This blog was last updated on June 11, 2024.

Eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park is hella popular, but I get it.

The park is beautiful. It’s highly sought after by lots of couples eloping in Colorado, so there are a TON of rules and regulations you need to follow. I’ll fill you in on the big ones, but you should definitely read through their website before making any decisions.

Two couples eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park on a bridge overlooking a lake.

Must Know Information for Eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park, you cannot pass go without purchasing a permit. Even if you only want to take photos there, you ALWAYS need a permit. For a wedding it’ll cost you $300. Their permits are competitive AF because they limit the amount they give out in a month. In May – October, RMNP issues only 60 permits, and November – April there are only 40. You can apply for one a whole year in advance, so you need to be on top of your shit if you want to elope here. A lot of months will be fully booked by early in the year.

Your ceremony HAS to be at one of these spots – you can’t just get married anywhere you please. Sorry to burst your bubble, boo. There are also limits on how many people you can bring with you. The maximum amount of people at a ceremony is 30, unless the location you choose has a smaller number listed. A permit reserves the spot for you for two hours, and also allows you to do photos anywhere else in the park afterward.

For my couples, I recommend RMNP as an elopement spot if:

  • You’re planning on bringing family who may have mobility restrictions
  • You want to give guests a great mountain experience without worrying about conditions or commute
  • Getting married in a national park is important to you
  • An elopement-day hike is your vibe

Here is more need-to-know information about eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park!

How to Get There

Getting to RMNP is pretty straightforward. I recommend flying into Denver International Airport, renting a car, and then driving the two hours out to Estes Park (the town where RMNP is located). There is typically a lot of construction happening in Estes Park during the summer, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to arrive at a specific time!

Besties, PLEASE don’t forget about getting acclimated to the altitude. If you can, get to Colorado at least 48 hours before your elopement date. Some people have a reaction, like feeling lightheaded, and some people don’t. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Where to Stay

Estes Park has options for both hotels and Airbnbs. My faves are The Stanley, The Inn on Fall River, or Silver Moon Inn. If you’re bringing lots of buddies and will need a full house, an Airbnb is going to be your best bet.

If you want more of a quiet, mountain vibe, I tell my couples to stay anywhere along Fall River Road. If you’d rather stay in RMNP instead of in town, just know that most of your lodging options are going to be log cabins.

Sites to See

  • Obviously I’m going to tell you to hike Rocky Mountain National Park! If you’re visiting from the end of May through October, you’ll need to register for timed entry. But once you’re in, my favorite hikes are Lake Haiyaha and Emerald Lake.
  • Enjoy at cocktail on the historic porch at The Stanley Hotel. You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the bars and restaurants, but you won’t be allowed up the stairs into the actual hotel.
  • Take in the views from Trail Ridge Road. It stretches for 48 miles and has killer views of the peaks, wildflowers, and wildlife. It’s usually open late May until October, but make sure you double check before you leave.
  • Explore the Estes Park Riverwalk. It’s all paved, which makes it really accessible for any older friends and family. It starts at the visitor’s center and has a lot of fun shops and restaurants you can check out.
Couples eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park have mountains as their backdrop.

What to Do by Season

Estes Park and RMNP are great all year round, but most things are open during summer. That means it can be pretty busy and crowded during their peak months, so pack your patience cap. (I love that dad joke, LOL). However, since the town mainly relies on tourism, they’re totally able to handle the snow, too.

Summer (June – August)

  • Relax and have a picnic at Lake Estes.
  • For my adrenaline junkies, rent a Jeep or Razor from Backbone Adventures and go off-roading.
  • If you’re bringing any kiddos, you def need to check out Fun City. They have go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, and so much more.

Fall (September – October)

  • You HAVE to do a Historic Spooky Tour at The Stanley. I love it and have done it more than once. I’m obsessed with spooky season. For my people who don’t know, The Stanley is what inspired The Shining.
  • Another great way to see RMNP is horseback riding. The YMCA of the Rockies is home to Jackson Stables, which is authorized to give guided tours on horseback. They also have pony rides for kiddos and horse-drawn hayrides in the fall. 
  • At the end of September, you can check out Elk Fest. It’s pretty common to see elk out and about in town, and this festival celebrates that with vendors, live music, food trucks, and more. You can also enter a bugling contest if that’s your vibe.

Winter and Spring (November – May)

Where to Eat

What to Pack

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the weather in Colorado is unpredictable, so pack for anything and everything! Speaking from experience (hail storms aren’t fun), it’s way better to be safe than sorry. If you’re eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park, make sure these get in your suitcase:

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothing that’s easy to layer
  • Daypack or back pack
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Rain jacket

Kenzie’s Favorite RMNP Vendors

Learn more about how to elope in Colorado.

alternative colorado elopement resources