March 4, 2021

Rocky Mountain Elopement

Last week I discussed planning your Colorado elopement. I wanted to take this week to do more of a deep dive into a Rocky Mountain elopement. Rocky Mountain National Park is a super super popular place to elope. And for good reason. It’s beyond stunning in the park. Seriously, there are more gorgeous mountains, alpine lakes and flower meadows than you could ever dream of there. However, planning an elopement in RMNP can be a little tricky, there are a lot of restrictions and guidelines that you must follow. As a florist in the area, (one who loves mountain weddings) I wanted to give you a little rundown of all the things you need to know!

First- plan ahead. Seriously, like a year in advance. RMNP usually limits the number of weddings to 6 a day and no more than two a day at the same location. (They only have 12 locations you can elope in- more on that later.) However, because of COVID, and restrictions to the number of people in the park they have decided to only allow 250 elopements for 2021. And as of January 26th, 2021, all of those slots were filled. Take heart, however- you can (and should) start planning now for your 2022 elopement!

Things to Know for your Rocky Mountain Elopement

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park requires a $300 application fee to elope in the park. You will pay this after your application has been accepted.
  2. There is a strict leave no trace policy- this means no loud music, no chair, no confetti, no trash and no trampling the grass!
  3. You and your guests will still have to pay the park entrance fee.
  4. For 2021, all locations are limited to 30 people- this includes you, your photographer, officiant, videographer and any guests. Normally, this number is flexible based on location.
  5. RMNP is one of the busiest parks in the country. There are always visitors. During the busy season parking may limited. More importantly: THERE WILL BE PEOPLE AROUND FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT. If you want more privacy, a Rocky Mountain elopement might not be for you.
  6. The weather in RMNP is very unpredictable. It can snow any day of the year, and weather systems can roll in quickly. It also gets COLD very quickly at night. Bring layers.
  7. RMNP is at a very high altitude. This can cause altitude sickness. Plan on staying for a few days before you day so you have time to adjust.


Rocky Mountain Elopement


There are only 12 locations Rocky Mountain National Park that you can use to elope in. I listed them here, but if you need some more information you can find it here. You will also want to take into account where you’re staying and what side of the park your elopement location is on. RMNP is a big place, so it would be a far drive to go from the Estes Park side all the way across– especially in a wedding dress. (There is nowhere to get ready in the park.)

3M Curve

This location is 3. 5 miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, and this is the only location that overlooks all three: mountains, meadows and moraines.

Rocky Mountain elopement

3M Curve Elopement- Larsen Photo Co.

Alluvial Fan Bridge

If you’re into waterfalls and bridges, this is the spot for you. You can actually get married on the bridge! However, this location is super busy in the summer!

Bear Lake Nature Trail

This location is not open for elopements in the summer months. You also cannot get married on a weekend at all here. However, this location is STUNNING in the winter, and very easy to access.

Bear Lake

Winter Bear Lake- Larsen Photo Co.

Copeland Lake

Parking restrictions apply here, but you can have your dog as long as he’s on a leash!

Rocky Mountain Elopement

Copeland Lake- Larsen Photo Co.

Harbison Meadow

Large meadow with mountain views, and frequent animal appearances. There are no restrooms near by.

Hidden Valley

You may not occupy picnic areas for a sort of reception in this area.

Rocky Mountain Elopement

Hidden Valley- Larsen Photo Co.

Lily Lake

Lily Lake Dock

There are parking restrictions here. This is a very accessible location.

Lily Lake Trail

There are a lot of different options for location here, and they overlook meadows, lakes, and the mountains.

Lily Lake

Lily Lake Dock- Larsen Photo Co.

Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater

There is seating here, so you could bring more than just you and your spouse! There are also dramatic views of the ridge and a huge gorgeous meadow. Dogs are also allowed on a leash here.

Sprague Lake

Dramatic views of lake and mountains

Timber Creek Amphitheater

Partial views of a river, campground and restrooms nearby. Your family could stay in the campground!

Upper Beaver Meadows

No vehicle access during the summer months, but there are views of the continental divide and restrooms nearby.

Other Vendors for your Rocky Mountain Elopement

I get it- eloping isn’t for everyone! There are a lot of moving parts, and hiking through the dirt up a mountain isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you are looking to plan an elopement, We the Light Photography and Larsen Photo Co. are two super great resources. The two of them even have guides on Rocky Mountain elopement on their blogs. And photographers are really great planning resources since they know where all the good lighting is!

If you want a mountain wedding, but still want your guests and easy access, there are plenty of places in Estes Park with stunning views but more traditional wedding venues. Della Terra is one of my favorites. In fact- you can check out my blog featuring a Della Terra wedding next week! It goes live one week from today.


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