You’ve decided to elope & you love the idea of mountains on your day! That’s super cool and I’m very pumped for you guys. Before you get too far in your planning process, here are some things that I love sharing with couples while helping plan their mountain elopement:
I will say it again–you don’t have to hike to elope in the mountains. Please don’t feel obligated to pack a backpack and hike 6 miles with 1000 feet elevation gain in order to have a en epic elopement. Seriously! Adventure elopements are awesome and can be super epic but they aren’t for everyone and that’s okay.
You have my permission to get to a beautiful destination using a mode of transportation that fits your vision best lol. There are tons of mountain passes that you can drive to the top of and get outrageous views and there are even more 4×4 trails to explore!
Cottonwood Pass is just outside of Buena Vista, Colorado and it is wildly underrated. You can drive to the very top of Cottonwood Pass, park your car, and explore from there! You can get views just under .25 miles from the parking lot. Keep in mind that this option is not available during the winter months unless you book a snowmobiling tour or are down to snowshoe a very far distance.
Yankee Boy Basin is an amazing location to explore if you are looking for an off-road adventure. Located right outside of the Switzerland of America, Yankee Boy Basin offers amazing views and a little bit of thrill for basically no effort! If you have experience driving on uneven 4×4 terrain, you can drive up yourself but there are multiple companies in Ouray, Colorado that would be willing to take you and your honey to the backcountry.
If you’re looking for a location closer to Denver, Loveland Pass is a great option. this is another one of those scenic drives with a parking lot at the top and endless views. Loveland Pass is awesome though because it’s open throughout the year–only temporarily closing when winter weather creates dangerous driving conditions.
Sapphire Point is a scenic spot outside of Breckenridge overlooking Lake Dillon. There is a very easy spot to get to. Please keep in mind that this location is a very popular spot for people driving through the mountains. In order to reserve this spot, you’ll need to make a reservation here. The reservation fee for Sapphire Point is $110. Give yourself lots of time to reserve this location because White River National Forest will often impose daily limits in order to control overcrowding.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the entire country. Due to the number of couples flocking to the park to elope every year, they have limited visitors to 12 approved ceremony locations. You can find that list here. One of those spots, and the best view in my opinion, is 3m curve. You get amazing variety surrounding you, trees, a valley, rocks, and Longs Peak is in the distance.
Have you ever gotten sick on vacation? And it’s like the worst experience ever? A lot of visitors experience altitude sickness when in Colorado because no matter where you are, you’re at least 3000 feet above sea-level. Stay hydrated, snack often, and know your limits.
There’s more to Colorado than Breckenridge & Rocky Mountain Park. I’ve had people inquire, we hop on the phone, and they truly only think there are mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park. Clearly, they were from out of state and I always get so pumped to let them know this state is covered in mountains and gorgeous scenery.
Listen, Colorado is massive. There are so many beautiful places for you to explore! Yes, Breckenridge is really popular because there are lots of things to do year round—tons of amazing hikes, huge ski resort, Nordic trails, etc. But is Breckenridge the only cool mountain town in Colorado? Absolutely not. Buena Vista, Crested Butte, Ouray, and Telluride are the cuuuutest mountain towns and yes they’re further from the front-range and major airports, but I promise they’re worth the extra travelling.
Pro-tip: If you just started planning for your elopement and you’re having trouble figuring out all of the amazing location possibilities, pause and begin your search for your photographer! After you book them, your Colorado elopement photographer will ask you which scenery you’re interested—mountains, alpine lakes, aspen groves, waterfalls, etc—and send you a list of amazing recommendations that they’ve researched and scouted for your elopement. Below are locations I’ve scouted for my couples!
Colorado is amazing for a variety of different reasons but the most popular reason, is all of the activities. Us locals loooove to live here because we’re never bored, we can always find something amazing to do in the mountains. Why am I telling you this? Because, you’re competing with the locals, who are obsessed with this place, for privacy during your elopement.
Sunrise is an amazing time to be on your way to you ceremony spot so you can at least say vows in peace, without mountain bikers or hikers peeking from afar. If you have an aversion to alarm clocks, talk to your elopement photographer about a more remote location! That way your chances of privacy go up even if you start mid-day on a Saturday.
I’m Mikayla and I photograph mountain elopements and intimate weddings all across Colorado. I love helping couples plan a laid-back, stress-free day that they’ll cherish forever! Check out my mountain elopement packages here and contact me here. I can’t wait to chat and get to planning
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