Colorado has so much variety in scenery, making it one of the best states to have your outdoor elopement! Whether you want snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, sand dunes, forests, giant canyons, or red rocks, Colorado has it all! Here are some of the best places to elope in Colorado! Of course there are many other spots beyond this list, especially if you are planning an elopement without guests or willing to take a longer hike, but this is a great list to get you started thinking about some of the most popular areas that couples choose to elope in Colorado.
As your Colorado elopement photographer, I will be happy to provide you with even more options when we start planning out your special day! I work with you to create custom location recommendations based specifically on your needs. These include things like whether you are having guests and how many, whether you want the location to be dog friendly, have access to bathrooms, have snow or not, have a long or short hike, wildflowers or yellow aspens, and the list goes on!
List of Best Places to Elope in Colorado:
- Sapphire Point Overlook
- Garden of the Gods
- Maroon Bells Amphitheater
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Brainard Lake Recreation Area
- Great Sand Dunes
- Loveland Pass
- Blue Lakes
- St. Mary’s Glacier
- Colorado Ski Resorts
- Telluride and Ouray
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- “Hidden” Gems
Now that you have seen the list, let’s dive a little deeper to discover why these are some of the best places to elope in Colorado! Some of these locations require a permit or fee, which I will discuss below. In addition, they all have some limit on the number of guests that can be in the space. If you have any questions about these locations, feel free to contact me!
Sapphire Point Overlook
Sapphire Point Overlook has to be on a list of best places to elope in Colorado because it is one of my most popular locations! Undeniably, it is one of the most scenic and easily accessible locations in Colorado that also permits up to 35 guests! With views of the Tenmile Range and Lake Dillon and its proximity to nearby towns of Breckenridge and Keystone, it’s a perfect spot for any of your needs! You will need to obtain a $120 permit to reserve the ceremony site. In addition, parking can be limited, especially on weekdays!
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is the perfect place for your elopement if you love the red rock vibe and views of Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers! There are various locations where ceremonies with guests are permitted, some even up to 50 people. Check out this Garden of the Gods Elopement Guide for more information on where you can have a ceremony within this beautiful location! No permits are required, but because each ceremony location is first-come-first-serve, I highly suggest eloping here on a weekday or at less busy hours in this popular park.
Maroon Bells Amphitheater
Maroon Bells might be one of my absolute favorite locations not just for elopements, but to visit and explore. These iconic Colorado peaks make for an incredibly stunning backdrop for your wedding ceremony. In order to have a ceremony with up to 50 guests, you need to reserve the Maroon Bells Amphitheater for $200. The reservations are released one year prior to the date and you better set an alarm because these reservations go fast! Maroon Bells reservations are only available from June through the end of September. Any of those months are a beautiful time! In June there might still be snow covering the Maroon Bells, in July and August you get gorgeous wildflowers, and in September, the fall colors are unbeatable! If you want to take a nice hike after your ceremony, the hike to Crater Lake is a must!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most scenic places in Colorado, which makes it perfect for an outdoor wedding. There are so many beautiful areas you can go explore for a hike and for photos!
For your ceremony, you need to reserve a specific ceremony site, in advance, for $300. You can get more information about that here. Please be aware that these ceremony locations book out quickly! With this in mind, Rocky Mountain National Park releases permits for the whole year on January 1 of that year. Therefore, if you plan a last minute elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park, you may not be able to say your vows within the park if there are no more permits for your date. However, you can still get amazing photos within the park on your wedding day as long as your photographer has a photography permit! You will just need to find other locations outside of the national park to legally have your ceremony. Your local Colorado elopement photographer can help you with that!
Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Brainard Lake Recreation Area is such a great location for an elopement if you want stunning lakes and views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Currently, no permit is required to have a small ceremony. Just make sure there are no chairs, arches, or any other disrupting fixtures. I usually recommend limiting your guest count to around 20-25 people at Brainard Lake, and no more than 8 total, including your photographer, for any of the hikes in the area. All of these rules are so we can still be sure to practice Leave No Trace Principles.
If you want to venture out for a short hike, Long Lake is a great option, and if you want something even a little longer, Lake Isabelle is a must! One thing to note about Brainard Lake Recreation Area is that timed entry permits are required to enter, so any vehicles that you and your guests are arriving in will need to purchase a permit.
Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks have many great options, especially if you want to include guests in your special day! Some of these include, Sunrise Amphitheater and Halfway House. Sunrise Amphitheater is perfect for guests since there is already built in seating and beautiful views of Boulder! You can explore all of the options for renting these and other sites here. Additionally, you can take photos in some of my favorites spots like Chautauqua Park and Lost Gulch Overlook!
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Want an elopement in a location that feels out of this world? Great Sand Dunes National Park is the place for you! This is one of my favorite places to visit in Colorado. Stunning dunes with large mountain peaks in the background make for such a unique wedding location. Late spring and early summer are the best time to go before it gets too hot on the sand. Medano Creek might still be flowing early in the summer, which could make for a fun location for a cool down activity. I also highly recommend renting sand boards to bring some extra adventure into your elopement day! Wedding and ceremony permits are required to get married within the national park. You can find more information about the permits here.
Loveland Pass, the perfect location for couples in ‘love’! If you want a location with 360 degree mountain views, but aren’t into a big hike on your wedding day, then this location is for you!
Loveland Pass is open year round. If you want a snow-covered ceremony in the winter or wildflower meadows in the summer, you will be able to find that at Loveland Pass. During the summer months you can also explore some of the nearby alpine lakes. This location is located at 12,000 ft. Because of this, be sure that you spend some time at a higher elevation before your big day, especially if you are traveling from sea-level! Loveland Pass is usually a location I recommend for couples that are spending the day just the two of them. There is not a lot of parking, so this is not a place that works well with a lot of guests.
Blue Lakes near Breckenridge
Blue Lakes near Breckenridge, not to be confused with Blue Lakes in Telluride, is another great option for an intimate wedding ceremony in Colorado. There is not a ton of parking and I definitely would not recommend this location on a weekend. Besides a bumpy road, it is easily accessible from summer through fall before it snows. At this location you get evergreen trees, an alpine lake, and of course gorgeous mountain views. If you are up for some hiking you can reach a beautiful waterfall. You can also hike up the road to a second lake and see views of the valley below!
St. Mary’s Glacier
St. Mary’s Glacier is a very popular location for a Colorado elopement if you are ready for a short hike! If you want to hike on your elopement day, but aren’t ready for a full day of hiking, this 2.4 mile roundtrip hike is perfect! It is only a little over an hour from the Denver International Airport. This makes it a great place to stay without having to drive too far into the mountains! I know a lot of great cabins that you can stay at nearby! This is also a fun location if you want to experience snow even in the summer! The glacier lasts at least through early June or later depending on the snowpack that year!
Colorado Ski Resorts
If you want a winter elopement (or early spring elopement) and you love skiing or snowboarding with your favorite person, then you absolutely have to elope on the slopes! Check out this blog for a list of the Colorado Ski Resorts! I am a ski wedding photographer, which means if you want to head up the lift and go down the mountain on your skis or snowboard, I will be right there with you! Colorado ski resorts can also make for great venues for summer weddings and even for larger or traditional weddings too. Many of the ski lodges become wedding venues in the off-season!
Telluride and Ouray
The bluest lakes I have ever seen and rugged mountain terrain, it must be the San Juan Mountains! Telluride and Ouray are definitely some of the best places to elope in Colorado. If you are up for some epic hiking or off-roading, this is the best place to go for a full adventure elopement! I can help you choose some of the most scenic hikes to experience the full beauty of Colorado. Maybe we could even camp overnight and take some star photos! But, if you want something more mellow, there are also amazing options in Telluride and Ouray for that as well.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is the most underrated National Park in Colorado! While you do need a permit to get married here, it is honestly so worth it! The views of the canyon and Gunnison River are absolutely incredible. The best part is that most of the scenic overlooks are only a short walk from parking areas! There are so many beautiful spots around the park are perfect for both sunrise and sunset ceremonies.
“Hidden” Gems beyond these best places to elope in Colorado
Finally, you might be thinking, well these can’t possibly be the only best places to elope in Colorado. You are absolutely correct! While this list encompasses some of the most popular locations for Colorado elopements, I know a plenty of other spots that I am happy share with you when I provide your personalized location recommendations! Some of these locations require some hiking, some are just less known hidden gems. If you book me as your Colorado elopement photographer, I will be sure to let you in on some of my favorite places that I have personally explored! Reach out here and let’s get planning your epic Colorado elopemet!