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The Best places to elope in Colorado | Colorado Elopement Photographer

You’re here because you’re thinking about eloping (or have already decided to!) in Colorado – and I’m so excited to share my backyard with ya’ll! I’ve lived here since 2010 and have road-tripped, hiked, camped and 4×4’d all over this beautiful state. I’ve hiked to the bluest blue lakes and adventured to the most gorgeous basins known to Colorado. I’m so excited to share my knowledge and love for Colorado’s high country with ya- consider me your expert!

Start to picture the view that gets you stoked in a place that leaves you speechless. This list will get you started envisioning where you’ll adventure – but together we’ll find the perfect place for you to share your vows in the wild!

Why should You elope in Colorado?

Colorado is full of beautiful places to elope. You don’t have to hike or have a special vehicle to get to many of them. If you want to put in a little extra effort then you can get to some truly wild and magical places. You don’t have to hike to get to some of the most wild spots either. If you have a lifted 4×4 vehicle you can explore so many high mountain passes. Even if you don’t you can rent one from one of the many outfitters in the different mountain towns. Side by sides are super fun, too!

If you want a winter wonderland elopement Colorado is the perfect place for that, too. We have world renowned snow and some of the most beautiful snowy peaks in the world.

WHen should I elope in Colorado?

Year round. Colorado gets all four seasons making it an amazing destination for elopements in your favorite season. Certain regions boast more ideal temps and weather in certain seasons. I’m here to help you navigate everything Colorado has to offer including what the different seasons look like where and the gear you’ll need to have the best experience ever.

traveling in The colorado mountains

Mountain weather and traffic varies all year long. The travel times in the guide don’t account for possible traffic. Always be prepared for mountain traffic and road closures by having the right supplies in your vehicle. The weather can change quickly in the mountains even in the summer. It’s best to be prepared with layers, a light jacket, sunblock, water, snacks gasoline and anything else that could make sitting in a car a better experience. Stay hydrated before and during your adventures in the high country with water and salts & minerals.

If you aren’t familiar with winter mountain driving or the gear you’ll want for your winter adventure check out my How to Guide for Winter Mountain Adventures!

Where can I elope in Colorado?

Map created using Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park and Grandby, Colorado

3M Curve Ceremony location in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park has so many great spots to elope. They require a wedding permit and that you use a specific location for exchanging vows but it’s a reasonable price at only $250. Each of their specified ceremony sites are gorgeous! And, once you exchange vows at one of their ceremony sites you can then adventure to anywhere in the park you want for photos. You can find all the information about ceremony sites in Rocky Mountain National Park here. Just keep in mind that these ceremony sites are super popular, so book your spot in advance. I’d start to try to reserve it 12 months in advance if possible. Only 250 permits are issued a year with only 6 weddings allowed in the park per day, and only 2 weddings at each location per day.

Best Places to Elope in RMNP

3M Curve

Sprague Lake

Lily Lake Dock

More wedding ceremony locations in RMNP

You can have your ceremony outside the Rocky Mountain National Park, in Estes Park or Grand Lake and then go into the park for photos. The permit just for photography is only $50 and has to be secured by your photographer.

There are several places within the park that are amazing for romantic portraits. You can’t have your wedding ceremony or exchange vows or rings at any of these locations but they are a gorgeous backdrop for portraits.

Sky Pond
Chasm Lake
Dream Lake
Mills Lake
Lake Haiyaha
Trail Ridge Road
Sheep Lakes
Sprague Lake

Distance from Denver: ~70 miles
Elevation: 7,860 feet to 14,259 feet
Best season: Year round
Permit: Yes. Wedding permit for specific ceremony site required to get married in the park. Photography permit required for just portraits in the park. (Portrait permit is included with every wedding permit.)

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado

a couple exchanges vows at Garden of the Gods
Sunset Vow Ceremony at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is one of the most iconic destinations in the state. It boasts stunning red rock formations that only the god’s could have created, hence the name. They don’t require a permit for small and quick ceremonies. They have a list of locations they you can use and their rules. Check out their wedding information here.

Distance from Denver: 68 miles
Elevation: 6,400′
Best season: year round
Permit: No.

Loveland Pass on the Continental Divide

A groom holds his bride's ice skates as they walk towards a frozen backcountry alpine lake in the Arapahoe National Forest in Colorado
Sunset Ice Skating Elopement on Loveland Pass

Loveland Pass is one those on top of the world mountain elopement locations. If you have dreams of being above tree line and surrounded by Rocky Mountain peaks than Loveland Pass may be the perfect spot for your elopement. You just have to be careful coming from Denver or lower altitudes because it’s above 12,000 feet elevation and includes some hiking to get to the best spots. It’s an awesome spot to hike around and enjoy the views. Be sure to check the weather before you head up as it can turn in the blink of an eye and sometimes the wind can be a bit too intense. Luckily just driving down the pass road towards the west end will give you lots of other beautiful options for your intimate elopement as well.

Distance from Denver: 60 miles
Best season: year round
Permit: No

Indian Peaks Wilderness

a couple walks across a stream at Lake Isabelle for their adventure engagement session
Couples Adventure Engagement at Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle is located in Brainard Lake Recreation Area in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Ward, Colorado. The area is full of gorgeous high alpine lakes, waterfalls, and wildlife. The most popular spots for elopements in this area are Lake Isabelle and Brainard Lake because they’re the easiest to get to. The summer trail to Lake Isabelle is only 5.5 miles out and back and 551 feet of elevation gain. Brainard Lake is just off the parking lot.

In the winter the parking lot right near Brainard Lake gets covered in snow and closes the road. The winter lot adds on 4+ miles round trip. For winter elopements past Brainard lake you’re very likely to need snowshoes all winter long due to the fact the area is at such a high elevation. The winter trail to Lake Isabelle is much longer and gets a lot of snow.

Distance from Denver: 52 miles
Elevation: 10,300′
Best season: Summer & Fall
Permit: Entry fee is required to get into the parking area. And parking spot reservations are required in the peak season. For Lake Isabelle you’d get the Long Lake trailhead parking area. For Brainard Lake you’d get the Brainard Lake day use area. If you hike to Lake Isabelle from Brainard Lake it adds another 2 miles (there and back) hike on a paved road.

Guanella Pass

a couple snuggles in the first light of sunrise on Guanella Pass after their elopement
Couple’s Sunrise Adventure on Guanella Pass

Guanella pass is a wonderful elopement location. It’s located just south of Georgetown off i70 and north of the tiny town of Grant, Colorado off of 285 in Clear Creek County. It is a paved mountain pass that climbs to 11,670′ in elevation with gorgeous views of Mount Beirstadt, one of the busiest 14ers on the Front Range.

You can hike in the area from multiple trailheads. There are also 4×4 trails along Guanella Pass as well.

Guanella pass is closed in the winter. You can park further down and hike in but it generally requires snowshoes.

Distance from Denver: 56 miles
Elevation: 11,670′
Best season: Summer and Fall
Hike: just a walk to all locations along the pass but you can turn each one into as much of a hike as you’d like to do.
Permit: No.

Kruger Rock in Larimer County near Estes Park, Colorado

San Juan Mountain Elopement

Kruger Rock has a short but steep hike at 4 miles round trip and almost 1,000 ft of elevation gain. It’s pretty much up the whole time but for the views it’s worth it. We’ll take our time with lots of breaks on the way up. No rush, it’s your day to have fun!

Distance from Denver: 63.5 miles
Elevation: 9,355′
Best season: Summer & Fall
Permit: Yes. Permit needed from Larimer County.

Officer’s Gulch

a couple exchanges vows at Officer's Gulch in Colorado
Sunset Vow Ceremony in Summit County

Officer’s Gulch is a gorgeous little lake right off of i70 one exit west of the western exit of the town of Frisco in Summit County. It’s popular for fishing, kayaking and camping. There is an easy walking trail that goes around the lake. It has limited parking but you can usually find a spot.

You can see part of the 10 Mile range with Peak 4 in sight and possible Ten Mile Peak from parts of the lake side.

Distance from Denver: 75 miles
Elevation: 9,478′
Best season: Year round
Hike: no, just a flat walk around the lake
Permit: No

Sapphire Point Overlook in Dillon, Colorado

A couple snuggles close on a freezing cold morning in the mountains with their dog at Sapphire Point Overlook
sunrise elopement photos at Sapphire Point in October

Sapphire Point is one of the most popular overlooks in Colorado. It’s perfectly situated between Dillon and Breckenridge along the Dillon Reservoir. It’s along a trail but it has a beautiful little overlook surrounded in natural stones making the perfect elopement ceremony space. It can even host more guests for an intimate wedding if you were having a micro wedding in Colorado. You have to rent the space out but it’s an affordable cost of only $110. Click here for Sapphire Point Overlook reservation website and calendar. You can rent chairs and have them brought out to the point for your guests if you’d like. This rental company does this for intimate weddings at Sapphire Point often.

Distance from Denver: 74.5 Miles
Elevation: 9,500′
Best season: Year round
Permit: Normally yes, currently no. Weird rules due to covid right now. But this is a public place so without a permit you cannot kick anyone out of the overlook area.

Dillon Reservoir

A couple stands at a Dillon Lake Elopement Location with their little dog in Colorado
elopement photos on the shore of Dillon Lake

There are lots of little cove and islands around Dillon Lake. It’s the perfect place to rent a boat or

Distance from Denver: 70 Miles
Elevation: 9,017′
Best season: Year round
Permit: Not for small elopements

Breckenridge, Colorado

a couple basks in the last light of the day at their Breckenridge Elopement
sunset elopement portraits at Blue Lakes

Breckenridge has several amazing elopement locations. It’s the perfect town to make your home base while you hang out with family or friends and spend the time surrounding your elopement or intimate wedding having adventures. It has tons of amazing house to rent, you can find a few of them listed here or on airbnb and vrbo.

Boreas Pass

Blue Lakes

McCullough Gulch

Mayflower Lake & Mohawk Lakes

Distance from Denver: 80.6 miles
Elevation: 9,600′
Best Season: Location dependent year round
Permit: No

Mayflower Gulch

three girls celebrate a birthday in Mayflower Gulch after the hike up
Mayflower Gulch in late April

Mayflower Gulch is a gorgeous and easy hike just south of Copper Mountain Ski Area. You’re surrounded by high peaks throughout the whole forested hike that. In the summer the trail becomes a 4×4 road. When you come out of the forest you’re greeted by two 13ers, Atlantic Peak and Fletcher Mountain. The gulch is home to a few old mining buildings that are fun to explore and incorporate into your photographs. You can park just before the run down buildings and hike from there.

Distance from Denver: 83.2 miles
Elevation: Trailhead starts at 11,000′ and you gain approximately 600′ to the gulch
Best season: year round – can drive the road in the summer when the snow melts out
Permit: No

Leadville, Colorado

Colorado mountain elopement location with a beach
a couple snuggles on a sandy shore of Turquoise Lake after their sunrise elopement

Leadville is the second highest elevation mountain town in Colorado. Alma is the highest. It’s a unique little town that has beautiful mountain views all around. With Turquoise Lake and Twin Lakes in their backyard. You can camp, hike, boat, paddle board, go mountain biking, kayak and even ski at the nearby Cooper Ski in the winter time.

Turquoise Lake is one of my favorite lakes in the state. It has amazing camping plus recreational activities all year round. It’s a high alpine lake surrounded by several 14ers in the Sawatch and Mosquito Ranges like Mt. Sherman and Colorado’s two highest peaks Mt. Massive & Mt. Elbert. It’s a great location for any kind of elopement on the water. Rent a boat, bring your paddleboards and set up camp or rent a nearby cabin. Leadville is an awesome little town with it’s own mountain town charm. It’s the highest elevated city in the US so if you’re planning on visiting Leadville be sure to prepare yourself for the change in altitude.

Distance from Denver: 101 miles
Elevation: 10,151′
Best season: year round
Permit: No

Vail, Colorado

Vail is known for its upscale amenities, epic fall colors, and some awesome winter turns. Vail has a few good elopement places in town but most of them have a hefty fee. If you’re down to adventure outside of Vail Village then you can get to some amazing places that don’t require a venue rental or permit.

Piney Lake is 45 minutes up a beautiful dirt road to the North. You’ll want a four wheel drive just to make it easier but you’ll get beautiful, rocky peaks right up close, in all their epic glory. Piney River Ranch is open in the summer. They offer rustic cabins and host weddings on their deck. You can rent canoes or pay to use the lake with your own gear. It’s quite the beautiful and romantic location for an adventurous mountain elopement.

view of Piney Lake and the Gore Range in the distance

Shrine Pass is 25 minutes from Vail. It’s a beautiful red gravel road that leads to Redcliffe, Colorado. With views of the Gore range and lots of space to explore Shrine Pass is a great location for an adventurous elopement in Colorado.

There are pull-offs between Avon and Wolcott that have some beautiful roads leading to high up views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

The Gore Range Trails: if you’re looking to put in a little extra effort you can hike up a few miles into some of the backcountry trails and get those epic Rocky Mountain vibes.. The trails in this area are lined with wildflowers and creeks. The dark grey rock of the Gore Range is predominant among the peeks.

Holy Cross Event Deck: located up on Vail mountain. It’s rented by Vail events and accessed with a gondola ride for you and your guests. The gondola takes up to an outdoor deck with stunning ‘top of the world’ views looking out over the gore range.

Distance from Denver: 96.7 miles
Elevation: 9,603′

Twin Lakes, Colorado

Distance from Denver: 122 miles
Elevation: 9,603′

Buena Vista, Colorado

Distance from Denver: 122.6 miles
Elevation: 7,965′
Permit: No

mountain Elopement locations Within an hour of Denver

These places to elope are closest to Denver but that also means they’ll be the most crowded places. I only suggest these locations on weekdays at sunrise. Otherwise, you’re sure to be surrounded by guests that you didn’t invite.

Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado

Lookout Mountain is located above the historic town of Golden, Colorado. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals because it’s only 30 minutes from the city but gives you all the mountain feels. Since Lookout Mountain is the first mountain next to the plains you get great views looking east, over Denver’s cityscape. This location is ideal for just the couple, or the couple and 1-2 guests max. It’s not a large space on a mountain-side with some exposure.

Lookout Mountain is a great spot for winter elopements who aren’t always wanting a ton of snow but want mountains. It’s an easier mountain to access in the winter but can be slippery with ice so always wear additional footing like micro-spikes.

Best Season: Year Round
Miles from Denver: 19 miles
Elevation: 7,379′
Permit: Yes. Must fill out at least 5 days prior and will need to submit proof of general liability insurance.

Permit Info

Permit Application:
Nneka Johnson | Special Events Liaison
Office of Special Events, City and County of Denver
Direct 720.913.1598 l Office 720.913.1501 l

Lost Gulch Overlook in Boulder, CO

Lost Gulch Overlook on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder is another great spot for an elopement ceremony in Colorado. It has gorgeous sweeping views and you stand on a large, rocky outcropping with cliffs that you would not want to fall off of. It’s a popular hang out spot and pretty popular with the tourists as well. But most people are really nice when they see a bride in her wedding dress. But it is not a place you can reserve so they do have a right to be there as well. You will need a photography permit for OSMP but your photographer will have to apply for it as they ask for proof of general liability insurance.

Miles from Denver: 32.8 miles
Elevation: 7,333′
Permit: Yes. A permit from Boulder’s OSMP is required for Lost Gulch Overlook. During covid you must also email the permit contact to make a reservation for the location, date and time you’d like. They are limiting special use of the areas so to continue social distancing.
Permit Application:

Mt Falcon West in Indian Hills, Colorado

The perfect view for an elopement from Mount Falcon West in Indian Hills, Colorado along 285 near Evergreen

Mount Falcon West is a popular spot for hiking and photo sessions alike. It’s got tall grass, pine trees, and big boulders with view mountain views.

Distance from Denver: 27.2 miles
Elevation: 7,847′
Permit: Yes
Permit Application:

Evergreen, Colorado

a couple runs down a snowy trail at their winter elopement in Colorado

Evergreen is a great little mountain town that is less than an hour from Denver. It has lakes like Evergreen Lake that are a great place to rent paddle boards and walk along the boardwalk that runs above the lake near the lake house.

Mestaa’Ėhehe Pass {as seen in the photo above (formerly Squaw Pass)} is located in the Arapaho National Forest between Evergreen and Idaho Springs. It connects the two towns along a beautiful high alpine mountain road where you can find gorgeous views, Aspen trees, wildflowers, lakes and lots of lookouts. It’s an awesome area to explore for an adventure elopement and is open year round. But like most of Colorado’s high mountain passes it has very tight turns, lots of wildlife and bikers so be sure to take it slow, especially in the winter.. You can often find herds of elk migrating through near Evergreen. In the winter time, the road can be iced over so another friendly reminder to take the turns super slow.

Echo Mountain: a small ski resort that also has a fun snow tubing hill. It’s the perfect stop for some fun on your winter adventure. Echo Mountain can also be rented out for intimate and micro weddings. You can rent it out anytime of year even when there is no skiing or tubing. It has a deck with beautiful mountain views and indoor space to host a small event. It’s the perfect venue to host an intimate dinner after a more adventurous elopement ceremony at another location along the pass.

Chief Mountain Trail is the perfect trail if you’re looking for an easy hike and a peak. You do climb quite a little bit in a just over a mile but you’re rewarded with 360 degree views at the top of an 11,700′ mountain. You can see Mt. Evans in the distance in one direction and the eastern planes in the other. Sunrise is especially epic on top of the this mountain. It’s also recommended for an elopement as it’s a very popular trail with little parking along the road.

Distance from Denver: 32.9 miles
Elevation: 9,790′
Best season: year round
Permit: No

St. Mary’s Lake and St Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, Colorado

a view from the shore of St. Mary's Lake near Idaho Springs
a view from the shore of St. Mary’s Lake in Idaho Springs

St. Mary’s Lake is located in Idaho Springs less than an hour from Denver. It’s a half mile hike to the lake and only another half mile hike up to the glacier. The lake is mostly walkable shoreline and perfect for a picnic This location is best at sunrise or sunset ceremonies on weekdays because it’s so popular with the tourists. It’s the perfect location if you want to pack in some paddle boards.

Distance from Denver: 43.9 miles
Elevation: 11,236′
Permit: No
Hike: Yes. 807′ elevation gain in just under a mile to the glacier above the lake and totally worth the views at sunrise! It’s an easy half of that to just get to the shore of the lake.

Elopement photographer based in the Rocky Mountain Region of Colorado
Telluride | Silverton | Wolf Creek | Ouray | Durango | Silverthorne | Breckenridge | Steamboat Springs | Vail | Aspen | Keystone | Rocky Mountain National Park | Sand Dunes National Park | Black Canyon of the Gunnison 

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