Moab Adventure Center Introduces a First - Hot Air Ballooning Over the Red Rock Desert Playground of Moab, Utah


Moab, UT, May 6, 2010 - Moab Adventure Center creates diverse opportunities to explore a red rock playground that borders both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Now, for the first time this spring visitors can soar above it all in a hot air balloon.
It’s obvious why Hollywood chooses this set for westerns and contemporary movies,” said Brandon Lake, Co-Founder of Moab Adventure Center. “It’s truly one of the natural wonders of the world.”  Sights include the rugged red rock canyons carved by the Colorado River, fanciful rock towers and arches and often such wildlife as desert big horn sheep, mountain lion, pronghorn antelope and bald and golden eagles.
Hour-long balloon flights  that begin at sunrise with set-up and launch give passengers a bird’s-eye view of multi-colored sandstone formations, mesas, buttes, deep canyon mazes and natural arches. Rates are $235 for adults and $195 for youth age six and up. 
Lou Bartell who owns and pilots the six-passenger balloon explains how he showcases this region.
I enjoy contour or close-to-the-ground flying. This gives a very unique perspective of the landscape.  The sensation of climbing over a sandstone butte then watching the ground drop hundreds of feet below you can only be compared to rock climbing.  The biggest difference with a flight in Moab to anywhere else is that you are actually a part of the landscape, not just an observer.  Conditions permitting, I also like to fly up to 4,000 feet above the valley floor to give everyone an overview of the entire area.”
Bartell assures his guests that credentials for hot air balloon pilots are similar to those for manning fixed wing and rotor-wing aircraft. Pilots must complete a private and commercial ground school and hours of practical training. Bartell maintains a class 2 FAA flight physical for his commercial and instructor ratings. The balloon is a commercially registered FAA aircraft requiring 100 hours of inspections annually. All repairs and maintenance must be performed by a certified FAA repairman with an FAA repair station license.
The rate includes the flight itself, return transportation to the launch site, a post-flight toast ceremony and digital on-ground and in-air photos (upon request). Moab hot air balloon rides can be combined with two other Moab Adventure Center activities for a 10 percent savings on each.
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Moab Adventure Center ( is a division of Western River Expeditions (, an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT. Its programs are available from March through October.
Established in 2004, Moab Adventure Center serves active travelers with half, full, and multi-day adventure programs including  Moab rafting,  Hummer safaris, Arches National Park Tours, canyoneering, Moab mountain biking, Colorado River jetboat tours, horseback riding and hot air balloon rides. In addition to activities, the Adventure Center also offers Moab lodging and Jeep rentals as well as complete Moab vacation packages.
Surrounded by an immense red rock playground, Moab, Utah, is unlike any other place in the world. Its postcard-perfect desert is adorned with giant sandstone formations, canyon mazes, and thousands of natural arches. Several national and state parks are accessible from Moab.
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah rafting, and Idaho rafting trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. Today it pursues a “guiding green” philosophy and belongs to some of the top environmentally conscious organizations in the world: Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, American Rivers, Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, Utah Rivers Council, America Outdoors, and National River Cleanup Week.


Moab Adventure Center was recently honored as the 2010 recipient of "Best of State" in the category of adventure travel through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program. Western River Expeditions has also won this coveted award for seven consecutive years.
The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main Street, Moab, Utah 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163 or send an email from
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