Looking for the ideal location to elope? There are so many breathtaking choices in Boulder, Colorado. You can have an adventure wedding, a winter white wedding or a scenic and intimate ceremony. The hardest part will be narrowing down your ceremony site. We’ve made a list of the top eight places to elope with tips for each location.
Brainard Lake is the most popular attraction in Boulder, according to the USDA Forest Service. That is no surprise given the stunning scenery. It has it all – majestic mountains, crystal clear water and towering green trees. It is a perfect location for a summer elopement and a Boulder elopement photographer’s dream to capture that magical moment during your elopement.
Brainard Lake is less than an hour’s drive from Boulder. The best time to visit is in July and August, after the snow melts. The park is open 24-hours a day, giving you the flexibility to have your ceremony at sunrise, sunset or whenever is best for you. Given its popularity, we recommend having your ceremony in the early morning or on a weekday.
It is also great if you want to have a more traditional look and feel because you can drive to the lake in summer — no hiking necessary. And they have restrooms and the basic necessities if you need to freshen up before the ceremony. My favorite part is that in the summer you can have your dog be the ring bearer! The only catch is that your pup(s) have to be leashed.
The fees to elope here are very minimal. Entry for a passenger vehicle is $12 for three days, a van is $30 for a day and a person entering on foot is $1. Not too bad to have one of the most beautiful backdrops in all of Colorado.
A quick drive up Flagstaff Road in Boulder will bring you to a jaw dropping view at the Lost Gulch. The best way to describe this location is being on top of the world with all of Colorado’s glory behind you.
This very popular spot is open year-round, but the best seasons are summer and fall. If you want to have an intimate ceremony, we recommend getting up early and having a sunrise ceremony. Otherwise, you will have a lot of unplanned people attending. If you don’t care about that, the sunrise is what this epic view is known for and will not disappoint!
This is another great location if you prefer a more traditional wedding dress, hair and makeup because you don’t have to hike. The walk is about 0.1 miles away, but be mindful that the ground is loose and uneven. There is a $5 parking permit fee and a $25 photography permit fee.
Lost Gulch is also ideal if you want to invite guests because there are no limits to the number of people that can join. And there’s more good news! If you have a pup, they are welcome to join the ceremony too. Be mindful that if granny is coming, it is not wheelchair accessible and she will need help with the short walk.
Another popular elopement location in Boulder is Chautauqua Park, and for good reason! It has sweeping views of the Flatirons from the trailhead and limitless possibilities for an iconic moment.
As one of the most popular trails in Boulder, you should plan on having your ceremony and wedding pictures taken when the crowds aren’t around. Parking can also be an issue during the summer busy season – the last thing you want to think about. Consequently, we recommend that you think about having your wedding on a weekday, especially during sunrise because that is when the Flatirons literally glows red and is picture perfect.
Chautauqua has several locations for the ceremony, including the Chautauqua Green, dining hall, and off the beaten path in pure nature. You should talk to your Boulder elopement photographer to get a strategy on where you’d like to capture those romantic moments because there are many different options. Hiking isn’t necessary for this location. If you choose to have your ceremony on the trail, however, you are only allowed a max of 8 people.
You can also stay onsite by renting one of the 58 charming cottages like Mission House Lodge. Cottages are available from studio to 3 bedrooms and they all include fully equipped kitchens and screened-in front porches. It is pet friendly too! Making this location ideal if you want a relaxed wedding weekend with your closest friends and family.
The Sunrise Amphitheater is the perfect elopement location for the bride who wants a picturesque setting and likes to plan ahead. You can check availability and book your ceremony up to two years in advance on the City of Boulder website. This location is typically open from May to October, depending on heavy snow.
There are 1-hour and 3-hour time blocks available depending on the time of day. The rental fee is $150 for non-residents and $100 for Boulder residents for one hour. And $400 for non-residents and $300 for Boulder residents for three hours. We recommend booking the early 1-hour slot for elopement if you have less than 20 guests – you can capture the epic sunrise and there are no crowds.
NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Trail may not have a romantic name but don’t let that fool you. It is one of the most popular elopement locations because you have stunning views and it’s excellent for a sunrise and sunset ceremony.
It is a quick and easy walk from the parking lot, making it easy if you’ve dressed up for your big day. NCAR has restrooms available but there are no picnic tables and the parking lot is known to fill up fast. Dogs are allowed here too on leash if you’d like to have them be a part of your ceremony.
The Boulder Reservoir is an ideal location for the couple who love the water! The best time is during a summer evening when the mountains and water are bathed in a golden hue. You can also reserve a picnic area for a fee if you’d like to celebrate after your ceremony. Bring your champagne because alcohol is permitted!
The only drawbacks are that swimming is not allowed and it is a bit of a hike from the Coot Lake parking lot, about 15 minutes, but it is flat and easy terrain. And dogs allowed if you’re eloping May 15th to Labor Day.
This location is literally picture perfect and that is why it is called Artist Point. It was named after the early artists that would stop and paint the panoramic scene of cliffs and canyons. It has an awe inspiring 6,200 foot view. Each photograph your Boulder elopement photographer takes of your gathering will be picture perfect.
This spot has less foot traffic and is more private than some of the locations mentioned above . It is about a 20-minute drive from Boulder, easy to park and accessible for all of your guests. There are some restrooms available for you and your guests in the parking lot, so you aren’t completely in the wilderness.
If you are looking for an elopement venue that feels like you are at an upscale mountain retreat, then Flagstaff House is the perfect choice. It’s just a 5-minute drive from downtown Pearl Street but feels like you are in the heart of nature.
This is the one of the best locations if you want a white winter wonderland wedding. There are several indoor spaces and outdoor terraces to choose from with fantastic views. Flagstaff House is an elegant choice – they’re a recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award and OpenTable’s Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants to name a few accolades.
We hope that this has helped you think through what you want for your elopement and inspire you to dream big. You truly can’t go wrong in Boulder. You will forever have these landmarks that you can revisit and remember those special moments and share them with your loved ones. As a boulder elopement photographer, we would love to help document your day! Reach out for more details.