Black Canyon of the Gunnison Photographer

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Photographer

Hi, I’m Lucy, a Black Canyon of the Gunnison photographer of elopements and intimate weddings! Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of Colorado’s lesser known treasures. It’s a stunning, deep canyon in central Colorado. A solid 4.5 hours drive from Denver, this National Park is so much less crowded than others. It’s the perfect park for a couple who loves camping, because it is remote and a far drive from hotels. There are hikes and even a way to drive down to the river for the adventurous at heart. So keep reading to find out everything you need to know to plan an incredible elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison!

A real elopement in Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Kacie & Pete eloped on the North Rim of the Black Canyon in June 2022. They hiked a short way, rescued some lost hikers, got married on the edge, twirled in the afternoon sun, ate dinner under the stars and roasted marshmallows in their campsite. See their full camping elopement here.


When to Elope at Black Canyon

The Summer months are the best and only time to access this remote Canyon. From mid November to mid May, all the parks roads are closed due to snow. The park is not very busy when compared to any of the other western National Parks, but if possible you should still plan to elope on a weekday. This keeps the rangers happy and gives you the pick of the best spots! Black Canyon of the Gunnison is 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 get incredible photos in Colorado.

What’s the weather like?

Rain showers are common, but they pass quickly. I wouldn’t let this deter you, as the storms leave the canyon sparkling and if you’re lucky, rainbows for days! Most summer days are sunny, warm, and may have an afternoon storm.

How to Elope at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

You will need a marriage license and you may need a permit from the Park to get married inside the parks’ borders. However, you do not need to hire an officiant as Colorado is a self-solemnization state! That means that Colorado recognizes your power to declare yourselves married without any authority. You can still choose to have an officiant (A hired professional or a friend) but it isn’t legally required.

Black Canyon Elopement Permit

If you have any guests at all, 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. Download the Special Use Permit at the bottom of this page.

Step by Step Guide of how to plan an elopement at Black Canyon

Don’t sweat it, it’s easy to plan an elopement! Here is my outline of how to plan an elopement in the great outdoors.
1. Select a date range that you would like to marry
2. Book a way to get there, whether by plane, car, or make a campsite or lodging accommodation
3. Hire a Black Canyon of the Gunnison photographer with experience in the park.
4. Call the park to determine if a permit is required for your plan. Coordinate with your photographer to select an exact location and time.
5. Hire any additional vendors, such as a private chef, florist, jeep, or horseback ride. Pick out your garments.
6. Pick up your CO marriage license and you’re ready to elope!

Obtaining a Colorado Marriage License

Getting your Colorado Marriage License isn’t hard! You can make an appointment at ANY county courthouse in the state – it doesn’t have to be in the county you’ll be marrying in. You’ll need to both be present and show a photo ID and answer questions before your marriage license is issued. Your license costs just $30 and is valid for 63 days from the day you pick it up.

What are the best Elopement Locations in Black Canyon of the Gunnison?

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. 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, is visible from both the south rim and the north rim.

Painted Wall

Painted Wall, the tallest cliff in North America, rises 2,240 feet above the canyon floor. The swirled rock colors lends this landmark it’s name. You can view the painted wall from both the North and South rims, where you’ll drive along the park’s roads and make a few stops to the different viewpoints. You don’t have to walk far from your car to get these views.

South Rim Locations

The park’s south rim is the most popular 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!! 

North Rim of Black Canyon of The Gunnison

The North rim is even less visited than the South Rim, because of its remote position. It isn’t near any major towns. The road to it is gravel, but passable in any car from May to October or early November. The viewpoints on the North rim are extremely easy to access and are just as stunning as the South Rim. There are even some rock outcroppings that will tempt the daredevil in you! You’ll have more privacy here, and the hike to exclamation point is wonderful. Chasm view, located in the campground, has great views of the Painted wall. Ask me about my map to determine which viewpoint might be right for you!

Great photo locations outside of the Park

There are tons of great photo locations outside of the borders of Black Canyon National Park. Many of them are hidden gems that aren’t on google maps. Crawford Notch, Needle rock, Sapinero, and the Uncompahgres are just a few places nearby. Let me show you around!

Here is my Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Locations Map:

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. Get access to the map by booking me as your Black Canyon of the Gunnison photographer. 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!

Where to Stay at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

There’s so much to see here that you will want to spend a few days, especially if you want to see both the North and South rims. This is the perfect National park for couples who LOVE camping. There are few local campgrounds within the park from which to plan your adventures. The closest towns with hotels are Montrose and Delta, Colorado. There are a few great Airbnbs closer to the park that should not be overlooked! You can stay at a rustic cabin, a hunting lodge, a modern home, a farmstay with goats, tiny homes and even a converted silo. Check out my Airbnbs near Gunnison here.

Sample Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Timeline

A full day elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison will have you smiling from ear to ear! There is so much to see and explore, anything less than a full day will be stressful. Too many times I’ve seen a good plan be smushed into too few hours, which makes it feel like a checklist of photo spots instead of a fun time. Here is a sample timeline for an incredible full day elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

10:00 Sleep in and wake up in your tent together
11:00 Have breakfast together in your campsite with fresh fruit and pancakes
12:00 First look at the edge of the south rim.
1:30 Elopement ceremony with the Painted Wall in the background
2:00 Nosh on a picnic of all your favorite finger foods
3:00 Horseback ride or travel down East Portal road and dip your toes in the river
6:30 Private Chef dinner
8:00 Sunset portraits at Sunset point
9:00 Campfire, smores and star photos in your campsite

How much does it cost to elope at Black Canyon?

The truth is that it varies! You can spend as little or as much as you’d like on your elopement. The park permit costs $100 to $300 and the Colorado marriage license is just $30. Let’s build a sample elopement budget for a 2 person elopement at Black Canyon of the Gunnison and give you an estimate.

$30 Colorado Marriage license
$100 to $300 National Park ceremony permit
$300 to $600 Rental car and gas
$400 to $3000 Accommodation options from cabins to retreats
$5000 to $9000 Black canyon of the gunnison photographer for your elopement or microwedding
$500 to $5000 your personal elopement clothes
$400 to $1000 Flowers, officiant, makeup and beauty if desired.
$1000 Additional experiences – Jeep tour, horseback riding, etc
$0 to $3000 personal chef
=$6730 to $22,000

My Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Photography Packages

I offer both Black Canyon elopement photography packages, or All inclusive elopements for a one stop shop option. There are no travel fees, download fees, watermarks or other hidden fees.

2 Day Black Canyon of the Gunnison Photographer – $7900

1.5 Days of elopement photography in Black Canyon of the Gunnison – $5900

1 Full day adventure elopement in Black Canyon of the Gunnison – $4900

Up to 4 hours elopement in Black Canyon of the Gunnison – $4200

I offer full day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the wild lands outside of it. 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!

About Lucy – Black Canyon of the Gunnison photographer

I’m a dorky and colorful Black canyon of the Gunnison 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!



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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