We at In Love and Adventure really love the wilderness areas here in Colorado and think they’re the best places to elope in Colorado. Being based out of Colorado we have an in-depth perspective into Colorado’s National Forests, National Parks, and Wilderness Areas. We believe that the harder-to-find areas are the best places to elope in Colorado. First off there is the pay-off of having your very own secret location all to yourself. Instead of sharing a space with a half dozen other couples, you’ll be able to enjoy a private, intimate ceremony away from everyone else. This is your day and we want it to be just for you. You’ll notice that on our list of Best Places to Elope in Colorado, we’re not giving away the exact hikes or exact locations. These are just areas that we know, have explored, love deeply and the exact hikes will absolutely be on a location list we provide for you if they check off the boxes of what you’re looking for. There are a ton of locations here in Colorado that are not as popular, but just as beautiful as the more known spots (sometimes even more so). But it takes people like Alex & I (Kelly) to find these spots, and suggest them to our couples. We understand that you aren’t physically here to find the perfect spot yourselves and this kind of research takes years of investment. When we go out location scouting, sometimes it’s especially to find spots for our couples, but most of the time we are just adventuring, and will run into an area that we can’t wait to recommend! Our long list of recommendations comes from our time on the trail and exploring in our free time. We are psyched to share these spots with our couples. There are millions of square miles of forest in the beautiful state of Colorado. With our help, you are sure to have a perfect day set in a stunning backdrop.
How to Elope in Colorado
It turns out that eloping in Colorado is actually pretty simple. Colorado recognizes self solemnization and is one of the few states that do. What is self solemnization? Well for those of you that may not know, self solemnization is where a state actually lets you marry yourselves! No judge, no officiant, and no witnesses necessary.
While you can still go the route of using officiants and witnesses if you really want to, they are not necessary here in the wonderful state of Colorado. You can even legally have your dog sign as a witness here! It gives you the freedom to choose just how intimate you want your adventure elopement to be. It is one of the many reasons so many elopements take place here, aside from the majestic terrain of course.
Where to Elope in the Colorado Mountains
If you are set on a mountainside elopement then Colorado is the place for you. There are numerous beautiful mountain-scape backdrops to choose from.
Best Places to Elope in Colorado – Mountains
San Juan Mountains
Averaging about 265 sunny days a year, if you’re looking for a mountain elopement, this is your spot. Telluride, Silverton, Ouray, Durango, and Dolores are all popular cities that are located in the San Juan Mountain Range. Known as the “Switzerland of America”, these mountains have tall jagged peaks with views for days. The turquoise blue alpine lakes are just so incredible you have to see it for yourself to believe it.
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
There are over forty wilderness areas in Colorado. The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area is just one of them. It is also home to eight of Colorado’s fifty-four “14’ers”. So if you want to climb to fourteen thousand feet on your big day, then this is the place to be. If you visit during the summer or fall the snow will have melted and you will truly be able to take in the breathtaking peaks. You have the choices of staying in Buena Vista, Salida, Leadville, or Aspen, all of which are within driving distance of the Collegiate Peaks. This area isn’t just for the ones who want to climb a 14-er. There is plenty to do and see here. The best part about this area is you don’t have to go or even hike far if you want those stunning mountain backdrops in your photos. These mountains are huge! If you’re not one to hike them but viewing them is something you might be into on your elopement day, this is your area.
If you’re looking for a florist near Leadville, contact Blue Vessel Florista. We’ve worked with them a few times and they always knock it out of the park. Ask for Destinee and tell her Alex & Kelly from In Love and Adventure sent you!
Pike National Forest
This is a mere two-and-a-half hours from the Denver International Airport, Pike National Forest has Aspens abundant. It is home to the famous Pikes Peak which is a unique sight to behold. This is an ideal fall elopement destination as the Aspens turn golden-yellow that time of the year and the fall foliage is just undeniably beautiful. There is free primitive camping if you are feeling outdoorsy and if you go through the Hoosier Pass you’ll find the perfect mountain backdrop for your ceremony.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Despite being a known destination you really can not beat the views here. If you are a mountain lover, it doesn’t get much better than this. The only downside is that from 2020 to 2021 the number of wedding permits given out each year has decreased by a staggering ninety-five percent. If you are set on this location as your dream elopement destination you will have to plan ahead far in advance. 2021 has already sold out! If you are looking for a 2022 permit, they will go on sale around October of 2021. Read more on Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Permits here. And check out our blog that we created for our couples who want a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement.
Garden of the Gods
Maybe you want a beautiful mountain backdrop for your elopement but you don’t really want to climb up one on your big day. Well, then Garden of the Gods is exactly what you’re looking for. You get that Colorado mountain view without having to climb a 14’er. The red rock formations will leave you speechless every time you visit this park. It is accessible all year round, and there are no permits required (woohoo!). If that wasn’t enough it’s located in Colorado Springs so there is plenty to do while you are there. Whenever we do photoshoots here, we always recommend that our couples stop at the famous BBQ spot, Rudy’s at least once during your stay. Check out this guide we put together for all of our couples who want a Garden of the Gods elopement.
Gunnison National Forest
Personally, we feel that Gunnison National Forest is the most underrated area in Colorado. It is full of hidden gems whether it’s the wildlife, the mountain views, or the beautiful forest greenery it has a little something for everyone. Every time we visit this gem we end up finding secluded Aspen Groves, miles of dirt roads where we’re the only visitors, and tons of views. The picture below is from a time we went winter camping in Gunnison. We hiked for miles and were the only ones there.
Never Summer Wilderness
This snowy-topped paradise is the most picturesque backdrop you could ask for. Despite its name, there is an abundance of lush plant life and wildflowers below the stoic gaze of the mountain peaks all around. It is accessible through Trail Ridge Road, but it is always best to have a guide your first time out here.
Colorado Lakeside Elopement Ideas
Mountains may be what Colorado elopements are most known for, but this amazing state has so much more to offer. Thinking more of a romantic lakeside vibe? Colorado has plenty of that too!
Best Places to Elope in Colorado – Lakes
Flat Tops Wilderness
This is the second largest wilderness area in Colorado. Most importantly it is an Alpine lake lover’s dream. With lakes sprawling across the land and wildflowers abundant, you can’t go wrong by renting a cabin or an Air BnB in the area. Perfect for those seeking privacy.
Sapphire Point Overlook
Much like Rocky Mountain National Park, this little gem is a bit more of a known quantity. Be that as it may, this spot is GORGEOUS. It is the perfect local for a summer lakeside ceremony or a winter dreamland elopement. You can reserve your spot ahead of time just about anywhere in the area too!
The name just about says it all. The lake and harbor area are absolutely to die for. It’s also a pet-friendly area unlike some of the more popular locations in the area.
Arapaho National Forest
While this area has so much more than lakeside views, these mountainside lakes are truly breathtaking. If you have a soft spot for northwestern scenery this should definitely be on your radar.
San Isabel National Forest
Another perfect spot just two hours away from the Denver International Airport, San Isabel is home to one million acres of crystal clear mountain lakes. If you love wildlife there is plenty to see here.
Eleven Mile Reservoir
Eleven Mile is Colorado’s own Lake Tahoe. We get all the Lake Tahoe vibes every time we come here! The rocky shores, and crystal clear waters. It’s a little hidden gem in Lake George, and it’s one of our favorite spots to take couples because of the intimacy. There are never too many people here and it’s super easy to find a spot to feel like you’re all alone.
Small Town Colorado Elopements
Best Places to Elope in Colorado – Small Towns
A quaint little mountain town with all the magic for a small northwestern town elopement. It still gives you that majestic mountain backdrop without having to climb to your destination. It even has free shuttle busses!
This is a fun town to explore with great options for couples staying in town. This is one of the best places to elope in Colorado hands down. While you can still have privacy on your big day, you don’t have to be out in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of hidden gems here that are not listed on any of the main hiking forums. Breckenridge has tons of AirBnb’s and private cabin rentals that can really make your elopement feel special.
For a truly atmospheric feel take the Durango to Silverton train. There are an abundance of views here. You will pass by the San Juan National Forest, which is a treat in its own right. The entire trip is gorgeous.
Buena Vista is only a three hour drive from the Denver International airport. Usually when we are taking an adventure of our own, we end up in Buena Vista! It’s such a cool little mountain town. Driving through Buena Vista in the fall is one of my favorite things ever. The town itself is covered in aspens and it’s stunning!
Colorado Off-Roading Elopements
Maybe you have a thrill seeking side and you really just want to rent a Jeep for the day or go off roading in your own four wheel drive truck. Colorado is still the best place for that too!
Best Places to Elope in Colorado – Off-Roading
San Juan Mountain Range
Located in beautiful Western Colorado, this mountain range has plenty of bright blue alpine lakes, two million miles of National Forest land, and a brilliant jagged horizon due to the unique shape of the peaks. All this really sets off all the wild four wheel driving paths you can find here. If you want a thrill with breath-taking scenery then look no further.
This is a perfect location for what we like to call “car hiking”. Rent a jeep for the day and go exploring offroad. If you and your special someone are interested in this sort of adventure, then this just might be the perfect place for you to elope in Colorado. As usual, the views here are absolutely insane.
Special Colorado Adventure Elopement Ideas
After seeing all that Colorado has to offer, you may be surprised to know that there are some special locations that aren’t just a shimmering lake or a stoic mountain scene. When you think of Colorado, most people picture evergreen covered mountainsides, snow capped peaks, alpine lakes, and sprawling views. There are a few locations in Colorado that are super unique! If you’re looking for ideas on how to make your elopement special, start with the location.
Best Places to Elope in Colorado – Special Ideas
The Great Sand Dunes
These are the tallest sand dunes in North America. When you think Dunes you usually think of a desert like the ones found in Nevada. Colorado just has it all. Besides some of our favorite mountain and alpine lake hikes, the Great Sand Dunes is on our top five best places to elope in Colorado. Check out this blog post we made for all of our couples who want a Great Sand Dunes National park elopement.
Mesa Verde National Park
This is one of my absolute favorite locations. The overlook is very accessible and it is just so unique. There are not many places in North America that can offer the spectacular views that Mesa Verde can.
If any of the places on our list of Best Places to Elope in Colorado have piqued your interest and you really want to stay overnight at one of them, then a private cabin may be what you’re looking for. All the comforts of indoor living with all the fabulous views that Colorado has to offer. We love the idea of renting other people’s homes for a few nights for your elopement. You get to experience all of their luxuries for a few nights at a fraction of the cost of actually owning the home. We suggest renting from places like AirBnb or Vrbo. The Triangle Cabin pictured below is one of our favorite A-frames ever! It’s located in Fairplay.
Whether you’re looking to scale a mountain, elope at the foot of a majestic peak, express your love next to an alpine lake, adventure in a small mountain town, or go off-roading on your big day just know that Colorado has it all. The next time you and your partner are trying to nail down the location for your elopement, keep beautiful Colorado in the back of your mind, or better yet, book your elopement with In Love and Adventure right now and start planning the perfect day.