 6,646 ft in elevation. There’s a visitor center here and trailheads for two of the park’s most popular hikes: Hidden Lake Nature Trail and the more strenuous Highline Trail.

                    Driving the length of this national historic landmark can take several hours, depending on traffic and how many times you stop. There are numerous turnouts and parking areas where you can take a break to stretch your legs, take photos, and admire the stunning views. I especially recommend stops at the Jackson Glacier Overlook, Triple Arches, and the Weeping Wall. If you do nothing else in the park, this road will give you a sense of Glacier’s rugged terrain and towering mountain peaks. As you enjoy the view of alpine meadows and wildflower fields, be on the lookout for grizzly bears, mountain goats, deer, and bighorn sheep to name just a few.

                    St. Mary Entrance

                    If you start your journey on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, you will come in through the Saint Mary entrance. There is a nice visitor center here where you can speak to a ranger, get trail information, buy souvenirs, or get your park passport book stamped. As you begin up the Going to the Sun Road, one of the first things you will come to is Saint Mary Lake. It is the second largest of the park’s over 700 lakes!

                    You can enjoy lots of nature opportunities in this area without even going very far into the park. We loved the different perspective we got as we rode on a boat tour and learned more about Saint Mary Lake. The tour includes a stop at Sunrift Gorge where a short walk leads to the rushing waters of Baring Falls. There are also several other hikes to waterfalls in this area. The Sun Point nature trail leads to an overlook with spectacular views of Saint Mary Lake and the mountains looming above it. This spot is especially magnificent at sunset! You can also see the tiny Wild Goose Island popular from the opening scenes of The Shining movie.

                    West Glacier Entrance

                    If you enter the park from the western side, you can stop in the Apgar Visitor Center or visit the nearby shops and watersports rentals. Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park and offers many water recreation opportunities, as well as wonderful photo ops of its popular colored pebbles. At the northern end of the lake, you can look over McDonald Falls where brilliant aquamarine water rushes towards the lake.

                    Other popular sights on the western end of the park include Avalanche Creek and the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail. This wheelchair accessible trail winds its way into the forest of towering old-growth cedar and hemlock trees. Some of these ancient trees are estimated to be 500 years old! As you walk through the lush forest with its tall trees, ferns, and mosses make sure to stop for a photo at the footbridge over Avalanche Creek. The power of the water rushing through the gorge is stunning.

                    Many Glacier Entrance

                    If you want to explore another fascinating and popular part of Glacier National Park, the Many Glacier area is full of jaw-dropping landscapes as well as lots of trails and wildlife. The entrance is about 17 miles north of the St Mary entrance on the eastern side of the park. I suggest stopping for lunch at the historic Many Glacier Hotel or taking a sightseeing boat ride on Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes.

                    If you want to hit the trails, there are lots of hikes to choose from with something for all levels. We hiked to Grinnell Lake which amazed us with its turquoise waters and numerous waterfalls tumbling down the steep cliffs of the glacier. Those up for a more strenuous challenge can hike all the way up to Grinnell Glacier or try the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail. It’s a very “cool” experience to stand on a massive glacier!

                    Know Before You Go

                    Glacier National Park is one of the parks where timed entry tickets are required during the busy summer months. In addition to the park entry fee, you must go online at and reserve a timed entry ticket ahead of your visit. If you are not able to get a timed ticket, you can always enter the park before or after the designated ticket hours. We found that going into the park before the opening hours allowed us to deal with less traffic and increased our chances of spotting wildlife or getting a peaceful lake picture with the mountain reflection.

                    It’s important to note that there are size restrictions on Going to the Sun Road, so it’s best to leave the RV at the campground for this adventure. There are campgrounds in the towns just outside both the eastern and western sides of the park that can accommodate big rigs. If you don’t want to do the driving, you can opt to take the park shuttle bus or sign up for a guided Red Bus Tour.

                    Weather is also a concern when visiting this northern park. The Going to the Sun Road typically opens in late June or early July each year after the snow is plowed. We encountered snow along many areas even after the road was open in late June during our visit, so if you want to see more wildflowers and less snow then visit later in the summertime.

                    Beauty Abounds in this Park

                    As its name implies, you will see massive glaciers in this park along with the hundreds of lakes and valleys that they helped to form over millions of years. Spectacular mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls are around every bend. We marveled at the plant and animal species that thrive here and were excited to see more wildlife here than any other park we visited including bear, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and marmots. We truly couldn’t believe how amazing the views were no matter where we looked.


                    Glacier National Park is an explorer’s paradise, and there are so many areas not even mentioned here. You could spend a week or two in the park and not see it all. Whether you choose the exhilarating Going to the Sun Road, water fun on one of the many lakes, or an incredible hike to see a glacier, you will not be disappointed. An RV trip to Glacier National Park is one you will remember forever.


                    Robin Buck

                    Robin and her husband, Mike, are Air Force veterans and empty nesters who have been traveling full-time in their Entegra Anthem motorhome for 5 years. Always ready to explore, they love nature and wildlife, meeting new friends and discovering America one stop at a time. Robin writes about their travel adventures, RVing tips, and the full-time RV lifestyle on her blog RVing with Robin.