Telluride Elopement Guide

Posted On | April 28, 2023

Nestled in the stunning San Juan mountains, a Telluride elopement is one of the best ways to get married in Colorado! Here is an ultimate guide for everything you need to know to plan your own elopement in Telluride.

A couple in wedding attire kiss during sunrise overlooking Telluride's valley floor

Why Have Your Elopement in Telluride?

Stunning Views 

Couples are constantly drawn to Telluride for one main reason: the breathtaking views of the San Juan mountains. Colorado has more than 15 different mountain ranges, but the San Juans stand out as some of the most stunning and distinctive in the state. Beyond the mountains, Telluride is also surrounded by an incredible variety of landscapes within an hour’s drive. Whether you want to explore turquoise alpine lakes, towering waterfalls, wildflower-filled meadows, lush green forests, or dramatic snow-capped peaks, you’ll find it all near Telluride.

All-Season Destination 

Telluride is a great destination year-round. Each season has something different to offer, so regardless of when you’re looking to elope you’re likely to find something to love in Telluride! 

Lots of Options for Activities

Telluride is a great homebase for couples who love to explore the outdoors. Whether you’re interested in soaking in natural hot springs, hiking to a waterfall, skiing down world class runs, learning more about the area’s rich mining history, or exploring some of Colorado’s most scenic mountain passes on a 4×4 trail, you’ll never run out of things to do! It’s also located near several small mountain towns like Ouray and Silverton that make excellent day trips! 

It’s Easy to Get Married! 

The whole state of Colorado makes it very easy to get married. In Colorado, you are not required to have a witness or an officiant. Instead, you are allowed to “self-solemnize” if you choose, which means all that is needed to make your marriage legal is the two of you signing your marriage license!

Dog Friendly 

Telluride is an incredibly dog-friendly town. Many hotels and rentals allow four legged friends to stay, and most restaurants and breweries will allow dogs on the patios. They may even provide water dishes and treats for your pooch! Because Colorado does not require a witness in order for your marriage to be legally binding, most counties, including San Miguel County, will allow your dog to sign your license with their paw print (but we’re not handing out legal advice, so please double-check this for yourself with the Clerk & Recorder’s office you are getting your marriage license from)! 

When is the best time to elope in Telluride?

Telluride is a choice destination year-round, so it really depends on the type of weather and scenery you are envisioning! 

A couple in wedding attire go for a hike during their Telluride elopement

Summer Telluride Elopement 

Summer in Telluride usually lasts from mid-June through the beginning of September. Depending on the snowfall, most mountain passes are open during this time of year, making the perfect setting to explore! Expect to see fields of wildflowers, flowing waterfalls, and lush green trees this time of year as well! At the start of summer (early June) the average temperature ranges from a low of 37°F to a high of 64°F. July and August, typically one of the warmest months of the year, see average lows between 35°F and 41°F and average highs between 72°F and 77°F. 

Fall Telluride Elopement 

Fall in Telluride is pretty short. Beginning in mid-September and lasting through early October, fall is one of the most popular times to elope in Telluride due to the vibrant color dotting the mountainsides! Snow typically begins to fall around this time as well, so be prepared for cooler temperatures! The average temperature in September ranges from a low of 40°F to a high of 66°F, while October ranges from a low of 29°F to a high of 53°F. 

A groom leads a bride along the shoreline of Trout Lake after they eloped in Telluride. There are snowcapped mountains and bright fall colors behind them.
A couple in wedding attire laugh and hold hands as they walk towards the camera during their Telluride elopement. The snowcapped mountains are pink with alpenglow behind them.

Winter Telluride Elopement  

Starting in early November and lasting through the beginning of April, winter in Telluride is every snow lover’s dream! Telluride is a popular location for winter sports, especially skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, and snowmobiling. December through February you can expect average lows of 6°F and average highs of 38°F. It’s a bit warmer in March with an average low of 15°F and an average high of 43°F.  

Spring Telluride Elopement 

Springtime in Telluride tends to be shoulder season. Prices tend to be a bit lower for lodging this time of year, and Telluride is definitely at its least busy. From mid-April to the beginning of June, the snow starts to melt and trails tend to be muddy. But don’t let this scare you off!  While many of the trailheads at higher altitudes won’t open until late June/early July, there are still a plethora of things to do. Springtime is a wonderful time to elope in Telluride if you’re looking to avoid crowds and take advantage of lower prices! You can expect the temperature to fall between an average low of 22°F and 29°F and an average high between 51°F and 61°F April through early June. 

A groom hugs a bride while standing in front of a waterfall after ceremony during their Telluride elopement.

Having a hard time deciding when to elope? We’ve put together a guide on how to choose the best month to elope

Should you have a weekend or weekday elopement in Telluride?

Because Telluride is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, we highly recommend eloping on a weekday! Trailheads tend to fill up quickly on weekends, and lodging and vendor availability is much more limited. If privacy is a top concern on your wedding day, a weekday is going to be your best bet! 

If a weekend is your only option, don’t worry. You can still make it work! Just opt for less-traveled trails or consider tying the knot at sunrise to avoid the crowds. Remember, this is your day to celebrate your love and adventure, so don’t let a little thing like a crowded trail stop you from having the best dang day!

Telluride Elopement Locations

A man in wedding attire kisses a woman in a wedding dress during their winter elopement. Behind them is the town of Telluride and snowcapped mountains pink with alpenglow

San Sophia Overlook Elopement

The San Sophia Overlook is one of the most iconic places to get married in Telluride. Accessible by gondola, the overlook has stunning views overlooking the town of Telluride and the surrounding mountain peaks. It can accommodate zero to 250 guests. For inspiration, check out Steven and Joely’s elopement where they rode the gondola and explored around the San Sophia Overlook!

A couple in wedding attire hold hands and take in the view of an alpine lake and snowcapped mountains at Alta Lakes during their elopement.

The Observatory at Alta Lakes Elopement

If you’re looking to elope with your closest friends and family, the Observatory at Alta Lakes might be the perfect option! Located at 13,000 feet, the Observatory is accessible via 4×4 trail during the summer and snowmobile during the winter. It can accommodate up to 45 people for an outdoor ceremony, and up to twelve guests overnight. Ruby and Blake explored Alta Lakes and the old mining town just below it during their fall elopement!

A bride and groom hold hands and look at each other at the base of Bridal Veil Falls during their elopement in Telluride

Bridal Veil Falls Elopement

Located just outside of town, Bridal Veil Falls is the perfect choice for couples looking to explore on their wedding day! They are the tallest free-falling falls in the entire state. The falls can be accessed via 4×4 road, hiking, or biking. This location gets incredibly busy, so we highly recommend eloping at sunrise here to avoid the crowds! Alyssa and Jake’s spring hiking elopement at Bridal Veil Falls is the perfect inspiration!

A groom twirls the bride on the shoreline of Trout Lake during their elopement. Behind them are snowcapped mountains and golden aspens.

Trout Lake Elopement

Trout Lake is just 15 minutes outside of town and is accessible year-round. During the warmer months it’s a great spot to fish, canoe, kayak, or SUP. During the winter you can snowshoe or cross-country ski! Ruby and Blake’s fall ceremony and Joelys and Steven’s winter ceremony at Trout Lake are great examples of what it could look like to elope here!

Yankee Boy Basin Elopement

Yankee Boy Basin is one of the most popular 4×4 trails in the area, and for good reason – it’s bursting with a rainbow of wildflowers mid-July through August! A vehicle with high clearance is required to explore this trail. Experienced drivers can rent a 4×4 vehicle in Telluride or Ouray. For those not experienced driving 4×4 trails, consider hiring a guide! 

Ouray Perimeter Trail Elopement 

This 5.6 mile trail loops around the nearby town of Ouray (as one might expect from the name!) Along the trail you can expect to see several waterfalls and bridges, stunning mountain views, and an overview of the town of Ouray, nicknamed the Switzerland of America. If you’re not up for the full six miles, it’s possible to do a small portion of the trail instead! This trail is a great option year-round, although winter months might require snowshoes or traction devices depending on recent snowfall! 

bride and groom standing on cliff edge overlooking turquoise water of lower blue lake during backpacking elopement in Telluride

Turquoise Alpine Lake

This hike ranges from 7 miles to 11 miles round trip with 1,600 to 3,650 feet elevation gain depending on how far you’d like to go. It leads to stunning views of a turquoise lake and is best in July through early September! Rachel and Jake’s backpacking elopement is a perfect example of what it might look like to elope here!

Ridgeway State Park Elopement

About an hour outside of Telluride is Ridgeway State Park. The park is a great place for watersports during the summer months and has dedicated locations for wedding ceremonies that can accommodate anywhere from zero to 250 guests. 

Dunton Hot Springs Elopement

For those looking for a luxury experience, consider renting a cabin at Dunton Hot Springs for your elopement! Each cabin is all-inclusive and provides access to the private Dunton Hot Springs and the property’s stunning views. They also have wedding package options for zero to 60 guests! 

Summer & Fall Telluride Elopement Activities

When the weather gets warm, it’s not difficult to find an activity to do outdoors! Here are a few of our favorite activities to consider including as you adventure on your wedding day. 

A bride smiles for the camera while she hikes in her wedding dress during her telluride elopement

Hiking 

Telluride is home to many gorgeous hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for something quick and near town, or want to spend a few days backpacking, there are many options to choose from! 

Picnicking  

We’re big fans of food around here and will never say no to incorporating a picnic into a wedding day. What better way to relax than with some delicious food and a scenic view?! 

Via Ferrata 

Whether you’re new to climbing or a seasoned pro, exploring a Via Ferrata is a unique way to get your heart pumping! Telluride’s Via Ferrata and Ouray’s Via Ferrata offer guides and rentals!  

Hammocking 

Want to take a few moments to relax and swing in your hammock? It’s always an option! 

Roasting S’Mores 

So long as no fire ban is in place, ending the day around a campfire, roasting s’mores, and listening to your favorite music is a wonderful option to wind down and relax! 

Horseback Riding 

For a unique way to explore the outdoors, consider a horseback tour with Telluride Horseback Adventures or Telluride Sleighs and Wagons

Gondola Ride 

Wanting some incredible views, but aren’t interested in hiking? Consider riding the free, dog-friendly gondola that connects the town of Telluride to Mountain Village! 

Colorado Elopement Photographer

Grabbing a Pint 

If you’re a beer lover, you’ve come to the right place. Telluride is close to several breweries with delicious craft beer. Here’s a list of our favorite breweries nearby! 

4×4 Trails 

If exploring new places behind the wheel is more your style, you’ll be happy to know that Telluride is one of the best places in Colorado to do so! Whether you want to drive a jeep or try your hand at driving an ATV, we can make it happen! If you want to explore the trails but aren’t comfortable driving yourself, consider hiring one of the many excellent guides in the area to drive for you. 

Stargazing 

Perhaps one of our absolute favorite summer activities, stargazing is a great way to take an intentional moment to relax and be still on your wedding day while admiring the night sky. Plus, you’ll get some really incredible photos! 

Hot Springs 

If you’re looking to relax, Telluride is near several natural hot springs! Our favorites include Dunton Hot Springs, Ouray Hot Springs, Box Canyon Hot Springs, and Wiedbaden Hot Springs

Winter & Spring Telluride Elopement Activities

Skiing/Snowboarding 

Telluride is known for its ski resort, and for good reason! 

Gondola Ride 

If skiing or snowboarding down a mountain isn’t your thing, you can always choose to do a free scenic gondola ride instead! 

Dog Sledding 

Consider exploring the national forest with a team of sled dogs

Sleigh Ride 

For something a bit slower paced, a sleigh ride might be a great option with Telluride Horseback Adventures or Telluride Sleighs and Wagons

Backcountry Skiing 

For adventurous couples, consider backcountry skiing to one of the ski huts located in the San Juan Hut System

Helicopter Skiing

Did you know that Telluride is one of the only places in the state that you can go helicopter skiing

Ice Climbing 

Do you love climbing? Try your hand at ice climbing

Snowshoeing

Just because there is snow on the ground doesn’t mean that you can’t explore new trails! Strap on a pair of snowshoes and go for a stroll. 

Snowmobiling  

With extensive networks of trails, snowmobiling is an excellent way to explore Telluride in winter! 

Hot Springs 

If you’re looking to warm up and relax, Telluride is near several natural hot springs! Our favorites include Dunton Hot Springs, Ouray Hot Springs, Box Canyon Hot Springs, and Wiedbaden Hot Springs

Warm Up at a Coffee Shop or Brewery 

Whether you’d rather warm up with a cup of something hot or a cup of something cold, there’s never a bad time to take a break and grab a drink. If cuddling up with a cup of something warm sounds up your alley, here are a few of our favorite local coffee shops!

How to Get a Marriage License for Your Telluride Elopement

A bride and groom sign their marriage license on their wedding day in Telluride

While you can get your marriage license from ANY county in Colorado, Telluride is located in San Miguel County. 

As we mentioned above, Colorado allows for couples to self-solemnize their marriage certificate, which means no officiant or witness is needed to make your marriage legally binding! Because of this, San Miguel County allows your pup to sign as a witness with their paw print! 

In order to get your marriage license in San Miguel County, you will need to visit the San Miguel County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, located at 305 W. Colorado Avenue in Telluride. As of April 2023, you may apply in person Monday through Thursday between 7:30 am and 5:00 pm. Marriage Licenses are $30, payable by check or cash only. (We’re not handing out legal advice, so please double-check this for yourself with the Clerk & Recorder!)  

For up-to-date information on getting your marriage license in San Miguel County, visit their website!  

Telluride Elopement & Wedding Vendors

Telluride Wedding Caterers/Bakers/Private Chefs 

Telluride is home to several fabulous private chefs and catering services. If you’re looking to hire someone to cook for you, you can’t go wrong with any of the options below! 

Telluride Wedding Hair & Makeup Artists 

Need someone to work their magic with hair and makeup on your wedding day? Here are our favorite LGBTQ+ affirming options that serve the Telluride area! 

Telluride Wedding Florists

If you’re looking for a florist to create the bouquet of your dreams, we have several LGBTQ+ affirming options that serve the Telluride area and have packages for small weddings/elopements! 

Telluride Wedding Planners 

Wanting help planning your small wedding or elopement? These LGBTQ+ affirming planners can help! 

  • Prisma Events | Based in Centennial, CO, but will travel to Telluride | LGBTQ+ Employees
  • Carver Coordination | Based in Windsor, CO, but will travel to Telluride
  • Mountainside Events | Based in Fort Collins, CO, but will travel to Telluride | LGBTQ+ Owned, LGBTQ+ Employees
  • Urban Events | Based in Denver, CO, but will travel to Telluride | LGBTQ+ Employees

Telluride Wedding Officiants 

While an officiant is not required to get legally married in Colorado, you are always welcome to have someone lead your ceremony! Here are our favorite LGBTQ+ affirming officiants that serve Telluride. 

Ready to Elope in Telluride?

Meet Larissa + Bailey! As two born and raised Coloradoans who have photographed 200+ couples in 100+ locations across Colorado, we specialize in creating a different kind of wedding day that is just as adventurous as you are. We use our experience and knowledge to craft a different kind of wedding day that feels completely authentic to you. Want to hike to a high alpine lake? We can give you trail options for that! Want to canoe along the banks of a mountain lake? We can tell you the best lakes to do it on! Want to watch the sunset from the top of the world? We’ll lead you to our favorite spots for sunset! Book your Telluride elopement photographer today!

Overwhelmed with How To Plan A Colorado Elopement?

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wedding couple in the mountains on cover of We, The Light Photography's Colorado Elopement Planning Guide and Checklist

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One response to “Telluride Elopement Guide”

  1. Such a great resource for getting eloped in Telluride, awesome.


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