5 Places to Elope in Colorado that aren’t Rocky Mountain National Park- 2024

Rocky Mountain National Park is popular for hiking, sightseeing, and in the last couple years has gained tons of notoriety as a top elopement destination. But with the increase in outdoor tourism (crowds), timed entry reservations, and new permit regulations, it might not give you the secluded, private elopement experience you’re hoping for.

This may be the first spot that comes to mind for many reasons- after all, people come from all over to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. It has beautiful views and easily accessible locations, but there are so many spots in Colorado that offer the same things, without the crowds (or timed entry). And don’t worry- all of these places also have cute mountain towns similar to Estes Park nearby!

The pros and cons of Rocky Mountain National Park

Not hating on this incredible national park! People love it for a reason! When considering it for an elopement location here are a few things to think about. You have to have your ceremony in a designated ceremony site and get an elopement permit, which is $300. All of the ceremony sites are beautiful and easily accessible so its super easy to include guests! However, your permit does not do anything more that allow you to get married at the site. Its still public and not reserved, which means people will walk by and still have access to the area. Parking is also not guaranteed. If privacy or a remote feeling location is really important, make sure to factor that in.

Another thing to consider, if you’re having your ceremony outside of the park, is the required timed entry reservations that are active May-October. Each car must have their own reservation and it can be competitive to get one depending on the day and time of year.

Things like permits and timed entry can take away a bit of the flexibility that elopements allow, especially if there’s bad weather or certain aspects of the day are taking longer.

Elope in Summit County

Summit County has no shortage of options for elopement locations. From lakes to mountain passes, wildflowers, insane fall colors, hiking and non hiking options, it really has it all! Especially during the week, its easy to find locations that are way more private for an intimate, middle of the mountains feel. There’s also lots of locations that are fairly close together if you want to adventure to multiple spots. The nearby towns of Dillon, Breckenridge, Frisco, and Silverthorne offer no shortage of places to stay, eat, and shop too.

Mountain Passes

There are three mountain passes in the Summit County area that are perfect for those couples eloping with no guests or group of less than 10. All of the passes are slightly different, from the type of road to elevation to terrain, but they all have incredible views.

Sapphire Point

A reservable ceremony space along Lake Dillon with views of the mountains and reservoir below. You can have up to 25 guests and set up chairs. The ceremony location is just a short walk down a path from the parking lot. This site can be reserved on recreation.gov for $110.

Windy Point Campground

Another amazing option for a reservable ceremony site along Lake Dillon! This one also has a covered pavilion so if you’re including guests and want to have a small reception, this is an amazing spot to be able to do that. This location can be reserved on recreation.gov for $300.

Alpine Lake

There are a couple easy to access alpine lakes in the area, great if you’re eloping with just the two of you or less than 15 guests. Easy to access alpine lakes are very popular and its most likely you will be sharing the space with other people and sometimes other elopements, if you’re eloping on a weekend.

Elope in the Collegiate Peaks Area

Buena Vista, Twin Lakes, and Leadville are three mountain towns that are pretty much in a straight line going up highway 24. Buena Vista is about 40 minutes south of Leadville with Twin Lakes sandwiched in between. This area is also home to the two biggest mountains in Colorado- Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. Its also famous for a collection of 14ers known as the Collegiate Peaks- Mounts Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. Boasting two incredible mountain passes, multiple hot springs, hiking and non hiking locations, sweeping views, huge mountains, great off roading/four wheeling, and picturesque mountain towns, this area is a phenomenal elopement destination. Its a bit further from Denver (between 2-2.5 hours) and not along the I70 corridor, so it tends to be a little less crowded than other mountain towns!

Twin Lakes

Alpine lakes with a myriad of location options surrounding them. From right along the water with more of a beach feel to a meadow that overlooks the lakes to an aspen forest that feels never ending, you can look like you went to three drastically different locations and not drive more than 20 minutes. The Leadville Forest Service will sometimes issue permits for larger small weddings (less than 20 people) and there are several very accessible locations that guests of most ages and abilities can get to.

A mountain pass

This area has two mountain passes right along the Continental Divide. They are high- both over 12000ft so that should definitely be taken into consideration when thinking about choosing this as an elopement location; not everyone does well at such high elevation. These mountain passes offer incredible views without the work of hiking (although both have trails if you want to hike). Make sure to leave no trace and mind the very fragile alpine tundra.

Elope on the Western Slope

If you’ve ruled out Telluride, Silverton, or Ouray as an elopement destination because they’re so far from Denver- here’s your sign to reconsider! This area has some of the most incredible views in the state, the mountains are super steep out there so it makes them seem HUGE. With amazing colors in the fall, endless wildflowers in the summer, waterfalls, the bluest lakes, incredible off roading, and the iconic Million Dollar Highway, Colorado’s western mountains are an amazing option for an elopement. Bonus, there’s far fewer people because its so far from Denver. This is an especially great area if you’re okay with hiking, but amazing views free of people can be reached by off roading as well. Not super comfortable with driving four wheeling roads on your own? This whole area has tons of incredible guided options! There’s also no shortage of places you can get to via normal SUV. There really is something for everyone!

Elope in Crested Butte

Crested Butte is a small mountain town just on the other side of the mountains from Buena Vista, about 4 hours from Denver. This little town is famous for its wildflowers in the summer (seriously- there’s a whole festival) and its amazing colors in the fall. While there are fewer non hiking lake options here, there are no lack of views. The entirety of Kebler Pass and Gothic road will have you saying “wow” over and over again.

Gothic Road

Gothic Road isn’t paved, but a good chunk of it is accessible by any kind of vehicle. It has several trailheads and dispersed camping areas along it, and no shortage of huge mountain views. In the summer there’s wildflowers, and with so many aspen trees the fall colors are spectacular.

Mountain Wedding Garden

An amazing location for couples who want a higher guest count. Nestled in the Elk Mountains, the garden has wonderful views and meadows to adventure in. They offer chairs, tables, and a ceremony site that you can decorate. This is a great in-between of eloping and a venue. Find out more info: https://mountainweddinggarden.com/

Kebler Pass

This pass is lower elevation, but absolutely covered in mature, beautiful aspen forests. In the summer is green and lush, and in the fall, its a riot of color. There are so many spots along it, its easy to find your own space. Since its lower elevation, the views aren’t “top of the world” feeling, but there are several open areas with great views of the mountains.

Elope in Idaho Springs

Idaho Springs is an amazing location for really small elopements (just the two of you or maybe up to 5 guests). It has lakes, mountain passes, aspen trees, sweeping views, and the town is super cute! Bonus- its only about an hour from Denver. There are some amazing hiking options, but if hiking isn’t your idea of an incredible elopement day, don’t worry! There are plenty of spots you can drive to that will make it look like you went on an entire adventure to get there. If you want to include more guests, check out Juniper Mountain House for your ceremony!

Colorado is amazing and has so many amazing locations to explore! Rocky Mountain National Park is a great starting point for elopement locations, but its totally worth looking around a bit and seeing if there’s something even better out there. And if trying to find an epic location is super overwhelming, well, that’s what a Colorado elopement photographer is for!


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