Isabel Henry Photo.

The Best Colorado Elopement and Intimate Wedding Locations

May 4, 2023

Isabel Henry

Colorado has some of the most diverse and breathtaking scenery in the entire world. It has a range of options of naturally beautiful locations, gorgeous weather, and nearby cities, which make it the perfect place to plan an elopement or micro-wedding. Whether you’re looking to stay near Denver or get lost in the mountains somewhere, Colorado has so many different locations to offer to make your intimate wedding or elopement an unforgettable experience. But where do you start? Keep reading!

Fun fact about me- In 2018 my wife and I were planning a traditional wedding in Nebraska (where we lived at the time) when we decided while on a trip to Colorado to cancel our venue and plan a small wedding with just family and very close friends in Estes Park. We eloped in Rocky Mountain National Park and had a small reception-like dinner at a local restaurant afterwards. Even though we lost the deposit at our venue, having a smaller wedding was absolutely perfect for us and we had the best day ever. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of intimate weddings and elopements! Not only because I had an amazing experience with mine, but because I know they can still be stressful to plan- especially if you are coming from out of state! By using the knowledge and resources I’ve gained by photographing Colorado weddings and elopements over the past 3 years, and from planning my own micro-wedding in Colorado while living out of state, I’m able to help make the planning process for my couples as seamless and stress-free as possible!

There are a few different items to consider when choosing the location you want to elope in Colorado. Other than just the look of the background or scenery, some things to go over before deciding on your location are: accessibility, permits, time of year, popularity of the location, and proximity to nearby cities.

Here are some of my favorite locations in Colorado for elopements and micro-weddings, along with some pros and cons for each to get you started. If you need some extra help choosing a location or if you’re ready to start your journey with me, fill out my contact form here!

Lost Gulch Lookout

Lost Gulch Lookout is one of my most favorite (and popular) locations for my couples to elope or have a small wedding. It’s about 10-15 minutes from the edge of Boulder as you drive up towards Flagstaff Mountain. This makes it easy to find lodging or a place to get ready and offers lots of different restaurants or venues for a reception or after-party. It has an accessible parking and insane views of sweeping mountains at the top of the lookout. I also have a yearly permit to this location, so it doesn’t cost anything to get married here for my couples! Check with your photographer about this permit to make sure you’re following local rules/regulations.

Something to consider with this location is that that lookout is not very large, meaning I would limit your guest count to under 10 people total. It is also a very popular spot (especially with the local college kids!) so keep in mind there may be people around if you choose an afternoon or evening to have your wedding or elopement here. Sunrise, however, is usually an amazing time to say your vows here! It’s quiet, intimate, and offers the most beautiful views of the the sun coming up over the horizon.

A couple hugs after saying their vows at their elopement at Lost Gulch Lookout near Boulder, Colorado
A couple holds each other after saying their vows at their elopement at Lost Gulch Lookout near Boulder, Colorado

Officer’s Gulch

Officer’s Gulch is a lesser known location close to Frisco and Dillon that is close to the interstate and offers whimsical, fairytale-like backdrop in the middle of ski-country. It’s extremely green and lush during the warmer months and is a beautiful place to say “I-Do” if you want to look like you’re lost in an enchanted, mountainous forest. No permit required!

You unfortunately can’t make a reservation for this location, although it does also has an accessible parking lot. It isn’t quite as popular as locations such as Sapphire Point, however is similar in the way that it requires access to the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, so is not recommended if you’d like your date to be between November-March.

A couple holds each at their elopement at Officer's Gulch near Frisco, Colorado
A bride and groom kiss after saying their vows at their elopement at Officer's Gulch near Frisco, Colorado

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a popular locations for tourists. This location has unique views of striking red rock formations and located right in the middle of Colorado Springs. It has tons of different parking lots and trails, which makes it one of the most accessible locations out of them all. It’s especially great if you are planning on bringing a group over 10. Surprisingly, Garden of the Gods does not require a permit to have a wedding here!

Because of the amazing accessibility and location of this park, this location is also one of the busiest locations year-round. If you’re looking for something private, this may not be the one for you unless you choose a sunrise ceremony.

Sapphire Point Overlook

Sapphire Point has to be one of my most popular locations for elopements and small weddings- and for good reason! It has absolutely breathtaking views of ski-country mountain ranges, has an accessible parking lot, and is fairly close to Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, and a few other cute ski-towns. The best part about this location is that you can actually reserve it for up to 3 hours for on your wedding date for $128 plus fees/tax. This makes it an amazing place to have an intimate wedding with a chair set-up if that’s something you’re hoping for!

One of the few cons about this location is that it is past the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70 and about 2.5 hours away from Denver. This means that it’s a risky location for a wedding in the winter months due to weather, since it is subject to colder temps and more inclement weather than other locations. I advise against choosing this location between January-March (essentially most of ski season!) as sometimes travel is prohibited past the Eisenhower tunnel during snow or ice storms and lodging is expensive during ski season. But once the snow melts in late April to early May, it is an amazing option for any intimate wedding or elopement!

A bride and groom pop champagne at their elopement at Sapphire Point near Breckenridge, Colorado
View of mountains at Sapphire Point Overlook near Breckenridge, Colorado

Dillon Reservoir

Do you like the look of Sapphire Point but don’t want to have to worry about getting a permit? You can actually get married right on the water at Dillon Reservoir! This area is larger and much more private than Sapphire Point itself. A small walk is required to get to the shore, but if your group is able to do this, I actually prefer this location to Sapphire Point. You have the exact same mountain views without the crowd of tourists!

Guests cheer for a bride and groom as they kiss in front of mountains and Dillon Reservoir near Breckenridge, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

This is my by far my favorite place in Colorado to shoot any type of session, Rocky Mountain National Park never disappoints. I’m definitely biased, because this is where I got married, but it has so many amazing places for photos that look straight out of a magazine. They don’t even look real in my opinion!

There are 12 places you are permitted to get married inside the Rocky Mountain National Park. They all have a slightly different backdrop and have different restrictions such as group size. Some of my favorites are:

For the complete list including provisions, descriptions, guest limits, etc, Visit the Rocky Mountain National Park website here!

The trickiest part about getting married at one of these locations is obtaining a wedding permit. A separate $300 permit is required to get married as well as a $50 photography permit to take photos inside the park. Since 2020, the government has put a strict limit on the number of permits allowed per month in a calendar year, which means they sell out quickly. You have a plan ahead if you’d like your ceremony inside the park. Applications for wedding permits open as of the 1st of the month, one year in advance. For example, if you’re hoping to have your wedding on May 25th, 2024, applications would open on May 1st, 2023. Weekends will book up first, so you have a better chance if you choose a week-day for your ceremony! If you aren’t lucky enough to get a permit or don’t have that much time in advance to plan, you can always choose to get married outside of the park and then venture inside for your portraits. Contact me if you have any additional questions on Rocky Mountain National Park permits or need help getting yours!

A couple kisses at the Moraine Open Space inside Rocky Mountain National Park for their elopement near Estes Park, Colorado
A couple holds hands at Sprague Lake inside Rocky Mountain National Park for their elopement near Estes Park, Colorado

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir is located about 5-10 minutes outside of Fort Collins and is a large body of water surrounded by green mountains all around! It offers different locations and trails, a few parking lots, and is very easy to get to.

It is, however, a very popular location with locals. So expect some people around or to wake up bright and early if you don’t want people around! If you like the look of the reservoir but want it to be more private, take a look at Lory State Park. This is the park behind Horsetooth Reservoir and is a hidden gem in Northern Colorado!

A couple holds hands at Horsetooth Reservoir for their elopement near Fort Collins, Colorado

Telluride/Ouray, Colorado

Known as the Swiss Alps of the USA, these are probably the most show-stopping mountains in all of Colorado. Telluride and Ouray are known for their amazing skiing, huge mountains, and breathtaking views that transport you to another world.

These two towns are about an hour apart and over 7 hours away from Denver, making them the least accessible overall. But the views are worth it in my opinion! Some hiking is required for a lot of the locations here, so plan ahead for that before deciding on if this is where you’d like to say your vows. Permits are also required depending on the area you choose to get married. Telluride Mountain Village is also a separate town from Telluride and requires special permits to use areas within their jurisdiction.

Sunrise Amphitheater

Just 5 minutes away from Lost Gulch Lookout in Boulder, Sunrise Amphitheater is a great option for small or intimate weddings with over 10 guests. It can even accommodate up to 100 people! Located on the edge of Boulder, you can reserve this location for up to 3 hours. It has an accessible parking lot and is even wheel-chair friendly. It offers open views to the east of the horizon- you can even Denver’s skyline from there!

The only downside to this location is that it doesn’t have any mountain views. However, with its proximity to Lost Gulch Lookout, it’s easy to just head up the road for photos before or after your ceremony to get a different look to your backdrop!

A bride and groom kisses after saying their vows at their intimate wedding ceremony at Sunrise Amphitheater near Boulder, Colorado
A bride and groom holds hands at their at their intimate wedding ceremony at Sunrise Amphitheater near Boulder, Colorado

Echo Lake Park

Located only about an hour from Denver near Evergreen, this Echo Lake Park offers a gorgeous lake that you can walk right up to with huge mountains in the background! This location is right off the road and you can drive right up to it.

Although it’s accessible it’s a little lesser known than some of the other locations, making it great location for privacy without requiring a permit to have your elopement or take photos here.

Mount Falcon Park

Nestled outside Denver near Morrison, Mount Falcon Park has sweeping views to the west of an open mountain range, without requiring you to leave the Denver area! It has a little more room to host a group, so is a great option for people bringing more than 10 people with them.

Although you can’t reserve this area, it’s usually more private than some other locations for your elopement or wedding ceremony. There is an annual $125 permit fee for this area, so double check that your photographer has that before taking photos here.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

By far one of the most unique places in all of Colorado, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a hidden gem near Colorado Springs that is perfect for an elopement. It offers colorful inverted rock formations with tons of places for breathtaking photos and has some of the most beautiful sunset views in Colorado.

This location cannot be reserved, but is fairly quiet on weekdays. It does require a $100 photo permit that needs to be requested at least 30 days in advance.

A couple holds hands at their at their intimate wedding ceremony at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park near Colorado Springs, Colorado
A bride and groom kisses at their at their intimate wedding ceremony at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park near Colorado Springs, Colorado

Evergreen Lake House

The Evergreen Lake House is an amazing option if your intimate wedding has a larger group! This location and venue offers a large dock and a reception area with huge mountains and gorgeous scenery all around. You can reserve this location between March-December for a $750 fee and have the entire place to yourselves. It’s only about an hour from Denver and is accessible for guests.

Some other locations that are amazing for intimate weddings or elopements:

Are you ready to start planning your perfect micro wedding or intimate elopement? Contact me and let’s starting dreaming together!


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Isabel Henry

May 4, 2023

I'm a Colorado and New York City based wedding photographer that's here to help inspire madly in love couples and guide them along their wedding planning journey so they can have the most authentic experience possible.