How to Get Married at Rocky Mountain National Park: All You Need to Know

Read on for how to to get married at Rocky Mountain National Park! Wedding ceremonies are more diverse than ever. Gone are the days when you had to marry in a church. Now we can choose from amazing locations such as the Rocky Mountains National Park.

But, if you’re planning to elope in a national park, there are some important things you must know. Here’s some vital information for national park elopement- ,How to Get Married at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wedding Permits

When planning a national park wedding, you must first get a permit to marry there. You can do this through the national park website, which includes all relevant information.

The Rocky Mountain National Park offers up to 60 permits a month between May and October and 40 a month in November and December. The permit entitles you to a certain number of guests (usually 20) and the right to have a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement photographer.

Colorado Wedding Locations

There are currently 12 locations suitable for wedding ceremonies in Rocky Mountain National Park. These allow different numbers of guests and vehicles and offer different rustic backdrops for your big day. Among the list of Colorado elopement locations are sites suitable for hikers, picnics, wildlife viewing, and more.

Remember, though, these are sites for people used to the outdoors. Often, you won’t have restrooms or eating areas, and all sites ban the use of ceremony equipment. But, plenty of sites are wheelchair accessible, so be sure to check the list.

How to Get Married at Rocky Mountain National Park – My Top Location Choices for Photography

  1. Bear Lake Nature Trail – Bear Lake at Rocky Mountain is GORRGGGGEOUS. At This location you can have up to 20 people, in case you wanted to include some family in your elopement or tiny wedding. It’s a pretty popular place but there are still ways to escape. The permits for weddings at Bear Lake’s only restriction is the Friday before Memorial day through Columbus day. So this location is best off-season which will be nicer for you and your guests as well.
  2. Lily Lake – I loved shooting at Lily Lake! Though it rained on the day that I was there, I saw the mountains from over the lake the very next day and I already can’t wait to go back and photograph a wedding on the trail. It’s a popular parking area for a climbing area just over the hill as well. So if you’re thinking about adding some on-rope climbing to your wedding at Rocky Mountain, you might want to look into getting the permit for Lily Lake! As for Lily Lake, you have a few choices in permitting. You’re able to get a permit for the Lily Lake Dock for a small group up to 10 people or Lily Lake Trail for 20 persons or Lily Lake Southside Picnic Area for up to 30 people. Lily Lake has 360 degree mountain views, a walking trail, restrooms and is wheelchair accessible.
  3. Hidden Valley – This is where the photos for this blog post were taken. We did get a lot of rain on this day but I think the fog made the pine trees really stand out and helped to create a little mystery and magic in these elopement photos. If you decide you want to have a small wedding, this location might work out to be one of the best as it can accommodate up to 30 people. Though there are built-in picnic tables, weddings are not allowed to use them. It would be better to have the wedding at Hidden Valley and then plan for a reception in Estes Park where there are some really great restaurants.

Wedding Locations at Rocky Mountain National Park that Allow Dogs

Very few national parks are accessible for dogs. A lot of the parks make it very difficult for you to enjoy with your dog, nevermind include you dog in your wedding or elopement. There are actually a few locations at Rocky Mountain National Park that accommodate for your pet.

  1. Copeland Lake (Wild Basin Area)- Is one location that you can include your dog in your wedding. The location will also allow you to include up to 30 family members and 10 vehicles. Its a beautiful lake with mountain views and aspen trees with restrooms close by.
  2. Moraine Park also allows your dog on-leash. You can include up to 30 people in your tiny wedding and 10 cars here as well. Here there are pine trees, wooden benches and a rustic amphitheater.

Where to Stay

In terms of where to stay during your Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, your options are basically endless. You could stay at a campsite if you want or in one of the hotels in nearby Estes.

There are restrictions on actual wedding locations but none on where you can stay before and after the ceremony. It might make sense to stay in a nearby town (such as Estes) so your guests can party after your wedding.

Getting the Best Pictures

When planning your wedding, it’s best to hire an adventure wedding photographer. You want someone who knows the area and is as active as you are. Plus, an adventure elopement photographer will be able to get the best shots of you against the incredible backdrops of Rocky Mountain National Park.

I personally have scoured the entire Rocky Mountain National Park with my assistant recently. We have a really good lay of the land but for any wedding that I book, I will arrive at the park a couple day in advance to identify the best spots and understand the timing and lighting perfectly. Every season is a little bit different and Sarah Kay and I pride ourselves in putting the time, research and work in to making tour day the most incredible as it can be.

What to do

Other than getting married, what is there to do during national park elopements? Well, the list is almost endless. You could opt for a hiking elopement and spend your time walking the park or you could watch wildlife with your guests.

As you can imagine, there’s loads to do in one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. In short, you’re guaranteed a great time during your Rocky Mountain National Park elopement.


So, in terms of how to elope in Colorado, the best place to start is with a permit. All weddings require planning, but a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement needs just a bit extra.

To get the most out of your experience, be sure to hire a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement photographer, such as me! Feel free to contact me for more information on the services I provide.

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