Ready to elope in Colorado? If you’re looking for the ultimate Colorado elopement guide for elopement locations, photo ops, and planning tips for your dream elopement, you’re in the right place!
As a Colorado Springs resident and avid traveler in Colorado, I have first-hand knowledge to help! And, I got married at Rocky Mountain National Park, so I have some insider info to share 🙂
Let’s find you the elopement location of your dreams. We’ll cover 12 of the best locations for your Colorado elopement—from the top locations to more remote spots that will give you intimate ops to say your vows.
There’s truly something for everyone here in colorful Colorado. So, let’s find the best elopement location and plan for you!
Your Colorado Elopement Guide: Why Elope in Colorado?
This hardly needs explaining! If you love adventure, the outdoors, breathtaking scenery, and limitless outdoor exploration, a Colorado elopement is probably perfect for you.
Here are some reasons why you might want to elope in Colorado. Let’s start with logistics and get them out of the way.
It’s Easy to Elope in Colorado
When eloping anywhere, of course there are some logistics you’ll need to handle. But, thankfully, Colorado is a state that makes getting married easier than a lot of other states! The reason being is that Colorado doesn’t require you to have an officiant or witness (this is called “self-solemnization”). And, the state’s marriage license requirements are simple.
You Can Use Your Marriage License Same-Day
Yep, as soon as you get your marriage license, there’s no waiting period. This is another big reason why Colorado is an amazing state for elopements. The state really makes it easy on couples to go through the process.
Some states require a waiting period before you can use your marriage license, but Colorado allows you to use it as soon as you want. You could pick up your marriage license in the morning and elope the same day!
As long as you use the license within 30 days, you’re good to go. Then, just remember to sign your license and submit it for recording within 63 days to avoid any fees.
You can get your license remotely via a virtual appointment with the Office of the Clerk and Recorder. No need to shuttle to offices or deal with in-person appointments!
You Can Self-Solemnize
You may be new to the term “self-solemnization,” but it just means that you and your love can marry yourselves without an officiant or witness. Many couples love this option because they can have the most adventurous or intimate elopement without worrying about anyone else tagging along!
While being just the two of you is wonderful, if you want your private ceremony documented, you’ll want to find an adventure elopement photographer willing to (literally) go the extra mile with you to capture your amazing moments!
I’m game to accompany you on your wildest adventures. I’m still reeling over the time I photographed a mountaintop proposal in Colorado Springs and a snow-covered winter session in Southern Colorado.
Planning Your Colorado Elopement
Okay, let’s talk planning and locations.
Planning any elopement can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’m always here to give you tips and advice to help you and your love create the elopement of your dreams.
As your elopement photographer, I always provide location services with all of my elopement photography packages. After our introductory call, I’ll create a customized location list for you based on your desires and the kind of day you’re envisioning. All I need is a general location and a date and I take care of the rest!
Your elopement photographer should make things LESS stressful, taking the weight off your shoulders when scouting locations, coordinating photography permits, and of course photographing all your special moments on the big day. With the right photographer for you, you can relax and enjoy the moment without worrying, knowing that all of the best moments are being captured.
When to Elope in Colorado
Colorado attracts over 89 million visitors each year who gravitate toward the slopes and ski resorts, the best hiking opportunities in the country, and 300 days of sunshine per year!
In Colorado, you can get a mix of snow and sun, hot sunny days and cool nights, and it’s not unheard of to experience all four seasons in a day. But because the weather is so variable, it does take some pre-planning to determine the best time for your unique elopement.
Here’s a run-down of each season in Colorado and what you might expect.
Arguably the best time for a Colorado elopement is from late spring to early fall. The low humidity and summer sun can be hot during the day, but it cools down nicely at night. And depending on where you are in the state, and at what elevation, you’ll experience completely different temperatures.
Be sure to note that it’s normal to have snow in Colorado through April, and sometimes May, so don’t expect spring to be in full swing until closer to June.
In summer, particularly July and August, there is potential for thunderstorms, but they usually pass quickly. However, temperatures are perfect and sunny in the mountains, wildflowers are in bloom, and you can count on places that close for the winter season to be open!
The summer months are popular for eloping in Colorado, so consider booking a ceremony site and accommodations far in advance.
Late Summer/Early Fall
When September rolls around, the chances of those afternoon thunderstorms are lower, places are still open for the season… and if you’re lucky, you can start to see the fall foliage appear!
In fall, the fluttery yellow Aspen leaves are a huge draw for adventurers everywhere. Fall foliage is stunning if you catch it on certain days, and the daytime sunshine and temperatures in the 70s can’t be beat. This makes late summer and early fall an ideal time for your Colorado adventure elopement!
Late Fall/Early Winter
As fall continues into early winter, you’ll want to consider potential road closures for the winter season. A lot of roads are closed beginning in November and can stay closed through early June. If you’re set on a specific location, be sure to check that the roads will be passable. When adventuring to more mountainous terrain, your vehicles might be required to have 4-wheel drive, snow tires or chains.
If your heart is set on a winter elopement, the month of December can also have a lot of 60 degree days, even up in the mountains!
Colorado has the most snowfall January through April. So, unless you’re on the hunt for wintry landscapes, you’ll want to pick a time outside of these months.
However, if Colorado winter is for you, here’s my post on how to prepare for a winter wedding.
Best Places to Elope in Colorado
We could spend all day talking about the elopement location possibilities in Colorado, and we still wouldn’t be able to cover them all!
But let’s dive into some of the top locations for eloping in Colorado.
While these can be popular elopement locations, some of my couples would rather elope in a more intimate, lesser-traveled location. If you’re more into locations off the beaten path, I hear you! At the end of this post, I give some info about my location services! This is where I help you find an intimate location for your elopement that you won’t find in the popular magazines or blogs 🙂
Now, let’s review some of the best places to elope in Colorado.
Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park
Distance from DIA: Approximately 80 miles by car. You can take the Estes Park Shuttle from DIA, which offers one-way and round-trip tickets for a convenient option with no need for a car rental!
Anyone visiting the Rockies will know Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Between stunning evergreens and endless mountains, wild elk, wildflowers, and all the nature to soak in… this park is certainly one to consider for your Colorado elopement.
At Rocky Mountain National Park, you have 12 ceremony sites to choose from. Facilities at a few of the sites are great too, which is perfect if you’re having guests at your ceremony.
I got married at Rocky Mountain National Park, and I’ve written a comprehensive guide to help you plan your own Rocky Mountain elopement!
Distance from DIA: about 120-145 miles.
Hey, mountain lovers! Between every outdoor activity you could wish for and a European-esque downtown area, Vail is a fantastic location for your Colorado elopement. You can elope at one of the several venues, like being tucked away in the mountains at Piney River Ranch, where there’s a glittery lake, tons of trails, and glamping tents for your perfect Colorado elopement.
Check out my elopement photos from a gorgeous intimate Vail elopement!
Dreaming of a unique elopement? I want to hear about it! I had a blast photographing a lovely couple, Victoria & Jim, for their unique ski lift elopement in Vail.
Distance from DIA: About 230 miles.
Maroon Bells Amphitheater, with views of Aspen, is a picture-perfect and popular Colorado elopement location.
With mountain peak views, fluttering aspen trees, evergreen forests and glittering lakes, Maroon Bells suits the adventurous couple who wants the perfect backdrop for their ceremony. The Amphitheater is located off the trail and has a private feel.
The Maroon Bells Amphitheater can be reserved a year in advance. Reservations go quickly, so get ready to jump on a reservation as soon as you choose this gorgeous venue for your elopement!
Distance from DIA: About a 6 1/2 to 7-hour drive.
Telluride is a tiny European-style mining town tucked in a canyon, surrounded by 13-14,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Known for the #1 ski resort in the country, Telluride is perfect for hitting the slopes. But it’s also lively in the summertime with tons of adventure and cultural activities. The town also features a unique mode of public transportation—a gondola!—that takes visitors and commuters between Telluride and the Mountain Village above it.
The surrounding San Juan mountains are the most epic mountains in Colorado—and your Colorado elopement photos will be out of this world.
Distance from DIA: only about a 45-minute drive by car. Or, some opt to take the Boulder Shuttle or bus transportation.
There are two great elopement locations in the city of Boulder: Lost Gulch and Chautauqua Park. While Chautauqua Park can get busy at times, it’s a short hike from the city and therefore it’s easily accessible.
Lost gulch overlook is a place for stunning sunsets at just a few miles’ drive from Boulder.
Distance from DIA: about 85-95 miles.
Want the epic mountain views without a hike? You can have that at Loveland Pass. Loveland Pass is the perfect location for couples and guests who want 360-degree mountain views without having to hike far to get to them! In fact, you start to see amazing views as soon as you get there, before you even leave the parking lot!
Loveland Pass is along the continental divide, close to Denver, and is accessible year-round via major highways. Although it’s open all seasons, be sure to check for inclement weather and road closures in winter months! I’d recommend this location for late spring and summer weddings for sure.
A special use permit is required.
Distance from DIA: about 105-130 miles.
Between Keystone and Breckenridge in the White River National Forest, known as one of the top recreational forests in the country, you’ll find Sapphire Point Overlook. This is a day use area available to reserve for 2-hour private gatherings—in fact, it’s the only designated wedding ceremony site in the area!
Sapphire Point can accommodate up to 35 people, and it offers gorgeous views of Dillon Reservoir (aka Lake Dillon) and surrounding mountain ranges.
This would make for a great option if you’re visiting Lake Dillon during the day for water activities, and having your ceremony at the overlook.
Distance from DIA: about 250-290 miles.
Crested Butte is a Rocky Mountain town known as the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado.” The wildflowers are definitely a must-see in the summer!
Home to Crested Butte Mountain Resort, the town is known for skiing in the winter. However, in summer and fall you can find any outdoor activity you can imagine. From horseback riding, off-roading, rock climbing, kayaking, and music and arts activities in town, this place has everything for outdoor adventurers.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Distance from DIA: 250-285 miles by car.
With 4 locations to choose from, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a fantastic option for your adventure elopement in Colorado. Special elopement images can be captured with the snow-capped Mount Herard and giant sand dunes. You can even drive along the edge of the dunes which leads to forested mountain areas with stream crossings.
There’s an open-air amphitheater for larger guest lists, a seasonal beach along the Medano Creek at the base of the dunes, and several picnic areas.
The National Park Service requires a special use permit for weddings and photography.
Garden of the Gods
Distance from DIA: about 85 miles.
Garden of the Gods is a stunning park in Colorado Springs with sculptural red rock formations and mountain views of Pike’s Peak. Aside from the beauty of the location, Garden of the Gods is free to elope in and there are no required permits! Plus, there are roads and parking lots throughout the park, making it easy for you and your guests to navigate.
You’ll find 6 elopement ceremony spots to choose from, and so many gorgeous photo ops. For more info on this ethereal Colorado Springs location, see my post on how to elope in Garden of the Gods!
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Distance from DIA: about 285 miles.
What differentiates this area from other Colorado locales? Black Canyon is home to the steepest, craggiest, and oldest rock formations in North America.
Whether you want night sky or wildlife viewing opportunities, hiking, fishing, scenic drives, and views of the canyon, Black Canyon provides a unique “vertical” scene for your adventure.
Attention thrill-seekers: You can explore the remote inner canyon for the most rugged and difficult hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing. Here, even the most adventurous couples will find their adrenaline rushing! Wilderness Use Permits are required and you need to be prepared for the unexpected!
Roads are closed during certain times to protect wildlife. Be sure to check the NPS website for road closures before you plan your visit.
Colorado National Monument
Distance from DIA: about 290 miles.
This red rock canyon landscape is kind of like a tiny Zion. And, it’s super close to Moab if you wanna road trip a little!
Between camping, exploring the Colorado National Monument, and taking in the scenic views from Rim Rock Drive, this location is great for the road-tripping couple.
Check out this virtual tour for an idea of what you can see when you visit this location for your adventure elopement.
Colorado Adventure Elopement Activities
What kind of elopement day activities are you into?
Whether you love hiking, boating, off-roading, rock climbing, canoeing, skiing, the list goes on and on… there are tons of recommended spots that Colorado offers for these activities!
Best Places for Off-Roading
The best spots in Colorado for off-roading are in the San Juan Mountains.
If this is your calling, you can check out the top off-roading locations in the San Juans. From easier trails with amazing views to the most challenging class 5 routes, this mountain region offers all the options for off-roading.
Best Spots for Hiking
Wait… this is Colorado. Can’t you hike anywhere?! Well, pretty much! But, there are some known places where hiking aficionados can tackle 14-ers and more challenging hikes in the wilderness. Some people just love that satisfaction of putting in the hard work and rewarding themselves with a view 🙂
Remember, you totally don’t have to hike to get to an epic location! But if you and your love want to include an adventurous hike in your elopement day, check out these spots:
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Crested Butte
Best for Backpacking
If you and your love are looking for an elopement and a backpacking adventure all rolled into one, you can have it in Colorado.
The San Juan National Forest offers endless opportunities for soaking up the scenery on a backpacking trip. Check out this list of backpacking areas in the San Juan National Forest!
Colorado might be a land-locked state, but there’s no shortage of water activities. You can go sailing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking or standup paddle boarding.
For water activities, you’ll want to scope Lake Dillon, also called Dillon Reservoir. Lake Dillon is located about 15 miles north of Breckenridge and within a couple of hours’ drive of Colorado Springs.
Lake Dillon is your place for standup paddleboarding—and the nearby Sapphire Point Overlook is the only designated wedding ceremony site in the area, making the two a perfect pair.
Colorado is the epic state for rock climbing, and for adventure seekers everywhere can find rock climbing in Boulder, Estes Park, and Colorado Springs at Garden of the Gods & Shelf Road!
Some want to roll up in a canoe for their grand entrance at their wedding, while other couples are happy making canoeing a part of their day in some way or another.
Canoeing out on a lake is such a cool, calm way to add some adventure and relaxation into your elopement day.
For a unique outdoor adventure elopement, there’s always river tubing down Clear Creek! Imagine saying your vows and hopping in the creek for the perfect send off.
Where to Stay for Your Colorado Elopement
Many couples eloping in Colorado choose to stay at an Airbnb or other rental property. Some couples opt to rent an Airbnb for their entire elopement ceremony or reception, and choose to have adventure photographs taken separately from their wedding.
Others choose to book an extended stay at an Airbnb to tie in an adventure honeymoon while they’re traveling for their elopement.
For info on renting an Airbnb for your ceremony, reception, or accommodations, check out my Airbnb wedding guide here!
Elopement Location Services
If you’re looking to elope somewhere more private, it’s likely not going to be on the above list 😉
When I get to know you and your goals and dreams for your elopement, I’ll help you narrow down locations and find the perfect place.
I’m a frequent traveler, and I love giving my couples advice on locations that fit their adventure levels and dreams for their perfect Colorado elopement.
It’s important you feel comfortable with and confident in your photographer! I have years of experience photographing couples throughout Colorado, and am always here to give recommendations and help make your ideas a reality. I offer free consultations so we can get to know each other and you can decide if I’m the right photographer for you, no pressure.
Want More Elopement Planning Tips?
Please check out my other resources made just for you!
Planning Your Hiking Elopement
Everything You Need to Know for a National Park Wedding
5 Reasons to Have a Small Wedding or Elopement