Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in Colorado

Posted On | October 20, 2022

Are you considering eloping at a waterfall in Colorado? Do you want the best waterfall elopement location in Colorado? Do you just get a rush of peace when you witness all that water cascading down? Have you dreamed of epic photos in front of a waterfall in your wedding clothes? Well, we’re going to let you in on all the secrets about when, where, and how to make that happen.

wedding couple standing on rock in front of Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride during waterfall elopement

The Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in Colorado

Rifle Falls | Glenwood Springs, Colorado

panorama photo of wedding couple standing on rock edge next to three tier Rifle Falls during waterfall elopement location in Colorado

Rifle Falls is the best triple waterfall in the state of Colorado. Located about 40 minutes from Glenwood Springs in Rifle Falls State Park and with a short walk to view it, it’s an amazing option for waterfall fanatics to elope at. It is also one of the only waterfalls sure to be running year-round (except when it’s frozen). This is great because Rifle Falls does get very busy in the summer and early fall, so you can still visit it during the slower off-season in Colorado. Because it’s one of Colorado’s most beautiful waterfalls, we definitely recommend getting up early and having your elopement right at sunrise. There are also some fun hikes surrounding Rifle Falls State Park where you can get different viewpoints of the falls, see mountain caves, and soak in some different scenery. Interested in eloping here? Check out E’Beth and Brendan’s Colorado Waterfall Elopement at Rifle Falls.

Secret Blue Lakes Waterfall | Breckenridge, Colorado

LGBTQ couple dancing in front of waterfall during elopement in Colorado

Everyone knows that there is a waterfall when you hike from lower blue lake. But what if we told you there was another secret waterfall nearby that is out of this world gorgeous? It is by far one of our favorite waterfalls to elope at in Colorado if you are staying near Breckenridge. With a big flow most of the year (it can dwindle in the fall), this waterfall is sure to impress. Interested in eloping here? Check out Kasey and Veronica’s Two-Day Waterfall Elopement here.

Ouzel Falls | Rocky Mountain National Park

Ouzel Falls is located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Although you cannot actually say your vows and elope at any of the waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park, you can have your ceremony at one of the designated wedding sites, then head up to Ouzel Falls afterward for pictures. This 5.4-mile round trip hike is considered moderate as it only has roughly 800 ft of elevation gain. The 40 ft Ouzel Falls tumbles down into a basin of large boulders, making it one of RMNP’s most stunning waterfalls. This fall freezes and gets covered in feet of snow in the winter, making it difficult to distinguish, so it’s best to take pictures on your elopement day from June – October.

Mohawk Lakes | Breckenridge, Colorado

Spring time at Upper Mohawk Lake near breckenridge Colorado

If you’re up for a hike and dream of ending at a pristine alpine lake after hiking up next to a big waterfall, then Mohawk Lakes should be on your Colorado waterfall elopement location list. This waterfall is perfect for the eloping couple who wants the best of all worlds on their wedding day – a hike, a long, tumbling waterfall, and pristine mountain views. Located just outside Breckenridge, Mohawk Lakes is perfect for the adventurous couple. And if a backpacking elopement is on your list, we know of a perfect location to camp near the waterfalls so you can get it all to yourself at sunrise! Just know, that this area is not accessible year-round – summer to early fall is best.

Fish Creek Falls | Steamboat, Colorado

man down on on knee proposing to woman in front of frozen Fish Creek Falls in Steamboat Springs Colorado

Known as the most famous waterfall near Steamboat, CO, Fish Creek Falls definitely holds up its title proudly. It’s only a 1/ 4 mile walk from the parking lot to access the bridge in front of the falls. And for couples who want a different view, you can simply walk up another trail next to the parking lot to get a birds-eye lookout over the falls. You can also hike an additional 2.5 miles to another waterfall for the most privacy. Our favorite part about Fish Creek Falls is that it’s accessible all year round (but bring snowshoes in the winter!). Interested in eloping here? Check out Courtney and DJ’s Steamboat Springs Proposal at a frozen Fish Creek Falls.

Bridal Veil Falls | Telluride, Colorado

bride and groom kissing during Bridal Veil Falls elopement in Telluride

Bridal Veil Falls is one of the tallest, more easily accessible waterfalls, therefore one of our favorite waterfall elopement locations in Colorado. Located in the San Juan mountains in southern Colorado, just outside Telluride, Bridal Veil Falls is a gem of that area. The OHV road is accessible during the summer and early fall with a high-clearance vehicle. If you can’t drive all the way to the top like many people, you can hike the 2.4 miles along the road to the waterfall. Even though it is hiking accessible during the winter, the area can be closed if there is avalanche danger present, so it’s best to visit during the summer and fall. The best part? If you elope with us, there are some fun secret waterfalls nearby that we can also visit on our way up or down that are much more private, because Bridal Veil Falls definitely gets busy. Interested in eloping here? Check out Alyssa and Jake’s Bridal Telluride Waterfall Elopement.

South Mineral Creek Falls | Silverton, Colorado

One of the most unique waterfalls to elope at in Colorado is South Mineral Creek Falls. Its beautiful turquoise color comes from mineral deposits in the surrounding San Juan Mountains. A shorter 1-mile hike is required to access the falls and a little longer if you want to hike up to the second tier (worth it!). With a creek crossing involved, it’s best to visit in mid-summer to fall when the water levels are a little lower. For those who want to camp for their waterfall elopement in Colorado, the South Mineral Campground is right at the base of the trailhead and perfect to set up camp at.

Devil’s Punchbowl | Aspen, Colorado

Eloping couple standing over Devil's Punchbowl on Independence Pass during waterfall elopement

Devil’s Punchbowl is located at the base of Independence Pass. After you’ve had the chance to explore the high alpine terrain on the pass, Devil’s Punchbowl is a unique rock formation with a waterfall running into a large pool of cool blue water. It has some crazy heights close to the edge, so be sure you’re not afraid of heights and ready for an adventure on your elopement day. The waterfall does not run into the pool year-round, that’s why we recommend Devil’s Punchbowl in late spring to mid-summer. Interested in eloping here? Check out Tyler and Paige’s Independence Pass Elopement with photos at Devil’s Punchbowl.

Boulder Falls | Boulder, Colorado

two brides snuggled up in front of Boulder Falls at waterfall elopement location in colorado

Boulder Falls is one of the more easily accessible waterfalls in the front range that runs year-round (but does freeze in the winter). So if you’re not planning a high-elevation elopement and love the larger cities on the front range to explore during your waterfall elopement in Colorado, Boulder Falls is the perfect place to stop. Because of its easy access with a short 1/8 mile walk, it can get very crowded. If you want Boulder Falls completely to yourself, we recommend eloping at sunrise for the best chance.

Cascade Falls | Ouray, Colorado

Couple standing in front of cascade falls in Ouray for their colorado waterfall elopement

If you love the idea of eloping in Southern Colorado, the town of Ouray will surely come across your search results. We absolutely love this little town known for its off-roading, access to the million-dollar highway, and steep cliff walls surrounding it. Ouray also is home to the impressive Cascade Falls. With a roughly 200-foot drop, these falls are sure to impress. They can be easily accessed with a short 1/4 mile hike from the parking lot, but if you are up for more of an adventure, we highly recommend hiking the full Ouray Perimeter Trail that passes by Cascade Falls. These falls get busy during the day so we highly recommend having your Colorado waterfall elopement at sunrise or in the off-season (November-April).

Zapata Falls | Alamosa, Colorado

Zapata Falls is a great place to stop and beat the heat if you’re planning a Sand Dunes elopement. This unique waterfall twists and turns through a large rock crevice that almost reminds you of the canyon walls of Antelope Canyon. Be ready to get your dress a little wet as you skip across rocks to reach the best views. This easy-to-access, 0.9-mile out-and-back waterfall elopement location is sure to impress even the most adventurous couples.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Elope at a Waterfall in Colorado

bride and groom saying vows during waterfall elopement near telluride

Colorado is a drier, more arid, desert climate where most waterfalls don’t run all year long. Waterfalls may look different at different times of the year depending on what you’re looking for in your waterfall elopement in Colorado.

Winter Waterfall Elopement in Colorado

Starting as early as November, but more commonly in December year-round waterfalls begin to freeze in Colorado. Depending on the elevation most waterfalls will remain frozen into April. If you dream of a winter wonderland frozen waterfall then December – March is the best time to elope in Colorado.

Spring Waterfall Elopement in Colorado

Spring is when Colorado’s waterfalls truly shine! All that snow melt begins to rush through the waterfalls. Most waterfalls are at their peak flow in May and June in Colorado. If you are looking for a glorious flowing waterfall, spring in Colorado is the best time to elope.

Summer Waterfall Elopement in Colorado

Depending on the previous winter’s snowpack and how warm or cold the spring weather was, waterfalls generally continue to flow throughout July and August. Smaller waterfalls will start dwindling in August. If you want to guarantee to see a waterfall for your elopement day, choose a larger, more established waterfall.

Fall Waterfall Elopement in Colorado

Fall is the most difficult time to elope if a waterfall is a must on your list. Unless it’s a large waterfall, many more hidden, smaller waterfalls are dried up completely or a small trickle of water from September through November. If saying your vows in front of a running waterfall is a must for you, definitely make sure you are planning to visit a larger, more established waterfall in the fall months.

Permits for Your Colorado Waterfall Elopement

bride twirling in her dress at secret waterfall elopement location in colorado

Whatever you decide on for your waterfall elopement location in Colorado, you need to do your research to determine if a permit is required to have your ceremony or take photos there. Because Colorado is home to some incredible waterfalls, our national forests and state/national parks want to do their best to protect those natural wonders. In many locations, a permit may be required. In some cases, it may not be possible to physically hold your ceremony even at that location (for example a Rocky Mountain National Park requires you to have your ceremony at a designated site). It is your responsibility to confirm if a permit is required or not. There are two different types of permits that you may need for your waterfall elopement in Colorado.

Special Use Permit

Special use permits grant you permission to hold a specific gathering/activity on public lands – such as your wedding ceremony.

Commercial Permit

Commercial permits may be required if you are hiring any vendors like a photographer or officiant. The vendor may be required to obtain a commercial use permit to be able to conduct business on those public lands.

Who to Contact for an Elopement Permit

Most often you need to contact the local land bureau or national forest ranger station that governs the land you are interested in eloping on. If the location is within a state park or national park, you can directly contact the information center for that park. If the location is in the national forest, then you need to contact the ranger station that covers that area. If you are unsure of who to contact, your photographer should be able to help you out and make sure you have the correct contact.

How to Leave No Trace at Your Colorado Waterfall Elopement Location

LGBTQ couple hiking in front of Boulder Falls for their waterfall elopement

Leave No Trace is a set of principles to help you easily make the least amount of impact as possible on the natural environment. Because waterfalls are not necessarily abundant in Colorado, they can be busy which results in negatively impacting the vegetation, wildlife, and ecosystem. If you decide to elope in Colorado at a waterfall, we want you to be able to go back to that same exact waterfall 10 years from now and remember how beautiful it was.

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare – Do your research on the route to access the waterfall. Make sure you have the proper footwear and clothing to make the hike. This ensures your safety and the ability to explore the area safely.
  2. Stick to the Trail – Around waterfalls, there can especially be many “satellite trails” that are not the true trail and begin to wear away at vegetation. Be sure to stick to the main trails and take breaks on durable surfaces such as rocks and gravel.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly – Yes you need to pack out all trash that you bring with you. But in addition to traditional trash, please be aware that human waste can also impact an ecosystem, especially if you are particularly close to water sources like a waterfall. Be sure to go to the bathroom at least 100 feet from any water source and pack out solid waste when possible.
  4. Leave What You Find – Taking a stone from the waterfall you eloped at doesn’t seem like it would have any great impact. But if every visitor was to take just one stone to remember that waterfall, it makes a much more significant change to the environment. Please, leave what you find and put back anything that you move.
  5. Minimize Fire Impact – While most people may not be planning a campfire for your elopement day, if you are please remember to use existing rings and clean up your fire when it’s complete.
  6. Respect Wildlife – Wild animals were here first. Respect them by not approaching and observing from a distance, using your indoor voice to not scare them, and avoiding sudden movements.
  7. Be Considerate of Others – When you choose to elope at a waterfall in Colorado, you get the good grace to use public land for that amazing purpose. But it is still public land and while others typically are respectful of your privacy, they also have a right to be there and share in the same beauty.

Planning Your Colorado Waterfall Elopement Location

wedding couple holding lanterns beneath Rifle Falls during their waterfall elopement in Colorado

We are born and raised Coloradoans who specialize in planning epic elopements for our couples that feel authentic to who they are. If a waterfall elopement sounds right up your alley, we’d love to help you find THE perfect one and make sure it’s a day you never forget with stunning pictures to remember it by. Just get in touch and we’ll get planning!

In the meantime, be sure to check out our list of Best Places to Elope in Colorado, and our guide for 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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