The Ultimate Adventure! How To Plan A Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement

A Rocky Mountain National Park elopement is the perfect way to celebrate the love between two adventurous souls, especially if you find yourself more at home outdoors! There’s perhaps no better way to immerse yourself in the breathtaking Colorado scenery.

Surrounded by incredible landscapes with stunning elopement locations, it’s hard not to fall in love with this area. From panoramic views of the mountains, beautiful blue lakes, waterfalls, and multiple hiking trails, it truly is the perfect place for any nature enthusiast to hold their next big adventure together. 

This Rocky Mountain National Park elopement guide covers everything you need to know to plan the most romantic day, from the legalities to sharing all my favorite photography spots so you can plan your ultimate day to cherish forever. 

Who Should Get Married In RMNP? 

So the main question you’re probably wondering is, “Can you elope in Rocky Mountain National Park?” Yes, you can! But, there are certain rules and regulations you need to follow which I’ll go into further detail below. 

Eloping in national parks is gaining popularity and I completely understand why — have you seen how stunning it is?! Not to mention how much more affordable it is than a normal venue. For more of an in-depth elopement guide, make sure to check out my guide

Chances are you’re here because you’ve realized a traditional wedding is not for you but still want to hold a celebration where you can unite as one. It really is an ideal location for couples that want a no-fuss, minimal, and intimate wedding in the raw beauty of nature (think of all the stunning photos here too!)

If you’re craving something different and out of the box with an abundance of gorgeous scenery around every corner, then I truly believe RMNP is one of the best places to elope! What’s even better is, as it’s just two hours away from the closest airport, it’s very convenient for you and your chosen guests to travel to.

When To Get Married In Rocky Mountain National Park

This 265,807 acres of park is jaw-dropping no matter what season, with many of the locations being accessible all year round. It’s one of the many great things about eloping at RMNP. 

June to early October is the best time for the sunny weather, but as it’s peak time, there will also be a lot more visitors in the park. Consider a weekday wedding for fewer people or a sunrise or sunset celebration if you’re after those gorgeous golden hour hues.

Sunrise is a magical time to elope in the park, it’s so peaceful and all you can hear are the animals waking from their slumber. It’s the perfect time to take spectacular alpine glow shots. Picture that early morning sun hitting the top of the mountains and casting down glowing orange and pink hues. It’s pretty phenomenal! 

During the winter to early spring, it varies depending on your elevation but it’ll be quite cold which brings fewer visitors to the park. The landscape will look like a magical winter wonderland, the lakes will be frozen over, and the trees and mountains will be covered in snow. 

A summer elopement at Rocky Mountain National Park is a pretty popular time. The wildflowers pop their heads out, the temperature’s warm but not overly hot, and there’s a lot of greenery! You’ll likely see some wildlife in the distance, but you’ll also come across many more people during this time. 

If you’re looking for something a little more crisp and cozy, experience breathtaking warm tones during fall. The ground will be sprinkled with fallen leaves and the whole vista changes to hues of oranges, reds, and yellows, which is absolutely gorgeous. 

How To Elope In Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re considering holding your wedding here and wondering “Do I need a permit to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park?” The answer is yes! 

Being one of the most popular National Parks in the country, it’s important to plan your wedding day with plenty of notice. The park has a limited amount of wedding permits available, (on a first come first serve basis), so it’s super important to apply ASAP if your heart is set on eloping in the National Park. 

You will also need to know how many people will be there on your wedding day, this also includes any Colorado wedding vendors such as the officiant, if you choose to have one, and your photographer.

How to apply for the Rocky Mountain National Park wedding permit 

  1. You’ll need to fill out this Special Use Application form 
  2. Email the completed form to
  3. Once the application gets approved, the form will be prepared and sent to you for signature via email. 
  4. Once the signed form is approved, they’ll send you an authorized copy via email. 

You will have to carry the approved permit with you on the day of your elopement. 

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

The wedding permit costs $300 to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park, which gives you access to one of twelve ceremony sites for 2 hours. You and your guests will also have to pay the entrance fee which starts at $15 per person to $35 per private vehicle. For more information, make sure to look at the park website

Rules and regulations 

  • The wedding permit does not give you exclusive use of the designated wedding area. Being a popular park, there are many visitors every day and the public may be around. 
  • Amplified music is not permitted.
  • No extra wedding decorations are allowed (no tables, chairs, tents, floral displays, signs banners, etc). 
  • Follow the “Leave No Trace” rule. 
  • Bouquets are allowed but no throwing of confetti, flower petals, birdseed, rice, or anything similar. 


For things to be official, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license in any Colorado county. You can apply in person or online but each place varies slightly, make sure to do a bit of research on your chosen office.

To apply for a marriage license in Colorado, you’ll need:

  • Photo ID like a driver’s license or passport
  • Both of you must be present when applying for a marriage license 
  • $30 for the license cost. Also handy to get 3 extra copies for $3 each  

For couples who want to elope completely on their own, Colorado allows you to self-solemnize which means you don’t need an officiant or any witnesses to sign the documents.

Imagine just the two of you in private, declaring your love for each other in the mountains, doesn’t it sound so romantic? Just make sure your ceremony takes place within 35 days and the signed marriage license gets returned within 63 days to make it all official. Don’t leave it till the last minute! 

The Best Places To Elope In Rocky Mountain National Park

There are 12 dedicated Rocky Mountain National Park elopement locations to hold your ceremony which the park is quite strict about. However, don’t let that stop you from exploring or hiking to other gorgeous locations for some adventure pictures afterwards!

(Don’t forget the capacity includes your guests AS WELL as any vendors you choose to have on your day.)

3M Curve

Capacity: maximum 15 | No. of vehicles: maximum 3 

3M curve is one of the more popular spots in the park. Known for its large rock outcrops and stunning vistas in all directions, 3M curve curve is a perfect place to say “i do”. Just 3.5 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, say “I do” anytime here for an impressive 3M Curve elopement.  

A small 5-minute hike up some rocky terrain will bring you up to incredible views of Longs Peak, moraines, and meadows spread around as far as you can see. Just make sure to pack some sturdy shoes for the short, but rocky trail hike.

Upper Beaver Meadows

Capacity: maximum 30 | No. of vehicles: maximum 10

How romantic does it sound to get married in an open meadow with alpine trees and mountains as your backdrop? At an Upper Beaver Meadows wedding, you get exactly that! Celebrate your love in the undisturbed beauty with views of Long Peaks and large open meadows, a landscape that looks as if it’s jumped straight out of a postcard. 

For adventurous couples, there are a couple of hiking trails to reach UBM. Or drive to the car park and walk a short distance to reach the spot. It’s one of the more private and secluded locations in the park but very accessible making it a perfect location for even your less-abled guests to reach. 

Sprague Lake

Capacity: maximum 15 in summer, 30 in winter | No. of vehicles: maximum 3  in summer, 10 in winter

Sprague Lake is an incredible location that’s up 8,000 feet with dramatic views of alpine trees, a sparkling lake, and mountain peak views that will take your breath away. Having a Sprague Lake elopement will be gorgeous any time of the year but it’s especially striking when the lake freezes over winter or in autumn when the trees turn into warm golden hues. 

This site is very popular with both couples and visitors alike so although you can elope anywhere around the lake, the dock is the ideal aisle to walk down to avoid having the visitors in your background. 

Hidden Valley

Capacity: maximum 30 | No. of vehicles: maximum 10

Tucked away in the woods, Hidden Valley is an amazing spot for an intimate forest wedding. Unlike other options, you don’t get the impressive mountain views but you do get the enchanting woodlands. 

Envelope yourselves in summer wildflowers and pine trees for a magical ceremony in the wild. If privacy is your priority, this creekside location has fewer visitors than other elopement locations yet it’s still very accessible and even offers wheelchair access.   

Lily Lake

Capacity: maximum 10 – 30 | No. of vehicles: maximum 10

Lily Lake offers three dedicated elopement locations with panoramic views of the lakes and mountains: Lily Lake Dock with the smallest capacity of 10 guests, Lily Lake Trail (20 guests) and Lily Lake Southside Picnic Area (30 guests). 

The picnic area gives you the most privacy out of the three, stand on a small hill and enjoy the lake view. Or perhaps you would prefer the vast lake and mountain views from the dock which happens to be the busier out of the options. Having a sunset elopement at Lily Lake would be a great way to avoid the crowds and capture timeless golden hour shots. 

Moraine Park Amphitheater

Capacity: maximum 30 | No. of vehicles: maximum 10

(Please note that this location is unavailable for weddings during 2023.)

Surround yourselves with pine trees in this rustic amphitheater with views of Moraine Park and Long Peaks. The ideal location for couples after a larger ceremony, especially as it’s the only location that has seating available.  

If including your four-legged best friend is an important part of your day, Moraine Park Amphitheater is the only one that allows dogs. However, they have strict rules so make sure you read up on them to see if it fits with your elopement day plans. 

Bear Lake

Capacity: maximum 20 | No. of vehicles: maximum 5

For couples after a winter elopement at the park, a Bear Lake wedding is one of the best locations as you’re pretty much guaranteed snow. But for couples who don’t like the cold, you can also get married here in other seasons too, just not in summer.

Be the main character of your own fairytale, stand on the frozen lake surrounded by snow-covered trees and mountain tops. Can you imagine how breathtaking the elopement photos would be? 

This spot is very popular even in the winter and especially during the weekends. But, you can only get married during the weekdays so you can enjoy the peace and serenity of fewer people.

Additional elopement photo locations in RMNP

Although you can’t say your vows in these locations, I wanted to share some of my favorite places to take elopement photographs after you say “I do”!

  • Nymph Lake: A scenic and charming lake filled with pond lilies that bloom throughout the summer, fills the lake with green lily pads and yellow flowers. A dense alpine forest and rocky peaks in the background.  
  • Dream Lake: A gorgeous location that looks different every season. A short and accessible 2.2-mile hike will bring you a view of the epic mountain range, pine trees, and a pristine lake.
  • Emerald Lake: If you start from Bear Lake Trailhead to get to this lake, you will also come across Nymph Lake and Dream Lake along the way. Taking around 4 miles for the round trip, it’s a longer hike but so worth it for the views. There’s a waterfall and views of big mountains surrounding the lake, it’s absolutely gorgeous!
  • Trail Ridge Road: It’s essentially a road that connects one side of the park with another, which has many trails and majestic viewpoints. From awe-inspiring rocky mountain views to ethereal grassy hillside shots, you can get amazing views of the park from above.

Alternative options

Estes Park

If for some reason you are unable to get a permit to marry in the park, don’t worry! Estes Park is a charming nearby mountain town with so many different options for your Colorado elopement. Say your vows here and go into RMNP for adventuring and more photos after! 

Now you know everything about getting married in this park, if you have any questions or are in need of a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement photographer, please reach out to me! I can’t wait to help capture your love and amazing day!

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