How to Elope in Telluride, CO | Full Telluride Elopement Guide

May 5, 2023

Table of Contents:

Today we are telling you all about one of our favorite parts of Colorado: the little mountain town of Telluride, located in the southwest corner of the state near the Utah border! Telluride is one of the most picturesque little mountain towns in the country, filled with epic outdoor adventures + activities for people of all ages. It’s also a freaking epic elopement location, which is why we put together this full guide to how to elope in Telluride! We’ve included everything you need to know to plan your Telluride elopement, from the best trails to the best places to stay to fun activities + ideas. Enjoy!

Why Elope in Telluride?

I don’t think you’ll need any more convincing after reading through this guide – but here are a few of the top reasons that couples love eloping in Telluride, CO.

  • The views are unbeatable. Seriously – have you ever seen a more picturesque little town in the middle of the mountains? Plus, you have access to many stunning alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, and cascading waterfalls.
  • It’s gorgeous year-round. No matter what season you visit, you’ll get amazing mountain views, as well as opportunities for outdoor adventure – hiking & biking in the summer, skiing & snowboarding in the winter!
  • There are endless trails for both hiking & mountain biking! No matter your experience or how challenging of a trail you’re looking for, you’ll have no trouble finding options.
  • Colorado is one of the EASIEST states to get married in. You don’t need an officiant or any witnesses, and there’s no waiting period once you get your license! Check out this Guide to Colorado Marriage Laws + Licenses for more info.
  • There are tons of local spots to visit, including yummy local eateries, stylish boutiques, and other hidden gems in town that you can explore by foot!

Best Time of Year to Elope in Telluride

Honestly, the best time of year to elope in Telluride totally depends on what your vision is for your elopement! Do you want to prioritize having warm weather? Being able to hike at high elevations without worrying about snow? Do you love the winter & want to take advantage of the amazing ski resorts in the mountains?

Summer & winter are the busy seasons in Telluride, as people love to visit either for the plentiful summer activities and chances to hike/bike in warm weather, or for the epic skiing opportunities that this little mountain town has to offer. 

We recommend deciding what your biggest priorities are when it comes to your elopement, and then picking a season based on that. Here are a few things to take into consideration & that may be on your list of priorities:

  • Temperatures
  • Snowfall
  • Activities you want to do (hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding. . .)
  • Landscapes + views
  • Travel costs (airfare + accommodations)
  • When your guests can travel to be with you
  • Crowds
  • Seasonal road/trail closures

If you want warm weather & plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure, the best time to elope in Telluride is between June-August. 

If you want to experience the winter wonderland & hit the slopes, the best time to elope is between November-March.

If you want to avoid crowds as much as possible (or save $ on travel costs), the best time to elope is in the off-season, either between April-May or September-October.

If you want to see beautiful alpine wildflowers, the best time to elope in Telluride is between July-August.

6 Best Telluride Elopement Locations

Honestly, anywhere you go in Telluride is going to be beautiful thanks to the views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains – but we did our best to narrow it down to a list of 6 of the best places to elope in Telluride, whether that means actually having your ceremony at one of these locations or just exploring the area with your friends & fam once your ceremony is done and snapping some portraits along the way. Below are 6 of the best Telluride elopement locations, from overlooks only accessible by gondola, to cascading waterfalls, to vibrant blue alpine lakes!

1. San Sophia Overlook

San Sophia Overlook is probably one of the most popular spots in Telluride for weddings & elopements, since it’s an actual event site that’s available for rent through the Telluride Ski Resort! The views from this overlook are UNREAL – because you can only access it by gondola!! You’ll get off the gondola at the San Sophia Gondola Station and make your way to the overlook, where you’ll get epic views of the snow-capped mountain peaks & massive spruce trees lining the mountains. There’s a grassy area for your ceremony, with a deck for you & your wedding party to stand on, and the overlook can accommodate seating for up to 200 people. So if you’re looking for a spot to hold an intimate Telluride wedding, or you just want a formal event site for your elopement with INCREDIBLE views, this is the place for you!!

2. Mountain Village

Mountain Village is a little town you can get to from Telluride via a quick gondola ride, home to a variety of luxury accommodations, spas, & delicious dining with a very European-style alpine vibe. This mountain town has SO much to offer, from the scenic Mountain Village Gondola to 360-degree mountain views to outdoor adventures galore. It’s an amazing place to visit during your time in Telluride, especially during the summer, when you can explore the area via hike, bike, or even zipline 🤩It would be so fun to spend the evening in Mountain Village after you tie the knot & take some portraits as you adventure around the town!

3. Bear Creek Falls

Bear Creek Falls is the star of one of the most popular trails in Telluride, Bear Creek Trail, and is a must-visit if you’re down to hike a bit for your elopement! Bear Creek Trail is a 5.1 mile out & back route that takes you through the Uncompahgre National Forest to the jaw-dropping falls, and is a moderately difficult trail. You can hike it, bike it, or even experience it via horseback! Taking elopement portraits in front of these falls would be EPIC.

4. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is another gorgeous waterfall in Telluride, except it requires much less of a trek than Bear Creek Falls. Bridal Veil Falls Trail is a moderately difficult route, but is only 2 miles out & back with around 800 feet of elevation gain. It takes you right to the base of the falls, and you can continue on one of the connecting trails if you want to keep the adventure going! And not only are the falls gorgeous, cascading over massive canyon walls – the views as you hike are equally as amazing. 

P.S. If you visit Bridal Veil Falls in the winter, you’re in for a total winter wonderland: the views of the frozen falls over the eroded canyons are SO so breathtaking.

5. Hope Lake

If you’d rather elope at a lake than a waterfall (or want to hit up both during your time in Telluride), Hope Lake is an awesome option. Located on the San Juan Skyway, the Hope Lake Trail takes you 6 miles out & back to a stunning alpine lake, surrounded by mountains and even alpine wildflowers, if you time it right! Be aware that this trail gets a lot of snow in the winter, so the lake may not be accessible even in early fall or mid-spring, depending on the snowfall.

6. Blue Lake

Finally, Blue Lake is another picturesque alpine lake in Telluride, accessible from the top of Bridal Veil Falls. So once you get to the top of the falls, you’ll continue hiking for around 3 miles to get to the lake! If you want to go on a long adventure for your elopement, you can hike to Bridal Veil Falls, THEN hike to Blue Lake – or you can just park at the top of Bridal Veil Falls and go from there if you’d rather only do the approximately 6-mile out & back hike to the lake.

Best Places to Stay for Your Telluride Elopement

Being as it’s a hella cozy, adorable mountain town, Telluride has TONS and tons of accommodation options, from little log cabins to large mountain cabins to luxury ski resorts. It was super hard to narrow down a list because it seemed like the Telluride Airbnb search results never ended 😆But we rounded up a list of some of the top-rated, coziest Airbnbs in Telluride that would be rad for your elopement, as well as a few of the best resorts + lodges in town!

We definitely recommend staying in the same place as your guests, if you’re inviting any, so that you can spend as much time together as possible & celebrate into the night without having to worry about driving back to your hotel. Luckily there are plenty of spacious Airbnbs that can fit large groups – just imagine having an entire weekend with your friends and fam in an awesome log cabin in the mountains?! Yes please!

Telluride Airbnbs

Telluride Resorts + Lodges

10 Fun Telluride Adventure Elopement Ideas

Like we’ve mentioned already, Telluride is such a dream come true for couples who love to explore the great outdoors & experience new places!! We put together a list of 10 Telluride adventure elopement ideas to help you make the most of your time in the area, in addition to the epic locations & hikes we already talked about above. Telluride has it all: sleigh rides, snowmobiling, mountain biking, white water rafting. . . you’ll have no shortage of fun activities to incorporate into your elopement!

1. Drive along the scenic San Juan Skyway

2. Ride the Mountain Village Gondola

3. Go white water rafting down the San Miguel River

4. Walk down Main Street & stop at local shops

5. Visit Alta Lakes

6. Experience the San Juan Mountains via horseback

7. Go snowmobiling

8. Go on a sleigh ride

9. Take a day trip to Ouray Hot Springs

10. Go mountain biking

Sample Telluride Elopement Timeline

We got to tag along for Ali + Phil’s Elegant Telluride Elopement a while back, and we thought it might be helpful to share their elopement timeline to show you what yours could look like! We had the BEST day exploring Telluride with these two, and adventuring around Ouray as well. 

Here’s what their Telluride elopement timeline looked like:

8:30 – Detail photos

9:00 – Get ready together at condo

10:20 – Read parents’ letters back-to-back

10:30 – Snap some photos

11:00 – Drive to Telluride (30 minutes)

11:30 – Snap some photos in Telluride

12:00 – Lunch in Telluride

1:00 – Drive to Cascade Falls Park (1 hour 5 minutes)

2:10 – Explore waterfalls, take photos

2:40 – Drive to Box Canyon Falls Park (10 minutes)

2:50 – Explore canyons, take photos

3:20 – Drive to Yankee Boy Basin trailhead (40 minutes)

4:00 – Hike to ceremony location

4:30 – GET MARRIED!!

4:40 – First dance following ceremony

4:50 – Smoke to celebrate

5:00 – Explore, photos in the mountains, alone time for Ali + Phil

6:30 – Pop champagne at overlook, take golden hour photos

6:45 – Drive back to condo (40 minutes)

7:30 – Drop off at condos, part ways for dinner

We also ended up taking some photos at the courthouse that they picked up their marriage license at in Telluride, which was right across from the burger place we ate at for lunch! Check out more about their gorgeous day here, including links to the Telluride vendors they hired + the sweet review they left us.

Telluride Elopement Photographer + Videographer

Whew, that wraps up this guide! If you’re obsessed with Telluride after reading this and you’re ready to look for a photographer + videographer for your Telluride elopement, we match that description 😉 We LOVE Telluride and taking our couples around this stunning part of Colorado, and we’d be so freaking stoked to document your big day! You can learn more about us as a husband/wife photo/video duo here and can check out our Telluride elopement packages + pricing here. Can’t wait to help you plan your dream adventure in the mountains!

More Elopement Inspiration + Resources

Want some more elopement inspo? Or looking for more resources to help you plan your big day? We’ve gotcha covered – here are some of our favs:

Ultimate Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Guide

How to Plan an Epic Post-Elopement Party

Top 20 Worldwide Mountain Elopement Locations