Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Guide

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Guide

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of Colorado’s lesser known treasures. So let me show you why planning a Black Canyon of the Gunnison elopement is for everyone! A solid 4.5 hours drive from Denver, this National park is so much less crowded than others. After touring the park’s South Rim with my jaw on the floor, I asked the rangers about crowds. Why don’t more people come here to see this amazingly dramatic gorge? And the rangers put their fingers to their lips and said “Shhhh!” But I truly believe that majestic landscapes SHOULD be visited and appreciated. (Sorry guys!) And if you create a special memory there, joining your life to your beloved’s – even better.

Get in touch to start planning your Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement!

Here’s a preview of the BCotG map my couples get when booking:

This map is like a virtual tour of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park & surrounding area with color photos I’ve taken of each place. So you can see all the great spots without without leaving your living room. If you’re planning from afar, this is a great visual key to picking out the elopement spot that works for you. Details like what seasons and time of day are best for each location are included. It will help you plan your activities, accommodations, and your day’s itinerary. Lastly, it’s easy to have a great backup location picked out with this map in front of you. Having that Plan B in your back pocket will keep your planning stress-free!


South Rim, North Rim & East Portal

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is divided into three sections. The South Rim, the East Portal, and the North Rim. The North Rim and the East Portal are closed in winter. Most of the South Rim is also closed after November, but it is possible to snowshoe in for a magical winter elopement. (omg! Can you imagine how pretty that could be??) The East Portal road has a steep 16% grade, so only attempt it if you know your vehicle can make it down and back up. But the river access and camp sites at the bottom is to die for. I hear there are otters in the river and ample shade from big cottonwoods. Painted Wall, the most famous and iconic section of the canyon, rises 2247 feet from the river floor. It’s the highest cliff in Colorado, and one of my favorite viewpoints in the park. 

When to Elope at Black Canyon

There’s so much to see here that you will want to spend a few days. There are a few local campgrounds within the park from which to plan your adventures. It’s also one of the few locations that could be photographed at any time of day and look good – so if you’re not up for a sunrise elopement, you can still have incredible elopement photos in Colorado. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the area is similar to the Maroon Bells in that the weather can change in an instant, and rain showers are common. I wouldn’t let this deter you, as the storms pass quite quickly and leave the canyon gleaming with sparkling sunlight and, if you’re lucky, rainbows for days. YUP, THIS IS REAL LIFE. 

Why I Love the South Rim

The park’s south rim is the best place to elope between May and October. The rim drive is as scenic as it gets, and the many pull-offs provide plenty of options to explore and plan an intimate elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The steep and narrow section of the canyon is take-your-breath-away stunning, but every single viewpoint has a different view, each seeming more stunning than the last. Some observation areas have decks that would be perfect for an elopement ceremony, others have ugly railings, and most have natural terrain as well. One thing is guaranteed: it will make for incredibly epic Colorado elopement photos!! 

Black Canyon Elopement Permit

 You may need a special use permit to elope at Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Plan to apply at least four weeks in advance. Call the ranger station to highlight how your plans will have minimal impact to park resources and not to interfere with other park visitors. The cost for your special use permit is $100-300. Because this park is seldom used for these events, you’ll want to have as much location information as possible when you apply. So chat with me first about which viewpoint and time of day might be right for you. If you are looking for an amazing hidden gem with world class scenery for your destination elopement in Colorado – you’ve found it. 

Locations inside and outside of the Park

I loved the Grand Canyon, but found this Colorado canyon to be more interesting and diverse, and now I’m dying to shoot an adventurous couple’s elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison! Here are all the spots I’d recommend for an epic elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Of course, there are tons of great spots outside of the park we can explore too! Ready to start your Black Canyon of the Gunnison elopement plans with me? 


I’m a nomadic and colorful elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and my cats. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is my favorite National Park in Colorado. Maybe I’ll see you there!


I offer full day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in National Parks and the wild lands outside of them. See my pricing and package details here. I would love to chat with you and help see if an elopement with me is what you’ve been dreaming of. Get in touch below!

Contact me! It’s no biggie.


Here are my other Colorado National Park elopement guides to check out:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park

More elopement guides in Colorado:
Garden of the Gods
Colorado National Monument
Boulder, Colorado
Maroon Bells
Summit County
Mt. Evans

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