Best Places to Elope In Colorado

couple eloping in Telluride Colorado

You’ve made the decision to elope in Colorado. I’m super pumped for you! Chances are you’re coming to have a great honeymoon or mini-moon, too! It’s so important to choose a Colorado elopement location that serves as an awesome basecamp so you two can have some more awesome adventures after you’re married. Now we have to find a location. Let’s get to it–here are some of best places to elope in Colorado.

What is an elopement? 

An elopement happens when a couple decides that a traditional, formal wedding isn’t in the cards for them. There is a very outdated notion that to elope means that you run away with your partner and secretly get married. As a Colorado elopement photographer, I have witnessed many elopements that are days full of intention, intimacy, and lots of love. No, elopements don’t have to be planned at the very last minute. Yes, you can invite you favorite people to celebrate with you. Elopements are for couples who want to ditch tradition, expectations of others, and the wild expenses that come with a tradition wedding. The Knot recently published an article stating that Colorado weddings are approximately $30,000 per couple…that sounds like a beautiful down-payment on a house to me. https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-cost

Self-solemnization in Colorado

Colorado is a state where couples don’t need an officiant to become legally married. Additionally, there is no cooling off period after you go to the County Clerk’s office to get your marriage license. If you wanted, you could walk into the County Clerk’s office engaged and walk out married! This provides a lot of flexibility for couples eloping in Colorado as it can often be hard to find an officiant willing to go on an off-road adventure or hike 5 miles to your ceremony location. Lastly, and the most important thing in my opinion, you can have your dog sign as a witness since Colorado doesn’t require any (human) witnesses to be present! 

Crested Butte in July

Can you bring a marriage license from a different state to file in Colorado?

Your ability to bring a marriage license with you and file it back home completely depends on your home state’s rules. You can easily determine this by quickly calling your County Clerk’s office! If the answer is no, it’s really simple to get your license when you arrive. Make sure you make an appointment in advance (current COVID practices), remember which office your appointment is at, and make sure you can make your appointment on time (if you’re flying make sure you have a buffer to land, get your baggage, check out your rental, and drive all the way from DIA to you appointment).

Can you file a Colorado marriage license in a different state? 

No, Colorado marriage licenses must be filed in Colorado. Your package will have instructions but they provide an address for you to turn it back in via mail if you don’t have time before heading back home.

What do I do after I get a Colorado marriage license? 

You must sign your license within 35 days of receiving it and file it (must arrive back at post office) within 63 days.

How much does a Colorado marriage license cost?

$30. Verify with the required method of payment with the County Clerk ahead of time.

Colorado Elopement Locations

Please keep in mind that no locations on this list guarantee privacy. They’re popular—and for good reason because they’re beautiful and easy to access. These areas are often full of people looking to hang out in a beautiful place. If you want maximum privacy, find a Colorado elopement photographer that can help you find epic views in quieter places. 

Couple eloping on Loveland Pass

Loveland Pass near Breckenridge

Loveland Pass is a paved mountain pass that is open year round (barring any wild snow storms). You can drive all the way to the top, park in the parking lot, and explore from there. Or, you can explore areas around the many pull-offs along the pass. Either way, you’re bound to find beauty!

If you’re looking to hike on Loveland Pass, Grizzly Peak and Mt. Sniktau are gorgeous options!

Please keep in mind that you’re basically at 12,000 at the top of Loveland Pass.This is the altitude when well acclimated people start to feel the effects. Eat a good breakfast, hydrate in the days leading up to your elopement, and take breaks when you need it. Altitude sickness is not fun.

Elevation: 11,991

Best Season: May-October. It often gets sub-zero with 20+mph winds in the winter. 

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, Idaho Springs

Permit needed: No. 

Protip: I suggest sunrise or sunset to avoid the crowds if you’re a couple that would rather not have an audience. The top of Loveland Pass is wind 

First look at Sapphire Point in May

Sapphire Point near Breckenridge

Sapphire Point is an easily accessible overlook in Dillon, Colorado–a town neighboring Breckenrige. From the parking lot (about 15 spots, so consider a shuttle if you’re bringing guests), there is a short dirt trail to the overlook spot where ceremonies normally take place. 

Elevation: 9,500 feet above sea-level

Best Season: All year long. 

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Idaho Springs

Permit needed: Reservations are needed to get married at Sapphire Point Overlook and can be made here to reserve a two hour time slot. Reserving Sapphire Point Overlook for your day costs $120 ($110 + reservation fee). 

Pro-Tip: Your photographer is covered under your wedding reservation but any other vendors (caterers, rentals, etc)  are not allowed unless they have a permit from the Dillon Ranger District. 

Another Pro-tip: Sapphire Point is a very popular location. Tourists and hikers are allowed to use the trail that goes through the ceremony spot (overlook) regardless of any ceremonies going on. When deciding on time slots, choose the earliest slots and latest. Mid-day ceremonies have the potential to be madness.

Winter-tip: The trail can get VERY icy! Men’s dress shoes normally don’t have the best traction. Don’t risk a slip on your day, either skip the dress shoes and choose something with more grip on the bottom or invest in some yaktrax! They’re be worth it, I promise.

Lost Gulch Overlook in Boulder

Lost Gulch Overlook is an amazing location right outside of the town of Boulder, the views are amazing. Parking costs $5 per car and weekends are very busy. Your best bet is to hit up this spot around sunrise or on a weekday to avoid crowds.

Elevation: 5,800 feet above sea-lev

Best Season: All year long

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Boulder, Longmont, Louisville.

Permit needed: Yes. Boulder county requires photography permits. Use this tool to figure out which one you need.

Pro-Tip: This location can get VERY icy in the winter. For your safety, I recommend bringing yaktrax to give you reliable traction in risky areas. Proper footwear is important in the summer also as the rocks can be slippery, especially after rain.

Couple exploring Hoosier Pass in July

Hoosier Pass near Breckenridge

Hoosier Pass is another mountain pass in Colorado that is completely paved. There are lots of trails on the top of Hoosier Pass to explore and you can see many alpine lakes along the way. Again, keep in mind that you’re nearing 12,000 ft on Hoosier Pass (when hiking starts to hurt, all my 14er climbers know what I’m talking about lol). Eat a good breakfast, hydrate in the days leading up to your elopement, and take breaks when you need it. Altitude sickness is not fun.

Elevation: 11,542

Best Season: May-October. Winter months accessible via snowshoes and skis with added avalanche danger. 

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Alma, Fairplay, Breckenridge

Permit needed: No! 

Pro-tip: If you are going to go during the winter months, please check avalanche danger in the area. A couple and their dog recently lost their lives in an avalanche on Hoosier Pass, the threat is real. 

Pro-tip: Check for avalanche danger before exploring the backcountry during winter months. Summit County gets so much snow and conditions can quickly change from safe to deadly in a matter of hours. Stay safe. Here is a place to start.

couple cutting cake in garden of the gods
Couple eating cake during their elopement

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods is probably the most visited place in Colorado Springs. There are trails for everyone, views are everywhere, and if you’re lucky, you might even see some wildlife (I’ve seen a bobcat and a herd of bighorn sheep during sessions before). If you’re looking for red rocks, this is the place for you! You can also get bomb views of Pikes Peak, the local 14er, within the park. 

Elevation: 6,319 feet above sea level

Best Season: All year long.

Closest Airport: Colorado Springs Airport

Where to look for lodging: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs

Permit needed: No. Free to enter, free to park.

Pro-Tip: This place can get packed and parking is limited depending on which trail/view you are trying to access. Sunrise or sunset to avoid the crowds and cars in the background. 

Unlike other locations, Garden of the Gods is wheelchair accessible which is awesome if you have any guests coming who aren’t very mobile.

Couple in front of Flat Irons in Boulder

Chautauqua Park in Boulder

Chautauqua Park is one of the most visited parks in Boulder. This area gives you those legendary views of the Flatirons! There are lots of places to explore within the park to give you different perspectives of the mountains! This spot is a short drive from Lost Gulch Overlook so if you wanted, you could definitely make space within your timeline to hit up both. Note: Please keep in mind that if you want to invite any guests to your elopement, you are going to have to reserve and rent one of Boulder’s designated ceremony sites. Couples who are eloping just the two of them are permitted to elope on the trails within the park

Elevation: 5,710 feet above sea-level

Best Season: All year long

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Boulder, Longmont, Louisville.

Permit needed: Yes. Boulder County requires photography permits. Use this tool to figure out which one you need.

Pro-tip: If you can, avoid at sunset and on the weekends. There are lots of trails within the park for you to explore that might provide more privacy. 

couple eloping at blue lakes in colorado
Elopement ceremony at Blue Lakes

Blue Lakes in Breckenridge

This location is gorgeous with and without snow! If you want an easily accessible location for your family, this is an amazing option. There are wildflowers in the summer, and rugged snow-capped peaks in the winter. There are many places that provide a wide variety of views, this is one of those spots where you can have it all. Water, mountains, trees, wildflowers. 

Elevation: 11,000-11,700 feet above sea-level, depends on the lake

Best Season: May – October (varies depending on when snow arrives and melts the following year)

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Breckenridge, Fairplay, Dillon, Frisco

Permit needed: No.

Pro-tip: You’ll need a 4×4 for the last stretch of the road there as it turns from a paved road to a dirt/gravel road. Be prepared to see lots of cars at this spots on weekends. There are many pull offs along the narrow part of the road but take care while passing other vehicles so you don’t get stuck in a snowbank (it’s happened before) or worse.

St. Mary’s Glacier near Idaho Springs

St. Mary’s Glacier is a short hike outside of Idaho Springs. This is an easy day trip from Denver and the views make it well worth the drive. The hike to the lake is .5 miles, ~400 feet elevation gain but if you want to go all the way to the glacier, you’ll hike 1.2 miles and gain a little over 1000 feet of elevation. Note: There is a $5 parking fee that you’ll have to provide when in the lot. Law enforcement is on top of things and ticket those who don’t pay the fee as this area so make sure you bring cash.

Elevation: 11,236 feet above sea-level

Best Season: Year round.

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Idaho Springs, Georgetown, Denver

Permit needed: No. 

Pro-tip: This is one of those spots that tourists and locals love because there are amazing views that require relatively low effort. Also, like I said before, it’s also very close to Denver. Take this into account when figuring out your timeline so you don’t run into crowds.

couple eloping in colorado on mountain
Couple eloping along Cottonwood Pass

Cottonwood Pass in Buena Vista

Cottonwood Pass is another mountain pass that is completely paved. This one opens when the snow melts and closes for the season when the snow shows up. Summer and fall are the time to take advantage of this place. There’s a wide variety of views and trails you can hit up. You can’t go wrong with anything in the area. If you wanted, you could hit up multiple 14ers because the Collegiate Range is full of them. The top of Cottonwood Pass is a part of the continental divide & the Colorado Trail crosses it. It’s just a cool place all around.

Elevation: 12,126 feet above sea-level

Best Season: End of May – early October.

Closest Airport: Central Colorado Regional Airport, Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Buena Vista, Salida, Twin Lakes, Leadville

Permit needed: No.

Pro-tip: Two words: Liquid IV. Oh, and try to limit your alcohol intake the night before if you’re coming from sea-level. The top of the pass is above 12,000 feet. Oh two occasions I’ve had people experience altitude sickness hiking along the pass because it’s so high. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

Couple at Twin Lakes Reservoir

Twin Lakes Reservoir

Twin Lakes Reservoir is a beautiful area below Independence Pass (drops you down right into Aspen). In my opinion, fall is the prettiest season here, the Aspen trees that surround the reservoir are unreal when the leaves are changing. There are lots of places to access the reservoir and get amazing views, most requiring minimal hiking–there is a trail that takes you around the whole reservoir though and it gives you a little more privacy.

Elevation: 9,603 feet above sea-level

Best Season: Year round.

Closest Airport: Central Colorado Regional Airport, Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Twin Lakes, Buena Vista, Leadville, Salida

Permit needed: No.

Pro-tip: This reservoir completely freezes over in the winter. If the water view is something that’s drawing you to this location, choose summer or fall. 

Pro-tip #2: Depending on the Colorado elopement package you choose for  your day and the way your photographer builds out your timeline, you could have time to spend time in Twin Lakes AND go explore Independence Pass and/or Aspen! Remember, this is only possible during the warmer months (late May-early October).

Couple exploring in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the whole country, and for good reason. RMNP offers a lot of variety—from valleys, to summits, to waterfalls, to alpine tundra. RMNP is also an amazing location to observe wildlife. This national park is one of the best places to elope in Colorado and it’s proven by the hundreds of couples that apply for permits annually. Note: Due to the amount of visitors per year, and people not respecting the land, the park has developed very strict rules for couples wanting to elope. Read more about acquiring permits below.

Elevation: 8,000-14,000+ feet above sea-level depending on where you are.

Best Season: Year round.

Closest Airport: Denver International Airport

Where to look for lodging: Estes Park, Allenspark, Boulder

Permit needed: Yes, it is $300 and nonrefundable. RMNP begins accepting permit applications one year in advance. So if you and your honey want to elope in September of next year, the earliest that you can submit your permit is September of this year. From May-October, RMNP will only approve 60 elopements/wedding ceremonies per month. From November to April, only 40 elopements/wedding ceremonies will be allowed per month. To read more about RMNP’s permit system, click here

elopement at maroon bells amphitheater
Couple at Maroon Bells Amphitheater

Maroon Bells in Aspen

The Maroon Bells in Aspen is known to be the most photographed mountains in all of Colorado. There are multiple trails that lead up to the Maroon Bells that offer amazing views but the best place to get married is at the Maroon Bells Amphitheater. This place is very popular meaning there will be people everywhere, reserving the amphitheater is required and ensures that you have that spot to yourself during your time there. *This is another wheelchair accessible location*.

Elevation of Maroon Bells Amphitheater: 9,551 feet above sea-level

Best Season: End of May – early October

Closest Airport: Aspen/Pitkin county airport

Where to look for lodging: Aspen, Snowmass

Permit needed: Yes, it costs $200 to Reserve the Maroon Bells Amphitheater. Click here to see if your date is available to reserve the Maroon Bells Amphitheater, pay the reservation fee, and it’s all yours! Reservations come with 5 vehicle passes for parking.

Pro-tip: Please note that while you can have your ceremony here (max of 50 guests), you cannot have your reception here–check out the East Maroon Portal Picnic Site for a post ceremony celebration.

**Reservations can be made as early as one year in advance. Given how iconic this spot is, mark it in your calendars.

crested butte intimate wedding
Couple after wedding ceremony in Crested Butte

Crested Butte

Crested Butte is the cutest mountain town ever with a good bunch of locals who absolutely love living there. It is home to some of the best skiing in the state and a huge map of nordic trails. Crested Butte hosts an annual wildflower festival (yes, you read that right) and has the largest aspen grove in the world. If you are planning on eloping in the summer or fall, this would be the place I recommend first. The beauty is unmatched.

Elevation: 8,909 feet above sea-level

Best Season: Year round. More is accessible in the warmer months though.

Closest Airport: Crested Butte-Gunnison Airport, Montrose Regional Airport

Where to look for lodging: Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray

Permit needed: Yes, if the location is owned by the Crested Butte Land Trust. Please check with National Park rangers for any other specific spots near Crested Butte.

Couple reading vows during their elopement in Telluride

Telluride

Telluride is an amazing little town nestled in a box canyon in the San Juan Mountains. The locals are wonderful, the culture is refreshing, and the activities are limitless. Telluride has an insane amount of Aspen trees, lakes, rugged mountains (!!!), and waterfalls. Photos don’t do this place justice. This place is one of the best places to elope in Colorado because it’s one of the best places to keep visiting for the rest of your lives!

Elevation of the Town of Telluride: 8,750 feet above sea-level

Best Season: Year round.

Closest Airport: Telluride Airport, Montrose Regional Airport

Where to look for lodging: Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray

Permit needed: No.

Couple in Ouray, Colorado

Ouray 

Ouray is referred to as the Switzerland of America and it’s home of rugged mountains, mining history, and ice climbing. Ouray is in between Telluride and Silverton (another amazing mountain town with tons of views and outdoor activities) so it is the perfect place to have your “home base” while exploring the area. 

Elevation of the town of Ouray: 7,792 feet above sea-level

Best Season: Year round.

Closest Airport: Montrose Regional Airport, Telluride Airport

Where to look for lodging: Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose, Silverton

Permit needed: No.

Hidden Gems & Backcountry Goodness

Would you believe it if I said there is way more where this came from? As a Colorado elopement photographer (and someone who is wildly obsessed with Colorado), I’m always exploring in my free time and it helps me find epic places for my couples. Below are some amazing hidden gems that I’ve found for my couples. They’re off the beaten path and provide way more privacy for couples on their day!

Searching for a Colorado Photographer?

I hope that list of Colorado elopement locations was helpful for you! I’m an elopement and intimate wedding photographer based in Colorado. Take a look at my Colorado elopement packages and fill out my contact form! I love helping couples plan epic elopements.

January 15, 2021

Mikayla Robertson

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