Location Guides

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Guide

In Northern Colorado, you’ll find one of the most popular national parks in the US, Rocky Mountain National Park. This 415 square mile beauty is encompassed by the most epic mountain views you’ll ever see. If you’re planning a Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) elopement, then you both probably love stunning views of alpine vistas, waterfalls, and open meadows. It’s no surprise that this place is one of the best places to elope on our list! Let’s dive into everything you need to know when planning your Rocky Mountain elopement adventure. 

How to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

In this resource:

  1. When to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park
  2. Wedding Permits at RMNP
  3. Ceremony Locations in Rocky Mountain
  4. Rocky Mountain Videography Inspiration
  5. Colorado Elopement Vendors

When to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rockies is one of those parks where we have seen couples elope year-round. With that being said, the weather in Colorado can be unpredictable at times, so be prepared! We suggest layers and protective rain gear. You can have a gorgeous summer elopement with clear and sunny skies, or you can have a winter wonderland elopement snowshoeing through the trails. Whatever time of year, this destination definitely delivers.

But when is the best time to get married at Rocky Mountain National Park?

The best time, in our opinion, is May through October. While we do LOVE winter elopements here, some trails may be closed or it may be very cold for some couples. We prefer May-October for couples who are looking to plan their elopement with cooler weather without trails with snow. 

One important thing to remember is this park is one of our favorites because it’s so accessible for couples to elope year-round, so if you’re loving these winter elopement photos here, then we say go for it! However, since this park is so accessible, that means that this park also gets pretty busy.

If you’re trying to have a very intimate and remote experience, then we highly recommend sunrise and weekday elopements. Crowds will be less during these times. 

Wedding Permits at RMNP

Some of our Wandering Weddings Members like to tell us, “Rocky Mountain National Park really doesn’t mess around when it comes to permits.” With that being said, you want to make sure you paid your permit fees, submitted your application correctly, and follow the rules. Let’s break down what you need to know.

Here’s what you need to know about RMNP permits:

  • To plan a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, you must apply for a $300 special use permit for your specific wedding date, time, and location. This fee is applicable for elopements and weddings.
  • You can apply for these wedding permits in the park as far as a year out, and we highly suggest planning in advance because spots do fill up months in advance. 
  • During certain times of the year, there are limitations to how many wedding permits are permitted. May-October: 60 permits per month and November – April 40 permits per month. This can change at any time.
  • Another limitation to keep in mind is: no more than two weddings per day will be booked at any of the designated wedding locations, and no more than six total ceremonies will be scheduled per day, year-round.
  • The maximum wedding ceremony size allowed in Rocky Mountain is 30 people. However, some sites allow even less people than this.
  • When applying for your wedding permit, we suggest teaming up with your photographer. Why? Your elopement photographer will be the best resource and guide to help you decide what time to start, end, and what location to have your ceremony. 
  • Regardless of the size of your wedding, you can only plan your ceremony at the designated site locations (more on that below). If you plan on having your elopement ceremony in a different location, then you may be subject to a fine.
  • Once you apply for your permit and it’s sent back to you, make sure to sign it, return it, and wait for the final approval. Once that is complete, print out your permit and carry it with you at all times.

Elopement Ceremony Sites in Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo by Meagan Lawler

Planning your Rocky Mountain National Park elopement can be adventurous and gorgeous. If you’re interested in having your ceremony here, then check out some of these approved ceremony locations. Currently, RMNP lists 13 approved ceremony locations. 

“Each of the various locations has certain restrictions, and not all locations are available year-round due to crowds, wildlife, snow, and other factors. You should also note that the various locations may allow for a larger amount of guests, but they do have restrictions on the number of vehicles allowed. Be sure to have any guests carpool as Rocky Mountain National Park is a busy place, and many times parking can be quite limited. Most of these locations are very easy to access and are just a short walk from the car. Some locations are even accessible by wheelchair.” [Malachi Lewis, Photographer from Shell Creek Photo]

3M Curve

This is probably one of our favorite ceremony locations. This location is a gorgeous curve that has one of the best mountain views of the Rockies. We love this location for small weddings and intimate elopements. While this area is nearby popular areas in the park, it’s pretty secluded from other visitors, and you shouldn’t have any strangers in the background of your photos! We also love this ceremony location because it’s easily accessible for all your guests. 

RMNP Ceremony Location Rules: 15 people Max + 3 cars year-round.

Check out this intimate wedding at 3M curve

Bear Lake

Elopements here are one of the most popular in the whole park. The trail that surrounds this lake is also one of the busiest. For this reason, elopements at this location are only allowed on weekdays. This spot is perfect for your ceremony because of its near other iconic wedding portrait places such as Dream Lake, The Loch, and other nearby trails. 

RMNP Ceremony Location Rules: 20 people Max + 5 cars. No weekends.

Sprague Lake

This is a stunning alpine lake ceremony location in the park. This area is perfect for couples who don’t want to hike too far after for some epic wedding photos. The trail leads you to this adorable dock with spectacular views of Hallet Peak as your backdrop. With that said, we can’t stress enough how popular this area is in the park, so plan your elopement accordingly and aim for a weekday!

RMNP Ceremony Location Rules: 15 people Max + 3 cars during the summer & 30 people + 10 cars during the winter.

Copeland Lake

If you’re looking for an option to include your furry friend, then consider this location. Please note, this is the only ceremony site in the park that allows dogs. Remember, no dogs are allowed on RMNP trails for their safety. While there isn’t as much privacy at this location compared to others, it’s less busy than some other sites and it also has a gorgeous view. 

RMNP Ceremony Location Rules: 30 people Max + 10 cars.

Upper Beaver Meadows

If you’re looking for a quiet and private place to plan your elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park, then Upper Beaver Meadows is a good choice to consider. We love this place because there are different options where you can have your ceremony here. This is perfect for couples who want multiple backdrops for their portraits without the huge hike after their ceremony. One thing to note, however, is this location is only available from May through October since the road here is closed off during winter. 

RMNP Ceremony Location Rules: 60 guests Max + 10 cars.

Check out their website for a full list of approved ceremony locations in RMNP.

Attention Couples: If you’re feeling bummed about the restrictions for your ceremony location, don’t! Even though you’re bound to one of these 13 locations to plan your wedding ceremony at Rocky Mountain, you can take your wedding photos in other areas of the park! Our members recommend including these other areas where you want to take your photos on your wedding permit to avoid any issues!

More tips on Planning Your Elopement at The Rockies:

  • If you’re having any guests join you during your ceremony, please keep in mind that your permit does not cover the typical $25 entrance fee for a one-day pass. Your guests will be responsible for this fee. 
  • No pets are allowed on the trails at RMNP for their safety. If you’re looking for a pet-friendly spot to elope in Colorado, then we suggest checking out these different Colorado locations
  • We can’t stress enough how popular this park is! Prepare for traffic and plan accordingly with your elopement vendors.
  • Ceremonies are limited to two hours max at all locations.

Rocky Mountain Videography Inspiration

Videography by Acts of Adventure

Jaylee and Riley spent their wedding day together exploring mountain wildflower fields and pine forests during their intimate Rocky Mountain National Park elopement.


Colorado Elopement Vendors

If you’re convinced a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement is for you, then it’s time to team up with some of our awesome Wandering Weddings Members. Each of these vendors is skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to elopements at RMNP. They are also great resources to bounce ideas off of when you’re trying to plan the perfect Colorado elopement.

Are you not sure how to elope? Check out our 7 step guide on how to elope!