Where to Elope on Mt. Evans
The first thing I do when anyone visits Colorado, is to take them up Mt Evans! If you’ve ever wondered where to elope on Mt Evans, I’ve got all the info for you. This is the highest paved road in all of North America, winding all the way up to 14,265ft. I chose this area for some of my own epic colorado wedding photos, which is a testament to just how amazing it is. In this guide I’ll share all my favorite things about the mountain, driving up, permits, and more ideas to make your elopement on Mt Evans fun and stress free!
Driving up Mt. Evans
The road to Mt Evans is a scenic byway, and the speed limit is 20mph for much of the way. So don’t expect to race right up to the summit! You do NOT need 4wd to take this road. In fact, you should take the most compact car you can! The road is narrow, full of potholes, with very steep drop offs on both sides. Being in a smaller car will make the trip more enjoyable for you. Go slow, take in the views and the wildlife. It’s common for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats to stroll in the road. The sheep will even lick your tires if you let them!
Permits and Reservations
While this isn’t a national park, you do use your national park pass to get in. As of 2021, you ALSO need a $2 reservation to drive up Mt. Evans. You make this reservation online at reservation.gov. On most weekdays, these tickets don’t sell out as fast as the entry tickets to other popular areas like Brainard Lakes and Rocky Mountain National Park. You must arrive in the 2 hour window on your ticket, and then you can stay as long as you like. In the case of weekday elopements, you often do not need a permit to elope here. Though it varies depending on where to elope on Mt Evans, sunrise is usually the best.
Denver Mountain Parks
Now here is where it gets complicated. There are three areas within the Mt Evans scenic area that technically belong to the City and County of Denver. Echo Lake, Mt. Goliath, and Summit Lake are managed by Denver Mountain Parks, and special size limits apply & a permit is needed for elopement ceremonies in these areas. If you have a group size of 5 or less, including your photographer, you can stop in these areas for photos after your ceremony without a permit. See Yezi and Daniel’s elopement at Summit Lake for inspiration! If you’re confused, don’t worry! Figuring out where to elope on Mt Evans should be fun and I’m here to help.
When to Elope on Mt. Evans
Most of Mt. Evans is open from summer to early fall only. However, you’ll find on my map plenty of locations on the shoulder of the mountain that are lovely even in spring, winter and fall. The lower road, from Echo lake to Summit lake, is open usually from June 1 to October 1. The uppermost 5 miles, from Summit Lake to the Summit, are open from mid June to Labor Day, weather permitting. In June you’ll still find plenty of snow on the ground, that won’t melt until July. However, it can snow in ANY month at the summit, so always be prepared for changing weather. Late July and early August will be the most popular time on the mountain, with wildflowers and wildfire haze. Late August and September will bring Scotland vibes as the tundra turns auburn and crimson and the snow will be at its lowest.
Mt. Goliath Area
The last area still below the treeline at 11,000 feet is Mt. Goliath. It’s part of the Denver botanic gardens. It’s home to curated high alpine gardens, flowers and plants. The most interesting feature of the area is the grove of ancient bristlecone pines. Some of these trees can be many hundreds to 2 THOUSAND years old. The windy and cold climate promotes slow growth of these trees. When there’s fog on the mountain, this forest is pure magic.
Eloping at the Summit of Mt. Evans
At the top of Mt. Evans, there’s an observatory, a historic stone building, and a pit toilet. If the view don’t take your breath away, the altitude sure will! At just over 14,000 feet, the air is so thin that you may experience altitude sickness. If you start feeling faint, dizzy, light-headed, short of breath or have a headache, you should descend right away. Three short and rocky switchbacks lead from the parking lot to the true summit. If you are able, you absolutely should hike to see the 360 degree view of the entire front range. If you are not able, there are two ADA accessible areas where a small ceremony can be held. Please do not feed or follow the mountain goats up here, and keep your eyes and ears peeled to see a Pika!
Down the mountain and back within the cover of trees, there are more amazing spots! These are great places to gather if you have invited guests. Or get set up with a picnic for two! These places have views of the peak of Mt Evans, pit toilets, shade and scattered picnic tables. There are creeks and waterfalls to explore, scenic views, fire lookouts, hikes, plentiful aspens, off roading trails, wildflower meadows and so much more! These “side dishes” are what makes the Mt Evans area such a great place to Elope. I can’t wait to share all these hidden gems with you.
Planning your Mt. Evans Elopement
This is just the starting point to your incredible mountain elopement experience on Mt. Evans! Use this free downloadable map to see the spots and begin planning. If you want to drive right up to a mountain lake, consider eloping on Mt. Evans. If you want to summit a mountain at sunrise, pick Mt. Evans. If you want a full day of amazing experiences and even better scenery – just get the map already!
SAMPLE TIMELINE FOR ELOPING ON MT EVANS
5:45 Arrive at the summit for sunrise
6:00 First look at 14,000 feet
6:30 Coffee thermoses and donuts
7:30 Hike to an overlook
8:00 Private ceremony in front of an epic view
8:30 Hike out
9:30 Return to fire lookout tower for a nap
12:30 Meet up with family for Lunch at a lodge or Pack a picnic to a mountain pass
2:00 Explore a waterfall or off road trail
More Colorado Elopement Guides
–Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Guide
–Ouray, CO Elopement Guide
–Telluride, CO Elopement Guide
–Garden of the Gods Elopement Guide
–Great Sand Dunes Elopement Guide
–Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Guide
–Boulder, CO Elopement Guide
–Colorado National Monument Elopement Guide
–Maroon Bells Elopement Guide