Colorado Elopement Guide:
How to Elope in Colorado

Last Updated: May 30, 2022

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The possibilities are endless. This is your day and I think you should do whatever your heart desires.

Before planning anything, I want you to just imagine your perfect day. What are you doing, who are you with? Although Colorado is famous for it’s outdoor activities, you can do pretty much anything you set your mind to on your wedding or elopement day.

what to do

-Spring can be a bit unpredictable in Colorado
-Winter may end early or it may last longer. A stray snowstorm late into may is not uncommon.
 -This is your best time to get views with snow on the mountains

Spring: April - Early June

-This is can be a little bit tougher, but the mountains really do look great under a fresh blanket of snow.
-It does, however, open up the options of winter spots such as skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling.
-Winter lasts a little longer here in the mountains. March is typically our snowiest month.

Winter: November - March

-Fall is another great time of year here
-Though the changing of the leaves can be hard to predict, September is usually your best bet.
-Still great weather during the day, but now the nights get a little cold
-A stray snowstorm is possible

Fall: September-October

-I think summer is the best time to get married in Colorado
-The best weather the mountains can offer.
-The windflowers bloom mid summer
 -The only downsides are that afternoon thunderstorms are common especially in early summer. They can be pretty powerful, but can also lead to some incredible sunsets.

Summer: Mid June - Early September

If the goal is to have a private moment in the mountains, then weekdays are the best way to do it. The mountains feel much better without a bunch of people around. It’s not just seclusion, but more availability at restaurants and cheaper hotels/rentals.

Choose a Weekday if possible

When to come

-You've been working on this project for years now. Why not send it into marriage? 
-As a rock climber, I would love to help you go climb on your big day without you having to blinding scroll mountain project for weeks. 

Climbing Elopements:

-For the fraction of the price of a wedding venue, a helicopter is the ultimate way to get away from the crowds and find yourself in a remarkable location.
-Helicopter charters can be arranged in many mountain resort towns.

Helicopter Elopements:

-All of the locations listed above can be reached with a 2wd passenger vehicle.
-Colorado has plenty of old forest service roads that can bring you to incredible places with solitude, however some can be too rugged for standard SUVs.
-Jeeps are very affordable for day rentals, so you can rent a few if you have guests. Rock crawlers can get you up even tougher roads, but they’re pricier to rent.

Jeep Rental

-Ski resorts are a great way to get up on a mountain easily in the summer too
-Keystone, Vail, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin, Copper, Beaver Creek, Aspen and Telluride and more all have summer lift or gondola access.
-Many have some beautiful venues, and others you can hike away from everything to somewhere you can be alone. Bringing a group up may not be allowed.

Colorado Ski Resorts

-Though not Colorado, Moab is also 6 hours from Denver; no further than Telluride.
-The best time of year to go are spring and late fall. Go in summer and you'll overheat during the day, go in winter and you'll freeze at night. 
-There are many places other than national parks to get married there as well


-All are popular in Colorado. There are some very cool ones to choose from
-Be sure the host allows events as some do not.
-Some can be as low as $100 a night.

AirBnb, VRBO and Hipcamp

-Though not covered in this guide other than San Sophia Overlook, the entire area is gorgeous and I have plenty of locations I'd love to share with you, both on the Telluride and the Ouray sides.
-It is 6 hours away, 

San Juan Mountains

I’ve been hiking around Colorado for years searching for it’s nooks and crannies. There are spots I’m not just going to blast out to everyone. Many are off trail in complete solitude, but will take some effort to get to. Please reach out if you’re interested in something like that and let me know how far you’re willing to go.

The Hidden Gems:

We also have some more creative options

Time from Denver: 1 hour

Nearest Town: Denver or Winter Park

-A short hike on the Continental Divide to get to big 360 views above treeline.
-We always have the option of going further 
-An ideal spot for backcountry skiing elopements with plenty of avalanche safe terrain

Berthoud Pass

Time from Denver: 1.5 hours

Nearest Town: Estes Park

-Just South of Rocky Mountain National Park is Brainard Lake. Although it is popular, it is very easy to access
-Lake Isabelle starts near Brainard Lake and is a 4.5 mile round trip hike with 450 feet elevation gain. Hiking in takes ~1 hour.
-The road in is only open June-October, but you can always hike or bike in. 
-Though permits not currently required, there is timed entry and we must call the ranger to approve the wedding.

Lake Isabelle & Brainard Lake:

Although the locations above all have optional hikes, here we have some select spots that require  hiking in to add a little adventure to your day

Photo courtesy of Google Earth

Time from Denver: 2.5 hours

Nearest Town: Twin Lakes

-At the base of Independence Pass lies lake with mountains view with great camping nearby.
-This is really an alternate site to Independence. I definitely recommend driving up the pass for some photos as well.

Twin Lakes

Time from Denver: 3 hours

Nearest Town: Aspen

-Drive up to the summit at 12,095' 
-The drive can be a bit nerve wrecking for those not used to driving Colorado roads (see Driving in Colorado) The worst of it is over the summit on the Aspen side, but they recently added traffic lights to the one lane sections to make it much easier
-It gets a bit crowded at the top, but we can walk just a short ways out on the ridge to gorgeous views without the crowds, or there are options for more adventurous hikes
-There are also some really unique places to stop for photos should you be headed to Aspen

Independence Pass

Time from Denver: 1 hour

Nearest Town: Boulder

-There are a plenty of cool places to shoot in boulder, but this one is unique
-Overlooking a canyon with room for people to sit on rocks and watch.
-There are a few other canyon views in the area, and we could walk all the way down to the water.
-The downside is somewhat limited parking

Boulder Canyon

Time from Denver: 1 hour

Nearest Town: Silverthorne

-Accessible anytime of year; take a drive up Loveland Pass to Pass Lake
 -Like all of the passes, another option would be to hike up the ridge from the top of the pass to get cool 360 views
-It's also directly across from Arapahoe Basin resort which has chairlifts available in the summer

Loveland Pass

Time from Denver: 2 hours

Nearest Town: Silverthorne

-There is a great spot within a short walk of the lower trailhead. It has views in both directions, but is only big enough for a few people
-Another option is a group of mining cabins 1.5 miles up the forest service road 
-We can drive all the way to the cabins, but there is only room for a few cars, and they’ll have to be 4wd. (which I do have)
 -From there the view is beautiful, or we could hike another 500 vertical feet to the ridgeline for even bigger views

Mayflower Gulch

Time from Denver: 2 hours

Nearest Town: Breckenridge

 -Drive all the way up to 12,000 ft on a gravel 2wd road to a reservoir and alpine lake.
-There are great views from just out of the car, here but there is plenty of places to explore as well including waterfalls and views in both directions

Blue Lakes

Next we will do our no-hiking-necessary locations.
These all have more adventurous options nearby, so if you like the ceremony site, but want to get to grander views, we can make that happen

Nearest Town: Silverthorne

Time from Denver: 1 hour

-Many of the resorts offer wedding packages; however they don't all have ceremony only options and can be pricey.
-Keystone offers the best views at the lowest price for ceremonies only
-Take a gondola up to a view overlooking Lake Dillon and the Ten Mile Range
-Info for Keystone Resort:

Keystone Resort

Photo courtesy of Google Earth

Time from Denver: 3.5 hours

Nearest Town: Aspen

 -The postcard view, possibly the most photographed location in Colorado. It’s very popular, however you get a private site without views of crowded trails as well as your own reserved parking
 -Available June through October, can accommodate up to 50 people, and costs $200
-Your reservation is for the entire day,
-To check availability:

Maroon Bells Amphitheater

Time from Denver: 6 hours

Nearest Town: Telluride

-Telluride may the most picturesque town there is. There’s plenty of places to get married there, but the most popula being San Sophia Overlook. It’s a gondola ride 1000 feet above the city of Telluride with 360 views. There is a small wooden deck but it can accommodate full sized weddings as well.
-The gondola runs until late at night so we can stay as long as we want, go out for a hike from there, come back and shoot some milky way photos.
-The site must be reserved directly by phone. More info can be found here:

Telluride - San Sophia Overlook

Time from Denver: 1.5 hours

Nearest Town: Estes Park

-Although actually getting married at Dream Lake or Sky Pond isn’t allowed, there are several great designated wedding locations.
-That doesn't mean we can't also go on a hike to take some photos or drive up to Trail Ridge Road.
 -Unfortunately, there are no dogs allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park
-More info can be found at:

Rocky Mountain National Park

Time from Denver: 40 minutes

Nearest Town: Boulder

-If you want to keep things closer to town, this may be a good option for you.
-Perched on Flagstaff Mountain overlooking Boulder, perfect for, well.. sunrise
-Available May 1st-October 31st depending on weather.
-There are one hour time slots available from 6am-9am for $150. Then 3 hour slots
10am -1pm, 2pm-5pm, and 6pm-9pm. for $400.
-Personally I think the first two slots are going to give you the best light, but keep in mind if you have more than a few guests or want decorations, you may need more than an hour to get them in and out.
More info at:

Sunrise Ampitheater

Time from Denver: 1 hour

Nearest Town: Silverthorne

-The main overlook over the area; an outcropping overlooking the Dillon Reservoir.
-It can fit up to 35 people, costs a little over $100, and is available in 2 hour windows from 6am-8pm. It's open year round and can be reserved 6 months out from the date, though I haven't had problems getting reserving it on weekdays.
-Central to a lot of great locations, it is easy to combine this with another spot
-More info can be found here:

Sapphire Point

Let's start with locations that require a reservation and have designated ceremony sites.
These may be a good idea especially with slightly larger groups or those with mobility issues.
Most do have restrooms available, but the sites do not have electricity, so any microphone or speakers will need to be self powered.

Through several years of shooting weddings and elopements, as well as being an avid hiker, I have compiled a variety of possible elopement locations. They all come with plenty of great places we can go for photos before or after as well. Please reach out to learn more

Where to go

Please remember to pass this on to any quests you’ll be inviting. Everyone wants to be look nice for their friend’s wedding, but you don’t want them freezing or rolling an ankle.

 -You don’t have to be a pro to know the best time to take photos/video is sunrise or sunset. That requires some hiking in the dark. Headlamp photos are also super cute.

 -Blisters happen

 -Water is heavy, so on longer hikes, we often don’t carry much, and filter water from the lakes and rivers. I like Sawyer filters. They’re cheap, light, and fit on Smartwater bottles.

 -Colorado trails can be steep and can be rough on the knees going down. Trekking poles really help with this. They also help crossing small ice patches and creeks in spring.

 -Are you getting married in the Oct-May? If so, the trails may be icy and you may need some traction. I highly recommend ‘microspikes', and not Yak-Trax. They grip into ice and snow much better, making them far safer. Depending on where you’re planning, snowshoes may be necessary.

 -In winter, you may want to consider wearing gaiters over your boots to keep the snow out.

 -You’ll want to dress so you can shed a layer when you start to warm up. Your base layers should be wool or synthetics if possible (not cotton) because they stay warmer while wet. When we stop, you don't want any little sweat to make you cold.

-To help keep you warm and blister free. 

-In case of emergencies, I will be carrying a satellite phone, as well as very basic first aid. Personal first aid is still recommended.

First Aid

Wool Socks

in Layers


Traction or





For those that choose to hike, you will have to decide what do do with the dress. You can wear it in, or pack it into your back. Bouquets can be packed sticking out of backpacks as well.

If you are hiking you should have:

-I recommend bringing a jacket, shawl or blanket that you don’t mind wearing in photos. Even in summer, the mountains can get cold at night.

-I  wouldn’t recommend skinny heels out here. They will sink into the alpine tundra and won’t provide the stability you need.

-Hand warmers can be very helpful if it’s going to be cold on your day. Hold them or stick them on to areas with a lot of blood flow to maximize the effect.




-When looking for a dress or suit, consider your plans. Do you plan on hiking, or even walking on rocky terrain? 

-Though big heavy dresses may be pretty, they aren’t the easiest to deal with. When you try on your dress, make sure you move around, lift your knees and sit down. You want to be comfortable. Also, try to be okay with getting it a little dirty. Think of it as taking a little of the mountain home with you.

-Consider the same when choosing a suit. Some are a little stretchier than others. You’re going to want to be able to move freely.

What to wear

-Certain locations require permits, and it can be tricky to tell where needs one and how to get it. Don’t worry, I can help you out here.

-Marriage licenses are not specific to a county, meaning you can pick it up in Denver or in the mountains, wherever is more convenient. 

-Just make an appointment, bring your id, and pay $30 and you’re basically married in CO.

-Colorado is a self solemnization state, so no one needs to officiate or witness.

-Name changes should be done through social security, then dmv.

How to do it Legally

-Hydrate as much as possible. You will want to start drinking more water a few days before going to high altitudes, because it takes a few days for your body to get fully hydrated.

-Take it easy on the alcohol because it hits much harder.

-If getting married in the mountains, it’s a good idea to first spend a few days in Denver or Boulder to get a little acclimated. It is believed your body can acclimate about 1000 feet per day.

-Consult your doctor if you have a heart condition or are taking blood thinners.

-You can get Diamox through your doctor if you are concerned, though I wouldn’t take it if I didn’t need it.

-I do, however take ‘Altitude RX’ which you can get on Amazon as well as plenty of vitamin c. Not sure if it works, but it’s worth trying.

-Carbs are also helpful to have on hand if you feel yourself crashing

Dealing with High altitude

High altitude is to be taken seriously. It is hard to say how it will affect you until you’re in it. I’ve been on 14ers with Midwesterners that had no ill effects, but have seen Coloradans gotten nauseas on day hikes. 

-First, be wary of traffic on i-70. It gets bad on weekends and especially holidays. Winter is even worse due to ski traffic. Try not to drive in poor weather conditions if possible.

-Off of the main highway we do have some steep mountain passes. They don’t all have guard rails, can get narrow, and the line may be right to a drop off. Just relax, and you’ll be alright.

-Try not to ride the brakes when it gets steep or they will get hot and can eventually burn. Downshift whenever possible. It’s also better to do one big push on the brakes than to hold them down.

If you’ve never driven in the mountains before, it can be a bit intimidating for some. 

Driving in Colorado

To learn more about eloping in Colorado, please reach out through the online form

More info

-Cell phone reception can be spotty at best in the mountains. Plan accordingly.

-Long range walkie talkies between groups can be helpful, but should not be heavily relied on.

-I will be carrying a satellite phone in case of emergencies

Cell Coverage