colorado elopement photographer

We absolutely love that more people are starting to realize that large, elaborate weddings are not for everyone. If you’re someone who isn’t dreaming of having a traditional wedding day and want something more intimate, an elopement might be perfect for you. And if you love sweeping mountain views and pristine lakes, this list of places to elope in Colorado just might be what you’re looking for. 

Please note: be sure to check with all local parks, national forests, and/or municipalities regarding permits that may be required before eloping to one of these locations. We provide general permit information below, but these requirements change often so reach out to the appropriate place for the most up-to-date info. :)

If you want a short list before viewing the whole blog, check out our top 10 places to elope in Colorado in the video below!

Places to Elope Near Denver + Boulder

lake isabelle colorado elopement photographer

Brainard Lake Recreational Area + Lake Isabelle

The whole Brainard Lake area is absolutely stunning, especially for moderate hikes (so best for those acclimated to higher elevations and at least 3-5 of hiking in one day). Lake Isabelle is best seen at sunrise, and you can take a trail from Brainard Lake to Isabelle, as well as several other alpine lakes in the area.

Best Season: Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

wedding at artist point in boulder colorado

Flagstaff Road, Boulder

All along Flagstaff road you’ll find a few fantastic pull-off areas for elopement photos and you can reserve the Sunrise Amphitheater for ceremonies. This area is one of the most popular places my couples love to choose for their big day, and I love how unique the sky and ambiance feels nearly every time I visit there for an elopement.

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes 

Boulder Elopement Samples: Kaylee + Kagen Taylor + Adam

mount evans elopement photographer in colorado

Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mt Evans)

Although Mt. Blue Sky (formerly Mount Evans) technically does not allow traditional weddings, many couples choose to elope to this 14,000 foot peak to celebrate their love among the clouds and “on top of the world”! Some of my favorite parts about this region is the sweeping views, the wildlife you’ll see along the way, and the variety of backdrops including Summit Lake.

Best Seasons: Late spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

guanella pass elopement

Guanella Pass, Georgetown

From this scenic road through Guanella Pass, you can see several other 14,000 foot peaks. This area is particularly stunning in summer, where there are often countless wildflowers turning the area into a beautiful place that feels not just mountainous, but much like a garden!

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

st marys glacier engagement photos

St. Mary’s Glacier

Not to be confused with St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier National Park, this small alpine lake in Colorado features a glacier at the end of the hike and some of the best views around the area. Located near Idaho Springs, this one requires a 2 mile roundtrip hike with about 800 feet in elevation gain, but is SO worth it. This is also dog friendly, and features some wildflowers during the peak summer season! And no permit required for elopements currently.

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: None

St. Mary’s Glacier Portfolio: Kim + Ted

Places to Elope Near Colorado Springs

garden of the gods elopement photographer colorado

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

The striking boulders and red rocks of the Garden of the Gods make a variety of stunning backdrops for an elopement wedding. Not only is this place a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, but it’s also free and open to the public year-round!

Best Season: Year-Round, but best on weekdays to avoid tourists

Permits: None

Garden of the Gods Elopements:  Bre + Daniel’s elopement photos

adventure wedding photographer in colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park

I know, I know . . . desert sands are probably not at the top of your list when it comes to places to elope, but there is something truly unique and daring about them!

If you were to elope at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, try going for a boho, western or ancient times look and feel! You might also want to check out these desert wedding/elopement ideas on Pinterest!

Best Seasons: Spring, Fall, Winter

Permits: Yes

pikes peak elopement photos

Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs

Declare your love on the top of the world! Pikes Peak is at over 14,000 feet in elevation and is one of the most visited peaks in North America. Although very popular, it is for good reason. Just check out the view you could have for a mountaintop elopement!

This one is perfect for those who love the mountain air, heights, hiking or adventure in general.

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes 

Places to Elope in Western Colorado

silverton colorado elopement photographer

Silverton + the San Juan Mountains

I’ve added this one to the list (and at first place!) because it is SERIOUSLY underrated here in Colorado. There are some pretty epic views in some BLM land in the San Juans just north of Silverton (on the western side of Colorado) — where you can take an ATV or AWD Jeep into the wilderness with these kinds of views for your ceremony backdrop. This image above is the view from California Pass.

If you want to see more from this region, head on over to check out some of my favorite photos from a recent trip to Silverton this summer!

Best Seasons: Summer + Fall

Permits: Varies

telluride elopement photographer


Waterfalls, 14,000 ft peaks, gondolas up the mountains, and a whole lotta great restaurants and bars downtown make the area surrounding Telluride a place that’s hard to beat for an epic elopement. We absolutely love everything about this region, especially during summer and fall. There are even some great hot springs to dip into nearby in the area by Ridgway and Ouray. 

Best Seasons: Summer + Fall

Permits: Varies

rifle falls state park

Rifle Falls State Park

One of my favorite “hidden gems” in Colorado that I’ve discovered so far is Rifle Falls State Park, about 45 minutes northwest of Glenwood Springs. This is a VERY easy location to walk to from the main parking areas, and it almost doesn’t even feel like it belongs in Colorado, with all the lush greenery around during the summer.

This will definitely be busier with crowds during the summer, so aim to schedule a weekday morning or evening (rather than midday) elopement at this spot.

Best Seasons: Year-round

Permits: Varies 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Probably the least visited National Park in Colorado, the Black Canyon is extremely unique. Along the ridge, you can see just how steep the walls of this canyon are, going deep down below. Definitely not for those afraid of heights or close edges here! :) It’s also in one of the darkest places in the state, making it fantastic for night sky photos and stargazing. 

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes

Places to Elope near Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge

Aspen Wedding Photographer | Wedding at Maroon Bells Amphitheatre

Maroon Bells, Aspen

One of the MOST iconic backdrops in all of Colorado is by far Maroon Bells near Aspen! It’s a stunning place in spring, summer and fall (when you can see the aspen trees turn gold/yellow), and I’ll always love photographing elopements here.

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

Maroon Bells Portfolio: Emily + Bryan’s Elopement Photos  |  Emily + Braydon’s Elopement Video

Sapphire Point, Lake Dillon

This gorgeous spot near the hub of skiing towns like Silverthorne, Keystone and Breckenridge is a popular spot for good reason! Open nearly year round as long as they can clear the roads to the point, Sapphire Point offers views facing west and north across Lake Dillon. They do have a calendar where you can reserve a two-hour window, and there’s plenty of room here for a small wedding or elopement with up to about 20-30 guests.

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Depends

Sapphire Point Portfolio: Megan + Todd

boreas pass elopement photos

Boreas Pass

This high mountain pass near Breckenridge is over 20 miles long and offers some amazing views along the continental divide. It’s a fairly bumpy dirt road, so it’s best to access with an AWD/4WD vehicle with high clearance. 

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: None

Boreas Pass Photos: Andrea + Jerry

adventure elopement photographer

Crested Butte

Another one of our absolute FAVORITE spots in Colorado for elopements is Crested Butte. There are so many great spots here to feel pretty secluded and private, making it ideal for those who love mountain and lake views without being the center of attention. While we have some spots we save on our secret list for our own clients, we’ll recommend the areas by Peanut Lake and other areas managed by the Crested Butte Land Trust to anyone out there!

Best Seasons: Summer + Fall (May – Oct)

Permits: Varies

Crested Butte PhotosDorothy + Gram

vail elopement photographer

Beaver Creek Point Trail

My clients actually discovered this one, and I’ve loved it ever since! There is a trail outside of Vail / Avon that goes up the hill maybe less than half a mile at most and has sweeping views of the town and ski runs off in the distance! Best for summer and fall here, and so beautiful for a less crowded option!

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: None

Samples: Esti + David

twin lakes colorado elopement guide

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes is another fantastic option (and lesser known!), especially for those wanting views of some of the tallest peaks in Colorado. These two glacial lakes are larger than many others in the state, and make some gorgeous reflections all year round. You can also head up to Independence Pass after your ceremony for even more mountain views, especially at sunset!

Best Seasons: Year-round

Permits: Varies

Places to Elope in Northern Colorado

st malos chapel on the rock wedding estes park photographer

Allenspark & Estes Park

There are dozens of unique areas around Allenspark and Estes Park, especially on some hikes in the national forests here. You can even take some portraits outside of St. Malo’s Chapel on the Rock on your way there!

Best Seasons: Year-Round

Permits: Varies

rmnp elopement photographer

Rocky Mountain National Park

If you love the outdoors, hiking, trails, and scenery galore, Rocky Mountain National Park has it all. However, there are specific locations in the park for ceremonies and vow exchanges of any kind.

The National Park has newly announced that starting in 2021, they will only be accepting 250 total wedding permits for the entire year. If you want to get married here, we highly recommend getting your request in early. Otherwise, consider reaching out to us to find a unique spot for your vows outside the park, and we can do portraits inside the park afterwards!

Best Seasons: Year-Round

Permits: Yes

Grand Lake + Lake Granby

Both Grand Lake and Lake Granby are surrounded by some of the best mountain views without as many crowds as other locations, especially on weekdays. As long as you’re able to access the roads and highways up to this valley, you can elope in this area year-round. You can even elope at one of these lakes and follow the experience up with a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park!

Best Seasons: Year-Round

Permits: Varies

Horsetooth Reservoir

If you want something farther away from crowds, a lot of us locals really love the area near Fort Collins and the Horsetooth Reservoir. You get nice mountain and lake views, and you can even rent boats or kayaks to get out onto the water during your elopement day!

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes

Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in Colorado

There’s something truly magical about waterfalls: the sound, the mist in the air, the pounding of water on rock and earth that you can feel under your feet. All of this and more is what makes waterfalls a perfect, dreamy backdrop for elopements!

If your wedding day vision wouldn’t be complete without a stunning waterfall as a centerpiece in the scenery for your elopement, check out some of the best waterfalls in Colorado to visit for your big day!

Rifle Falls State Park

So many people living in Colorado don’t even know this place exists, which makes it even lesser known to those outside of the state. Rifle Falls feels like a tropical hidden gem right in the middle of the Rockies, complete with lush greenery all around three streams pouring from above during summer (or complete ice in winter!).

Although this may change over time (and it’s always best to check the park for updates), the park currently does not require a permit or reservation for elopements with just the couple. They do offer a small amphitheater area for small, intimate ceremonies with a handful of guests, as well, and it’s super affordable at only $120 per day. One of the best parts about this spot is that the waterfalls are a super short, flat and easy walk from the parking lot — no hiking involved!

Alberta Falls, RMNP

If you’re wanting something with a bit of a more wilderness vibe, you can take some elopement portraits at Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park. Although they do require any wedding and vow ceremonies to be reserved at specific locations inside the park, you can always opt for an elopement day that includes coverage for this 1.5 mile easy roundtrip hike (with only a 240 ft. elevation gain over the hike) to take portraits at the base of the falls.

This spot is located on Bear Lake Road and also includes some forested and aspen grove areas along the trail.

Ouzel Falls, RMNP

Another beautiful waterfall in RMNP for elopement portraits is Ouzel Falls. This hike is a bit more moderate at about 5.5 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of just under 1000 feet, but it can be well worth it. Along this trail, you’ll not only get to see the creek and waterfall itself, but also have some mountain and meadow views, wildflowers, and potentially some wildlife.

Crystal Mill

For those looking to do an all-day hiking elopement, the river and small waterfalls at Crystal Mill in Carbondale, CO may be the perfect option. We’ll need to save at least 4-5 hours to complete the 9 mile hike, not counting some time at the Mill for your elopement ceremony. It can be a very busy spot on weekends in summer, so be sure to book your elopement on a weekday for this location.

South Mineral Creek

Another hidden gem of a location for waterfalls in Colorado is the South Fork Mineral Creek, located in the San Juan Mountains (also totally underrated!). This gorgeous turquoise waterfall is surrounded by some red riverbed rock, is easily accessed from the South Mineral Campground, and is open from May through September.

Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride

As the tallest free falling waterfalls in all of Colorado, Bridal Veil Falls are surely a sight to see, especially for adventure elopements. Located in Telluride, the waterfalls are 365 feet tall and require a moderate hike with a 1,300 foot ascent with a roundtrip length of about 4 miles. Definitely one of the best views in all of Colorado!

Helen Hunt Falls

By far one of the easiest waterfalls to access in the front range, Helen Hunt Falls is located in Colorado Springs and a lovely option to consider for your Colorado elopement. There’s a parking area at the base of the falls inside North Cheyenne Cañon Park, and if you want to you can add on an extra little hike to Silver Cascade Falls as well.

Where to Elope in Colorado with Family + Friends

Bringing some guests along with you for the adventure? We love helping couples find the perfect location to celebrate with their loved ones!

It’s pretty standard in Colorado for any groups over 10 people to require a reservation and/or permit in advance for elopements and small weddings of 30 people or less (anything over this amount, and you’ll likely need to find a larger wedding venue to accommodate you). Here are our top recommendations for elopements with a guest count between 10-30 people:

Colorado VRBO Rentals that Allow Events

Although this may change over time, as of March 2023, the following VRBO listings currently allow events such as small weddings on site. Always be sure to ask the owners first.

twin lakes kayak elopement

How to Elope in Colorado

Here is a step-by-step guide to making your Colorado elopement dreams come to life: 

1. Select a date.

One of the best parts about eloping here is that you can literally choose any day of the year. This means that you can choose a day that already has significant meaning for you, a day with the seasonal weather you love (think: snow vs. sunshine), or simply one that works for your schedule.

That said, most of our elopements occur during summer and fall, when the mountain passes like Trail Ridge Road and Independence Pass are open for the season (Memorial Day – late September/October). It’s also the time of year that provides the most color in Colorado’s landscape, like greenery, wildflowers, and golden aspen leaves. Here are some general notes on the seasons in Colorado:  

December – March: best chances for snow are often in February and March, but never guaranteed. Could be heavy with snow one day, and sunny with warm temps the next. 

April – May: often considered “mud” season in Colorado, when it can be very wet, rainy, and muddy on the trails. This is when the snow starts to melt, we can still get a random heavy snowstorm, several roads are still closed from winter, and not much greenery can be found unless you’re in the Denver/Colorado Springs metro areas.

May – June: our typical “springtime” weather, with longer and warmer days, although still a chance for fluke snow storms to come through one last time. 

July – August: lots of sunshine, lots of visitors outdoors, wildflowers are blooming, and afternoon thunderstorms possible. Lots of greenery around, and chances to see wildlife, like bighorn sheep and bobcats (although rare). 

September – November: this is often one of the “safest” times of year to elope in terms of weather. Fewer storms, mild temperatures (not too hot, not too cold), and some autumn color on the trees around late September – late October. 

2. Find your vendors.

Colorado has hundreds of amazing elopement + wedding vendors to choose from. Our photography and videography team works all across the state, and we have several recommendations for other nearby vendors as well. It’s important to know that not everyone travels for work here, so you may want to start on vendors that live and service the area you’re eloping to.

Whether it ends up being us or someone else, we believe you deserve to work with a vendor team you feel comfortable with. Be sure to check reviews for reliable companies to hire, and lock in the most important vendors as soon as you have a date. Many of us book up 6-12 months in advance. 

Here is a short list of some of the types of vendors you may want to book: 

  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • Hair/Makeup Artist
  • Florist
  • Personal chef / picnic company / bakery
  • Musician(s)

3. Make your guest list.

…Or choose a “just-us” elopement experience! Some of our pro-tips when it comes to deciding who to invite: 

  • Close your eyes. When you picture your wedding day, who are the people you absolutely cannot imagine not having there with you? 
  • If you had to name the top 5-10 people who have always been there for you and your partner, who spark the most joy, who support you in more ways than one, which people come to mind? 
  • The opposite is also true: who are the people that would hinder your elopement experience, the ones who may only cause drama, pressure you, belittle you, etc.? This is your wedding day, and we’re here to give you the permission you need to only invite the people you actually want to be there. 

Also keep in mind some compromises: maybe you elope just the two of you and celebrate with a reception later, maybe you cut back your guest count to immediate family only, or maybe something else entirely. There are also some great ways to involve guests who can’t or won’t be at your wedding

4. Book your lodging + other reservations.

Now that you’ve got all the other details figured out, it’s time to figure out other important plans like where you’ll stay, where you’ll eat/drink the night of your elopement day, and transportation such as a rental car. 

5. Get your marriage license.

Although you can get the legal paperwork done in your home state prior to eloping to Colorado, it can also be fun to have an official Colorado marriage certificate. In Colorado, you don’t need any witnesses or even an officiant to sign on your marriage license at all, and you can even have your pet sign as a witness with a paw print!

Here are the county offices you’ll most likely need to check with in regards to the documents, timing, cost, and potential advanced appointments needed to get a Colorado marriage license:

Denver County
Jefferson County
El Paso County
Boulder County
Larimer County
Summit County
Lake County

6. Plan your activities.

Think of your elopement experience as the best day (or entire trip) you could ever imagine. What would that look like? Get creative and brainstorm all the other fun ideas you’d like to incorporate into your celebration. Nothing’s off limits! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Hike / backpack
  • Eat / drink at local eateries, bars, distilleries or breweries
  • Camp under the stars
  • Relax by the fireplace or in a hot tub
  • Go out for a fancy dinner
  • Spend a day in a luxurious spa
  • Go horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, or canoeing
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Drive a Jeep, truck, ATV, or SXS on some 4WD roads
  • Rent a boat and ride out onto a lake surrounded by mountain views

Contact an Elopement Photographer + Videographer in Colorado

Skyewater Photo + Film is an adventure elopement and destination wedding photo and video team based in Colorado. We help couples plan elopements all over the US, and offer insight for more than just photography: from planning assistance, finding and booking locations, vendor references and more! Reach out to our elopement photography and videography team today to get more info!

Similar Posts