Crested Butte Elopement Guide

In Crested Butte, also known as “The Wildflower Capital of Colorado,” you’ll find a lively town framed by mountains and lots of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Sound like what you’re looking for in an elopement location? Check out this Crested Butte elopement guide and start putting together your perfect day! 

What mountainsides look like in Crested Butte in July

How to Get to Crested Butte

Crested Butte is located in the mid-southwest of Colorado. Since only one major road, and a few mountain passes, access the area, it takes some effort to make it there. But as you wind your way through the state to reach Crested Butte, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of gorgeous mountain views.

The closest airport to Crested Butte is the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport in Gunnison, about a 35-minute drive away. There are a couple of car rental companies with offices by the airport, so pick up a car or take a shuttle from the airport directly to town. 

Another option is to fly into Denver, the major international airport in Colorado. That’s definitely the easiest to get to if you’re coming from far away! Rent a car at the Denver airport and then make the scenic 4-hour drive to Crested Butte for a pre-elopement adventure. Maybe even split up the road trip by staying a night in charming Buena Vista or Breckenridge along the way. Colorado Springs has another major airport that will get you an hour closer than DIA. If you are eloping in the summer and choose to fly into COS, make sure you drive over Cottonwood Pass and thank me later.

Keep in mind that, since Crested Butte sits at over 8,900 feet, you’ll want to give yourself some time to acclimate to the high elevation. If you’re especially sensitive, ask your doctor for altitude sickness medication. Plan on arriving a couple of days early to give your body time to adjust, and make sure to stay hydrated!

What mountainsides look like in Crested Butte in September

Why Elope in Crested Butte?

There are so many beautiful and unique elopement destinations in Colorado alone that it can be hard to settle on a location. Here are a few reasons you should shortlist Crested Butte: 

  • It’s Private. Because Crested Butte lies a little way off the beaten path, you can expect more privacy in this secluded area. While the town does see plenty of visitors and lots of weddings each year, you still have a good chance of feeling like you’ve got the place to yourselves. 

  • It’s a Fun Local Town. Crested Butte is first and foremost a locals’ town, which means it’s full of great restaurants, friendly residents, and all kinds of events. 

  • Tons of Activities to Choose From. Crested Butte is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise, with an abundance of activities to choose from year-round. After your elopement, go for an ATV or mountain bike ride, go fishing, SUPing, or camp out in the mountains. In the colder months, hop on a dog sled, rent a snowmobile, or give cross-country skiing a shot. 

  • Festivals. It feels like there’s always live music being played in Crested Butte! In addition to music gigs in town, there’s also the Crested Butte Music Festival, an arts festival, Wildflower Festival, and even Chili and Beer Festival. Schedule your Crested Butte elopement around one of these events for an even more memorable celebration.

  • Ski Mt. Crested Butte. Mt. Crested Butte features some world-class skiing, with similar terrain to Aspen’s ski resort at a more approachable price. There’s also plenty of cross-country skiing or backcountry skiing tours in the area if you and your soon-to-be spouse are obsessed with fresh powder!

  • Get Luxury Without the Luxury Price Tag. Like Colorado ski towns of Telluride, Aspen, or Vail, there are plenty of gorgeous wedding venues and luxurious experiences to be had in Crested Butte. Unlike Telluride, Aspen, and Vail, however, the prices are much more budget-friendly.

  • It’s Beautiful. Crested Butte lies in the Elk Mountains range, with breathtaking scenery everywhere you look. In summer, wildflowers abound, and in winter the mountains and evergreen forests are blanketed in a layer of snow. If views and scenic photo backgrounds are what you’re after, then Crested Butte is an easy choice. 

  • Elope Here Year-Round. No matter what time of year you’re hoping to plan your Crested Butte elopement, go for it! Peak wildflower season runs from June through July, making for a fairytale elopement experience. Or head there in the fall for colorful foliage, or the winter for an elopement and ski honeymoon all in one. 

Difference Between Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte

Just like with Telluride and Mountain Village, Crested Butte has its own small incorporated town at the base of the ski resort, called Mt. Crested Butte. This small area, a ten-minute drive from town, features just a few hotels, the big resort, and a handful of restaurants to keep you occupied during your ski adventure. In the summer, it functions as your gateway to the mountains and warm weather outdoor excursions.

Crested Butte Elopement Locations

Here are a few favorite Crested Butte elopement locations you should consider:

Woods Walk

This is definitely the number one Crested Butte elopement location! Walking distance from town, you’ll find this spot in the middle of an aspen grove, with Mt. Crested Butte in the background. While Woods Walk is most popular in the summer and fall, you can also access it by snowshoe in the winter. 

Because the area around Woods Walk is owned by the Crested Butte Land Trust and is part of protected land, you will have to reserve the location in advance. You’ll need to pay a $2000 deposit, of which you’ll get $500 back if you’ve left the area in good condition after your ceremony. Reach out to Jessica at jessica@cblandtrust.org for more information.

Peanut Lake

On the outskirts of town lies Peanut Lake, a gorgeous body of water surrounded by green hills that features views of Mt. Crested Butte and Paradise Divide in the distance. Here there’s space for a larger elopement–up to 100 people. 

If you’re considering hosting your Crested Butte elopement at Peanut Lake, you’ll also need to go through the Crested Butte Land Trust, so think about reaching out sooner rather than later to reserve a time.

Emerald Lake

Here we have one of the most idyllic locations in the area: Emerald Lake. From the town of Crested Butte, you’ll head up into the mountains, to a trail that starts at over 11,000 feet. To reach this elopement location, you’ll have to hike a quick and easy path of about three quarters of a mile. 

At the end of the hike you’ll arrive at this brilliant green alpine lake at the base of mountains, with forest and fields of wildflowers all around. The background here makes for epic elopement photos!

Snodgrass Mountain

If a sunset trek is the dream for your Crested Butte elopement, head to Snodgrass Mountain, where a hiking trail takes you through aspen groves with views of Elk Mountains and Mt. Crested Butte along the way. This 6-mile trail is by far the best place in the area to witness a sunset from.

Kebler Pass

Kebler Pass connects Crested Butte to the small town of Paonia, with the option to veer towards Aspen instead. An insider tip? Host your Crested Butte elopement on Kebler Pass in autumn, when the foliage turns a fiery gold or orange. That’s because this pass is lined with one of the biggest aspen groves in the US, as part of the Gunnison National Forest. 

Because the road is generally well-maintained, you can probably make it up there in a two-wheel-drive vehicle. You’ll be able to access Kebler Pass until wintertime, but keep in mind that it does get extremely muddy when it rains, so you may want to have a back-up option for stormy days. 

Lake Irwin

Just half an hour up Kebler Pass is Lake Irwin, a picturesque reservoir and recreation area. You’ll find campgrounds here as well, just in case you’re up for a post-elopement camping trip! This is the perfect spot for kayaking, SUPing, fishing, or maybe even taking a cold swim on your elopement day. There’s plenty of room to accommodate guests by the lake.

Lost Lake

If you like the idea of exchanging vows in a secluded area at 9,600 feet, tucked between the West Elk and Ragged Wildernesses, head up to Lost Lake for your elopement. This lake is also on Kebler pass, and has a network of trails around it and its own campground. 

Green Lake

With the trailhead starting right behind the Crested Butte Ice Rink, Green Lake is an ideal hiking destination for your private elopement ceremony before you celebrate with friends and family in town. A nine-mile (four or five hour) challenging hike awaits, but it’s worth it to reach this spot where you’ll feel like the only people in the world. Just make sure you’re in good shape and used to the altitude first!

Waterfalls

There are a number of waterfalls that would make the perfect location for an elopement in Crested Butte. These waterfalls are considered hidden gems so you’ll likely have more privacy.

Are Permits Required?

If you’re eloping on protected lands, you’ll need to contact the Crested Butte Land Trust as mentioned above. Reach out to the National Forest Ranger Station for more information about backcountry elopement locations.

Follow Leave No Trace Principles

Wherever you elope in the gorgeous outdoor paradise that is the Crested Butte area, remember to follow Leave No Trace principles. This means that everything you bring with you to the location needs to follow you back out–whether it’s a bottle of champagne to pop once you’ve exchanged your vows, any decoration you want to use, or any trash you’ve accumulated along the way.

Crested Butte Wedding Venues

Crested Butte may be a small town, but it’s no stranger to weddings and elopements. Here are a few favorite wedding venues in the area you should consider:

  • Uley’s Cabin. This cabin in the wilderness is managed by the Crested Butte Mountain Resort. It’s somewhat difficult to get to, and usually necessitates a transportation escort, but a little tricky commute is how you get the best views! Host a celebration at the outdoor bar, or set up a tent here. The rental fee falls around $3000 with a minimum of $15000 in food and beverage costs, so opt for this spot when planning a larger wedding.

    Bottom of Peanut Run off the Ski Lift, Red Lady Way, Crested Butte, CO 81225
  • Mountain Wedding Garden. Mountain Wedding Garden is right in town, and features wildflower-dotted landscapes that don’t require driving a bumpy, windy mountain pass to get to. There’s even an aisle made out of stone that leads to a large outdoor space–an ideal spot to exchange vows in front of up to 200 guests. There’s also a pavilion for indoor celebrations. Rental fees range from $400-$1800 depending on the season and day of the week.

    911 Gothic Rd, Crested Butte, CO 81225
  • Ten Peaks. Ten peaks is part of the Crested Butte resort, and features a brick ceremony platform on top of a ski run that’s easily accessible from Mt. Crested Butte. In the summer, fields of wildflowers and a view of the Paradise divide provide a breathtaking elopement vista.

    12 Snowmass Rd, Crested Butte, CO 81225
  • Cement Creek Ranch. Cement Creek Ranch is a 121-acre plot of land located in a valley surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest. There’s a cabin on the property and the clear Cement Creek wends through the land, making for an idyllic and secluded elopement spot. Set up a tent here and bring in any vendor you’d like–there are no restrictions! Just keep in mind that you’ll need to take out event insurance to book this place, and rent portable toilets for your guests.

    4670 Co Rd 740, Crested Butte, CO 81224
  • The Chalet. This upscale event barn lies at the foot of Round Mountain. The Chalet is ideal for an elopement ceremony or wedding of around 40 people. Party here until 10pm, just make sure you have transportation for all everyone who’s invited, as only six vehicles are allowed on the property at one time. 

938 Round Mountain Rd Crested Butte, CO 81224

  • Harmel’s Ranch. On the way to Taylor Reservoir you’ll find Harmel’s Ranch, where cabins and a reception area lie on a pleasant property in front of the Taylor River. You can get food and beverage for your celebration through the resort. The fee for this spot is $2500.

    6748 County Rd 742, Almont, CO 81210
  • Three Rivers Resort. This rustic resort, located in Almont, Colorado, half an hour from Crested Butte, has a lovely outdoor area that easily accommodates a wedding tent. Get food catered through the resort, and enjoy scenic river views with your guests.

    130 Co Rd 742, Almont, CO 81210
  • Taylor River Lodge. The Taylor River Lodge combines countryside charm with a little bit of luxury in the Taylor Canyon. There are six private cabins on the property, along with small houses and the main lodge, which offers dining and a lounge area. If you want to host your elopement here, you’ll need to book the entire property. They’ll take care of food and beverage, and you can host up to 50 people.

    10931 Co Rd 742, Almont, CO 81210
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Lab. This laboratory functions as a high alpine field station most days, but sometimes doubles as a unique wedding venue! The Billy Barr community center can be rented for $4950-$7000 depending on whether you book it on a weekday or weekend. 

            8000 Co Rd 317, Crested Butte, CO 81224

Crested Butte Elopement Reception Areas

Looking for the perfect place to host your Crested Butte elopement reception? Give these spots a try:

  • West Wall Lodge. This lodge is right near Mt. Crested Butte’s slopes, with ski-in ski-out access. Stay the night here after hosting a cocktail hour celebration in the lodge’s lobby and deck area.
  • Bonez. This restaurant has a funky style all its own and can accommodate up to 150 guests. Book the semi-private garden room for 44 people, or the entire restaurant. Bonez is a unique tequila bar and grill housed in an old building with a lofted ceiling and tall walls lined with bookshelves. 
  • Secret Stash. This pizza place is a favorite in town, and a lively spot to host your elopement reception. It has all the charm of an old timey saloon, and plenty of space to dance!

Where to Stay in Crested Butte

Crested Butte is full of intriguing lodging options. When planning your Crested Butte elopement, consider one of these spots to spend the night in:

  • Elk Mountain Lodge. This lodge was built in 1919, and has a character all its own. Rooms are comfortable and full of light. There’s even a ghost rumored to be living in the lodge, so keep your eye out… 

  • Purple Mountain Bed and Breakfast. This historic downtown bed and breakfast is a favorite among visitors. Walk to town from your room, and enjoy amazing gourmet breakfasts each morning of your stay.

  • Scarp Ridge Lodge. This upscale lodge right in the center of town is housed in Crested Butte’s former saloon, and includes an indoor saltwater pool and rustic-styled bedrooms that make you feel like you’re honeymooning in the Wild West.

  • Elevation Hotel and Spa. Opt for this resort at the base of the mountain if you’re looking for a luxurious stay with access to the slopes. There is great dining here, along with a full spa, indoor pool, and hot tubs.

  • Nordic Inn Hotel. This charming luxury B&B includes an outdoor jacuzzi, fire pit, nice rooms, and even a private function space. It’s also dog-friendly, so go ahead and bring your pup!

  • Eleven Experience Public House Lofts. When you stay in these downtown lofts, you feel like a local in all the best ways! Spend the night in the town’s old pub, where well-preserved architecture is updated with a touch of modern luxury. 

  • West Wall Lodge. This is an especially great choice if you are hosting your reception here, of course! Choose a studio room or indulge in a penthouse, then enjoy the heated outdoor pool and hot tub or relax with a couples massage in-house. 

Crested Butte Elopement Photography

However you choose to celebrate your Crested Butte elopement, make sure to capture those precious moments on camera. Elopement photography is an important part of any special day, especially when you’re in as photogenic a place as Crested Butte! 

I’m Mikayla, and I photograph Colorado elopements and intimate weddings all across this amazing state. With my experience in the area and connection to fantastic vendors in Crested Butte, I can help you plan a laid-back, stress-free day that you’ll cherish forever. 

Ready to take the next step towards your dream Crested Butte elopement? Check out my Colorado elopement packages, Colorado wedding packages, or reach out

Stick around & read some more

March 25, 2022

Mikayla Robertson

Meet mikayla

Mikayla is a Colorado elopement and intimate wedding photographer. In addition to delivering beautiful galleries to her couples, Mikayla provides epic location recommendations, connects couples with talented vendors, processes any permits, and provides tips for a stress-free day!

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