Ultimate Guide To Your Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding or Elopement

As a Colorado mountain wedding & elopement photographer, Rocky Mountain National Park is always one of my favorite locations to photograph couples on the biggest day of their lives. But where do you elope in the park? Where can you elope in the park? What time should we elope? Where are the best places to take photos after the ceremony? Do we need permits?

If you’ve been asking these questions, look no further!


Overview

The Park

The main entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park is located just under four miles west of Estes, Park, with the Wild Basin Entrance sitting 16 miles south of Estes Park, while the Western entrance is only one mile from Grand Lake. Needless to say, it’s a big park with plenty of beautiful mountain locations to take photos, but only a select few to say your vows.

While this may initially seem limited, couples are more than welcome to continue their photoshoot in their wedding attire at more remote locations without restrictions.

Ceremony Capacity

Most locations can have a maximum of 10 people present (Including Photographer/Videographer, Officiant, Guests, etc.) while select sites offer special accommodations of 20-100 guests on a case-to-case basis. To do so, you’ll need to check with the proper authorities, and most likely book a full-year in advance at a higher cost than mentioned below.

Required Permits

Let’s start out with the most important part of having your elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park: Permits. It’s required that all couples having an intimate wedding or elopement purchase a WEDDING & ELOPEMENT PERMIT ($250) or a PHOTOSHOOT PERMIT ($50) if you’re just having a couples or adventure session. These fees go directly to the upkeep of the park, ensuring that its beauty and wildlife are properly cared for.

Misc. Details

Due to the high number of visitors that the park has on a yearly basis (nearly 4.7 million in 2019 alone), no ceremony site can be reserved for your specific event, and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. All ceremony locations are also highly trafficked attractions at the park, and fairly accessible to people of all ages, which brings heavy foot traffic, especially in the summer months.

To avoid the rush of visitors, it’s best to consider having a sunrise or sunset (sunset is highly recommended for most locations in the Summer months), as you’ll also receive the best lighting for photos.

To receive more detailed information on the above, it’s recommended that couples contact the park’s Concessions Office Here for further instruction.


Best Wedding & Elopement Locations

3M Curve

See the location here

Sitting at just over six miles from downtown Estes Park, 3M Curve is one of the most notable wedding & elopement locations in Rocky Mountain National Park. Featuring elevated views of Longs Peak & Moraine Lake, this rocky patch is only a few steps from the road, & highly accessible for guests of all ages, and ceremonies with under 10 people present.

Max ceremony size of 10 people

Benefits To This Location:

Amazing views of Longs Peak & Moraine Park

Great for both sunrise & sunset weddings & elopements

Easily accessible, less than 350 feet from parking

Highly accessible during the Winter season

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Anticipate older family members in attendance

Are having a Winter season wedding or elopement


Alluvial Fan

See the location here

At just three miles west of the Fall River Entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Alluvial Fan Bridge features a small, yet beautiful waterfall with Mummy Range in the background. Ample parking available on-site, and Endovalley less than a mile west, couples can receive a variety of terrain in their photos without having to travel long distances.

Benefits To This Location:

An easily accessible waterfall

Ample parking is available on-site

Easily accessible in the winter season

Great for Sunrise weddings or elopements

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Would like to feature a waterfall in their photos

Would like an easily accessible, lower elevation location


Bear Lake Nature Trail

See the location here

Sitting at just under 9,500 feet, Bear Lake is one of the most heavily trafficked areas of Rocky Mountain National Park, as it acts as a trailhead to a large portion of well-known hikes & views. Even with the summer crowds, there are ample places to escape near the lake and still have a beautiful elopement ceremony with just you and your loved one. Due to high traffic in the summer, it’s recommended that couples have a sunrise ceremony or wait until later in the evening.

Benefits To This Location:

High elevation alpine lake with view of Longs Peak

Amazing location for winter weddings & elopements

Great for both sunrise & sunset weddings & elopements

Trailhead that connects to some of the parks most beautiful locations

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Want to have multiple photo locations at different parts of the park

Are interested in having a hiking elopement within the park


Copeland Lake (Wild Basin Area)

See the location here

The Wild Basin entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park is a perfect place for your Colorado mountain wedding or elopement. While Copeland lake serves as a great venue for your ceremony, there are ample trails that provide classic Colorado mountain vibes featuring Calypso Cascades & Ouzel Falls within just a couple of miles of the Wild Basin Trailhead.

Benefits To This Location:

Easily accessible for guests of all ages

Not as highly trafficked as the main park entrances

Some of the most beautiful hiking trails for additional photos

Great for sunrise & sunset Colorado mountain weddings & elopements

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Also want photos at a more remote mountain location

Are looking to avoid large crowds


Hidden Valley

See the location here

Located under five miles from the beaver meadows entrance, Hidden valley is a beautiful high-elevation location that features open space with large quantities of High Altitude Fur Pines, mixed with patches of Aspens. This location is one of the few in the park that features ample parking & plenty of beautiful forest locations within walking distance, Hidden Valley is the perfect place for weddings & elopements of all sizes, especially ones with +20 guests present.

Benefits To This Location:

Large quantities of Aspen & High Altitude Fur trees

Great for both sunrise & sunset weddings & elopements

Easily accessible during the Winter season

Ample parking available on-site

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Are looking to have their ceremony in a forested setting

Want maximum privacy for their ceremony


Lily Lake Dock & Trail

See the location here

Lily Lake is just under 7 miles from Estes Park, and gives couples beautiful alpine lake views, alongside Long Peak & Twin Sisters Peak in the distance. While easily accessed and less than 100 feet from parking, it’s heavily trafficked in the summer months but has many options for couples to find a secluded place for their wedding or elopement ceremony as there are many connecting trails around the lake, with an incredible patch of Aspens within 500 feet of the lake.

Benefits To This Location:

Perfect for sunset weddings & elopements

Highly accessible alpine lake during all seasons

Great views of Longs Peak & Twin Sisters Peak

Ample parking available withing 100 feet of the Lily Lake Dock

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Plan on having older family members present

Want to feature Aspens in their photos (late September/Early October)


Moraine Park Amphitheater

See the location here

The Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater is the best location for couples that are expecting a larger number of visitors to be present at their intimate wedding. Featuring a canopy of pine trees and ample seating for guests, the Amphitheater is tucked away in a peaceful corner of the park just a couple miles from the main entrance.

Benefits To This Location:

Easily accessible in all seasons

Seating available for wedding guests

Perfect for sunrise & sunset weddings & elopements

Gorgeous views of Moraine Park & with peaks in the distance

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Are looking to have a more traditional wedding with more guests

Require a ceremony location with seating


Sprague Lake

See the location here

Located along Bear Lake Road, Sprague lake provides couples with a great view of the high elevation ranges with easy access. With a walking path that wraps around the lake, it also features a quaint dock that’s become well known in the wedding & elopement photography community. While easily accessible year-round, it can sometimes be crowded in the evenings.

Benefits To This Location:

Easily accessible in all seasons

Amazing location for sunrise weddings & elopements

Ample parking within 1,000 feet of mountain views (1,500 to dock)

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Want to have a sunrise wedding or elopement

Are seeking mountain & alpine lake views in their photos


Upper Beaver Meadows

See the location here

Upper Beaver Meadows sits just a few miles west of the main entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park and features beautiful views of Longs Peak and connecting ranges. With an abundance of connecting trails, Upper Beaver Meadows is the perfect place for couples to have multiple photo locations while having an easily accessible ceremony location for any friends and family that might be present.

Benefits To This Location:

Views of Longs Peak

Easily accessible in all seasons

Lightly trafficked in off-seasons (but parking is limited)

Abundance of connecting trails that go to other great locations in the park

This Location Is Great For Couples Who:

Want to have their elopement or wedding in a forested or meadow setting

Want to hike to a location on their elopement day


Notable Rocky Mountain National Park Locations For Your Pre/Post-Ceremony Adventure Session


Beaver Meadows Entrance:

Accessed from Bear Lake Trailhead

Dream Lake

Emerald Lake

Lake Haiyaha


The Loch

Lake of Glass

Sky Pond


Alberta Falls

Mills Lake

Shelf Lake


Accessed via Trail Ridge Road

Tombstone Ridge

Mushroom Rocks

Forest Canyon Pass

Iceberg Pass

Gore Range Overlook

Medicine Bow Curve


Accessed Via Old Fall River Road

Chasm Falls

Chapin Mountain

Chapin Pass

Marmot Point

Alpine Ridge Trail


Wild Basin Entrance/Trailhead:

Calypso Cascades

Ouzel Falls

Bluebird Lake

Thunder Lake

Lion Lake Number 1


Interested In Having Your Wedding or Elopement at Rocky Mountain National Park? Fill Out The Form Below For More Information!