Best Places to Elope in Colorado
Colorado elopement guide
Colorado Is Full Of Beauty
Where will you choose?
There are so many places to elope in Colorado, it is really hard to choose just one! Good thing we know all the best places, the best seasons and the secret just-us spots perfect for your wedding celebration.
Keep reading to learn more about Colorado’s marriage laws, the best time of year to elope in Colorado, a list of our favorite elopement locations, and advice on how to plan your own unique elopement in Colorful Colorado. Get inspired to elope in one of our favorite places on Earth!
why you should elope in colorado
Imagine this: You and your love wake up on the morning of your wedding in a unique and incredibly gorgeous rental in a small mountain town. You make coffee and get dressed in your wedding attire by the light of a couple old lanterns – the sun hasn’t yet made its appearance.
Your photographer arrives with a bag of local pastries they picked up the night before at the best bakery in Colorado, and you all excitedly express your gratitude for the perfect weather that looks like it’s going to hold. After taking photos of you lacing up hiking boots that somehow go perfectly with your formal attire, the three of you climb into a jeep waiting outside. It’s still dark, but the night sky is beginning to turn from deep blue to a lighter purple – the stars are beginning to fade out one by one. Just as the jeep crests a hill revealing an alpine lake in a valley, accessible only by 4×4 roads, the western peaks begin to turn the warmest shade of orange you’ve ever seen! You get out of the jeep as the cool night breeze hangs around for a few more minutes, and you hold the hands of your partner on the shores of this pristine lake.
They reach into their pocket and pull out the handwritten vows you finalized last minute, and you take a deep breath before beginning to speak. You look into the eyes of your lover, which are glistening, and you gasp at the colors suddenly erupting all around you! The first light of day immediately warms the air as you speak truths to your partner in an attempt to express what a lifetime commitment means to you. You’ve almost forgotten a photographer is standing by capturing every intimate moment. You and your partner must be the only people awake in this vast wilderness, in what must be the most beautiful place on earth – how could there be anywhere else so perfect?
You deserve this experience – you deserve to celebrate your marriage with an adventurous elopement in a beautiful place that inspires your love for nature, and each other.
We can help make this happen.
Benefits of eloping in colorado
Yes, Colorado has gorgeous mountains. It also has stunning sand dunes, blue alpine lakes, red rock desert vibes, moss-covered waterfalls, and golden aspen groves. There’s a little something here for everyone, and we know all the best spots!
Whatever your favorite activity is, you can do that on your elopement daty in Colorado! Would your perfect wedding include a bike ride, top rope climb, sky drive, or hike? How about lunch at a brewery and picnic in the park? Whatever kind of adventure is your ideal, Colorado provides.
A “JUST US” EXPERIENCE
Colorado allows self-solemnizing, which means you don’t have to invite anyone to your elopement day, say your personalized vows for the ears of your partner only, and still get legally married in one of the most beautiful places on earth!
plan a colorado elopement
First, do some research.
Below, we’ve answered frequently asked questions about elopements, and provided advice on choosing a location!
Second, connect with a photographer or planner who knows the area.
Two of the photographers on our team (Maddie + Amber) live in Colorado full-time and know this area incredibly well – we can find just about any kind of environment, at any time of year, to fit whatever it is you’re currently imaging.
Third, narrow down the details of what you want.
Choose your ideal environment, time of day, season, activities, guest count, etc. We can absolutely help you out at this stage and give you our best advice to plan a stress-free wedding experience!
The good news is, we’ve been in your shoes. Not only have we helped hundreds of couples plan authentic, truly unique elopement adventures – each of us at Adventure Instead eloped ourselves! We know first hand how good it feels to get married by planning a day true-to-you, centered on your love for each other, and without the stress and chaos of a big wedding.
Frequently Asked Questions About eloping in colorado
All the questions you’ve ever wanted to ask about how to elope – answered by us.
How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Colorado?
Short answer—As little or as much as you budget for!
Long answer—To get legally married in Colorado, you only need to get your hands on the $30 marriage certificate. However—assuming you want to celebrate a bit—you’re also going to want to budget for attire, activities, and any vendors you involve. We’ve spoken to hundreds of couples over the years, and helped plan hundreds of elopements—we’ve found that the average elopement costs between $5000-$15000.
The biggest factor to the cost of your elopement has to do with who you involve—which vendors, who you invite, and how elaborate your plans are. One of the benefits of working with an elopement photographer is that we wear a lot of hats—by that we mean that you don’t need a lot of the traditional wedding vendors (planner, venue, etc.) because the size of your event combined with the services we offer will naturally limit the size of your group. Please don’t misunderstand—vendors of all kinds do amazing work, and whether you want to hire anyone for your elopement celebration is 100% your choice. There is no one way to elope!
Who Should You Invite To Your Elopement?
Anyone you want!
We have plenty of ideas to help you plan an inclusive family wedding celebration.
Eloping isn’t about NOT including loved ones in your celebration. In fact, we’d argue that eloping is the best way to include loved ones in an authentic celebration that is stress-free, and where you get to spend genuine time with those present.
In fact, we disliked that elopements get so often mischaracterized so much that we wrote our own definition: An elopement is an intentionally small, intimate, meaningful, and authentic wedding experience that is a true reflection of your relationship where the focus of the day is really about the two of you.
You see, choosing to elope isn’t just about avoiding big-wedding stress or saving money—eloping is about intentionally choosing to craft a safe space to celebrate a huge milestone in your relationship with your partner. Whoever you want to stand beside you when this happens should feel welcome!
How Do I Get Permits?
Not every location requires permits in Colorado—but some of the most loved and well-known spots to elope require permits that need to be acquired well in advance.
Each of Colorado’s national parks, some wilderness areas, and other protected spaces require permits.
If you’re unsure if your location requires a permit—reach out! We’d love to offer our insight. Or, you can reach out to the local ranger district for more information. If you’re unsure how to find that information, Google “[NAME OF PLACE YOU WANT TO ELOPE] Ranger District Contact.”
How Do I Pack for My Colorado Elopement?
Something we get asked a lot is what the weather is like in Colorado, and how that affects elopements.
Many couples who travel here aren’t coming from mountainous regions and have never encountered a climate quite like this one.
Here’s a fun fact: It’s common to see snow in the mountains into JUNE!
That’s right—the spring season you’re used to actually doesn’t happen until summer here. So, because of this wild weather, it’s important that you’re prepared for the experience. Depending on the location and date you choose, we can offer location-specific advice. If you have a flexible date, we’ll also discuss with you the best time to be at your dream destination.
The weather here is also unpredictable, and pretty extreme. Because of this, no matter the time of year, we suggest that couples plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Some things you should pack for your Colorado elopement:
- Bug Spray
- Fleece-lined leggings (to wear under your attire)
- Sturdy footwear
- Gloves, hats, extra socks & items for staying warm/dry
- Medicine for altitude sickness
Colorado Marriage Laws & Legalities
A few must-know details about eloping in Colorado
There’s so much to love about eloping in Colorado—especially how easy it is to get married here. Because every state (and country) has different rules about getting married, it’s helpful to know before you decide on your location!
That’s right—you can marry yourselves in Colorado, no extra help needed. All you need to do is sign your own marriage license as an officiant—the rest is up to you.
In Colorado, you’re legally allowed to marry yourselves! That means you don’t need a witness, you don’t need an officiant—all you need is you, your partner, and your marriage license!
According to Colorado State Law, couples are legally allowed to officiate and act as their own witnesses for their wedding or elopement ceremonies. The best part? It’s all legal! All your responsible for is acquiring, completing, and returning the license to the appropriate county office of the clerk and recorder.
Want to be legally married on your elopement day in the wilderness in Colorado? Don’t stress about finding an officiant or witnesses—you don’t need ‘em. Sign as your own witnesses and your own officiant, have your friends do it, or have your pup sign with their pawprints (couples do it, you guys, and it rules!)
This is hands-down one of the most adorable ways to include your furbaby in your special day— we’ve seen it done!
Pick up a marriage license m-f at a nearby county clerk office, mail it back or drop it off in person after your ceremony
There is no waiting period for getting married in Colorado. That means you can apply for your license, get married, and turn it back in all in the same day if you want—there are no time issues to get in your way.
The license fee is only $30. Know that it might cost additional $$ if you plan to get married in an area that requires a permit.
Choosing Your Colorado Elopement Location
Choosing your elopement location is one of the most important decisions after deciding to get married. The only more important decision is your photographer! (Kidding, sort of). We have photographed and guided couples through hundreds of elopements in dozens of countries, and two of our team members live full-time in Colorado. So, you could say we know a few things about choosing the best elopement location!
Colorado is absolutely overflowing with best places to elope, no matter what kind of adventure you’re looking for. We could fill up infinite pages in endless books with all the breathtaking locations that live within Colorado, but for now, we’ll start with the best time of year to elope in Colorado.
The Best Time of Year to Elope in Colorado
Colorado has a full four seasons, and the mountain ranges that cover the state mean you can anticipate quickly-changing weather at any time of year. Depending on the kind of landscape and terrain you want, you’ll need to consider the season for accessibility & comfort. Many places in Colorado are accessible year-round, others are not. And those that are accessible through multiple seasons will have very different vibes depending on the time of year – all of these considerations will be part of the planning process as we narrow down the place for your elopement!
If you’ve never seen a Colorado fall, do yourself a favor and click here. Colorado aspen trees famously changes into magical shades of yellow and orange during the fall months. Want to see it in full swing? Head up into the mountains for a display of jaw-dropping fall colors. Color changing varies every year, but you can typically start seeing leaves change colors by mid-September through the beginning of October, depending where in the state you are.
Months: September – November
Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, aspen grove hunting
Though it technically begins at the end of March, you can anticipate winter weather lasting through April. Trails at higher elevations will likely still be snow packed through June— there’s something fun about snowshoeing in T-shirts at this time of year. Many of the high alpine passes aim to open the last weekend in May. When the snow melts in the spring, though, be ready for stunning wildflowers meadows everywhere you turn.
Months: March – June
Activities: Hiking, skiing, biking
Fresh powder, snowy sports, and all the winter wonderland magic you’ve been dreaming of. Colorado is a beautiful place to get married in the winter, especially if you’re adventurous! Be warned, though, it can get pretty chilly!
Months: November – April
Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing
Think bright, sunshiney, perfect weather for all the outdoor activites you’re dreaming of—hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, offroading, rock climbing (the list goes on and on). July and August are the warmest months in Colorado, but at high elevations it’s the most perfect temperature you could imagine!
Months: June – September
Activities: Hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, peak-bagging
Find Your Perfect
Colorado Elopement Location
To find your perfect Colorado elopement location, go through this tactile exercise
We promise it works! Start by grabbing a pen and piece of paper to write down notes as you go, because creating a list (as simple as it sounds) will always be our favorite way to plan! Then, follow these steps:
- Close your eyes and let your mind picture what you think of when someone says “elopement.” Maybe these images are inspired by pictures you’ve seen, or maybe you’re imagining places you’ve been or want to go!
- Write down the things you see that feel right and align with your elopement goals. Be as simple or specific as you want! (Example: mountains, trees, ocean. Or, sunset in a rocky desert with a warm breeze). This is about imagining paradise!
- Test out each of these places – imagine saying your vows in any location that might seem right. If there are one or more, create separate spaces to brainstorm on your piece of paper. Get as specific now as you can – let the mountaintop become a time of day, a season, or bring in details like plant life, smells, and guests.
- You’ve probably created lists for a couple options that seem great! But maybe only one works perfectly with the date you’ve chosen, or maybe logistically you can narrow down the list for other reasons. Even if this place doesn’t have a name, describe it to us! We’ll try and find the perfect place on Earth to turn this vision into a reality!
Finding the perfect elopement location requires a bit of soul searching, and maybe you already have a place in mind! Most of the time, choosing a location takes a few brainstorming sessions – we’ll talk about your favorite environments, the time of year you’d like to elope, what activities you want to do, and if you plan to invite any guests.
We’ve photographed elopements anywhere from Colorado to Namibia, and we’re down to go wherever you’re determined to say “I do.” Each of us has extensive travel experience and we always love seeing a new part of the world, so don’t hold back when we begin narrowing down your location! This is truly the perfect time to be honest when we ask, “if you could get married anywhere in the world, where would it be?”
OUR BEST PLACES
TO ELOPE IN COLORADO DATABASE
Snow-capped mountain peaks, rugged 4×4 roads, endless wildflower meadows, alpine lakes so blue they take your breath away—this is Colorado, and it’s the perfect place for adventurous couples who seek a captivating and jaw-dropping elopement experience. Colorado is an ideal elopement location for folks who love epic springtime blooms or frosty winter-coated mountains. Colorado is packed with a never-ending supply of outdoor activities—perfect for couples looking for a little adventure on their just us day, but Colorado is also known for its epic vistas, accessibility, and surprisingly diverse landscapes, from desert sand dunes to snowy 14ers all within the bounds of one state. Looking for adventure? Craving beautiful scenery? Love distinctive seasons? Colorado might be the perfect place for you and your love to commit your lives to each other.
Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about eloping in this magical state. From marriage laws and legalities (extra bonus: you can self-solemnize here!) to a seasonal weather breakdown, this page has all the Colorado knowledge you need to decide if this epic and beautiful state is perfect for your wildly different wedding experience
Elope in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park
Perhaps one of the first places that comes to mind when you think of Colorado. With over 265,000 acres, this vast area of wilderness has some of the most pristine views including Longs Peak (14er). There are endless hikes through here, alpine lakes, pine forests, rivers, streams and mountains for days. RMNP also had one of the longest and highest paved mountain roads in Colorado! Trail Ridge Road takes you between Estes Park and Grand Lake and is open during the summer season. It’s not uncommon to spot huge herds of elk here (especially in the Fall time during the rutting season), and even the occasional moose!
Maroon Bells / Aspen
Another iconic area in Colorado, famous for amazing sunrises amongst photographers from all over the world. “The Bells” have a unique red hue which is amplified at sunrise, and in the reflections of the lakes in front of the peaks. This area is popular for aspen trees, and just absolutely breathtaking. Though this is a popular spot, ask us how to best avoid crowds here! We have a few secret spots up our sleeves. In the winter time, this area is accessible by snow mobiles too!
At nearly 12,000 ft. in elevation, this mountain pass is accessible by 2wd vehicle year round. There are numerous trails to explore with 360 degree views. Pass Lake is another beautiful spot along this road that is accessible in the summer and fall.
San Juan Mountains
Some of our very favorite mountains in Colorado! Think Switzerland— super unique & jagged peaks! This area is AMAZING for hiking and off-roading! Truly, you could spend months exploring this area and still not get enough. The alpine lakes in this area have the bluest water in all of Colorado!
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes is a truly wild place– a heap of insanely tall mounds of sand right smack in the middle of snow capped mountains. There is no place else like it. You can run/slide down them, go sandboarding, even set up camp in the middle of them and stargaze. This is the perfect destination for those looking for a secluded, relaxing experience. There are great areas nearby for camping, and lots of eclectic home rentals in the nearby town of Crestone. Added bonus: there are nearby hot springs!
Colorado National Monument
All the Utah-desert feels but in Colorado! This little spot is often overlooked by other tourists, making it the perfect place to find your own spot to say your vows amongst the rocky cliff overlooks. Imagine all the warm desert colors, with epic mountains nearby.
Garden of the Gods
Another iconic, yet super unique area in Colorado. GOG is known for it’s towering red sandstone rock formations. There are beautiful trails you can hike through here, and numerous wedding ceremony locations like Sentinel Plaza, Three Graces Plaza, and Jaycee Plaza.
A beautiful overlook in Summit County that is a perfect spot for an elopement or intimate wedding. Sapphire Point sits above the Dillon Reservoir and is accessible year round. It’s about a 3 minute flat walk from the parking area, so it’s great if you have elderly guests attending. There are many hiking trails nearby, and some really fun mountain towns. This location is handicap accessible and a great option for an intimate wedding with guests that might not want to hike a mountain. 😉 Fun fact: this is where Tori got married!
Lost Gulch Overlook
A popular area for sunset. This easily accessible area is full of boulders that you can sit on the edge of and overlook all of Boulder’s foothills— it sort of looks and feels like a cliff edge. This overlook is located up Flagstaff Mountain, and there are tons of nearby trail options. If you drive up here during dusk or dawn, you’ll likely be able to spot some mule deer!
Located in Boulder Colorado, Chautauqua park has perfect views of the iconic Flatirons—five majestic rock formations at the base of the foothills. There are many hikes stemming from this park, and you can even continue driving up the hill to Flagstaff Mountain for even more amazing views and trailheads.
A great little outdoor “venue” overlooking Boulder, Colorado, especially if you will be bringing guests along to your intimate wedding! To access this beautiful overlook, you take the winding drive up Flagstaff Mountain. This area is handicap accessible and just a short walk from the parking area. You can reserve this ceremony site through Boulder County.
Mt. Evans is a mountain peak over 14,000 feet in elevation that you can hike OR DRIVE to the top of. If you love 360 endless mountain views, this is your spot. Along the drive you will also pass by a few lakes, ancient bristlecone pine trees, and it’s very likely you’ll bump into some mountain goats near the summit! Mt. Evans is accessible by vehicle between late-May and early-September.
This beautiful lake is located near Nederland, Colorado. There are numerous trails stemming from this area, trails that weave through pine forests, to various lakes. This is also a popular area to spot moose!
Not only is this area great in the winter for skiing, but there’s so much hiking and mountain bike trails in the Spring, Summer, and Fall as well! We also love this town for their amazing restaurants, shopping, laid-back feel, and abundance of fun rental properties. There is something for everyone here, making it a great destination for both intimate weddings and 2 person elopement getaways.
Dunton Hot Springs
Okay! If you’re looking for a more luxurious, yet still still rustic and stunning area to stay or get married–this is your spot! Just imagine yourself waking up, popping into your private hot spring outside of your cabin, and just taking in the mountain views and fresh air. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Another one of Colorado’s most stunning mountain towns, perfect for the outdoor enthusiast and popular among athletes. In CB you can find tons of amazing aspen groves, wildflowers galore, and beautiful snow capped mountains. This area is popular for skiing, mountain biking, and hiking. It also offers some top-notch restaurants and has free shuttle buses to get you around town. We love this mountain town, and everything it’s about!
Black Canyon of Gunnison NP
Probably one of the most underrated parks/areas in all of Colorado. This steep gorge seems to come out of nowhere! In one day you can be at the top overlooking the edge, and make your way down to the bottom and look up for a totally different perspective.
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Located in Western Colorado, this jaw-dropping + unique scenic area is a great option for couples who are interested in getting out on the water for their wedding day, or posting up on the shore and taking in the beautiful views. There’s great camping and fishing in this area! Fun fact: Recently there were dinosaur bones discovered here.
Vail is known for its massive ski resort, but this area has so much more to offer than that year round! Vail is perfect for a snowmobile themed elopement–It’s a ridiculously fun idea for winter elopements! You can zip through the mountains and pick a totally unique location for your ceremony. Fun will be had by all on these machines.
This beautiful mountain town is amazing to visit year round! From skiing and snowboarding at Telluride Resort in the winter, to hiking and off-roading in the summer. They also have their gondolas running year round which is a great way to get guests up to the top of the mountain for your intimate wedding. Nearby are some incredible lakes, a Via-Ferrata (if you’re looking for an activity that will get your adrenaline pumping), waterfalls, and some of the craziest 4×4 roads Colorado has to offer. We LOVE the mountains out here, and are so inspired by this area. We think you will be too. Telluride tends to be a more upscale mountain town, but nearby is Ouray which has a more laid-back mining town feel if that’s more your style.
Located near Fort Collins (a wonderful town filled with delicious restaurants, bars, fun shops, and *so many* breweries)! This large recreational reservoir has beautiful red rocks, stunning ridges and overlooks, and lots of campsites. Nearby is Horsetooth Rock– a great hike! Rocky Mountain National Park is only about a 1 hour drive from here too, so it’s a great stop for a multi-location elopement day. Since Horsetooth Reservoir is at a lower elevation, there is typically a lot less snow during the winter months than you would see up at higher elevations. July + August are the hottest months here, but a perfect time to get out on the water too.
Ready to begin
You can Download The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Elopement to begin digging deep into your own goals for your wedding celebration, or contact us so we can help you narrow down your options!
If you’re looking for further information on elopements, check out this blog all about the cost of elopements & how you can budget for an epic day!
Or, check out this blog full of small wedding ideas!
We firmly believe you deserve to celebrate your marriage in whatever way feels perfectly you – maybe you’ve found inspiration here that’s pointed you in the right direction, or maybe you vision something else entirely!
Whatever your goals, reach out! We can’t wait to hear all about your dream elopement adventure!
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