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 To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park outside Estes Park, Colorado, you must apply for a permit and choose from their list of designated sites, including 3M Curve, Bear Lake, and Sprague Lake. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead Elopement Photographers.

Why you should Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in northern Colorado, about an hour north of Denver. The town of Estes Park is located on the eastern edge of the park and Grand Lake is on the west. The park is known for a variety of lakes, hiking trails, and a wide variety of wildlife. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. with over 4 million visitors a year. One of the park’s more famous attractions is a drive up Trail Ridge Road, which is over 12,000 feet in altitude at the top. The closest town to Rocky Mountain National Park is Estes Park and most visitors enter through Estes Park. If you’re planning a destination elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park, look at Estes Park, Allenspark and Lyons as possible places to stay. Or consider camping in one of the many campgrounds in RMNP.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park elopements because of the stunning mountain scenery that surrounds most of the ceremony sites and the easy access to beautiful lakes and water features. It is a quintessentially “Colorado” place to elope.

 To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park outside Estes Park, Colorado, you must apply for a permit and choose from their list of designated sites, including 3M Curve, Bear Lake, and Sprague Lake. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead Elopement Photographers.

What to Know about Rocky Mountain National Park:

Rocky Mountain National Park is VERY busy, especially from the 1st of June to the 1st of October. The park is open 24/7, 365 days of the year but know that you won’t be totally alone for your elopement ceremony. Even winter weekends are busy so plan to elope on a weekday, no matter what time of year you’re planning your ceremony for.

Because of the large volume of people who visit Rocky Mountain National Park each summer, there is a shuttle system from June through September.

Temperatures in Colorado can vary widely depending on the time of year, and the elevation you’re at at. Weather also changes quickly, especially at high altitude, so be sure you’re prepared for whatever the day may bring. Plan to dress in layers.

4WD vehicles are not required but are recommended on some roads in the winter as roads can get icy. Winter also brings heavy snow which might cut off certain trails. No hiking trails every close throughout the year though and there are many places for winter hiking, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.

Pets in Rocky Mountain National Park can be seen as prey by the larger animals that frequent the area. You can bring them on paved roads and in campgrounds and picnic areas but pets are not allowed on hiking trails at all.

 To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park outside Estes Park, Colorado, you must apply for a permit and choose from their list of designated sites, including 3M Curve, Bear Lake, and Sprague Lake. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead Elopement Photographers.

How to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park:

To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park, you must apply for a $200 permit for your specific day, time and location. To apply, fill out the application available on the Rocky Mountain National Park website and email it. You do not need an additional permit to cover your elopement photographer. You can apply for a permit up to one year before your ceremony.

Once you have your permit for your elopement ceremony, you may take photos at other places inside the park. If you go up on tundra, you cannot go where there is not a designated trail or overlook. Inside Rocky Mountain National Park, there is no throwing of confetti, no releasing of anything, no planting and no chairs at any of the sites. Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater does have rustic wooden benches if you need seating for your ceremony guests. Also generators and amplifiers are not allowed at your elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park.

There are twelve designated wedding and elopement sites in Rocky Mountain National Park. You must elope at one of the twelve sites, even if you are a two person self solemnizing elopement. There are no hiking elopements permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park. The designated elopement sites are available from sunrise to sunset and based on the size of your elopement. Your elopement size includes any guests (including children) as well as your officiate and photographers. No site is exclusively yours and park programs or events might be happening at the same time in the same general area.

Let your guests know that normal park entrance fees apply for all vehicles. Because of the high volume of traffic for RMNP, it is recommended that you carpool and take the least number of vehicles necessary.

Don’t plan to use park visitor centers, restrooms or other buildings as part of your getting ready preparations during your elopement ceremony day, even in the cases of bad weather like a summer thunderstorm or winter snow storm.

To arrange your ceremony or get more details, call Kristen Moody at 970-586-1209 or Ellie Geis at 970-586-1482. They are typically available Tuesday-Friday and every other Saturday.

How to elope in Rocky mountain national park

RMNP Ceremony Site

What to Know About Eloping
at This RMNP Ceremony Site

Maximum Ceremony Size

This is your perfect site if...

Elopements We’ve Photographed Here


3M Curve or Longs Peak Viewpoint

3M Curve in RMNP is a little over three miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, which is the park headquarters. It’s a stunning ceremony site with a large rock outcrop and views of both high mountains and grassy meadows. There’s not a lot of parking available (only 3 vehicles can be there at a time) so plan to carpool!

15

+ you’re looking for an easily accessible spot

+ you want the quintessential “RMNP” experience with mountains and meadows


Alluvial Fan Bridge

The Alluvial Fan Bridge ceremony site in Rocky Mountain National Park is about 7 miles from the main headquarters of the park, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. It’s very busy during the summer months and is a popular part of the park but it’s easy to see why. The Roaring River snakes through the site with large boulders, a waterfall and a wooden foot bridge. A bonus of this ceremony site is it’s restrooms nearby.

20

+ you want to be near a river

+ you want a waterfall

+ you want a bridge


Bear Lake Nature Trail

Bear Lake Nature Trail is a beautiful spot for an elopement ceremony. It sits right on Bear Lake, surrounded by aspen trees and with beautiful mountain views of the Colorado Rockies. It’s busy year round and no weddings are permitted on weekends at any time or from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend until Columbus Day in early October.

20

+ you want to be near a lake

+ you want lots of aspen trees


Copeland Lake (Wild Basin Area)

The Copeland Lake wedding ceremony site boasts mountain views from the lake as well as a forested area nearby. There are also restrooms at this site! The entrance is the Wild Basin Entrance Station off Highway 7, north of Allenspark. Only ten vehicles are permitted from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend in May through Columbus Day in early October.

50

+ you want a large space with room for lots of guests at your elopement

+ you want mountain views and a forest


Harbison Meadow Picnic Area (West Side near Grand Lake)

Harbison Meadow’s is on the west side of the park near the Kawuneeche Visitor’s Center and the Grand Lake Entrance Station. It’s a large meadow with a lot of wildlife and beautiful mountain views since it’s adjacent to Trail Ridge Road. There is a limit of ten vehicles from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend in May until Columbus Day in early October.

60

+ you want a higher chance of seeing wildlife

+ you want to drive over Trail Ridge Road after your elopement


Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley is part of a picnic area. While your ceremony can’t occupy picnic sites, you can take advantage of beautiful forests of aspens and pines as well as wildflowers in the summer. Hidden Valley is wheelchair accessible and has restrooms, making it an easy choice if you’re having guests at your elopement. Be sure to call to check for availability at this one!

100 (specific times)

20 (anytime)

+ you want forests nearby of aspen and pine trees

+ you want a wheelchair accessible elopement ceremony location

+ you want easy access to restrooms


Lily Lake Dock

Lily Lake Dock is off of Hwy 7 about 6 miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor’s Center, the main headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park. Lily Lake Dock sits on the edge of a lake as the name suggests with 360° mountain views. There’s also restrooms and a wheelchair accessible trail nearby. Since the space gets crowded, there is a vehicle limit of 10 from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day.

10

+ you want 360° mountain views

+ you want to be close to water

+ you want easy access to restrooms

+ you want a wheelchair accessible elopement location


Lily Lake Trail

Lily Lake Southside Picnic Area

Lily Lake Trail and the Lily Lake Southside Picnic Area are close to Lily Lake Dock. The wheel chair accessible trail is 7.25 miles with mountain views. Climbing the knoll will give you a beautiful lake overlook and lots of aspen trees. You’ll need access to drive a vehicle or two to the site, which also costs a $50 fee. The site is very popular so a vehicle limit of 10 applies from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day.

20

60

+ you want variety in your photos and you’re not afraid to climb a little to get it

+ you want a wheelchair accessible elopement location

+ you want to be close to water


Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater

The Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater is a short distance from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Bear Lake Road. The amphitheater is rustic with wooden benches but has lots of pines trees surrounding it as well as a view of Moraine Park and Longs Peak. Since the space is popular, there is a limit of 10 vehicles and 60 guests from the Friday before Memorial Day until Columbus Day in early October.

60 summer

100 winter

+ you want something close to the park headquarters

+ you want built in seating

+ you want pine trees


Sprague Lake

The Sprague Lake ceremony site in Rocky Mountain National Park has dramatic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. It also boasts a dock, knoll for a higher vantage point and a wooden foot bridge. There are restrooms nearby as well as picnic areas but an elopement cannot occupy the picnic sites. Sprauge Lake is popular and very busy and there is a ceremony size and vehicle limit from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend in early May until early October after Columbus Day.

15 summer

30 winter

+ you want to be near water

+ you want easy access to restrooms

+ you want variety for photos


Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater

Located on the west side of the park, Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater is near the entrance of Trail Ridge Road. There are partial views of the Colorado River and a large campground nearby. This site is wheelchair accessible but is popular and has limited parking.

20

+ you want to drive over Trail Ridge Road after your elopement

+ you want a wheelchair accessible elopement location

+ you want to be near a campground


Upper Beaver Meadows

Upper Beaver Meadows is very close to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, only about a mile up the road. This ceremony spot is part of a large open meadow and has great views of the Continental Divide. There are also restrooms nearby. Unfortunately, there is no vehicle access in the winter.

60

+ you want to be close to the park’s main headquarters

+ you want a large open meadow

+ you want easy access to restrooms

+ you’re eloping in the summer or don’t need a vehicle in the winter

 To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park outside Estes Park, Colorado, you must apply for a permit and choose from their list of designated sites, including 3M Curve, Bear Lake, and Sprague Lake. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead Elopement Photographers.
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We're Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We are adventurous elopement photographers & guides based in Colorado that travel worldwide to help fearless couples like you create your unforgettable, wildly different wedding experience—that is completely yours.

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If you would like help dreaming up your intimate wedding day, a customized elopement location idea list just for you, planning tools, vendor recommendations, and a creative, laid-back, documentary approach to your adventurous wedding photography—we would love to help you make your adventure elopement dreams come true.

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