Ballooning over the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos, New Mexico

Join us on an exciting trip into the Rio Grande Gorge just west of Taos, New Mexico. Our trip starts at 6am when we meet our balloon crew at the blinking light north of Taos -- an old Taos landmark now replaced by a modern intersection. We load up and drive on the highway west for a few miles and then turn northwest and on a series of old dirt roads to our launching point. We launch shortly after sunrise and then the pictures begin.

Full-sized pictures (1792 x 1200) are available by clicking on any picture.  Download size varies from 330kb to over 750kb.  All pictures ©2000 Michael J. Mellinger.  All rights reserved.  You may not copy or reuse these pictures without written consent.

<back to Taos Home Page>

Several balloons launch from the same point near the Rio Grande Gorge west of Taos, New Mexico.

Launching takes place soon after sunrise. Things can be a bit crowded during the initial ascent.

A preview of the rest of the ride as we rise above the edge of the gorge.

We shared the launching site with several individuals that camped there for the night.

The other two balloons are nearly ready to launch.

We begin our descent into the gorge.

The sun creeps into the gorge.

While the water is low, you can see the rapids that form the Taos Box -- a class 4 whitewater rafting trip.

At this point, we are approximately 5 feet above the water. It is normal to "dip" the basket in the water but the winds on this day were a bit too fickle for that.

On our way down, we get close to the gorge walls.

We climbed out of the gorge attempting to find winds more favorable to our descent.

Looking to the northwest we see one of the other balloons trying to get down into the gorge. The winds make this difficult.

The Rio Grande Gorge bridge which towers about 600 feet above the bottom of the gorge. Our landing point is just beyond the bridge.

<back to Taos Home Page>