Colorado is the perfect place to elope. Okay…I may be a little bias because I live here, but it’s true!
There are so many places you can elope in Colorado, and so many different landscapes to choose from too. That first google search looking for places to elope out here can be a liiiittle overwhelming. I totally get it. That’s why I created a list of some of the best places to elope in Colorado. Hopefully this helps you find the perfect backdrop for your elopement!
As always, if you are eloping or getting married in Colorado, please do your research and get the appropriate permit/access and practice “Leave No Trace” principles.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Starting with one of the most popular places to elope in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately you can’t elope at Dream Lake, Trail Ridge Road, or anywhere in the backcountry, but the park has a handful of beautiful ceremony sites to choose from. Here’s a map of ceremony locations within the park. Since Rocky Mountain National Park is so popular, you’ll want to make sure you’ve obtained the correct permits and choose a date or time when fewer people are crowding the viewpoints. Don’t wait to obtain your permit if you plan on eloping here! The park limits the amount of ceremonies to six per day, so spots get snagged quickly.
Hiking: Yes and No. Refer to the map linked above to see a list of sites that require hiking and a list of locations that do not.
Loveland Pass is a popular location to elope in the Colorado mountains. The high alpine pass is open year round, although there are a few days of the year when avalanches close the road. You can get incredible mountain all alongside the road, but you can get even better views if you hike along the trails (plus you’ll be further away from all the tourists.
Permit: May require a Special Use permit depending on your situation
Hiking: Yes and No. There are plenty of trails to hike, but it’s not a requirement to get those gorgeous mountain views. There are a few spots alongside the road that only require a little bit of walking.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
The Great Sand Dunes is the least stereotypically “Colorado” destination on this list. Massive dunes are far from the green forests and snowy peaks Colorado is known for. In my opinion, it’s the perfect location for a more adventurous elopement. The combination of never-ending sand dunes and tall mountain peaks is pretty spectacular.
Hiking: Yes. While there aren’t many established trails in this park, you won’t want to miss the chance to hike out into the dunes.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is a public park in Colorado Springs with epic red rocks and views of Pikes Peak. Garden of the Gods has a handful of designated elopement ceremony sites for up to 40 guests, and best of all – it’s completely free to get married here, and you don’t need to apply for a permit. (This does also mean there’s a chance someone else could be using the spot you were hoping for though, since there are no reservations.)
Hiking: Yes and No. Depending on where in the park you are looking to elope.
Maroon Bells in Aspen are often referred to as the most photographed mountains in Colorado, and I don’t think they’re wrong. You can rent the amphitheater for intimate weddings with up to 50 guests (which is the best way to get private space in an otherwise busy area), even if you have no guests. Maroon Bells is great for elopements that need the easy accessibility, too.
Season: Typically June through October
Hiking: Yes and no. It is a very short walk from the parking lot to Maroon Lake where you have a stunning view of Maroon Peak. There are plenty of options for hiking no matter what your skill level is.
San Juan Mountains
The perfect spot for any adventure enthusiast, the San Juans are Colorado’s outdoor playground. These mountains are ancient volcanic peaks that cut through the heart of southwestern Colorado. Think Switzerland – super unique + jagged peaks! This area is AMAZING for hiking and off-roading! You could seriously spend months exploring this area and still not get enough. The alpine lakes in this area have the bluest water in all of Colorado!
The Paint Mines
The Paint Mines are home to three historic clay quarries and makes for a stunning and unique backdrop for your ceremony. The white, sometimes pink and purple hues add a lot to make your ceremony and pictures extra special. The Paint Mines are about 45 minutes east of Colorado Springs.
Hiking: Very little
Another stunning Colorado mountain town. In Crested Butte you can find tons of amazing aspen groves, wildflowers galore, and beautiful snow capped mountains. This area is popular for skiing, mountain biking, and hiking. It also offers some top-notch restaurants and has free shuttle buses to get you around town. You can also rent natural ceremony sites like Woods Walk, Peanut Lake, and the Crested Butte Wedding Garden of elopements with guests.
Permit: Most likely. Depends on the location.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Probably one of the most underrated parks/areas in all of Colorado. This steep gorge seems to come out of nowhere! Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located between Gunnison and Montrose in western Colorado. While the towns surrounding the park aren’t the most exciting, the canyon itself is incredible! It’s deeper than the Grand Canyon, and much less visited, making it an epic place to elope for a couple who’s not afraid of heights.
Ashcroft Ghost Town
Ashcroft Ghost Town is tucked away in the pristine Castle Creek Valley. Formerly a historic mining town, and Ute Indians before them. Come for an epic outdoor ceremony during the summer months, and leave in love with the scenery.
Lake Isabelle near Nederland
Lake Isabelle is a perfect early-summer hike to a mirror lake! If you’re looking for an elopement with a little more adventure, this is definitely one of the best places to elope in Colorado. The lake is framed by Niwot Ridge, which boasts two thirteen’r peaks in the background. The lake itself is actually a reservoir that gets drained in late August, so the water levels will be significantly lower in late-summer. The parking area at the trailheads tends to get VERY busy during the summer, so I highly recommend this spot for a sunrise elopement due to the lighting and amount of traffic.
Permit: No. However, there is an entrance fee to the Brainard Lake Recreation
Hiking: Yes! This trail is 4.4 miles round-trip and rated as moderate difficulty.
Guanella Pass is beautiful in the summer, but fall is when this place bursts with color! Guanella Pass is one of Colorado’s iconic mountain roads. Less than an hour from Denver, the road climbs along a tumbling river and up above the timberline. In this vast, high-elevation land, you’ll find epic views of Mount Bierstadt (a 14er) and plenty of open tundra to explore during your elopement in Colorado. The road descends past an alpine lake to historic Georgetown, where you can share a beer at a local brewery afterwards!
Hiking: Potentially. One-way hikes take you into the mountains around the pass, or you can choose to witness the view an easy walk from the parking lot.
Located near Idaho Springs, around an hour west of Denver, we have Mt. Evans. A fourteener, and probably not the first choice for couples coming from sea level. However, it is one of the most accessible mountain peaks above 14 thousand feet, with a road that takes you only a few hundred feet from the summit. For those who can handle high elevations, this is an extremely accessible alpine location. Keep in mind the weather can be extremely unpredictable.
Season: Typically May through October
Hiking: Yes. While the view from the parking lot is also stunning, it is a .25 mile hike to the summit. It is rated as “easy” but consider the altitude before attempting.
Looking for an easy to access location in the mountains where you can elope with a few guests? Brainard Lake, between Boulder and Estes Park, might be a good fit for you – as long as you’re okay with always having other people around. This is one of the most popular recreation areas in Colorado, and best avoided on weekends. The road is only open from June until mid-October, but you can also hike there in winter.
Now I get what you’re probably thinking.
No, these are not the only places to elope in Colorado. And yes, there are more remote, more beautiful, and more unique locations to choose from.
Finding the perfect location is a big part of what I help my couples with. And that starts with getting to know you, and what your dream elopement looks like, so that I can give you personalized recommendations rather than an overwhelming list of options. (Although an overwhelming list of options can be a great place to start.)
If you want to start searching for locations on your own, make sure that you also research permits and rental fees separately, as these can be hard to find and are often buried in legalese on the local authority websites. This is why working with an experienced elopement photographer is so important – you don’t want to accidentally break local rules and get a ticket in the middle of your ceremony!