Want to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park?

Here are all the details on cost, ceremony locations, and time of the year to consider if you want to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

 

Why Would You Want To Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park?

Rocky Mountain National Park is quintessential Colorado. With its 415 square miles of adventure, RMNP has everything you think of when dreaming up your Colorado elopement:

  • Incredible mountain views
  • Vast lakes
  • Open meadows that boast wildflowers during the spring
  • Top-of-the-world feel on Trail Ridge Road
  • Groves of beautiful aspen trees that turn golden, yellow in the fall

 

Rocky Mountain National Park is located only an hour and a half north-west of Denver making it easy to access any time of year. It’s also an ideal location for out of state couples who don’t want to have to drive hours to get the best mountain views. You can stay in Estes Park on the east side for a bustling mountain-town vibe. Or, if you want to slow down a little, you can stay in Grand Lake on the west side of RMNP and enjoy the small, quiet, mountain town.

 

 

What Do You Need To Know About Getting Married In Rocky Mountain National Park?

It’s Busy – Plan On A Weekday Elopement

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. This means it’s very busy with over 4.5 million visitors every single year! What’s the peak season for visiting? June through September (July is the busiest month). But, don’t be fooled, even winter weekends are full of locals and tourists filling up the parking lots and hiking trails.

What does that mean for you? If you are planning a destination wedding ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park, you should plan to hold your elopement on a weekday. While you are likely not to be completely alone during your elopement, this will guarantee the most privacy.

 

Not All Areas Are Open All Year Long

One of RMNP’s most popular spectacles is the drive over Trail Ridge Road. With an altitude of over 12,000 feet, Trail Ridge Road is one of my favorite areas to photograph couples in Colorado. But, Trail Ridge Road is closed in the winter due to snow and safety.

Every year, the open and close dates vary slightly depending on the snowfall. Historically, Trail Ridge Road opens on Memorial Day weekend. But, if there is a late spring snowstorm, there could be a possibility of it staying closed a few weeks later. The closing of Trail Ridge Road also depends on the weather and snowfall. According to RMNP, the average close date for Trail Ridge Road is October 23rd.

If taking sunset or sunrise pictures on the top of Trail Ridge Road is a must (I HIGHLY recommend it!) for your Colorado elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park, then I suggest planning your elopement June through the first two weeks of October.

 

Pets Are Viewed As Prey

Dogs and other pets are seen as prey by large predators in the park. You are allowed to have your dog on a leash on paved roads and in campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park, but they are not allowed anywhere on trails. If it’s a must to have your dog be a part of your Colorado elopement ceremony, it’s best to choose a different location. View Rocky Mountain National Park’s pet policy here.

 

Changing Weather + Temperatures

Colorado weather is constantly changing. We have a running joke here that the weatherman throws a dart at a weather map to predict what’s going to happen. Basically, it can go from cloudy to sunny, to raining, to snowing, and back to sunny all within the span of a few hours.

Elevation also plays a big role in the temperature. While it may be a beautiful 60-degree day at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, because of the drastic elevation change, it can be 30 degrees at the top of Trail Ridge Road.

Wind is inevitable in the mountains. I’ve learned to embrace every aspect of wind because it creates some pretty epic photos! But, you need to be aware and prepared for it to be windy.

This means wear layers underneath your clothes and bring a warm winter jacket any time of year!

 

Leave No Trace

As users of a national park, it is our duty to keep this area just as untouched as we left it! I encourage all my couples who are planning a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement to follow the “leave no trace” principle. With the leave no trace principle you respect the land you explore by leaving just as it was before you arrived.

As a part of the leave no trace principle and wedding guidelines for Rocky Mountain National Park, you are not allowed to throw confetti, release anything, plant anything or bring in your own chairs, generator or sound equipment. If you end up taking pictures on Trail Ridge Road, you are not allowed to walk on the tundra and must stay on designation trails and pull-offs.

 

 

How To Elope In Rocky Mountain National Park

As a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding and elopement photographer, it is my job to educate couples so they can make the best decision for their Colorado elopement.

 

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Ceremony Locations

Rocky Mountain National Park only allows couples to hold their elopement ceremony at twelve designated sites within the park. A full list of the locations you can elope at in Rocky Mountain National Park is listed below.

If you’ve been dreaming of hiking up to Dream Lake to say your vows or taking pictures with your partner at the top of Trail Ridge Road, don’t worry! Before or after your ceremony at a designated location, we can adventure around the entire park together for some epic pictures.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Get Married In Rocky Mountain National Park?

To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park you are required to apply for a $250 permit for your specific date, time and location. You can apply for this permit as far as a year out. Many locations and prime time slots fill up months in advance, so do not wait to do this.

 

How Do I Get A Wedding Permit For Rocky Mountain National Park?

First, you will want to check for the availability of your date, location and time by calling the RMNP Concession Management Office at 970 586-1209. Once you confirm your date is available, download the printable RMNP wedding permit here.

On the permit application, under “Proposed Activity”, simply put “Elopement ceremony and photos”. When entering in the preferred start and end time, please talk to your photographer first! Your photographer will be able to help you decide on the time of day that is the least busy and has the best lighting for that location.

 

Entrance Fees For Rocky Mountain National Park

Your wedding permit does not cover the entrance fee into the park for you or your guests. Let your guests know that they will be expected to pay the $25 entrance fee for a one-day pass. If you and your guests are staying nearby and want to explore more of RMNP on other days you can also purchase a 7-day entrance pass for $35. For the most recent entrance fee prices click here.

 

 

The Best Places To Elope In Rocky Mountain National Park

There are twelve designated sites within Rocky Mountain National Park that you can hold a ceremony for your elopement. These are the only locations you can get married at within the park, but you can adventure around the rest of RMNP before or after your ceremony for epic photos. Below is a map of elopement locations within Rocky Mountain National Park.

  • The dark brown pins are the official locations you can hold your wedding ceremony at.
  • The blue pins are other favorite photo locations within the park that are easily accessible.
  • The dark green pins are other favorite photo locations within the park that require hiking.

 

Click here to view the map in your google maps app on mobile.

 

Click on a pin to see images of the location.

 

 

3M Curve Elopement

3M Curve, also commonly known as the Longs Peak Viewpoint, is an easy 3.5-mile drive from Beavers Meadow Visitor Center on the East entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s most known for its beautiful rock outcrop that overlooks the meadows of Moraine Park with the Rocky Mountain range and the infamous Longs Peak in the background. Although you have to walk along the rocks to get out to the idyllic elopement ceremony site, it is close to the road so can hear some traffic noise during busier times of the day. It is still probably one of my favorite locations for an elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park and is accessible all year long!

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You want views of rolling meadows with the mountains in the background
  • Want to feel on top of the world – this is the only designated site in RMNP that gives that feeling by standing on the rock outcrop
  • You want a location that’s easy to access

RMNP Regulations for 3M Curve

  • 15 people max
  • 3 car max

 

Alluvial Fan Bridge Elopement

The Alluvial Fan Bridge is a ceremony site in RMNP that is located 7 miles from Beavers Meadow Visitor Center on the East entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s situated up Old Fall River Road with the Roaring Snakes River winding through the bouldery area. It’s very busy during the summer months and one of the more popular parts of the park.  It’s most idyllic during the spring and early summer months when the water is flowing faster. There are also restrooms nearby which is always a happy bonus.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You want a waterfall and river
  • You like the idea of eloping on a bridge
  • You don’t mind crowds of people

RMNP Regulations for the Alluvial Fan Bridge

  • 20 people max
  • 5 car max

 

Bear Lake Elopement

Located 11 miles from Beavers Meadow Visitor Center on the East entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park is Beak Lake. This ceremony site is one of the most accessible locations to say your vows at in RMNP. The trail to the lake is flat and it’s only a short distance from the large parking lot. Bear Lake is spotted with beautiful groves of aspen trees that add greenery during the spring/summer and golden yellow in the fall. It’s busy (and accessible) all year round, but you can clearly see why.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You want a lake
  • You want mountain views
  • You want aspen trees

RMNP Regulations for Bear Lake

  • 20 people max
  • 5 car max
  • Weekend weddings are not permitted from the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day in mid-October

 

Copeland Lake Elopement

Copeland Lake is a little more off the beaten path because you don’t access it through the main Rocky Mountain National Park entrance. It is located 13 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor center, towards Allenspark, off HWY 7. There is a large space along the edge of the rocky lake for you to include up to 50 of your friends and family. You still get those mountain views and gorgeous forested area that surrounds the lake. As fall and winter hit, the water level drops in Copeland Lake, not making it the most beautiful place for a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement during those times of the year.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You want a lake
  • You are having a larger about of guests attend your ceremony
  • You want an easily accessible location

RMNP Regulations for Copeland Lake

  • 30 people max
  • 10* car max
  • *The vehicle limit of 10 applies from the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day in mid-October

 

Harbison Meadow Elopement

Harbison Meadows is located on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park near Grand Lake. This is by far a much less busy area than the East side of the park. The location is next to a large meadow with plenty of wildlife (moose and elk are commonly spotted) and mountain views of the Never Summer mountain range in the background.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You like large open meadows
  • You’re staying in Grand Lake
  • You want a higher chance of seeing wildlife
  • You are having a larger about of guests attend your ceremony

RMNP Regulations for Harbison Meadows

  • 60 people max
  • 10 car max
  • *The vehicle limit of 10 applies from the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day in mid-October

 

Hidden Valley Elopement

Hidden Valley is 6-mile drive from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on the East side of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s part of a picnic area complete with bathrooms and wheelchair accessible for guests. There are not as many mountain views at this location, but the beautiful meadows of wildflowers during the summer, forest of pine trees and gorgeous aspen groves make up for it.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You love wildflowers for a summer elopement
  • You want wheelchair access and bathrooms for guests
  • Forests of pine and aspen trees are important to you

RMNP Regulations for Hidden Valley

  • 20 people max anytime, 100 people max during specific times
  • Your wedding ceremony cannot take up any of the space at the picnic sites

 

Lily Lake Elopement

Located 6.4 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Hwy 7, there are three locations you can hold your elopement ceremony at Lily Lake: the dock, trail or south side picnic area. The dock is very adorable with the best views of the lake and mountains. It also happens to be the busiest of the three spots. You can walk anywhere along the trail that surrounds Lily Lake to hold your wedding ceremony, which allows for more flexibility in location and crowds. Lastly, the picnic area on the south side has beautiful, alternative views of the lake and mountains. This area holds up to 60 people and you can pay an extra $50 for gated access for two cars to the south side picnic area.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You want to get married on a dock over the water
  • You love mountain views
  • Wheelchair access and bathrooms are important to you

RMNP Regulations for Lily Lake

  • 10 people max at the dock
  • 20 people max on the trail
  • 30 people max at the south side picnic area
  • 10 car max
  • *The vehicle limit of 10 applies from the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day in mid-October

 

Moraine Park Amphitheater Elopement

With a short, 2.7-mile drive from Beaver Meadows Visitor center on the East side of RMNP, the Moraine Park Amphitheater is an ideal location for larger ceremonies. This is also the only wedding ceremony location on the East side with seating. The rustic amphitheater with wooden benches has scattered pine trees surrounding it, providing some shade from the sun. But, you still get views of Moraine Park and Longs Peak in the background.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You’re having a ceremony with a larger guests count
  • Seating for your guests is important to you
  • You want pine trees

RMNP Regulations for Moraine Park Amphitheater

  • 60 people max during the summer
  • 100 people max during the winter
  • 10 car max
  • *The vehicle limit and summer max applies from the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day in mid-October

 

Sprague Lake Elopement

Sprague Lake is very accessible. With a short walk from the trailhead and wheelchair accessible trails, it is also a popular spot for hikers and other tourists visiting the park. Located 7 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on the East side of RMNP, Sprague Lake is a popular location for elopement ceremonies. It has dramatic views of the mountains and lake, a dock that you can choose to get married on, and a knoll that you can hike up to for better views. Whether you want to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter or summer, Sprague Lake is accessible all year round.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You love lakes, forests and mountain views
  • You want easy access to trails and restrooms
  • Variety of scenery is important to you

RMNP Regulations for Sprague Lake

  • 15 people max during the summer
  • 30 people max during the winter
  • 3 car max during the summer
  • 10 car max during the winter
  • *The vehicle limit and summer max applies from the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day in mid-October

 

Timber Creek Amphitheater Elopement

Located on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater is ideal if you are staying in Grand Lake or want the chance to drive over Trail Ridge Road after your ceremony. The amphitheater is located next to a campground and is the only ceremony site on the West side of the park with seating. You could even have all your guests stay at the campground during your stay! The Colorado River can be seen from this site along with meadows and views of the mountains.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • Wheelchair accessibility and restrooms are important
  • You are considering camping while you are staying in RMNP
  • You are staying in Grand Lake

RMNP Regulations for Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater

  • 20 people max
  • 5 car max

 

Upper Beaver Meadows Elopement

Upper Beaver Meadows is one of the most private ceremony sites in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s located only 1.5 miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on the East side of the park. With views of the Continental Divide and rolling meadows, it is an idyllic Colorado location to get married at. An added bonus is there are restrooms available as well and they allow for larger weddings. Second to 3M Curve, this is my other favorite elopement location in Rocky Mountain National Park. The only downside is that the dirt access road is not maintained during the winter, so Upper Beaver Meadows can only be accessed during the summer months.

This is your perfect elopement location if…

  • You want more privacy on your elopement day (there will still be people nearby, it’s inevitable, but typically a lot fewer people here than in other areas)
  • You love large open meadows
  • You still want mountain views
  • You are having more than 20 guests at your wedding ceremony

RMNP Regulations for Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater

  • 60 people max
  • 10 car max
  • No vehicle access in the winter

 

Need a photographer for your Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement?

Larissa Welch Owner of We, The Light PhotographyMeet Larissa. Larissa is an adventure wedding and elopement photographer based out of Colorado. She’d take an adventure in the mountains over shopping any day and prefers and date night snuggling on the couch over dinner and a movie. Larissa’s obsessed with: morning snuggles with her rescue pup, Hazel, hot chocolate, a good book and yoga pants. She believes in making you forget a camera’s even there, that your story is the actual thing she wants to capture on camera and that real, raw moments are more important than perfectly curated poses. Book your Colorado elopement photographer today >

 

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4/22/2019

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How To Elope In Rocky Mountain National Park

  1. Sunshine Lump

    July 24th, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Wow! Great information! Thanks for sharing.

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