You made the epic choice to elope– right on! Maybe you’re researching locations, or maybe Colorado has always been at the top of your list. Either way, this guide is a great place to start to find the perfect locations for a Colorado elopement. Let’s have an epic day.
Let’s teleport for a second (if only). You’re standing on top of a rugged, rocky peak and you feel the hands of the love of your life intertwined with yours. Endless miles of towering mountains are all around you. The warm sun is casting the most stunning glow ever on the mountain tops. You take a breath in, and you feel the crisp, clean mountain air fill your lungs as a nice cool breeze (or sometimes, a wild wind), surrounds you. Or maybe you are peeking your head out of a tent on that same mountain and staring at an incredible sky-span of stars and the Milky Way. Maybe you took a ski lift to the top of a mountain, said your vows, and then raced your loved one down in fresh powder. Hot springs, jeeping, rock climbing, kayaking, snow shoeing, and magnificent views. Colorado really has it all.
So we get it, Colorado is awesome, but what else does it have to offer for adventure elopements? Self solemnizing!! What does that mean exactly? It means that you don’t have to have an officiant or a witness present during your ceremony. It also means that your pup can stamp your marriage license (like our dog did for us!). Colorado also offers easy to access beautiful locations, great food, and solitude during your elopement if you’re down for an adventure. Are you sold yet? Keep on reading to learn more about how to elope in Colorado.
Colorado offers elopement locations all over the entire state. You can reach epic beauty via a hiking or jeeping adventure, or you can access beautiful views from some parking lots. We have something to offer for all adventure levels. This list only scratches the surface, and you can find even more options in our 100+ page client guide! We can help you narrow down a location, lock in all of your permits, and add fun activites to your adventure elopement in any location.
The San Juans are our bread and butter. This is one of our favorite pockets of Colorado, and is also where we got married. They offer solitude, sturdy adventures, and incredible views. The San Juans are great for a summer or fall elopement and showcase vast valleys of wildflowers and mountain peaks as far as the eye can see. Fall aspen are beautiful and abundant in this area, and the towns are easily “hallmark level” cute.
The San Juans are perfect for full day or multi-day adventures. There are a handful of locations here that can be accessed for a shorter elopement, but to really soak up the area for all it has to offer, we suggest committing to a big adventure. The area is full of hikes to glacial lakes or jeep routes to expansive mountain views (many of which last for a few hours). It’s all worth it and adds so much fun and adventure to your day! Based on your vision for your day, we can help you narrow down a hike or jeeping location that’s the perfect fit for you.
Technically, Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton are all nestled within the San Juans along with Lake City and a few other mountain towns. However, we think they deserve their own section because you can choose to elope in town if you aren’t down for a big adventure into the mountains! These towns offer epic mountain views right from the main streets. Ouray, labeled the “Switzerland of America”, and Telluride both have really cute main strips that give major “mountain town” vibes. There are also shorter hiking trails and lakes nearby that are easy to access and equally beautiful.
Another perk to eloping in town is the convenience of services. Food? Right there. Spa and lodging? See you in five. Ouray also offers hot springs and Telluride has a free gondola up to Mountain Village. Both areas have established ceremony sites if you are leaning more towards a microwedding. Of course, we are all for epic adventures, and it’s easy to add those onto your day from these locations! Many view packed trails are just right outside of town. This is a great option for couples thinking of eloping with family members and then going on an epic adventure right after.
If you want seclusion and luxury combined, this is your locaiton. Dunton Hot Springs is located in southwest Colorado and has a “middle of nowhere” feel. Your closest airport would be Durango, but you can still fly into Denver if you are down for a little road trip. Dunton Hot Springs is a luxury hot springs resort with private cabins, a beautiful (and super aesthetic) hot springs pool, and ammenities like a spa and yoga. You can add an excursion to your trip to make your day even more memorable. The other great thing about opting for a resort for your elopement is you can return on your anniversary every year and repeat the fun!
The Colorado National Monument is such an underrated gem. Part of the National Park system, this location is located in Grand Junction on the west side of Colorado (roughly 20 miles from Utah). The steep cliffs and red rock formations are super remnant of the Grand Canyon, and the park has great hiking opportunities. This area is known for rock climbing, and there are a few hidden trails where you can explore slot canyons and petroglyphs. I went to college in Grand Junction, and this area was awesome to have so accessible from town.
Fruita (on the west side of the monument) is one of the mountain bike capitals of the US, and Grand Junction also sits at the base of the Colorado Mesa. Grand Junction is deserty, but the Mesa gives a mountain top feel with towering pines and over 1,000 lakes. You can fly right into Grand Junction or into Denver and take ~a 4 hour road trip. This area holds a special place in our hearts and provides really great beauty, accessibility, and a smaller crows in terms of national park visitors.
Wandering Weddings lists Rocky Mountain National Park as one of the best places to elope in Colorado, and for good reason. This expansive park has something to offer for everyone, from gorgeous views straight out of the car to jaw dropping alpine lakes that can be reached after a day of hiking. RMNP is stunning, and as long as you are okay doing the tango with other crowds, it’s a great place to elope.
RMNP has a specific list of locations within the park that you can elope at. Apart from your actual ceremony, you can explore throughout the park to take more adventurous photos. You can check out their ceremony locations list here. Our personal favorites for ceremonies in the park are Bear Lake, 3M Curve, Sprague Lake, and Upper Beaver Meadows. After your ceremony, our favorite photo locations are Trail Ridge Road (incredible road that reaches elevations of over 12,000 ft!), Dream Lake, Sky Pond, and Chasm Lake. With all of these locations, there is something to offer for couples that aren’t down to hike or couples that want to hike all day.
Rocky Mountain National Park is sandwiched between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Both towns have great services to offer for lodging, food, and fun activities to add to your elopement. We have had couples elope in the national forest around Grand Lake to have a permit-free, secluded ceremony, and then adventure into the park for photos after. If you’re staying in Estes, our favorite restaurant is Bird & Jim, and the escape room in town was awesome enough to let me hide a pregnancy announcement in the room for Michael. Both towns have a great mountain feel, and they are perfect for getting on the water in the summer or walking down snowy roads in the winter.
If you’re still wondering how to elope in Colorado with the logistics of a national park, we are here to help! We can guide you with the permit process, connect you with vendors, and give you tips on how far out to plan to secure your permits. When you’re eloping in a popular destination like Rocky Mountain National Park, we suggest a weekday ceremony at sunrise. This will help with the crowds, and sunrise in the mountains is beautiful!
Steamboat Springs is such an awesome spot in Colorado. It might be a bit of a drive, but like many of the great locations on our list it is worth the work to get there! This location is known for its hot springs. Strawberry Hot Springs is one of the top rated hot springs in Colorado and is a beautiful location to relax or play. You can also find a range of accomodations in the area, from luxury resorts, to eclectic bus rentals, to camping sites. The area has lots of hiking trails, good food, and can overall give a great Colorado experience.
Indian Peaks Wilderness is located mostly within Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests. This is roughly near Boulder and south of Estes Park, so it is within the relative distance of DIA as your major airport. This little gem of wilderness in Colorado is full of beautiful lakes, towering pines, and massive, rocky, peaks. If you’re looking for “epic”, this is one place to find it.
The permit system in this area has been changing with Covid, but this ranger district is great to work with, and many times we have not needed a permit for this area. Brainard Lake Recreation Area does require a timed entry reservation, and they do have a reservable campground. This campground, Pawnee, books up 6 months in advanced so you need to be on it with reservations!
The lake you see here, Brainard Lake, is accessible from the parking lot. It is a great option for couples looking for something easy to get to. However, Indian Peaks has SO MUCH MORE to offer. We recommend lacing up your hiking boots and committing to a longer adventure.
Since this area is higher in elevation, it is graced with a longer winter. The area is typically accessible from mid-June to late-October. However, we had an elopement planned here in the middle of October one year and we had to move their luxury picnic because the blizzard was trying to blow it away. The couple braved the cold for their ceremony and it made for beautiful, wintery photos. Check out their cabin + lakeside elopement here!
If you want to learn more about the epic locations in Indian Peaks, give us a shout. Our client guide dives into the hiking options in the area as well as distance, rating, and tips for hiking in/with wedding gear. Indian Peaks offers super dramatic landscapes, so it should definitely be considered when you’re figuring out how to elope in Colorado. The adventure is so worth it!
The sand dunes are such a unique feature of Colorado. The dunes are massive, and due to wind and environment they are constantly changing. It’s a great location for sunrise or sunset, and it’s realy fun to add sand sledding to your day! This is listed as the best place to watch the Milky Way, but as avid Milky Way chasers we call that bogus (but we do have great Milky Way locations to recommend). This is a stunning location due to the sheer size of the dunes and the mountain peaks behind them.
You can 4×4 to primitave camping sites behind the dunes which is a great way to expand your elopement adventure. We do think it’s important to note that the dunes are out there with not much surrounding them. Also, for a few weeks a year they experience mosquito breeding season. Michael and I ended up in the dunes during this time, and I’ve never experienced so many mosquitoes in my life. I definitely do not recommend that time frame, but any other time of year is great.
Michael and I love this area so much that this is where we plan to settle down one day. Twin Lakes is a little pocket of Colorado that is nestled between a ton of 14ers (mountains that go above 14,000 ft. in elevation). The views are beautiful, and you can find a great ceremony site with or without hiking. We also love Twin Lakes because the location is often permit-free.
When you elope in Twin Lakes, you can easily add water activities to your day. Want to say your vows in a canoe? Go SUPing around the lake before an afternoon picnic? You can do it all here and you can rent boats right in town. Twin Lakes is surrounded by luxury home rentals to elevate your day. The town is very small and gives great mountain vibes, and you can find more services (like a spa or grocery store) in Leadville or Buena Vista – both 20 minutes away.
Twin Lakes is at the base of Independence Pass. You can add this pass as an adventure to your day to get some epic photos, and then go for a luxury lunch in Aspen in the afternoon!
Another aspect that we love about twin lakes is that you can create a fun Colorado road trip itinerary if you fly in and out of Denver. It is easy to add pit stops in Vail, Breckenridge, or other mountain towns to really soak up Colorado while you’re here! If you live here already, it is a great chance to sight see in our local towns.
You can’t go wrong when you mix towering red rock with Pike’s Peak as a backdrop. Garden of the Gods is a very popular location due to its beauty, accessibility, and it’s free! This location is located right in Colorado Springs. The hiking trails are relatively short which makes both the park itself and the elopement locations very accessible. You do not need a permit to elope here, and although the park does have set elopement locations, the spots are very pretty. Keep in mind that because this is an accessible tourist location, you are likely to share the spot with a crowd or two. There are also restrictions in the park regarding picnics and what you might bring for your elopement. This spot might not have the “backcountry feel”, but it is still a great spot for accessible beauty.
This area is great for spring, summer, fall, or winter! If you are a snowboarder or a skiier and want to add winter sports to your day, this is a great place to do that. If you are looking for a summer hike with wildflowers, you can find it all here. Breckenridge is also a tourist town. That means you will find all sorts of accommodations, really yummy food, lots of adventure (like white water rafting or mountain biking), and ways to pamper yourself. You can hit all of your bases here.
Sapphire Point Overlook and Blue Lakes tend to be the most popular locations to elope in Breckenridge. Because of the accessibility of Sapphire Point, that means it will also draw a crowd soaking in the view. When you get a permit, it allows you to elope in a location but it does not grant you exclusivity to the location (this is true for anywhere). However, we have never had an issue with others not being respectful of what is happening.
This is another great location for accessible beauty. Right outside of Chautauqua Park in Boulder, this overlook provides expansive, vast mountain views right in town. The overlook is driveable and is really great at sunset. The area isn’t huge, so it’s not super suitable for microweddings. However, there are venues in Chautauqua that would showcase the Flat Irons as a breathtaking backdrop for your ceremony, and they are big enough for a small wedding crowd. You can adventure up to Lost Gulch for adventure photos after you say “I do”. Like any in town accessible option, you’re likely to share the space with others who are soaking up the beauty, and it won’t have the “escape the town and run to the mountains” feel– but it is a really beautiful spot that is a great option for an “easy” elopement.
Right in the same little pocket as Lost Gulch Overlook, you will find the Flat Irons. These rock formations are iconic for the area and are often used in art or Boulder merch. The Flat Irons sit just below Lost Gulch. There is a flat field-like area which showcases the rock formations as a backdrop, or there are a handful of hiking trails in the area for a fun adventure. Boulder requires permits for elopements, so make sure you have all of your bases covered! We can help with this.
Sunrise Amphitheater is another sweet spot in Boulder. This amphitheatre gives a cliffside view of the city, which provides a great mix of rugged nature and modern settings. If you are considering a microwedding, there is plenty of seating for your loved ones and you can head to a local brewery after for a reception. Because this is an established site, you’re able to customize your ceremony with decor like arches, or you can even bring in a pianist. This is a reservable space, so you have to plan ahead of time to secure your permits.
Maroon Bells is a super iconic spot in Colorado which makes is a popular choice as far as locations go for a Colorado elopement. You have probably seen a picture of these mountains somewhere in your life, and that’s because the peaks are beautiful! Maroon Bells has a regulated ceremony site that must be reserved in advanced, as well as other locations that require a permit. When a place is this popular, having a reservation like this will give you peace of mind. You will also need to reserve a shuttle from Aspen to access the parking lot.
Maroon Bells offers shorter hikes, medium hikes, 14ers (we only recommend these specific 14ers to very advanced hikers. They are labeled “The Deadly Bells” for a reason), and multi-day backpacking trails. When you are in this area of Colorado, you can also easily add a visit to Aspen, Marble (best bbq around), or Glenwood Springs. You will find great hiking, hot springs, white water rafting, and lots of good food!
This area (like many others in Colorado) is very fragile. There are lots of regulations in place to protect the land, which is important to do! When making a list on how to elope in Colorado, be sure to put Leave No Trace at the top.
This is another area that is great in spring, summer, fall, or winter. Crested Butte gives MAJOR mountain town/hallmark village vibes. The houses and businesses are painted really fun colors and create such an awesome environment to elope in. This area has lots of mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, and some great summer bouldering (fun fact – Michael proposed to me in Crested Butte after a day of bouldering with my family).
Crested Butte holds a wildflower festival every summer, so that alone tells you that wildflowers are abundant in the area. The Aspen are also beautiful in the fall, and this is a great place to walk through FEET of snow right in town.
There are lots of locations that are accesible either from town or via a short hike, but Crested Butte also holds a “secret” trailhead to one of Colorado’s prettiest backpacking locations. You can also find mountain-lined alpine lakes outside of town, and jaw-dropping hike-in camping locations – especially when you consider 4×4 roads.
If you’re leaning towards a micro-wedding, Crested Butte offers wedding venues in the area with beautiful views. The sunsets in CB are stunning, and this is also a great area to catch the Milky Way!
14ers are on the more extreme side for adventure and what Colorado has to offer. These peaks tower over 14,000 ft in elevation, and there are 58 of them in the state. Two of our 14ers, Pike’s Peak and Mount Evans, are driveable. This is a great way for a full day or multiday adventure, and can make you feel like you are on top of the world when you are eloping.
It is really important to be mindful of altitude sickness and your physical ability when considering eloping on a 14er. We love our SAR teams and we want to make their lives as easy as possible by not having to call them! There are 5 classes of 14ers in Colorado rated based on difficulty. 14ers.com is a great resource to track trip reports, read hiking guides, and learn about required gear. 14ers are no walk in the park, but they are epic adventures.
Loveland Pass is a mountain pass that is easily accessed from Denver. There are hiking trails and lakes along the pass, and mountains are everywhere you look. This is a gorgeous spot for a sunrise elopement, and it’s easy to create a unique elopement plan with this location. You can go deeper into the mountains after your ceremony, stay close by for a dip in some hot springs or a luxury picnic, or you can have a celebratory dinner in Silver Plume, Georgetown, or Idaho Springs.
While we are exploring passes, we also love Independence Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Monarch Pass, as well as various 4×4 passes throughout the state. These areas can give you dramatic backdrops, Colorado wilderness, and solitude. Definitely worth considering when you’re figuring out how to elope in Colorado!
We talked about Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat and the hot springs in Ouray, but you can actually find hot springs all over the state. If you’re after an established hot springs, Dunton, Ouray, Steamboat, or Idaho Springs are where it’s at. We also have a handful of hike-to, natural hot springs that are shared in our client experience. A few of these spots are known for great hiking and views while you soak up the warm water, and a few of them are “secret” locations. There is something healing about a hot spring, and they are fun! Hot springs should definitely be considered when you are debating your Colorado elopement locations.
If you’re after solitude, a big adventure, or a Colorado-heavy experience, you should consider a national forest elopement or backpacking to your ceremony site. This is a great way to soak in incredible views, get away from the crowd, and make your elopement last as long as possible. We got married in a national forest, and one of the biggest perks is how easy the permit process is (if you even need one). You can find national forest elopement sites with little or no hiking. If you are craving a longer adventure, Colorado offers incredible backpacking experiences.
There are national forest and backpacking locations all over the state that would be the perfect spot for an adventure elopement. Our favorites are San Isabel, Arapaho, Whiteriver, and Uncompaghre. When you start the process with us, we can help you narrow down these locations based off of where you are coming from and what kind of an adventure you are after.
Colorado is BIG. There are airports peppered throughout the entire state, but most people find it easy to just fly into Denver. You can find great locations within 2 hours of Denver, but some locations take extra work (like 6 hours worth of driving kind of work). The extra work is WORTH IT, and the drives are beautiful!
We love helping our clients find the perfect location to elope. This list is a great place to start, but we also have more location options to share with our eloping couples! If you are ready to have an epic adventure, give us a shout. We would love to help you celebrate your day.
We would love to go on an adventure with you! Michael and I are a traveling adventure elopement photo, video, + planning team. We chase loving souls and deep emotion, and we go wherever the wind takes us. Check out our blogs below for recent work, or reach out to plan your epic day. We can’t wait to get you in front of our lens!
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