What makes Colorado elopements so special are the varying landscapes, natural features and the activities that come along with them. One day you could be trekking through the mountains to an alpine lake and the next, sledding down the sand dunes. With 300 days of sunshine, it’s up to you which adventure to pick!
1. Rent a jeep for your colorado elopement
Take your Colorado elopement adventure off road! Explore the beautiful Colorado wilderness on four wheels where two feet can’t take you. For those looking to get away from the crowds, chances are you will have the whole place to yourself. Drive through ghost towns, explore old mines or travel somewhere off-grid only accessible by jeep for your elopement experience.
Colorado is one of the best states in the country for these off-road adventures, with old mining roads traversing mountains from north to south. But our absolute favorite place to go off-roading is in the rugged San Juan Mountains in the southern Colorado Rockies. The peaks are just the most dramatic in the whole state!
Depending on where you rent your Jeep, most tours are self-guided and available all year round.
2. Have your colorado elopement in a Western Town
Colorado has a ton of really cool old western towns to visit with stunning backdrops from an Old West era preserved in time. Built in the 1800s when mining became a large part of the economy, prospectors flocked to the mountains with dreams of gold and precious stones. Majority of the towns are high up in the mountains overlooking breathtaking views of peaks and streams perfect for a scenic elopement ceremony.
The towns were abandoned due to various reasons like cold winters or economic struggles, but were left almost completely intact and preserved to this day. Roaming through some of the now abandoned streets of these once booming towns, it’s hard not to feel the presence of the Wild Wild West. Rustic wooden shacks, abandoned train depots and quiet streets make for a romantic vibe throughout the city that you likely won’t be sharing with many others in town.
PRO TIP: Gas up before heading into a ghost town. If it’s a real ghost town, there many not be services for miles! (Based off experience; running out of gas in a ghost town is definitely memorable, but maybe not the memories you’re looking for 😉).
3. Elope with a magical Colorado waterfall backdrop
Picture this: dancing rainbow droplets and the sound of thundering glacial water while you read your vows. This is not your typical wedding venue! With all the mountains in Colorado, you know that there’s got to be some pretty stunning waterfalls, perfect for your adventurous Colorado elopement.
Some of our favorite Colorado elopement waterfalls:
With just a quick 900 foot jaunt on the hiking trail, this extremely picturesque waterfall is located in the Rio Grande National Forest. It’s not as well known as other waterfalls in the state, which makes it a great choice for elopements because there’s a good chance you may have it all to yourself. The best times to visit are weekdays from spring to summer for the maximum amount of water present.
This towering waterfall is super accessible and only a couple hours away from Denver, CO. Surrounding hiking trails are optional but highly recommended to check out cool rock features and limestone caves. Camping is also available beside the rushing stream that is the basin to the waterfall.
4. Elope at one of Colorado's hot springs
Turn up the heat (and the romance!) and elope in one of Colorado’s many acclaimed hot springs! Places like Dunton Hot Springs, Glenwood Canyon Hot Springs and Mt. Princeton Hot Springs are nestled among the mountains landscapes that make for stunning panoramic backdrops.
Taking a dip in the hot springs is not only relaxing, it’s good for circulation, reducing stress and promoting good sleep – perfect for an elopement couples getaway.
Check out this beautiful Colorado Elopement at Dunton Hot Springs.
5. Share the experience of Farm to table food for your Colorado elopement
Sharing good food with those close to you can make for some of the greatest and most enduring memories – and Colorado has a LOT of good food. Julia Child once said, “the best people are those who like to eat” and when choosing a caterer for your Colorado elopement, the food should be just as memorable as your day!
Whether you’ll be dining at a venue, or packing your food along for an elopement adventure, working with a local caterer can provide a fine dining experience wherever you’re headed.
We all know getting hangry is a real thing, so we’ve got some suggestions on where to look for farm-to-table caterers in Colorado. For Telluride destinations or surrounding areas, Telluride Private Catering provides top-notch chefs that come to your venue and do all the cooking AND (oh yes) the cleaning . For more northern destinations, G&B Catering is a farm and catering company based out of Longmont, CO. They can provide catering for your venue, or more intimately a wedding meal to share amongst elopers at your destination.
6. Elope on the top of one of Colorados 14ers
Eloping on top of one of Colorado’s tallest peaks? Yes please! Colorado has a total of 58 of these epic mountains that locals refer to as 14ers, with Mt. Elbert being the tallest. Hiking a 14er can sound intimidating, but depending on which one you choose, the hike can range anywhere from a three to a fourteen mile loop.
Weekdays throughout the summer and early fall are the best days to hike although expect to see at least some snow year round.
If you’re ready to look absolutely epic in your elopement photos, check out Colorado’s best 14ers to choose which one is perfect for your special day!
7. Elope amidst a dreamy Colorado alpine lake
As if there weren’t enough beautiful backdrops to elope in front of in Colorado, the alpine lakes created by snow and glacial melt make for a romantic view.
Some of Colorado's best Alpine lakes for eloping:
Best used from June through October, Chasm Lake is known as one of the more difficult (albeit rewarding) hikes. The blue glacial lake surrounded by rocks seemingly jutting out of the earth is breathtaking and well worth the trek. Located near Estes Park, CO hikers have also noted that nearing the colder months, the frozen lake can be just as awe-inspiring.
It can get a bit windy on the hike so come prepared, but don’t be afraid to let that hair fly for those moody majestic photos!
Located near Vail, CO this moderate to difficult hike takes you through wildflower-lined trails amidst lush meadows. Don’t let the difficulty take this option off the list for your Colorado elopement. The landscape and occasional cascading waterfall will make the hike (and uphill trek) way worth it. Some of the surrounding wetlands make for just as gorgeous backdrops as the alpine lake itself!
BONUS: Overnight camping is allowed following the pack it in, pack it out guidelines!
Located in Aspen, CO, you’ve probably seen photos of this place before as it’s one of the most photographed lakes in Colorado. And yes – it’s just as picturesque in real life as it is in professional photos! The Maroon Lake scenic trail is just a mile round trip and will give you that picture-perfect lake view. Other hiking trails in the area can take you on longer treks around aspen forests (best seen in the fall), alpine wildflower meadows (best seen in summer) and the crater lake.
8. car camp in a beautiful Colorado elopement destination
You don’t always have to hike to find somewhere beautiful for your elopement! Other campsites or backpacking trips require you to pack it all up and unload, but some destinations are beautiful enough to camp right where you park.
Don’t have enough space in the back of your car? Rent a camper van and road trip to your destination!
Hot spots to camp for your elopement:
North Rim Campground, gunnison national park
Located in Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, with just a short hike from the campground you can find breathtaking views of the vast canyon walls. It’s fairly remote with little to no services and quiet camp spots, perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds and relax.
Saddlehorn Campground is located in Colorado National Monument which is a land preservation area of the great west. Expect to see towering monoliths, red rock canyon walls and maybe even some bighorn sheep on the sheer rock walls.
Situated on the shore of Turquoise Lake, you’ll wake up to stunning views and the sound of water lapping against the shore. Enjoy hiking trails both around the turquoise lake and through alpine forests ranging from one to six mile loops.
9. Play in the sand dunes for a fun Colorado elopement
Not only are the Sand Dunes a fun place for your Colorado elopement, they are also extremely picturesque. The towering dunes and windswept plains will add an effortless romantic backdrop to your ceremony. Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is home to the tallest sand dunes in the United States, and they get even better after dark. Certified as an International Dark Sky Park, the park is open 24 hours. Visitors are encouraged to take a walk in the moonlight to view the thousands of twinkling stars over the vast landscape.
Also, if you have never tried sand sledding before, it’s totally a thing and highly recommended!
10. Elope on the Colorado Slopes
No adventure is off-limits when it comes to your Colorado elopement, especially when you’re a skier/snowboarder! We know that when there’s fresh powder on the mountain, it’s hard to miss a day on the hill – so why not elope on the slopes?!
Winter is not usually the most popular time of year to plan a wedding. It’s usually cold and the weather can be unpredictable, but winter weddings have their perks. You’ll get to tie the knot in a winter wonderland (hello beautiful photos!), and look absolutely epic riding down the mountain with suit, tie and wedding train in tow.
There’s many ways you can go about eloping on the slopes. There’s cross country skiing, backcountry boarding, or the classic chair lift riding. Colorado is one of the best places in the United States to elope in the winter with 300 days of sunshine and guaranteed snow on the mountaintops.
11. Climb a via ferrata to elope on a colorado mountainside
Choosing a Via Ferrata for your elopement ceremony makes breathtaking panoramic views like this accessible to anyone! I know you’re probably thinking; a Via what?? A Via Ferrata is a protected climbing route with a built in steel cable attached to the rock. Along the way, there are pre-positioned metal steps, ladders and cables to strap into. They’re good for those who are new to climbing, or not-quite expert level so you can safely access high altitude view points using minimal equipment.
The best time to climb a Via Ferrata is summer, spring and early fall before the snowfall in Colorado that can make it more difficult.