Parking and Transportation

The information listed below will help make your travel to and from the event enjoyable and hassle-free.

The Great Reno Balloon Race takes place at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, a 570-acre Washoe County park. Different parking opportunities provide different walking distances into the park.

Parking is prohibited along McCarran Blvd. due to safety hazards and parking laws will be enforced. Parking on Evans Ave. is prohibited and requires a residential parking pass. You will be ticketed if you are found parked on McCarran Blvd. or Evans Ave.

Remember, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is only 1.5 miles from downtown Reno and would make a wonderful morning walk for our out-of-town visitors who are so inclined. Sierra Street will be blocked off to anyone who does not have a handicap placard or parking pass on all three mornings of the event.

Rancho San Rafael Park has limited entrances into the parking areas, therefore traffic can get backed up. Please plan to arrive early to the event.

Reserved VIP Parking

Reserved VIP Parking Passes will give you access to the most convenient and guaranteed parking available. These passes will sell-out so be sure to get yours before it’s too late. RV’s, buses and oversized vehicles are NOT allowed to park in Rancho San Rafael Park. By purchasing a pass, you are helping keep the event free to the community!

Click here to purchase a VIP Parking Pass to The Great Reno Balloon Race.

General Public Parking at Rancho San Rafael

There will be day-of general public parking available at Rancho San Rafael Park for a $25 cash donation to the event – cash only. The lots are located on the corner of Sierra Street and McCarran Blvd., as well as on Coleman Street. These lots will get you a short walking distance away from the field. RV’s, buses and oversized vehicles are NOT allowed to park at Rancho San Rafael Park. These paid parking lots will open at 3:30 a.m. each day.

By paying for general parking, you are keeping the event free to the community!

Handicap Parking

As always, handicapped parking is available at the event for those with a handicapped placard or license plate. Please go to any entrance of the park and you will be directed to a handicapped parking lot. These spots are first-come, first-serve and typically fill-up by 4 a.m. so get there early!

Parking at UNR

If you don’t mind walking a few blocks, you can park for free at the University’s lots in the Green and Blue 1 lots on the northwest side of Mackay Stadium. But remember that cars must be removed by 10 a.m. (Subject to changes if event falls on a Nevada football afternoon game).

RTC – Don’t Drive, Arrive!

Don’t Drive, Arrive! to The Great Reno Balloon Race. RTC will be adding extra service to the RAPID Virginia Line on September 6, 7 and 8 from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. and extending the route to Rancho San Rafael Park. Passengers who board at stops along the RAPID Virginia Line route may ride for FREE with service every 15 minutes to the park.

This is a great opportunity to try transit with your family and friends to one of the region’s favorite events. Events like this help to attract new transit passengers and reduce congestion on our roadways. Buses are accessible to people with disabilities. To plan your trip, visit

RV and Bus Information

RV’s, buses and oversized vehicles are NOT allowed to park in Rancho San Rafael Park. Buses will enter through the main gate on Sierra St. where they will be directed to drop off passengers in the first parking lot on the right; they will then be turned around to exit back on Sierra St. Buses can return to pick up passengers starting at 8:30 a.m.

In 2005, all vehicles including RVs were banned from parking on McCarran Blvd. due to safety concerns of the City of Reno and Police Department. Click here to read more about it.

Rancho San Rafael Park regulations prohibit overnight parking of vehicles/RVs, excluding security vehicles, during the event. For a list of RV parks in the area, please go to