A sunrise or sunset hot-air-balloon ascent is a remarkable desert sightseeing experience. The average fee—there are more than three dozen Valley companies to choose from—is $200 per person, and hotel pickup is usually included. Since flight paths and landing sites vary with wind speed and direction, a roving land crew follows each balloon in flight. Time in the air is generally between 1 and 1½ hours, but allow 3 hours for the total excursion.

Hot Air Expeditions. This is the best ballooning in Phoenix. Flights are long, the staff are charming, and the gourmet snacks, catered by the acclaimed Vincent restaurant, are out of this world. Phoenix, Arizona. 480/502–6999; 800/831–7610;

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