Colorado is such a diverse beautiful state, we have 14,000 ft mountains, desert sand dunes, red rocks, alpine lakes, rivers, hot springs, cute little mountain towns and a bustling city. I think the only thing we don’t truly have is the ocean, but we do have a few alpine lakes and reservoirs that can help all you water lovers enjoy that aspect as well. Not only that, but we have, on average, 300 days of sunshine per yer! Okay, that may include days that have a random rain storm for two seconds, but it usually just means we see the sun that many days per year, which is amazing!
So, when people know they want to elope, get married or plan an adventurous photo shoot here in Colorado, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to begin to narrow down locations. So, I present to you a handful of my favorite “Best of Colorado” locations. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but includes some of my personal favorites. Some places are only accessible during certain seasons, so keep that in mind when looking through this list!
The bonus element is that all of these locations are accessible even if you’re not a hardcore hiker, meaning they are less than a mile walk or hike from a parking area to the location itself. So, if you’re planning even an adventurous Colorado mountain wedding with someone who cannot hike for miles or who is subject to the very real hindrance of altitude sickness, these are great ideas!
And if you’re looking for a Colorado elopement photographer, a Colorado intimate wedding photographer, a Mountain wedding photographer or just someone to capture your love story, we are your gals!
I’ve categorized these by type of place into these categories.
This blog post will focus on Colorado Winter locations that feature sweeping views, mountain vistas, or beautiful immersion in evergreen or aspen trees! To view the other categories click on the categories above!
Best Colorado Winter Locations for Elopements, Intimate Weddings or Colorado Anniversary Celebrations.
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Its just such a magical place in Colorado you cannot not visit it in the winter. Now don’t forget winter in the mountains is from October to May or June, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping for anything different. I mean how can you not think this place is magical? It does come with crowds and we usually recommend we find a secluded place or going early in the morning or mid week to skip some of the crowds but in all our years photographing there we have loved every single experience we’ve guided couples through.
Bring you sense of adventure, maybe some extra thermal layers, crampons or snow shoes couldn’t hurt either!
Its no surprise this makes the list its named Winter after all!! Ok ok, dad jokes aside it really is a magical place outside of Berthoud Pass and the surrounding cities! I love it because you get to skip some of the gnarly I-70 traffic but get to go to places just as magical!
Distance from Denver: 1.5 hours (typically)
I LOVE this area so much. They don’t always come to Colorado but have for a few years. This past year my family made it up to see the Ice Castle and they were so cool! The area is pretty small but I am sure if you plan ahead you can reserve time or if you don’t mind having a bunch of people around its a really neat place.
Do keep in mind you literally are in the middle of blocks of ice so it is very cold. There is also an entrance fee if you just want to go celebrate your anniversary here. The line to get in even with tickets is usually a 30minute wait so keep this in mind when planning!
Distance from Denver: 2 hours
Vail is an iconic winter location because of their world renowned skiing but also because their downtown is so adorable. I love that you can stroll along the rivera area even in the winter and capture some of the beautiful mountain vibes. The town of vail is pretty engrossed by trees so it doesn’t have those sweeping mountain views like Dillon does but it has a down town that is the most adorable European feel.
But around vail and the reaction area are some pretty epic locations if you have access or rent snowmobiles, like I did the this elopement above. Its pretty breath taking up there!
Distance from Denver: 6.5 hours
Telluride has world renowned skiing. It is one of the most magical places in Colorado, at least in my opinion. But is a bit touristy and usually busy in the peak winter seasons around the holiday’s.
The only down fall of these two places is that they are hard to get to, flights into Montorose, Colorado or Durango, Colorado are the closest airports and usually pretty expensive. But these towns are both a 5/6 hour drive away from Denver, Colorado if you have the time! Which I certainly thing its worth it. If you’re on a tighter budget visit these places in April/May or late August/September. Keep in mind some of the town may be shut down but prices will drop as its commonly known as “mud season” because its not quite winter or summer and you’re not able to do a lot of the adventures but if you MUST go there even just for hiking and to see the place to get married or celebrate it’s a great option.
Distance from Denver: 1.5 hours
Silverthrone has a cute little town view and is in the area of Summit County or all the small Colorado towns you’ll pass through if you go to Vail or Breckenridge. I love this area because of you access to a cute little stream and the beautiful mountain views. Its close to Dillon too and if you’ve read my other blog locations then you’ll know this whole area of Summit County is beautiful.
Other Mountain Locations
Most of my Mountain locations can actually be quite the beautiful winter wonderland so for sake of keeping this post to an actual blog and not a book you can reference that post for more ideas!
I haven’t photographed at these places but they are on my bucket list!
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Crested Butte, Colorado
Sapphire Pointe in Dillon, Colorado
Loveland Pass, Colorado
Things to know about Mountain wedding, elopement or anniversary photography locations:
All outdoor weddings/events still require a permit with most areas. So once you do your research of where you want to go make sure you know the rules of the area. No one wants to get a fine on their wedding or celebration day.
Altitude sickness is a true reality at these high altitude locations so research it and make sure to pack the right supplies or have alternative plans.
Winter weddings can be pretty intense here especially if you get stuck in the middle of a blizzard, so plan on a flexible date especially if your venue doesn’t have an inside locaiton easy to access.
Weather is variable up in the mountains, but the great part of Colorado is that it could down pour for an hour and one hour later be sunshine with not a cloud in sight.
Dress for the weather, your skin will freeze if you don’t have the approbate wear for the temperatures. Boots that are cute for snow in the city may not cut it outside on top of a mountain in below freezing temps. I highly recommend researching some good pairs of shoes and options to help you stay warm. No one wants to get frost bit on their wedding day or anniversary celebration. I do have to add though the Colorado sun is VERY warm when its out, so it can help it feel warmer than it is which does mean sunscreen is still necessary even in the middle of winter. 😉