The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Fort Collins Elopement in Colorado

Fort Collins is a beautiful city located in northern Colorado along the Cache La Poudre River. It’s known for its natural settings, picturesque views, and thriving arts scene. Fort Collins even served as the inspiration for the design of Disneyland’s Main Street,  thanks to its charming and well-preserved historic downtown area. Whether you’re seeking a mountain backdrop, a charming downtown vibe, or a mix of both for your elopement in Colorado, there is plenty to see and do here!

romantic fort collins elopement in colorado

Best Fort Collins Elopement Locations

Rocky Mountain National Park

35 miles from Fort Collins, you’ll find the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is one of the most well known locations in Colorado. 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.

If you’d like to plan a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, here’s a guide for you!

Horsetooth Reservoir

Located in Northern Colorado near the city of Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir is an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream. With beautiful overlooks positioned around the reservoir and miles of hiking trails, couples can find all sorts of outdoor activities. From hiking, to biking, paddle boarding, boating, rock climbing, fishing, and even scuba diving, couples can have it all. Only a few minutes from Fort Collins (home to TONS of breweries, fun little boutiques, shops, and bars) Horsetooth Reservoir is the perfect location for couples looking to fully enjoy Colorado. 

a couple looking at the river in horsetooth reservoir

Lory State Park

Situated next to Horsetooth Reservoir, Lory State Park features diverse landscapes, including valleys, mountains, and forests, providing a variety of picturesque settings for your ceremony. There are 26 miles of trails for you to choose from to hike on your elopement day. Of course, you can also go on horseback rides or mountain bike if that’s more your thing!

The Poudre Canyon

Poudre Canyon is a beautiful natural setting along the Cache la Poudre River. It features rugged cliffs, dense pine forests, and, of course, the river. The diverse landscape offers numerous spots for intimate ceremonies, from riverside pebble beaches to wooded areas with stunning views of the canyon walls. It’s ideal for couples who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, and fishing.

bride and groom eating a small cake during their elopement in colorado

Downtown Fort Collins

You don’t have to hike or go out into nature to elope. Downtown Fort Collins offers an urban environment rich in historic charm and vibrant street scenes, perfect for those looking for a more conventional yet still intimate setting. Here you’ll find beautifully preserved historic buildings, charming boutiques, and art galleries. The vibrant streets, alleyways adorned with murals, and the presence of unique art installations offer diverse and colorful elopement photo ops.

a close up of  the groom signing marriage license

Best Season to Elope in Fort Collins

Fort Collins experiences four distinct seasons, each offering unique charm and adventure possibilities for an elopement in Colorado.


Spring in Fort Collins can be really unpredictable weatherwise. Early spring is still on the cooler side, and you may still get some snow. But as the season goes on, temperatures often warm up to the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit. You might encounter rain and melting snow, leading to muddy conditions in some outdoor locations.

The spring scenery in Fort Collins is amazing! The landscapes are covered in blooming wildflowers and budding trees, so dreamy!!


Summer is typically warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the high 70s to mid-90s Fahrenheit. Afternoon thunderstorms are common, usually brief and followed by clear skies. 

Summers here offer a lot of beautiful greenery. Higher elevations like mountain parks are particularly beautiful as they offer cooler temperatures and blooming wildflowers.


Fall brings cooler temperatures, ranging from the 60s to the 70s Fahrenheit in early fall and dropping as the season progresses. The weather is generally mild, making it a very popular time for outdoor activities.

Fall is an absolutely picturesque time in Fort Collins. The fall foliage, with its reds, oranges, and yellows, provides a stunning natural backdrop for an elopement.


Winters in Fort Collins are cold, with temperatures often in the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit. If you elope in Colorado during the winter, you’ll likely experience some snow! Snow-covered mountains and fields make for a dramatic and romantic elopement setting, perfect for those looking for a winter wonderland. However, a lot of snow can make access to some locations challenging or not possible at all.

Want to elope during winter? Here’s a guide on how to plan a Colorado winter elopement!

Overall, Summer and Fall are generally the more popular seasons in Fort Collins due to the nice weather and stunning scenery, so I’d recommend planning a weekday elopement or a sunrise ceremony! Spring and Winter are beautiful and offer their own unique setting and fewer crowds. And if you worry about the weather, Mother Nature can be unpredictable in any season! But if you want to be prepared for “bad” weather, check out this guide!

Get Your Marriage License

Eloping in Colorado is really simple. Obtain a marriage license from any county clerk’s office in Colorado. The fee is typically around $30, and there’s no waiting period – you can use it the same day you receive it!

Colorado allows self-solemnization, meaning you can marry yourselves without an officiant. But if you prefer a more traditional ceremony, you can find ordained officiants specializing in elopements.

If you want to learn more about self-solemnization and how to make your Colorado elopement legal, here’s a blog for you!

Fort Collins Elopement Permits

Figuring out if your dream elopement spot in Colorado needs a permit can be a bit tricky. While not all locations in this beautiful state require a permit, the more sought-after spots usually do. This is especially true for Colorado’s National Parks, certain wilderness areas, and other protected sites, where elopement permits are a must. You’ll need to secure these permits well in advance to guarantee your chosen spot is reserved just for you.

If you’d like to elope in a private venue, generally, no public permit is required. Still, it’s essential to coordinate with the venue owner about their rules and any necessary arrangements.

If you choose me as your Colorado elopement photographer, I’ll help you figure out what permits are needed and help you obtain all the necessary permits! You can learn more about my Colorado elopement packages here!

Ready to Plan Your Elopement in Colorado?

I hope that this Fort Collins elopement guide has given you some ideas for your big day in Colorado!

If you’re planning your elopement day, you may be on the lookout for your dream Colorado elopement photographer and adventure buddy! If so, I’d LOVE to meet you! You can learn more about me here!

And if you’re looking for more elopement planning resources or inspiration for what your day could look like, check out the rest of my blog!

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