Telluride is located within the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Known for both its world class ski resorts in the winter and hundreds of hiking trails in the summer, Telluride is one of Colorado’s most-visited towns amongst outdoor enthusiasts. Surrounded by towering mountains and filled with alpine lakes, Telluride (and the San Juan Mountains in general), is one of the most breathtaking places to elope.
Whether you’re looking for Telluride elopement packages or locations, I’ve got you covered. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about how to plan your very own Telluride elopement.
How Do I Get To Telluride?
Because Telluride is a bit more remote than other locations, it usually requires a bit of extra travel to reach. Luckily, Telluride does have its own regional airport. However, it offers very few flights and can be a bit pricey.
The most popular way to get to Telluride is by flying into the Montrose Regional Airport and making the 65 mile (1.5 hour) drive to town.
You can also fly into the Denver International Airport and make the 6.5 hour drive from there.
The Best Places to Elope in Telluride
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is not only Colorado’s largest free falling waterfall, but it also happens to be one of the most popular places in Telluride. This popular waterfall offers stunning views of the nearby mountain range and is especially beautiful during the fall months. The hike is a moderate 4.8 mile roundtrip walk with many sights to see along the way.
One of Telluride’s most beautiful alpine lakes, Hope Lake, is accessible by a moderate 6-mile roundtrip hike known for its dramatic views the entire way. More popular in the summer though never super crowded, this lake is a great option for couples looking for something a bit more private.
The top of Handies Peak will have you questioning whether you’re in Colorado or Alaska. This local favorite hike within the area is the perfect place for couples who want to elope on top of a mountain. The hike is considered to be an easy 14er, something you can cross off your bucket list! Keep in mind that the road to the trailhead is extremely sketchy and can only be accomplished in a high-clearance off-roading vehicle like a Jeep.
If there’s one thing Colorado is known for (aside from the mountains and Subarus), it’s their 4×4 roads. Scattered everywhere throughout the Telluride and San Juan Mountain area, these 4×4 roads are perfect for the couple looking for an exhilarating and completely private elopement experience. Some of the most popular in the area include the Black Bear Pass and Mount Sneffels.
Looking for an easier hike with just as stunning views? Consider the American Basin Trail. This 2.1 mile roundtrip hike has a variety of different sceneries from mountain views to a small waterfall. This hike is fairly popular during the summer months when the wildflowers are at their peak. It’s one of the most beautiful around!
How to Get a Marriage License in Colorado
Getting a marriage license in Colorado is a super easy process. To obtain one specifically in Telluride, all you need to do is walk into the County Clerk’s office anytime Monday-Thursday from 7:30am to 5:00pm, fill out the application, and pay the $35 fee by cash or check.
Fun fact: You can get a marriage license in any county. You DO NOT need to get one in the county you’re getting married in.
Pro tip: In Colorado, you can have a self-solemnizing ceremony, meaning you don’t need an officiant or any witnesses present to get married! However, if you’d like to have a witness, there is a section on the license. This means that anyone from your mom to your furry friend can sign their paw print. Yes, your dog can sign your marriage license!
To see more information and step-by-step instructions on how to get a marriage license in Telluride, check out the official site here.
Do I Need a Permit?
In order to elope in Telluride, you may need what’s known as a special use permit. However, most locations around Telluride are located within the San Juan National Forest. The forest does not require a permit if you have less than 75 people in attendance. That being said, it’s always good to double-check and secure permits for your location if needed.
Pro tip: If you’re unsure about the permit process, ask your photographer to help. I personally help each of couples obtain permits, because let’s be honest… paperwork isn’t the most fun part of planning an elopement!
Can I Bring My Dog?
Yes! Colorado is an extremely dog-friendly state and has hundreds of different hiking trails and locations where dogs are permitted. If you do decide to bring your furry friend, be sure to practice B.A.R.K. and leave no trace principles.
Best Time to Elope in Telluride
Whether you’re looking for snow, colorful leaves, or turquoise lakes, you’ll be sure to find it in Telluride. While summer is the best time of year to elope, be sure to read about every season so you can plan an elopement experience tailored specifically to you.
Because winter is such a busy time in Telluride, the spring is known as the off-season, meaning places close down and people within the area tend to take their vacations. This is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, but the weather can be unpredictable.
Wildflowers, turquoise lakes, and clear roads are all the perks of Telluride and the San Juan Mountains in the summer. However, be prepared for crowded trailheads, as this is the most popular time of year for the town and its nearby areas. That being said, this is the best time to elope in Telluride.
If you’re a sucker for the fall season, Telluride is one of the best places to check out the fall colors. The temperatures are a little cooler, the summer crowds have dispersed, and overall, Telluride is a peaceful place to enjoy.
While you won’t be able to access any of the mountain peaks, the winter season is one you’ll never forget. If you’re longing for that winter wonderland wedding (say that three times fast), winter is the perfect season to do so. However, Telluride in the winter is very busy. Due to its popular ski resorts, prices tend to be higher and crowds are quite larger. Regardless, it’s a great time to visit.
Where to Stay for Your Elopement
There are a variety of different places to stay for your elopement within the San Juan Mountain region. From upscale lodging to camping, your options are endless. Below are some of my favorite Airbnbs in some of the nearby towns.
This humble and breathtaking town has a variety of nightlife and outdoor activities for people of all ages.
- Architectural Masterpiece – Exactly what it sounds like, with one of the best views in Telluride.
- Farm Fox Ranch – A cozy, modern ranch tucked behind the Colorado aspens.
- Simple Mountain Retreat – A small and simple stay for a couple just passing through.
Known as the Switzerland of America, this picturesque town is located near the Million Dollar Highway, a must-do drive in Colorado and offers tons of food options and outdoor activities.
- The Remodeled Cabin – Clean, modern, and located close to town with stunning views.
- Ouray Escape – A rustic home covered with windows and surrounded by Colorado’s most beautiful mountains.
- The Victorian off Main Street – This fun and unique home is perfect for couples wanting something close to town.
This remote and rugged town is perfect for couples looking for a more off-grid elopement experience. However, at over 9,000 feet, be sure to get here a few days early to accommodate to the elevation. Yes, altitude sickness is a real thing!
- Silver Fox Modern Home – A neutral lovers dream, filled with grays, blacks, whites, and creams.
- Bonita Peak House – A standard home extremely close to the mountain range.
- Russian Princess Prehistoric Home – A unique and historic home close to town.
Telluride + San Juan Mountain Elopement Tips
#1: Rent a four-wheel drive vehicle for off-roading. The San Juan area is known for its numerous rugged roads. If you’re looking for an adventure or locations that are much more off-the-beaten-path, a 4×4 is a must.
#2: Don’t get sick. Altitude sickness is a real thing. Be sure to bring medicine and arrive a few days before your elopement to adjust to the change.
#3: Don’t procrastinate. This popular area of Colorado, especially in the winter and summer, books out quick when it comes to lodging and rental cars. Be sure to be prepared and plan ahead.
#4: There’s limited cell service. Downloading maps offline is always a good idea, especially if you’re choosing a location deep within the mountains. Take this time to reconnect and enjoy the lack of service.
Telluride Elopement Packages
Now that you’re ready to tie the knot in Telluride, reach out! I’m a California-based photographer who knows everything there is to know about the West Coast. I would love to help you plan an elopement that’s completely unique and tailored to you. To see more information about my elopement packages, check out this page.
- 6 hours – 2 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Colorado
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in Colorado are already included
- Starting at $7,500
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.