rifle falls state park

For some, the idea of exchanging vows under an open sky surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature sounds like a dream. We’re seeing more couples exchange churches and indoor venues for forests and lakes, and we’re definitely on board!

A national park might be the first outdoor destination that comes to mind, but you don’t have to take a lengthy road trip or battle enormous crowds to bring your dream to life. In fact, eloping in a Colorado state park might be the perfect option for you.

Can you get married at state parks in Colorado?

Yes! Many state parks in Colorado offer dedicated spaces for weddings and elopements.

One great thing about eloping in Colorado (aside from the amazing views) is that you can self-solemnize. This means you can officiate your own ceremony, and it can truly be just you two if you want — no officiants or witnesses required! We’ve compiled some tips on how to elope in Colorado you might want to check out.

One important thing to remember with any ceremony in the outdoors is to practice Leave No Trace principles to keep the area just as beautiful for generations to come.

Why choose a state park over a national park

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to elope in a Colorado state park instead of a national park, including:

  • State parks are (typically) less crowded than national parks.
  • You’ll often save money on the entrance fee, special use permit fees, and/or reservation  or event fee costs.
  • You can find a scenic location closer to home.

State parks are one of the top destinations we list in our list of great alternatives to eloping in a national park. Read on to find out which Colorado state parks we personally recommend for your big day.

Please note: For up-to-date information on permits, fees, and COVID-19 safety measures, be sure to contact the state park directly through their official phone number or email.

Roxborough State Park

Near Denver, CO, Roxborough State Park offers impressive red rock views and a variety of wildlife with two scenic overlooks available for your elopement.

Lyons Overlook

  • Capacity: 25 guests
  • Accessibility: Half mile hike. For a donation, you can rent a five passenger golf cart to access both overlooks via the Fountain Valley trail.
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $150 (Mon-Fri), $300 (Sat-Sun)

Fountain Valley Overlook

  • Capacity: 25 guests
  • Accessibility: Short walk from visitor center. For a donation, you can rent a five passenger golf cart to access both overlooks via the Fountain Valley trail.
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $75 (Mon-Fri), $150 (Sat-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $10
  • Reservation fee: $10
  • Special Activity Agreement fee: $60

This goes for all parks, but be sure to get there early! Your site reservation doesn’t guarantee you entrance to the park, and you will be turned away if they have reached capacity.

Lory State Park

Lory State Park is located near Fort Collins, CO. If lakes, fields, and dramatic red cliffs sound enticing to you, it could be a great place for your Colorado elopement. The park offers three potential sites for your ceremony (one with a nearby waterfall).

South Eltuck

  • Capacity: 50 guests, 35 vehicles
  • Accessibility: Short distance from parking lot
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $75 (Mon-Fri), $125 (Sat-Sun)

Timber

  • Capacity: 100 guests, 40 vehicles
  • Accessibility: Short distance from parking lot, close to seasonal waterfall
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $100 (Mon-Fri), $150 (Sat-Sun)

Soldier Canyon

  • Capacity: 250 guests, 50 vehicles
  • Accessibility: Short distance from parking lot
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $150 (Mon-Fri), $300 (Sat-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $9
  • Application fee: $10
  • Special Activity Agreement fee: $30
  • Quarterly Special Activity Permit fee (photographers): $30

Ridgway State Park

Breathtaking views of the San Juan mountains make Ridgway State Park one of the best places to elope in Colorado. A short drive from Montrose and Ouray, CO, this park has a lot to offer in terms of scenery, and there are three dedicated areas you can reserve for your ceremony.

Visitor Center Overlook

  • Capacity: 100 guests
  • Accessibility: Located at visitor center
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $200 (Mon-Thurs), $250 (Fri-Sun)

Group Event Facilities: Shelter A

  • Capacity: 150 guests
  • Accessibility: Short walk from parking lot
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $135 (Mon-Thurs), $200 (Fri-Sun)

Group Event Facilities: Shelter B

  • Capacity: 100 guests
  • Accessibility: Short walk from parking lot
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $135 (Mon-Thurs), $200 (Fri-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $9
  • Reservation fee: Included in site price

Rifle Falls State Park

This hidden gem near Rifle, CO feels like a tropical paradise. Rifle Falls State Park’s lush greenery and mesmerizing waterfalls makes it a fantastic spot to say “I do.” We even listed it first in our collection of best waterfalls in Colorado for elopements.

According to the latest update on their website, the Mountain Mist Amphitheater no longer allows reservations with guests due to limited parking, but it’s still one of our favorites for intimate elopements with no guests attending. You’ll want to confirm with the park about any other special use permits that may be needed. 

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $9

Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Golden Gate Canyon State Park has two sites you can reserve, and it’s an ideal elopement destination for those who love mountains, pines, golden fall aspen trees, and an expansive view of the Continental Divide. The park is just 30 miles west of Denver, CO.

Panorama Point

  • Capacity: 40 guests
  • Accessibility: Universal accessibility
  • Decor allowed?: For more information, call the Visitor Center at 303-582-3707.
  • Cost: $150.00 (Mon-Fri), $300.00 (Sat-Sun)

Red Barn Group Picnic Area

  • Capacity: 150 guests, 25 vehicles
  • Accessibility: Short distance from parking lot
  • Decor allowed?: For more information, call the Visitor Center at 303-582-3707.
  • Cost: $150.00 (Mon-Fri), $200.00 (Sat-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $10
  • Reservation fee: $10

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

A perfect blend of mountain and prairie, Cheyenne Mountain State Park outside of Colorado Springs, CO makes for an inspirational backdrop for your Colorado state park elopement. The Prairie Falcon Outdoor Amphitheater, open May through October, fits seamlessly into its natural environment.

Prairie Falcon Outdoor Amphitheater

  • Capacity: 160 guests
  • Accessibility: Short distance from parking lot
  • Decor allowed?: Contact the park at 719-576-2016 or cheyenne.park@state.co.us for further details.
  • Cost: $75.00 (Mon-Fri), $150 (Sat-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $9

Castlewood Canyon State Park

Castlewood Canyon State Park has it all — creeks, waterfalls, greenery, canyons, mountain views, and even caves — making it a great Colorado state park to elope in. Located between Denver and Fort Collins, it offers two stunning elopement ceremony locations.

Bridge Canyon Overlook

  • Capacity: 60 guests
  • Accessibility: Contact the park at 303-688-5242.
  • Decor allowed?: Contact the park at 303-688-5242.
  • Cost: $150 (Mon-Fri), $300 (Sat-Sun)

Pikes Peak Amphitheater

  • Capacity: 120 guests
  • Accessibility: Contact the park at 303-688-5242.
  • Decor allowed?: Contact the park at 303-688-5242.
  • Cost: $150 (Mon-Fri), $300 (Sat-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $10
  • Reservation fee: $10
  • Photography Permit fee: Contact the park at 303-688-5242.

Mueller State Park

Get ready for dreamy mountain meadows and gorgeous overlooks if you elope in Mueller State Park. Just west of Colorado Springs, this location has three smaller scenic ceremony options we love, and one larger amphitheater, although it’s not our favorite option. Reservations at this location need to be made at least 90 days in advance. 

Peak View Pond, Grouse Mountain, or Elk Meadow

  • Capacity: 12 guests
  • Accessibility: Contact the park 719-687-2366
  • Decor allowed?: Contact the park 719-687-2366
  • Cost: $50 (Mon-Fri), $75 (Sat-Sun)

Amphitheater

  • Capacity: 100 guests
  • Accessibility: Paved, lighted walkway
  • Decor allowed?: Yes, with some restrictions.
  • Cost: $400 (Mon-Fri), $600 (Sat-Sun)

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee: $9
  • Application fee: $30

Planning your Colorado state park elopement?

Skyewater Photo + Film is a photography and videography team that specializes in destination weddings and adventure elopements all over the US. We’re based in Colorado and know all of the best spots to make your elopement day picture perfect.

Whether you’re looking for a meaningful wedding video or an adventurous elopement photographer, contact Skyewater Photo + Film for your big day!

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