Colorado is definitely famous for our rocky mountains, but this place has far more to offer eloping couples than you might think. We not only have the Great Sand Dunes National Park, but also dozens of beautiful alpine lakes, dramatic canyons, and gushing waterfalls.
If you want more than just sweeping mountain views for your Colorado elopement, check out some of our favorite spots that also have an element of water there as well!
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.
Elevation: 10,868 feet
Accessibility: moderate 4-5 miles roundtrip hike, with 440 elevation gain from the trailhead
Description: Lake Isabelle is especially gorgeous for sunrise elopements, with the potential to see some pretty spectacular alpenglow in the morning. Most often accessible between mid-June and mid-October. You can access the trailhead by entering the Brainard Lake Recreation Area and taking the Long Lake Trailhead up from there. Can be a very popular place during summer, so mornings on weekdays are best for this spot to avoid crowds.
Summit Lake, Mount Evans
Elevation: 12,836 feet
Accessibility: easy, short walk from parking lot
Description: Located along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Summit Lake was formed from glaciers over the last several thousand years. It’s actually part of the Denver Mountain Parks system, making it the highest city park in the U.S. It’s one of our personal favorite spots, since it’s only about an hour and a half from downtown Denver, making it really easy to access. To top it off, there are plenty of other fantastic views along the Byway, so there is no shortage of photo opportunities here. You might even get to see some mountain goats and/or bighorn sheep!
This is another very busy location though, since Mount Evans is only open from late May/early June through the end of September. Avoid crowds by going early in the morning on weekdays.
Elevation: 9,700 feet
Accessibility: easy semi-flat walk from parking lot
Description: 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. For couples wanting to have an even more adventurous elopement day, you can head up to Independence Pass after your ceremony for even more mountain views, especially at sunset!
Helen Hunt Falls + Pikes Peak
Elevation: 7,200 feet (Falls); 14,115 feet (Pikes Peak)
Accessibility: easy walk (1/10 mile) from parking lot for the falls; easy access on trails from parking lots along Pikes Peak Highway
Description: Helen Hunt Falls is a very accessible, 35-foot waterfall near Colorado Springs. If you combine this location with Pikes Peak for your Colorado elopement, you can get the best of both worlds: a waterfall and some pretty epic mountain views. The trail is also dog-friendly!
Elevation: 7,300 feet
Accessibility: short hike from parking area
Description: Fairly easy to access nearly year-round, Gross Reservoir is located just outside of Boulder along the road just past Flagstaff mountain. During summers after a heavy winter, the lake looks filled to the brim, with the blue water popping out against the green mountains surrounding it. Bonus? It’s a lot less crowded than many other locations in Colorado!
Palmer Lake Reservoir
Elevation: approx. 8,000 feet
Accessibility: moderate 3-4 mile roundtrip hike up a somewhat steep trail
Description: This is a hidden little gem located in our owner Kaitlyn’s town of Palmer Lake, located in between Colorado Springs and Denver in the foothills. Palmer Lake Reservoir is busy on weekends, but can feel super secluded and intimate for elopements on weekdays, as if no one else is there at all.
St. Mary’s Glacier
Elevation: 10,800 feet
Accessibility: requires a 3/4 mile moderate hike up (1.5 miles roundtrip)
Description: Another dog-friendly hike, St. Mary’s Glacier is a stunning place during the summer for elopements. Around July, you can find plenty of wildflowers blooming alongside the lake! However, this location is very popular and would be best for morning/sunrise elopements during weekdays.
Piney River Ranch
Elevation: 9,350 feet
Accessibility: road access may be limited in the off-season, and navigation may not work once leaving Vail to drive the 45 minutes along the Forest Service road to the venue
Description: Piney River Ranch as a venue is only open seasonally from late June through the end of September, but the road to Piney stays open other months of the year and is managed by the US Forest Service. The venue doesn’t offer elopements, but may work well for weddings with less than 25-50 guests and they do offer a ceremony-only package! It’s a stunning location that is on our team’s bucket list, with a beautiful waterfront and tall peaks in the backdrop. Super dreamy!
Grand Lake + Lake Granby
Elevation: approx. 8,300 feet
Accessibility: easy access from parking lots
Description: 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!
Sapphire Point, Lake Dillon
Elevation: 9,500 feet
Accessibility: easy walk from parking lot (0.6 miles if you walk the whole loop)
Description: Sapphire Point is one of the most popular locations that combine lake and mountain views for elopements and small weddings in Colorado — but for good reasons! It’s easy to access, has great views, and the online reservation system to book a couple hours at this spot is pretty easy and inexpensive. You can also drive around to other spots along the lake, or combine it with a drive up to Loveland Pass!
Rocky Mountain National Park
RMNP has a variety of great spots for elopement portraits! However, do keep in mind that for any type of vow ceremony, the park requires a wedding reservation in advance and has a specific list of ceremony locations to choose from. After your ceremony, or if you’re only opting for an adventure session, you’re free to take portraits in other areas of the park! Here are some of our favorites:
Elevation: 9,900 feet
Accessibility: fairly easy hike, about 2 miles roundtrip
Description: Dream Lake is another fantastic spot for alpenglow at sunrise, but just as beautiful at nearly any point in the day – and all year!
Elevation: approx. 9,400 feet
Accessibility: easy 1.7 mile roundtrip hike
Description: Alberta Falls is one of the more easy waterfalls to access inside RMNP. The waterfall itself is about 30 feet tall, with plenty of trees and boulders around to give this a romantic vibe for sure.
Elevation: approx. 9,500 feet
Accessibility: requires a more moderate 5.4 mile roundtrip hike with about 900 feet in elevation gain from the trailhead to the falls
Description: Along this trail for Ouzel Falls, you can see everything from the running creek water, meadows, wildflowers (in summer) and mountain views. It even passes a few other waterfalls along the way!
Crater Lake, Maroon Bells
Elevation: 10,000 feet
Accessibility: most people have to take the bus from the Visitor Center up to the base of Maroon Bells, and from there you’ll take a moderate hike about 1.75 miles up to Crater Lake (over 600 feet elevation gain)
Description: Maroon Bells is prettiest at sunrise, and if you get there early enough in the morning, you can park yourself instead of taking the bus. It can be well worth it to get up early and hike to Crater Lake to avoid the crowds on a weekday and get even closer to the Maroon Bells peaks than where most tourists go at the main lower lake. A personal favorite of ours!
Your Colorado Elopement Photography + Videography Team
Our photo and video team loves capturing intimate and adventurous elopements! We love getting to know you and helping you find the perfect location in Colorado for your big day.
Skyewater Photo + Film is a photography and videography team based in Colorado that specializes in destination weddings and adventure elopements. Whether you’re looking for a meaningful wedding video or an adventurous elopement photographer, contact Skyewater Photo + Film for your big day!