The Black Hills region, graced with stunning landscapes, serves as the heart of America's natural beauty. It’s here you’ll discover a unique opportunity to explore the outdoors from an elevated perspective, offering an experience that’s both breathtaking and inspiring - courtesy of Black Hills Balloons, one of the oldest balloon companies in the United States.


Picture yourself floating in the basket of a balloon, endless sky above, and an impressive landscape rolling out below for as far as the eye can see. Here’s what you need to know about this tour:


black hills balloons crew getting the hot air balloon ready for launch


Morning Meet Up

Sunrise flights mean you’re meeting the morning filled with anticipation. Black Hills Balloons operates out of Custer, SD, so the meeting point for the tour is their hangar. This is where you’ll park your vehicle and then head with the crew to the launch field. Then you’ll get to watch the magic that happens to get the balloon ready. The Black Hills Balloons crew will start preparing the balloon for flight, which takes about 20 minutes, giving you, the passengers, time to capture photos and videos and receive a brief for the tour.


view of hot air balloon over the black hills from the basket of black hills balloons@joshlien27

Up, Up, and Away

Hot air balloon flights last for approximately one hour. The timing is dependent on weather and available landing locations. During this time, you’ll be soothed by the gentle whooshing sounds of the balloon and the sweeping views of an indescribably beautiful landscape. The flight takes you over Custer Valley and one of the largest state parks in the nation, Custer State Park. You’ll be just a few miles away from the iconic landmarks of our area, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial®


A typical flight could cruise up to about 1,500 feet, giving passengers an elevated view that turns landscapes into intriguing miniature representations. As you soar, keep an eye out for wildlife like elk, antelope, deer, bison, and maybe even a mountain lion (the only way you’d prefer to see this last one is from above).


hot air balloon flight about the black hills with black hills balloons@blackhillsballoons

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Sadly, Newton’s principles of gravity also apply to hot air balloons. What many people claim to be “an experience of a lifetime” must also come to an end. Thankfully, you’ve captured some unforgettable photos, videos, and most importantly – memories. Upon landing, the passengers and pilots celebrate with a traditional champagne toast followed by light snacks. It’s during this time that you’ll also hear the fascinating origin of hot air ballooning.  


two black hills balloons hot air balloons taking flight from the stratobowl in south dakota


What You Need to Know 

  • Tours kick off in May and continue through the fall.
  • Where temperature appropriate- clothing, mornings are always cooler in the hills so wear layers.
  • Wear closed toe shoes.
  • Don’t wear dangling jewelry.
  • Bring: sunglasses or a hat, sunscreen, and a camera, preferably with a strap. 
  • The minimum age for this tour is 4 years old.
  • Hot air balloons have a unique connection to the Black Hills. They're celebrated annually here during the Historic Stratobowl Hot Air Balloon Launch


If you’re looking to fill your vacation with unique experiences, then a tour with Black Hills Balloons is for you. Hot air ballooning should be on everyone’s bucket-list, but when you pair it with the views of the Black Hills and their crew, we’re confident this will probably be the highlight of your whole vacation. Find more experiences for your vacation in the related content below or sign up for our monthly Travel Tips newsletter and we’ll send sample itineraries, more awesome blogs, and upcoming events right to you. 

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