Four Must Know Tips For Eloping In Rocky Mountain National Park

Few things are as romantic as eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park. Whether you want a road side ceremony or to hike back a few miles, it offers fresh air, spectacular views and if you’re lucky, a wild life experience or two (who doesn’t want a herd of elk or deer to attend their mountain elopement?).

But when eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park, there are some things you need to know.

Information About Getting a Permit for a Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement

In order to elope in Rocky Mountain NP, you do have to obtain a permit. This permit costs $200 and can be obtained up to a year in advance, You also have to indicate the number of guests including the photographer and an officiant, if you have one, as well as your location of choice. Note, not all permits are approved and not all locations are open to all party sizes. For more information on getting an elopement permit in Rocky Mountain National Park, click here.

I love you to the mountains and back sign by Before Noon Paperie
Fun elopement sign by Before Noon Paperie!

Embrace the Weather or Have a Solid Backup Plan

In Colorado you will often hear people say, if you don’t like the weather wait ten minutes. This is a slight exaggeration, but only slight. I’ve personally witnessed days that started out at 70 and sunny and ended with a blizzard. I’ve shot weddings and elopements in downpours on days where the chance of precipitation was zero. Most of the time, it’s warm and sunny, blue skies for miles, but that can and does change quickly. Even more so in the mountains. If you’re planning a mountain elopement, I recommend being prepared for sun, wind, rain and snow. Even in July.

Embracing the weather when Eloping In Rocky Mountain National Park
These two not only embraced the weather, the jumped into it feet first. Star Wars battle for the win!

Pick Your Ceremony Location and Time Wisely

Every piece of Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful. As far as aesthetics go, you can’t go wrong. But because of this, Rocky Mountain National Park is a VERY busy place. Secluded elopements at Sprague Lake only happen in the dead of winter. I’m pretty sure they never happen at Bear Lake. Between the months of April and October, the park is full of visitors and tourists from all over the world. Some of the parking lots even require shuttles between 8 and 4 pm, which tend to be the busiest hours. Even when hiking back to places like Dream or Emerald lake, you have to expect visitors. If you want something more secluded, then you’ll want to pick a less popular trail. If you want a road side elopement location in Rocky Mountain National Park, I highly recommend picking a time at sunrise or an hour or two before sunset. There are a lot less people in the park during this time and this also happens to be when lighting is best. Click here to see a list of the most popular elopement and wedding locations in RMNP.

Herd of deer hanging out in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Herd of deer hanging out in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Every Season is Beautiful

Every season in RMNP is different, but beautiful in it’s own way.

Winter is quite cold, but still and quiet. The park is covered in a few feet of snow, and the mountains are snow capped. Snow shoes are almost always required, and parts of the park, like Trail Ridge Road are completely closed.

Spring brings less snow, and more green. Weather tends to be milder, and flowers start blooming toward late spring. Trail Ridge Road slowly starts to open up, and is usually fully open by Memorial Day Weekend.

Summer in Rocky Mountain National Park is usually warm, but rarely hot. It’s the most popular time for eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The park is buzzing with people and wild life, during the day, but be aware that July-September is Monsoon season. Monsoon season brings almost daily afternoon Thunderstorms, which aren’t a joke out here (Colorado is ranked #2 for lightening strike deaths in the US, second only to Florida). You don’t want to be up high when they move in. Luckily they usually move out quickly as well, and the skies often open up with beautiful diffused lighting.

Autumn is colorful, but comes early at the higher elevation locations. Leaves will start changing as early as Labor Day and are usually gone by October. Aspen trees can be found throughout the park during this time. For most of what is considered Fall, it’s just slightly cooler than summer, but still beautiful, Come October, there’s always a chance that it will snow, so keep that in mind!

If you’re thinking about eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park, get in touch. I’d love to be a part of it!

Need some help planning, download a free copy of my Colorado Elopement Planning Guide!

April at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
April at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.