09/07/2021

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Guide - Get Married at RMNP

You know you don’t want the traditional wedding - so imagine yourself reading your vows as the sun illuminates the mountain peaks behind you. Imagine tying the knot surrounded by a field of wildflowers. Picture yourself spending your wedding day exploring jaw dropping scenery, with your partner by your side.

If the idea of an adventurous wedding day that’s unlike any other makes your heart skip a beat, consider a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement! With some of the most incredible views in Colorado, getting married at Rocky Mountain is perfect for anyone seeking a little bit (or a lot) of adventure.

This Rocky Mountain National Park elopement guide will tell you how to plan your unique wedding, and how to get married in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park! 

Here’s what you’ll find in the Rocky Mountain National park Elopement guide:

•Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Venues

•When to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

•Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Permit

•Where to Stay When You Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

•Getting Legally Married in Rocky Mountain National Park

•Tips for Your Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement

•Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Packages


Eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park is a little more difficult than just lacing up your hiking boots and heading into the park. It’s a really popular location for weddings, and for everyday visitors. Due to the number of visitors and the number of couples eloping in Rocky Mountain, the park has limited wedding ceremonies to certain locations in the park. These Rocky Mountain National Park “wedding venues” are the only places where you can have your ceremony - but don’t worry, once the I do’s are said, we can go explore the rest of the park and take photos.

For the most up to date information, check out NPS.gov, but here are the places where you can elope in Rocky Mountain National Park!

The 3m Curve is one of the most popular Rocky Mountain National Park wedding venues, with a large rock outcrop that you can stand on to overlook the mountains and meadows below. 

•Location: 3.5 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor  Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 15
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 3


The wooden footbridge makes for a picturesque elopement backdrop, standing over the river with boulders and aspen trees scattered around. There’s even a waterfall, and the nearby restrooms make this a convenient elopement location!
•Location: 7 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 20
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 5

Bear Lake is a scenic lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, with mountain views and aspen trees. After your ceremony here, you can continue up the trail for a look at more alpine lakes - Dream Lake and Emerald Lake offer stunning, more private views!

•Location: 11 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 20
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 5
•Restrictions: No weekend weddings, no weddings from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Indigenous People’s Day

Copeland Lake is one of few spots in Rocky Mountain National Park where dogs are allowed to join you for your elopement! The lake is surrounded by mountains and aspen trees, providing similar scenery to Bear Lake, at a slightly less populated location.

•Location: 13 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 30
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 10 from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Indigenous People’s Day, no restrictions the rest of the year

This gorgeous meadow is one of the best Rocky Mountain National Park wedding venues for wildflower scenery and for wildlife viewing! The Harbison Meadow Picnic Area is adjacent to Trail Ridge Road, and offers a large ceremony space perfect for bigger celebrations.

•Location: west side of the park
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 30
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 10 from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Indigenous People’s Day, no restrictions the rest of the year


Hidden Valley is a wheelchair accessible wedding ceremony location in Rocky Mountain National Park, with gorgeous aspen and pine trees, summer wildflower blooms, and a picturesque wooden footbridge. 

•Location: 6 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 30
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: None
•Restrictions: Wedding ceremonies may not occupy picnic sites

There are several sites at Lily Lake, the first of which is the lakeside dock. This Rocky Mountain National Park wedding venue offers gorgeous panoramic mountain views, a wheelchair accessible walking rail, and nearby bathrooms. 

•Location: 6.4 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 10
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 10 from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Indigenous People’s Day, no restrictions the rest of the year

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Venues

3M Curve

Alluvial Fan Bridge

Bear Lake Nature Trail

Copeland Lake

Harbison Meadow Picnic Area

HIdden Valley

Lily Lake Dock

A ¼ mile walk down the Lily Lake Trail will lead you to the picnic area, with a knoll overlooking the lake and a grove of aspen trees. The trail is wheelchair accessible, and the picnic area is the perfect place for some post-ceremony snacks.  

•Location: 6.4 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 20 on the trail, 30 at the picnic area
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 10 from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Indigenous People’s Day, no restrictions the rest of the year

The amphitheater is designed for wedding ceremonies, with rustic wooden benches around the amphitheater. Dogs are allowed at this location as well, and you’ll have views of Moraine Park and Longs Peak, and the surrounding pine trees. 

•Location: 2.7 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 30
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 10 from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through Indigenous People’s Day, no restrictions the rest of the year

This Rocky Mountain National Park wedding venue offers some of the most dramatic, easily accessible mountain views! You’ll see the lake, the dock, the grassy knoll, and the wooden footbridge along the wheelchair accessible trail around Sprague Lake. It’s one of the best places to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter, as it’s accessible year round.

•Location:. 7 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 15 in summer, 30 in winter
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 3 in summer, 10 in winter
Restrictions: Wedding ceremonies cannot occupy picnic sites

This small amphitheater offers views of the Colorado River, with a campground nearby. The location is pretty small, and parking is limited, but it is wheelchair accessible! 

•Location: west side of the park
•Maximum Ceremony Size: 10
•Maximum Number of Vehicles: 5

Upper Beaver Meadows offers some incredible views of the Continental Divide and the wildflower meadows. This Rocky Mountain National Park wedding venue is inaccessible by car during the winter, but can make a secluded ceremony spot if you’re willing to hike in!  
Location: 1.5 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
Maximum Ceremony Size: 30
Maximum Number of Vehicles: 10, no vehicles from mid-October to mid-May

Lily Lake Trail and Picnic Area

Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater

Sprague Lake

 Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater

 Upper Beaver Meadows

Rocky Mountain National Park is stunning year round - but it’s stunning in different ways, so of course, the date or season you choose for your elopement will have a big effect on how your elopement day plays out! Here is some information about the weather in the Rocky Mountains, and the best times to elope in the national park.

Winter is the best time for your Rocky Mountain National Park elopement if your goal is to avoid crowds. The park is covered in snow, and some of the roads are closed. Keep in mind that winter starts pretty early in the mountains of Colorado, so the higher elevation areas can see flurries as early as October, and sometimes it can even snow as late as July. Lower elevations on the east side of the park don’t see as much snow, and are usually accessible throughout the year. The west side is colder, with deep snow, sudden blizzards, and below freezing temperatures. 


In the spring the weather in Rocky Mountains National Park is unpredictable, with quick alternations between warm and cold, and wet and dry. At lower elevations, the weather starts to warm up in late April, and wildflower meadows begin to bloom. 

The warmer temperatures reach subalpine areas in June, and the high elevation trails and mountain summits are often covered in snow into July. Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, so be prepared to navigate the crowds. This is the best time for an elopement if you want to hike, as the weather will be warm. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer, so plan your adventures for early morning to avoid the rain!

September and October are the best months for a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, because the summer rain storms have ended, many of the tourists have gone home, and the temperatures are crisp. The aspen trees erupt into shades of yellow and red around mid September, and you can spot some incredible fall foliage. Snow can sometimes start falling as early as September, and by mid October the higher elevation areas can be covered!

When to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park

Spring in Rocky Mountain National Park

Summer In Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall in Rocky Mountain National Park

To elope in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll need a wedding permit - no matter how small your ceremony is. Elopements can include a maximum of 30 people, including the two of you, your guests, your photographer, the officiant, and any other vendors.

Getting a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding permit can be competitive! There is a limited number of permits issued each year, and the process is first come first serve.

In 2022, 60 permits per month will be issued from May to October, and 40 per month from November to April. Check NPS.gov for the most up to date info! Each location in the park can have a maximum of two ceremonies per day, to ensure that there isn’t any overlap between two wedding ceremonies, and a maximum of 6 ceremonies can take place in one day.

The application fee for a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding permit is $300, and you can find the application here. Applications are accepted one year in advance of your wedding month - and I recommend applying as soon as possible, as the maximum is often reached quickly.

During your elopement, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the few national parks with no lodging options, but there are some campgrounds if you want to add a camping adventure to your elopement experience!

But, for some more modern amenities, there are two towns where you’ll find lodging options. Estes Park to the east, and Grand Lake to the west. 

Estes Park is bigger, with more options. You’ll find private cabins and cottages, stunning stays like the Estes Park Resort, and riverside accommodations like the Silver Moon Inn.

In rand Lake, check out Colorado Cabin Adventures for rustic log cabins, and the Historic Rapids Lodge with a stunning view of the river.

 Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Permit

Where to Stay When You Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park 

The best thing about eloping in Colorado is that it’s one of the few states that allows you to self solemnize your marriage! This means you don’t need an officiant to sign the marriage license, and you don’t need any witnesses. You can have a completely private elopement day without worrying about the logistics of meeting up with an officiant or having to find witnesses if you aren’t inviting guests.

You will need a marriage license to make things legally official. This can be obtained at any county clerk’s office in the state of Colorado, but the Estes Park location in Latimer County is closest to Rocky Mountain National Park.

You can find the application online, and then schedule an appointment to appear in person to sign the application and receive your marriage license. A Colorado marriage license costs $30, and expires 35 days after you receive it.

During your elopement, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the few national parks with no lodging options, but there are some campgrounds if you want to add a camping adventure to your elopement experience!

But, for some more modern amenities, there are two towns where you’ll find lodging options. Estes Park to the east, and Grand Lake to the west. 

Estes Park is bigger, with more options. You’ll find private cabins and cottages, stunning stays like the Estes Park Resort, and riverside accommodations like the Silver Moon Inn.

In rand Lake, check out Colorado Cabin Adventures for rustic log cabins, and the Historic Rapids Lodge with a stunning view of the river.

 Getting Legally Married in Rocky Mountain National Park 

Where to Stay When You Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park 

When you elope in Rocky Mountain National Park, here are a few things to keep in mind!

Most national parks have an entrance fee required - and because Rocky Mountain National Park has exploded in popularity recently, they also require a timed entry permit during peak season, which gives you access to the park at a certain time to prevent overcrowding and traffic.

You will have a wedding permit for your Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, so you do not need a timed entry permit. Just make sure that each car has a copy of the permit with your ceremony time on it!

However, you will still need to pay the entrance fee. The fee is $25 per car for one day, and you can purchase your pass online or at the entrance to the park. 

If you visit national parks often, consider investing in an “America the Beautiful” Pass! This one costs $80, and will get you into every national park in the country for an entire year. You can buy a pass at any national park entrance, or online. I've personally been buying these for years and they're so worth it!

When you elope, being comfortable is so important! Unlike a traditional wedding, you’ll be walking, hiking, and moving around a lot, so it’s important that your wedding attire lets you move.

For dresses, opt for loose skirts that aren’t too cumbersome, and for suits, make sure it fits well and lets you lift your arms and take big steps. 

Along with comfort, be sure to consider the weather. Heavier fabrics can help keep you warm, but for summer hikes, you’ll probably want lighter, looser fabrics. No matter when you elope, be sure to wear layers - weather can change quickly in the mountains! Jackets, capes, and shawls can help keep you warm, and base layers, like thermal leggings can work wonders.

Leave No Trace (LNT) is a set of 7 principles created to help people protect the outdoors. We often have a bigger impact than we realize, and these natural areas, especially ones with as much foot traffic as Rocky Mountain National Park, can suffer due to well intentioned but unaware visiots. To ensure the park stays open and keeps allowing ceremonies, make sure you’re following all 7 principles, and following the specific guidelines you’ll receive with your wedding permit.

1. Here are the 7 principles:
2. Plan ahead and prepare.
3. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
4. Dispose of waste properly.
5. Leave what you find.
6. Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
7. Respect wildlife.
8. Be considerate of other visitors.
 
And here are some rules and regulations for your wedding ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park, which you can find on the permit page.
The permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area, and wedding activities cannot interfere with other park visitors
No banners, streamers, or other hanging decorations are allowed
No audio devices (radios, live or recorded music) can exceed 60 decibels
No sound amplification
Drones are prohibited
No tables, chairs, tents, carpets, or other equipment is permitted. There is an exception for individuals unable to stand, who can have a portable chair
No throwing of rice, birdseed, flower petals, or other materials
Park in designated areas only
Pack out any trash


As an elopement photographer, I believe every couple should have a wedding day they love - one that’s special, meaningful, and unique to them. So my job goes beyond documenting the best day of your life (that part is pretty cool, though). I’ll be there to guide you through the entire planning process, and my Rocky Mountain National Park elopement packages include location recommendations, customized planning tips, a personalized elopement timeline, and anything you could possibly need to plan your adventurous wedding day.

Contact me to learn more about Rocky Mountain national Park elopement packages, and let’s start planning!

 Tips for Your Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement

Entrance Fees and Timed Entry Permits

What to Wear When You Elope at Rocky Mountain National Park

Leave No Trace at Rocky Mountain National Park

 Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Packages

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