How to Elope in Colorado – Colorado Elopement Photographer & Location Guide

A quick guide to Colorado Elopement locations from a local elopement photographer & Guide

Colorado has four iconic national parks, but hundreds of other trails, mountains, valleys and lakes where you can plan your destination elopement with stunning scenery. In this post I’ll focus on Colorado elopement locations that are not within Rocky Mountain National Park, which you can find here. 🙂 There is no shortage of amazing spots to elope in Colorado in every season. Summer days bring bright wildflowers to the highest mountain passes, fall aspens turn the hills gold. Winter brings some accessibility challenges, but there are still great places that don’t (or do!) require snowshoes. Spring is very unpredictable, so for those who like rolling the dice between 70 degrees and sunny and a white out blizzard, April & May are great months for you! All kidding aside, let’s explore some of the ins and outs of eloping in Colorado and some of the incredible photos I can take for you! 
Location is perhaps the most important thing to consider when you’re planning a Colorado elopement – and there are a lot of factors to consider. Everyone has a different idea of the “perfect” spot, and everyone’s elopement plans are different. Some folks choose to elope with just the two of them, and some folks plan an intimate wedding of 20 or so close family and friends. Some locations have parking restrictions or size limitations that will narrow down your options. Some require a hike or a four wheeler to access, some are seasonal or only recommended on weekdays.. And then there’s the choice of views; lakes, peaks, islands, canyons, caves, waterfalls, desert formations or aspen groves? There are so many choices, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. As your Colorado elopement guide & photographer, I can help choose a spot that suits your dreams & goals, and then connect you to local accommodation, florists, or other special touches you’d like to include. 
Here’s my map of Elopement locations in Colorado.  70+ locations and growing! 90% of these have less than a five mile hike. Want to make it interactive so you can see more about each spot? Get in touch!
ColoradoElopementLocations
Colorado is a popular state for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, and many areas can become busy during peak season, afternoons and weekends. If privacy and exclusivity is important to you, get in touch with a local photographer (hello!) about which spots will work for you at certain times. As eloping becomes more popular in the age of COVID-19 and having large gatherings becomes more impractical, many couples choose to keep things simple and have the adventurous marriage of their dreams here in Colorado. The best compromise is to share the incredible photos with your loved ones afterwards, and I promise they will feel like they were there. 
Colorado is a self-solemnizing state, which means you can marry your partner without an officiant. Aka.. your elopement ceremony can be as intimate as you like because you can sign your own marriage license and be legally married! You can have a friend officiate without that person being ordained by any service, since you’ll be signing your own marriage license anyway. My husband and I did this when we got married, and we loved it! Also, we signed literally on our friend’s backs since we didn’t have a table. Thanks, guys! 
LucySchultzPhotographyColoradoElopementPhotographer-21

That’s me! We may have lightly spanked our officiating friends as a thank-you. 🙂

While some areas of Colorado require permits for elopements and other small gatherings & events, others are more flexible. However, ALL areas of Colorado should be treated with Leave No Trace principles – that means no confetti or rice (leaf toss is a great alternative!) no littering, and to leave the land as you found it. Many areas that do require a permit need advance notice, so it’s best to plan your elopement 30 days to 6 months in advance, depending on the location you’ve selected and it’s rules – which are all different. The Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, The Maroon Bells, Sapphire Point, and Garden Of The Gods are some of the more popular areas that require a permit, but many others do as well, and it is harder to find out what permit is needed!  These permits vary in cost from free to $300, which is still a whole lot cheaper than an entire wedding venue! I can help you find and apply for the right permit based on your location needs 🙂
Elopement Locations Close To Denver: 
Believe it or not, there are tons of great spots to elope close to Denver & Boulder while still getting that surrounded-by-nature feeling! The well known spots are Sunrise Amphitheater, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and Roxborough State Park, and these places are amazing! I also know of some spots on Flagstaff, Lookout, and Genesee mountains, three different canyons, some cool spots in Conifer that have unique pavilions, and one pavilion in Bear Creek that costs just $80 to rent for the day! 
High mountain pass elopements:
If you want big panoramic views above the tree line, consider eloping on a Colorado mountain pass. Some of these passes have paved road access year round, but others are seasonal and are only open June-September. I’ve got a big list and can help you find the pass and the access that’s right for you. The payoff for these high elevation elopement spots is huge, as you can often be completely alone with miles and miles of epic vistas and views of the rockies and the continental divide. If you want a truly iconic Colorado Elopement – this is the way to go!! 
Lakes, Rivers & Waterfall Elopement Locations:
Spread across the entire state, there are pockets of lakes, raging rivers and epic waterfalls everywhere. Many lake locations require a hike, but these vary in length and adventurousness, so there is always something that suits you! It’s easy to see why these sparkling lakes and glacial cols have a lot of draw. Can you imagine exchanging vows with your person in front of a huge waterfall, or on the edge of  a lake at dawn, or rowing a canoe out to an island? 

I hope I’ve inspired you to elope in our beautiful state, whether you live here already or are dreaming about starting your marriage adventure here. If you have questions about any of these locations or are ready to start the conversation about making me your Colorado Elopement Photographer, don’t hesitate to get in touch! I’d love to help dream up, plan, and put the logistics in place so you get to just show up and have the time of your life! 

 

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