Colorado Elopement Guide: Best Locations, Planning Tips, & More!

Dreaming of a wedding day in Colorado that’s all about you & your love story? Eloping in Colorado offers the perfect blend of adventure, intimacy, & mountain scenery. Imagine exchanging vows for your elopement in Colorado against the backdrop of towering mountains, alpine lakes, or lush wildflower meadows. Colorado has it all when it comes to elopement locations, even including deserts! Even though Colorado has become more popular with elopements, there are countless secluded spots that you can enjoy a private & personal celebration. As a seasoned Colorado elopement photographer, I’m here to help you discover those hidden gems & craft an unforgettable elopement experience. Location scouting & personalized recommendations for elopements are part of what I offer with Colorado elopement packages. This guide will help you plan the perfect Colorado elopement, covering top locations, legal requirements, & some insider tips from all the years I’ve spent in Colorado.

Colorado Elopement Photography

If you’re searching for elopement photography in Colorado that truly stands out, you’ve come to the right place. My colorful & vibrant style captures the joy & beauty of your special day against Colorado’s epic landscapes. Scroll down to see how I can bring your dream elopement to life & help plan every detail!

How to Elope in Colorado

There is so much to see and do, you’ll want a full day Colorado elopement experience to explore! Elopements can be so much more than just some vows & an hour or so of quick photos. Your elopement can be an amazing all day experience! Start with getting ready, incorporate a first look, say your vows someplace amazing, & have an amazing adventure by hiking, rock climbing, off-roading in a Jeep, on a snowmobile, or hit up the ski slopes! End your day with a meal by a private chef & chill in some hot springs. It’s up to you to make your elopement day in Colorado truly special. An all-day elopement in Colorado is easy because there is so much to do in Colorado!

If you’re looking for quality vendors for your elopement in Colorado, keep in mind that Colorado is a more expensive state to live in & vendors do have to charge more to make a living. Many locations require that photographers, videographers, & other vendors pay permit fees for each year or for each elopement. The cost of living in on the rise with Colorado being a popular location, so just keep this in mind when looking for Colorado wedding vendors!

Bride and groom embrace during their elopement in Silverton in the mountains.
Backpacking elopement in Western Colorado at an alpine lake in the mountains

“How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Colorado?”

It can cost around $5,000-$15,000 to elope in Colorado. This would include travel, lodging, an elopement photographer, & other miscellaneous expenses. Of course you can spend more or less than this amount, it is different for every couple!

Getting to & Traveling in Colorado for Your Elopement

If you’re eloping in Colorado & live outside of Colorado, Denver is one of the larger international airports & usually has good domestic & international flight deals. If you’re eloping in other areas of Colorado, there are also regional airports that have connecting flights to Denver. If you are eloping in western Colorado, Grand Junction is a good airport to fly into. I love using Google Flights & Kayak when looking for flight deals. The feature I love about both of these sites is that they have calendar view options that show a range of dates with the cheapest pricing options for flights into Colorado available.

Off-roading elopement in Colorado in a Toyota Tacoma.
Off-roading in Colorado for your elopement can get you to some really cool & remote destinations without a ton of hiking

Driving Colorado’s Roads

When traveling in the state, be prepared for driving on mountain roads. It may not be an issue at all depending on exactly where you are planning to go, but some mountain roads can be a little rough, steep, narrow, & honestly a little nerve-wracking to those not used to driving in the mountains. If you’re eloping in the winter, be sure to be familiar with Colorado’s passenger traction laws.

The information from CDOT states: “All motorists are required to either have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, or (for two-wheel drive vehicles) snow tires or all-weather tires with a mud/snow designation. Tread depth on all tires must be at least 3/16″ regardless of vehicle type. Vehicles that do not meet these criteria must carry chain devices or alternative traction devices such as an AutoSock. The law focuses on passenger vehicles, as commercial vehicles have their own restrictions. It is unlawful to proceed when a state highway is closed or to proceed when a restriction is in effect without the required traction equipment.”

Two grooms kiss during their elopement day in Breckenridge, Colorado.
At higher elevations, it can snow during any month of the year in Colorado!

Colorado Elopements can Take a Bit More Planning

There are many things that go into eloping here which is why elopement planning is so important. Backups are always needed! Weather, trail closures, rock slides, blizzards, & more can affect your original plans for an elopement. You also need to know how long it might to hike a certain trail or how long it’ll take to drive a remote mountain road so you can properly plan your timeline. Popular areas & crowds might affect where you decide to elope & it can be hard to know these things if you’re not familiar with the areas.

Groom wipes away tears from his bride during their vows at their Telluride, Colorado wedding in the mountains.

A good plan is also important because once you get far off the interstate into the mountains or if you head into one of the national parks, you probably won’t have cell phone service. And you’ll likely be a long ways from cell phone service range. Be sure you download any needed information to your phone & have physical maps or maps downloaded to your phone. You may also want to bring a battery backup charger for your phone. You can download offline maps on Google maps, but an even better app to use is This app works much better offline & even has many of the trails & other public lands marked.

And eloping in Colorado doesn’t always have to involve hiking. You can snowshoe or ski if it is winter. If physical activity isn’t really your thing, your adventurous wedding day can involve a snowmobile tour, hiring a Jeep driver, renting an ATV, or taking a private helicopter ride! You can adventure your way & have a truly epic time, even if you’re not into hiking!

Bride and groom cross a stream during their hiking elopement in Silverton, Colorado.

Gearing Up for Your Elopement in Colorado

You’ll definitely want to dress up for a winter elopement, but what about the rest of the seasons? Hiking before sunrise or after sunset can get kind of chilly even during the summer months in the mountains. Even hiking during the middle of day in the shadow of a mountain can get a little chilly. The sunshine makes spring and fall days feel warm, but it cools down once you are in the shade. I always recommend layers & be prepared for snow.

The right gear such as backbacks, headlamps, hiking shoes, poles, water filters, & other gear can make all the difference for your adventure elopement in Colorado.

Heels are ok for flat, even terrain but literally nothing is flat or even about the natural outdoor areas in Colorado! Hiking boots or hiking shoes are highly recommended. Not only for function, but also for safety. You don’t want to sprain an ankle or slip on a ledge on your wedding day. Besides, you can totally rock those hiking boots in a wedding dress or suit!

People will love seeing you in your suit, dress, romper, or whatever you decide to wear for your elopement. Rock those hiking boots in a wedding dress & show off your awesome bouquet because people will love it! Expect a lot of congratulations when you’re out & about. Tourists might be surprised whereas locals might have seen this sort of thing a time or two before.

Marriage Laws in the State of Colorado

Colorado is one of the easiest states to get married in. If you’re looking for how to get married in Colorado, there really isn’t much to it! All you really need is to go to a courthouse to get a marriage license. You don’t even need an officiant or witnesses to legally get married in Colorado! This is called “self solemnizing” where you can basically marry yourselves in Colorado without the need for anyone else.

Bride and groom laugh during funny vows during an elopement in Boulder, Colorado in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

You Don’t Need an Officiant to Legally Get Married

Did you know that you can get married in Colorado without an officiant or celebrant? You can legally marry yourselves without the need for anyone else there. This makes eloping in Colorado at remote locations easier as you don’t need to rely on other people to marry you. Your kids or even your dog can sign your marriage license if you are getting married in Colorado. This can make for a very fun & memorable keepsake of your elopement.

You Don’t Need Witnesses to Get Married

You don’t even need witnesses to get married in Colorado. If you want to get married in the most private & intimate way possible, self-solemnizing in Colorado might be for you. At sunrise or at remote locations, it’s not always easy to find people to be your officiant or witnesses. And guess what? Your dog can even sign your marriage license with their pawprint in Colorado!

Dog signing a marriage license in Colorado during an elopement.
Yes! Your dog can sign your marriage license in Colorado!

It’s Easy to Get a Marriage License in Colorado 

In Colorado it is easy to get married & to get a marriage license. You need to go to a county courthouse to get your marriage license. Then you just mail it back or drop it off after your ceremony. There are no waiting periods & the fee is only $30 for marriage licenses in Colorado. Learn more about self solemnizing & marriage licenses in Colorado.

Colorado Elopement Locations in the Mountains

The great thing about outdoor adventure elopements is that you don’t need a venue. There are outdoor locations in Colorado where you can accommodate having guests at your elopement. However, the less guests you have, the more location options that open up. There are many places in the national parks, national forests, & BLM land that are gorgeous adventure elopement locations.

Colorado has four different national parks throughout the state. There is Rocky Mountain near Estes Park, Mesa Verde near Cortez, Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, & Black Canyon of the Gunnison near Montrose. The national monuments throughout the state are Colorado National Monument, Browns Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients, Chimney Rock, Florissant Fossil Beds, Hovenweep, Yucca House, & Dinosaur National Monument. The national heritage areas in Colorado are Cache la Poudre River, Sangre De Cristo, & South Park.

Elopement in western Colorado near Telluride at a waterfall in the mountains.

If you’re eloping in Colorado, you probably want some amazing views of the various landscapes. Luckily, many mountain top locations are easy to get to. Ski resorts have lifts & gondolas that sometimes run both in the winter & the summer. Other high alpine locations such as Loveland Pass are easy to drive right up to. The front range & all along I-70 is where most people tend to go in Colorado. But if you head way out west, you’ll discover some beautiful & unexpected areas of Colorado! Helping couples elope in the San Juan Mountains is one of my favorite things to do. The San Juan Mountains have some of the bluest lakes in Colorado, along with mountains that are completely red. The arches, red rocks, canyons, mesas, & book cliffs are also all out in western Colorado.

Want to elope with your dog in Colorado? Colorado is one of the most dog friendly states! Some of the national parks aren’t as dog friendly. But the national forests & other public lands are pretty much all open to dogs. And did you know, your dog can even “sign” as a witness if you self solemnize in Colorado?!

More than Just Mountains for Elopement Locations

Colorado is definitely famous for its mountains, but there are also so many different types of landscapes. Grand Mesa is not a typical mountain, but it is the largest flat top mountain in the world. Aside from mountains, Colorado has deep canyons such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the Unaweep Canyon, & Tabeguache Canyon. Mesas & book cliffs are some unique landscapes of western Colorado such as areas around Palisade & Mount Garfield. Utah & Arizona are not the only places to find red rock, Colorado has quite a bit as well & even has red mountains. Colorado also has red rock arches like Moab!

Rattlesnake Canyon in western Colorado has some of the largest concentrations of arches outside of Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. They are a little harder to get to & require driving on some dirt roads or hiking quite a ways through some remote parts of Colorado’s desert. If you want to elope with arches in the background but avoid the crowds of Moab, Colorado might be your answer!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top elopement locations in the United States & probably in the world. Trail Ridge Road takes you up to an elevation of over 12,000 feet. You’ll drive up to the top & be surrounded by alpine meadows with views of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. There are many roads throughout the park that take you to beautiful areas that are easy to access. Wildlife, such as elk, is abundant in the park. Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular location for eloping in Colorado, but don’t rule out other areas!

One of the downsides to Rocky Mountain National Park is that it is so popular & requires a more expensive permit that costs $300. So many people visit the park during spring through fall that there can be traffic jams & parking lots will be full. Many people hear about how beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park is, but don’t think to look beyond the park. There are many, even more beautiful locations all throughout Colorado! Colorado is literally full of mountains & has the highest average elevation of any state in the United States.

Boulder, Colorado

Just northwest of Denver lies Boulder. It’s much smaller than Denver but still is a bigger city & has a lot to offer. Boulder is situated right outside of the front range of Colorado. With such a close proximity to Denver, it can be a busy area. The Boulder Open Space is a regional park in the area operated by the city of Boulder. Popular elopement locations in the area include Chautauqua Park, The Flatirons, Flagstaff Mountain, & the Sunrise Amphitheater. The Indian Peaks Wilderness near Ward also isn’t too far from Boulder. Most of the areas around Boulder do require some sort of permit but the rules can vary depending on who manages the land. This area is popular & busy, so sunrise & weekdays are usually best to beat the crowds.

Dillon Reservoir & Keystone

The Dillon Reservoir is a large body of water located just off I-70 near Dillon, Frisco, & Keystone. The lake has many hiking trails & offers great views of the surrounding mountains. In these communities, there are a lot of options for things to do. For an elopement at the Dillon Reservoir, you could even take a boat out onto the water! Keystone is located near Loveland Pass which is another popular spot for elopements. The pass offers easy access to those “top of the world” mountain views & remains open year round.

Mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge is a popular ski town in Colorado but it is such an amazing place to explore during the summer as well! Hoosier Pass, Boreas Road, & the lakes in the area are some favorite elopement locations in Colorado. But don’t just stick to these areas. There are many hiking trails & other roads to explore that can take you to less popular & beautiful locations. Breckenridge is also not far from Fairplay which also offers some great mountain & valley elopement locations in Colorado. There are less areas in Breckenridge that require permits for photography or for elopements, but always be sure to do your research.

Adventure elopement in Breckenridge, Colorado at Boreas Pass

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is one of the most popular elopement locations in Colorado along with Rocky Mountain National Park & the Estes Park area. There is no permit required for smaller elopements & it has great views with the unique red rocks. It is a beautiful park but at certain times of the year, it can be very popular so be sure to talk to a Colorado photographer that can help you plan for the best times.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes are pretty cool & are unique because these dunes are the tallest dunes on the entire continent of North America at over 750 feet tall! The dunes don’t look like much from the distance, but when you can get up close & personal with them, they are quite impressive! If you want to elope in the Great Sand Dunes, be prepared to get sand everywhere! Keep in mind that if you want to elope in Great Sand Dunes National Park, there are two permits that are needed. You will need a permit for your ceremony, & your photographer will also need a separate permit.

Maroon Bells & Aspen, Colorado

The Maroon Bells are a set of mountains that have long been an iconic landmark of Colorado. If you want to elope at the Maroon Bells, there is an amphitheater you can reserve but this usually books up at least a year in advance. There are trails around the lake where you can go, & as long as you don’t have more than a few guests, no permits are required. However, reservations for vehicles or shuttles are required & the road is only open from about May through October. The Maroon Bells can be accessed during the winter months but it does take a bit more work. You can access the area by taking a snowmobile, snowcat, or by cross country skiing or snowshoeing in on the 12 mile round trip trail. Aspen also has the ski resort & various other hiking trails, lakes, & mountains that make for great elopement locations in Colorado.

Crested Butte- the Wildflower Capital

Just about 11 miles from Aspen lies Crested Butte, tucked away in the mountains of the the West Elks. Although only 11 miles away as the crow flies, there is no direct way to get from place to place by car so it takes 3+ hours to drive around the mountains! Crested Butte is known as a picture perfect little mountain town & is also the wildflower capital of Colorado. With some of the most beautiful hiking trails, endless fields of wildflowers, great places to stay, & a colorful little downtown, it’s no wonder more people are wanting to elope in Crested Butte! Just 30 minutes down the road is Gunnison, Colorado. Gunnison has less mountains & more volcanic hills along with rocky cliffs & canyons that lead to Blue Mesa.

Sunrise elopement in Crested Butte, Colorado

Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa is the second largest body of water in Colorado. The Navajo Reservoir is the largest but also extends into New Mexico. So Blue Mesa is the largest located fully in Colorado. The Curecanti National Recreation Area manages the reservoir & the land around it. Blue Mesa makes a great location for an elopement on or near the water. You can rent a house boat or jet skis, take canoes, kayaks, or paddle boards out onto the lake, or hike along the shores. Currently, Curecanti National Recreation Area does not require permits for elopements with few to no guests. But always be sure to double check!

Red Rock Desert of Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument doesn’t have the typical scenery that you’d expect from a Colorado location. There’s no mountains, lakes, or trees. Colorado National Monument is actually more similar to the deserts of Moab! This national monument is a great location if you want a little something different for an elopement location in Colorado. With red rocks, impressive cliffs & canyons, cactus, & easy access to some great views, this offers a great desert location for your elopement. Special use permits are required & cost $150.

Foggy elopement at Colorado National Monument

Grand Mesa Flattop Mountain

Many people who visit Colorado never hear of Grand Mesa, but it is actually the largest flat top mountain in the world. It also contains Colorado’s highest concentration of moose with an estimated 500 moose that call this area home. With over 300 (yes, 300!) lakes & miles of streams & rivers, Grand Mesa is really an overlooked gem of Colorado. There aren’t massive mountain peaks close by, but there is a lot of greenery, trees, wildflowers, & a lot of trails to explore. It also remains open year round & has some great cross country ski & snowmobile trails for a winter elopement.

Ouray, Colorado

Ouray is probably my all time favorite town in Colorado! And it’s not just the town, it is right in the San Juan Mountains & the mountains go straight up right out of town which just makes them look that much more impressive. With options for ice climbing, rock climbing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, & Jeeping just minutes outside of town, there’s no shortage of places to go & things to do. Elopements in Ouray can be anything from extra adventurous to easy to access mountain roads. If you’re looking for epic mountains, Ouray is one of the best choices for locations in Colorado!

Ouray, Colorado mountain top elopement at sunrise.
Sunrise hiking & jeeping elopement in the San Juan Mountains near Ouray, Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon is very close to places like Blue Mesa & the San Juan Mountains, so it is often overlooked as an elopement location. The steep impressive walls of this canyon make for some beautiful views. The Gunnison River carves through the bottom of the canyon & sunrise & sunset can really be amazing. The hikes & viewpoints at the top or the bottom offer some really unique views in Colorado. Currently, Black Canyon does not require permits for very small, two person elopements.

Ridgway State Park & Reservoir

Ridgway State Park is located between Montrose & Ridgway in western Colorado. With its turquoise blue waters & views of both the Cimarron & Sneffels Mountain ranges, & sailboats on the water, it’s a pretty stunning backdrop! Ridgway State Park can also accommodate a larger amount of guests at their reservable group event facilities. It’s also located close to Owl Creek Pass which can make for another great location for elopements in the Ridgway area.

Elopement ceremony at the overlook deck at Ridgway State Park

Telluride & the San Juan Mountains

Telluride is one of the more popular towns in the San Juan Mountains due to more amenities, hotels, & its large ski resort. Telluride offers a variety of elopement locations that can be accessed by Jeep or by hiking. The mountains in the area are stunning, waterfalls dot the mountainsides, & many alpine lakes are nearby. Be sure to explore other areas such as Mountain Village & Ophir for other amazing views. Telluride is a great place to stay to explore the surrounding areas if you like fancy hotels & high-end AirBnBs.

Adventure elopement in Telluride, Colorado with summer wildflowers.
Elopement in the mountains of Telluride, Colorado

Silverton, Colorado

Silverton is just over the mountains from Telluride. It’s a little bit of a quieter town with less tourists but it is the hot spot for ATVs, UTVs, Jeeps, & other off road vehicles. Multiple mountain passes, incredible alpine lakes, waterfalls, & more are located right outside of Silverton. Some of my all time favorite elopement locations in Colorado are around the Silverton area. There are less people & endless location options for incredible views & more privacy for your elopement day!

Deserts of Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument is located in the northwestern part of Colorado & also extends into Utah. It’s a much less visited area & has many cliffs, red rocks, & a river running through it. It also features a wall with dinosaur bones! It’s not the typical mountain location that is common in Colorado. The monument is a good location fall through spring, but can get hot during the middle of the summer. Permits are also required & cost $100.

Permits for Elopements in Colorado

Locations throughout Colorado usually require permits for weddings, elopements, & even general photography. Permits can be anywhere from $50-$300. And some locations don’t require permits at all. It is always important to thoroughly check if your location requires permits. Always assume that the location requires permits until you hear otherwise from an official source. Colorado is very strict on permits & part of my job as an elopement photographer is to help you with the entire process.

While surrounded by red rock in a canyon, a couple kisses while standing on top of their 4Runner.
Western Colorado has beautiful red rock canyons & deserts

Colorado Elopement Packages

Elopements in Colorado take a bit more planning because there are just SO MANY options! I love living in Colorado because it means I get to spend every single day exploring all that Colorado has to offer. Want to elope at a hidden waterfall? I got you. Need a dog friendly elopement location? Let’s do it! Feel the need to explore an alpine lake on pack rafts? Heck yeah!

“What is included in your Colorado elopement packages?”

Locations & permits: Colorado has so many great locations for elopements, but it is also a popular place. I’m here to help! With these Colorado elopement packages, I give each couple their own personalized location idea list, complete with access info, elevations, leave no trace info specific to the area, mileage, estimated privacy of the locations, proximity to towns, & other important info. Permits can also be confusing at first, but I’ve dealt with it all & help with any needed permits.

Planning resources: Once booked, you’ll get access to my library of info & guides that are exclusively available only to booked clients. There are over 120+ pages of info available to you! You don’t have to use it all, look through the guides, take & use the information that you need. And I’m always here to answer your questions via text, email, phone call, or video chat. We can have as many planning consultations as you need!

Vendor & activity recommendations: I want to get to know you a bit so I can suggest the best vendors & activities for your day. I can help with private chefs, florists, videographers, Jeep rentals, guiding services, lodges to stay at, campgrounds, musicians, & more. Activities can make your day fun & you can have the chance to do something you’ve never done before!

Online gallery & print shop: You’ll get access to all your high resolution digital photos in a secure online gallery. The photos in your elopement package come with print release so you are free to share, download, & post your photos. The gallery also has a print shop attached so you can order albums & prints from professional photography labs.

Average price: Couples tend to spend between $5,000-$15,000 for their elopement in Colorado for all vendors, permits, & other costs such as off-roading transportation rentals.

Let’s talk more about what your elopement day can be!

View Some Galleries from Colorado Elopements & Sessions

When to Elope in Colorado

Colorado weather is effected a lot by the valleys & mountains. Storms build up against the mountains & can release with great force. The landscapes can make storms suddenly change or shift direction. If you’re coming in spring, don’t always expect spring weather. In fact, one year we had snowstorms on the first day of summer! With elopements in Colorado, you need someone who knows the area, knows the weather, & you need to have a backup plan or be able to come up with one quickly in case of weather.

Spring in Colorado

When you think of spring, you might think of warmer weather and flowers. While warmer weather is here during the spring in Colorado, it takes a long time for the snow to melt at higher elevations. This delays things like trees getting leaves and wildflowers blooming. When planning an outdoor elopement in Colorado with driving or hiking, you have to know the area and what trails may be harder to access because of snow. In some places the snow doesn’t melt until June and some areas even have patches of snow year round!

Things to bring in spring:

• Warm clothes & layers

• Lighter traction devices for your shoes like Yaktrax

• Water & mud proof hiking shoes or boots

Summer in Colorado

Summer is one of the best seasons to elope in Colorado because the weather is mild and somewhat more predictable. Many people think of summer as being very hot and uncomfortable. But summer in the Colorado mountains is actually very mild and quite comfortable. Spring also comes late to the mountains. A lot of the wildflowers actually bloom in summer instead of spring because the snow takes a long time to melt.

One thing you should note is the summer thunderstorms. The storms that do come through, come through quickly. Many times summer thunderstorms are almost predictable during the so called “monsoon season”. During the summer, it will rain almost every day in the mountains. The rain usually comes in the early to mid afternoon. The storms in summer come through quick & fast. So if you can ride out a quick storm, you’ll be good to go after it passes.

Things to bring in summer:

• Umbrellas & rain gear

• Lighter weight hiking boots or hiking shoes

• A jacket or coat that can be packed away

Bride and groom get married at an alpine lake in the mountains during their elopement in Colorado.
Summer & fall are the best time for eloping at alpine lakes in Colorado

Fall in Colorado

If you’ve never seen fall colors in Colorado, they truly are a sight to behold! We actually have an unofficial holiday in Colorado called “color Sunday” on the last Sunday of every September. This is usually around the best time to see fall colors in Colorado. The aspens change colors with the seasons & even locals search for this so called aspen gold. Fall colors are very dependent on weather in Colorado and turn depending on temperatures. Because of this, higher elevations start the color change sooner.

Things to bring in fall:

• Layers & jackets

• Hiking shoes or boots that can handle a variety of environments such as snow, mud, & water

• An outer shell covering to help with moisture in case of rain or snow

The fall colors in Colorado are always so colorful!

Winter in Colorado

Winter elopements in Colorado are always something different! But you can pretty much always be guaranteed snow in the mountains. Winter days in Colorado can either be very mild and almost warm, or quite cold! There really isn’t any pattern to the winter weather or any weather in Colorado. One day I shot in what was basically a blizzard in Rocky Mountain National Park. The next day I was photographing an elopement on a sunny, mild day.

Winter is absolutely beautiful in Colorado. It is prime time for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, & all sorts of other winter sports. The snow blankets the mountains & trees & much of the state becomes a winter wonderland. Snow can present some issues though. Winter affects the accessibility of a lot of locations in Colorado but there are still plenty of places to go & winter hikes you can do.

Things to bring in winter:

• Warm clothes & layers

• Something warm to drink can help you warm up from the inside

• Hand, body, & foot warmers

• Heavier duty traction devices for your shoes like micro spikes

• Appropriate traction or chains for your car (if needed)

You can still hike in the winter in parts of Colorado, & a bit of physical activity will keep you warm

No Matter the Time of Year, Colorado is Beautiful

With the diverse terrain that Colorado has, it is beautiful no matter what time of year it is. In the spring wildflowers are blooming down in the valleys while the mountains are still a winter wonderland. Summer is a great time to see alpine lakes in the San Juan Mountains & mountains full of wildflowers. In winter, the deserts of Colorado stay a little more dry while the mountains are full of snow. Even with the in between seasons, with so many varying elevations in Colorado, there’s always someplace beautiful.

Bride getting ready outside for a winter elopement in Colorado.

Weekdays & Sunrise

Weekends are usually more convenient for people which is when many get out & hit the trails. The middle of the week is one of the best times to elope. Many like to take days off to extend their weekends which is why the middle of the week is the best time for less people.

I get it, certain spots in Colorado are popular for a reason. If you don’t want a ton of people around, I highly suggest sunrise. Combine a sunrise elopement with a weekday elopement in Colorado & you are sure to have popular locations more to yourself. A sunrise elopement will mean starting early, sometimes it could mean starting at 6am, but it could mean starting as early as 3am or even as early as 12am! But trust me, a sunrise elopement is worth it & can make for some great memories.

A sunrise elopement during a weekday will always give you the most privacy, especially when you’re willing to adventure to remote locations like this in western Colorado

Planning Your Elopement Timeline Around Logistics

Your elopement timeline is one of the most important things you need to plan! Be sure of the logistics of your day. How long will it take to get ready? Will you have to travel far & will there be weather or traffic that could delay you? If you’re having a hiking elopement, how do you know how much time to plan for hiking? You really don’t want a cramped timeline as that will add more stress to your day. As an elopement photographer in Colorado, I help make custom timelines for each couple. I take into account the various locations, transportation methods, & so many other things that can affect the timeline of your day.

Bride and groom in pack rafts for an elopement in western Colorado.
A full day elopement or even a 2 day elopement leaves plenty of time for fun adventures!

Activities & Things to Do for Your Colorado Elopement 

Colorado definitely has many adventurous outdoor activities. But Colorado also has adventure for everyone. That means that you can hang off the side of the cliff, hike a massive mountain pass, or go ice climbing in Ouray. It also means that your adventure could be a scenic drive through the mountains, a simple hike, or taking a ride with a professional Jeep driver. Colorado has a huge variety of things to do & there’s more than just mountains in Colorado! So whatever you’re not, you’re sure to find something fun to do in Colorado.

Ideas for Your Elopement Day in Colorado

  • finding wildflowers in the mountains & deserts of Colorado
  • soak in hot springs before or after your elopement
  • hiking one of Colorado’s man amazing trails
  • driving the Jeep & OHV trails throughout the mountains of Colorado
  • stop in one of the cute little mountain towns for great food & drinks
  • ski or snowboard in your suit or wedding dress
  • watch alpenglow on the mountains together
  • go rock climbing

Leave No Trace During Your Elopement in Colorado

In order to preserve the amazing public lands we have here in Colorado, everyone needs to do their part in leaving no trace in Colorado. Please please get the proper permits if they are required for your location, learn about the areas where you’re going to be eloping, & do your best to leave a minimal impact on the land. Don’t do something like popping confetti or throwing your bouquet off a cliff just to “get the shot”. Learn more about leave no trace & elopements.

Bride and groom have a snowball fight during their winter wedding in Colorado.

Don’t Pick the Wildflowers

You might be tempted to pick the wildflowers to make a natural bouquet for your elopement. Many wildflowers are very sensitive to human impact. Wildflowers take a longer time to mature because of the long winters & many wildflowers are uncommon & rare. And picking wildflowers sets an example for others. If you pick wildflowers, people will see that & want to pick them for their own use. Wildflowers need to be left alone & enjoyed but not picked. If there are some wildflowers you see & love, ask your photographer to take some photos of them for you to have!

Alpine Environments are Sensitive to Human Impact

Alpine environments, especially above tree line, are very sensitive to human impact. These alpine tundra environments are sensitive even to people taking a few steps off of the trails. It’s very important that you stick to trails & durable surfaces to avoid harming the mosses, lichens, & wildflowers. These tundra areas can be easily disturbed & permanently harmed by humans.

Respect the Colorado Wildlife

Wildlife is common in Colorado. You might see elk, moose, deer, chipmunks, porcupines, black bears, magpies, & other wildlife. You especially need to keep your distance from larger wildlife such as elk & moose. They can become aggressive and protective. You really don’t need to fear the wildlife though. Most animals keep their distance, even the black bears & mountain lions we have in Colorado. You also do not want to feed the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, & smaller animals. Junk foods makes them lazy & it is unhealthy for them. They also loose their fear of humans.

Leave no trace to protect wildlife like this black bear near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Tag Locations in Colorado Responsibly

When sharing your elopement photos on social media, be sure to tag responsibly. Instead of tagging an exact trail, lake, or other specific area, tag a more general area such as a national or state park, city, or region. You never know when something may get shared or if people will take screenshots & share even if your account is private. Not tagging exact locations isn’t gatekeeping or preventing others from finding these areas, it is simply preventing these areas from blowing up on social media & then having an overwhelming amount of people who may not even care about the outdoors & leave no trace come & ruin these natural areas for everyone. I highly recommend reading more from the Leave No Trace Center on their social media guidance.

Remember to tag locations responsibly, if you even tag the locations at all!

You Have to be Mindful of Other Visitors

When you’re getting married in areas that are open to the public in Colorado, you have to be mindful of other visitors. Usually other visitors are very respectful of elopements. But because Colorado is more popular, finding locations that are a little more off the beaten path is great for couples that want more privacy. Sometimes if you want photos at more popular locations, we can find you a quieter location & go to other locations to explore & take more photos. There may also be other couples eloping at certain locations. It is always fun to see other couples having an amazing wedding day outdoors & there is room for everyone.

About Your Colorado Elopement Photographer

Hey! My name is Malachi Lewis & I’m an elopement photographer in Colorado. I offer various adventure elopement packages in Colorado. I’m more than just a photographer & can help in planning & coordinating your elopement day. I’d love to talk more with you about your day!

Eloping in Colorado can take a bit of work, but having a wedding day that is just perfect for you is totally doable. You deserve to truly enjoy your wedding day. If you want to learn more about what I offer & how I can help, contact me to learn more!


Give me the details! Let’s talk about your wedding or elopement day. Just fill out the form & I’ll be in touch with you soon. The more info you give me the better! You can also view pricing info.

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  1. oh my gosh this is so helpful! I have a couple eloping in Colorado and this will be so helpful for them!

  2. Okay but this article is AWESOME! So stinking helpful! You’ve not only managed to capture Colorado in a nutshell, but also created an awesome resource for Colorado Elopements!

  3. Amazing!!! This is such an incredible and helpful guide for anyone wanting to get married in Colorado!

  4. Holy smokes, you have outdone yourself with this epic guide to eloping in Colorado!!! This is fantastic and anyone considering eloping in a mountain region should check this out!

  5. This is absolutely amazing Malachi, great job!!! Love all the information and how easy it is to process.

  6. So many great tips in there! I super appreciate the “don’t pick wildflowers” one! Some people genuinely don’t know that. LNT!

  7. This list rocks, I feel like I know absolutely everything about eloping in Colorado now! So helpful!

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