Are you dreaming of tying the knot with your love in a beautiful location with few crowds, countless fun activities, and stunning photo ops? If so, look no further than the San Juan Mountains! In this article, I’ll share why a San Juan Mountains elopement is so incredible and the best locations, including my all-time favorite.
As an elopement photographer, the San Juan Mountains area in western Colorado is one of my all-time favorite destinations. It’s one of the most gorgeous locations and there are endless opportunities for all kinds of couples. Whether you’re looking for a lowkey experience or an adventurous elopement, there’s something for everyone!
The San Juan Mountains are in southwestern Colorado, covering the southern part of the Colorado Rockies. They cover 12,000 miles of mountain terrain and extend for 150 miles through a few popular mountain towns – Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton.
This stunning Colorado region boasts unmatched rugged mountain scenery, fascinating volcanic summits, jeeping trails, and gorgeous blue lakes.
There are countless reasons to elope in the San Juan Mountains. In fact, I can’t really think of why you shouldn’t say “I do” here.
Here’s a quick rundown of why you can’t go wrong picking the San Juans as your elopement destination. Then, I’ll go into detail about what you can expect if you choose to elope in this magical location!
Related read: The Ultimate Mountain Elopement Guide: Best Locations and Top Tips
From tall mountains with fascinating formations to breathtaking blue lakes, everywhere you turn offers scenery like no other. Best of all, all times of the year are beautiful! Whether you want a lakeside wedding or an adventure elopement experience, you’re sure to have a magical backdrop.
The natural beauty of the San Juan Mountains almost makes you feel like you’re in a faraway place only seen in the movies! A top reason people choose an elopement vs a traditional wedding is because elopements can be a lot simpler. With the natural beauty that the San Juan Mountains have to offer, all you have to do for a gorgeous, epic ceremony is throw on your attire and grab your sweetheart.
As you’ll read below, the San Juan Mountains have endless elopement ceremony locations. All of them are amazing photo-ops. That’s why elopement photographers like myself love this slice of natural paradise!
While the San Juan Mountains are a natural paradise, popular mountain towns like Telluride, Silverton, and Ouray are also filled with fun activities. From local events and hiking to great restaurants and off-roading trails, you’re sure to enjoy your time here. Extend your elopement for an unforgettable mountain town honeymoon.
If you’re hoping to have an intimate, quiet experience, a San Juan Mountains elopement is perfect for you. While this area is becoming more known to tourists, it’s still somewhat lowkey and doesn’t attract massive crowds. Even during the busy season of summer, crowds stay relatively small.
While just about any place in the San Juans is amazing for an elopement, here are my favorite destinations!
Telluride is a quiet, gorgeous mountain town nestled in the San Juan Mountains and surrounded by thousands of peaks. Once a mining town, Telluride is now a historic city with unmatched scenery and easily one of the most incredible Colorado elopement locations.
While Telluride is known for world-class skiing, it’s also home to exceptional dining opportunities and relaxing spa experiences, offering ample activities for your Telluride elopement getaway.
Where to elope in Telluride:
Dunton Hot Springs is a resort located in a romantic ghost town in the valley just across the mountain from Telluride. While the resort is on the more pricey side of the San Juan Mountains elopement destinations, it offers an unmatched experience.
At the Dunton Hot Springs, couples can enjoy a unique setting with log cabins, hot springs, nature trails, and spa treatments.
Silverton is another quaint mountain town nestled in the San Juan Mountains. It’s most known because of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, now a National Historic Landmark. But it’s also a great place to have a San Juan Mountains elopement.
Couples love Silverton’s historic downtown area bursting with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Adventure enthusiasts also appreciate nearby hiking and Jeeping trails.
There are also a few hotels perfect for staying and eloping in Silverton. The Avon Hotel is a charming historic hotel, while The Wyman Hotel is a modern hotel with a gorgeous space for a small ceremony.
If you’re looking to have a mountain pass elopement with picturesque scenery, the Million Dollar Highway is located just outside of Silverton. This 25-mile stretch boasts magical mountain, gorge, and valley views.
Ouray is considered “America’s Switzerland,” and even though it’s the iconic San Juans mountain town, it’s still a primarily unknown gem. If you want epic mountain views, few crowds, and an intimate small mountain town vibe for your elopement, Ouray is the place to go!
Not only is Ouray gorgeous and romantic, but its jeeping tour opportunities are also amazing. Adventurous eloping couples can book a tour, head high up to secluded places in the mountains, and get married right there! As an elopement photographer, I’ve had incredible experiences working with Alpine Scenic 4×4 Tours, a small family-owned business that offers private tours for couples who want to have an adventurous elopement experience.
A few fabulous places you can elope with a 4×4 vehicle near Ouray are:
With so many amazing places to elope in the San Juans and views you can’t find anywhere else, this is easily the perfect destination for an unforgettable elopement. Whether you’re ready to start planning or you have more questions, I’d love to help!
Among the Pines (that’s me!) is a Colorado elopement photographer who helps couples plan and execute their dream wedding day. I take photos to capture your big day, and I can also help plan the entire process – picking your ideal location, booking vendors if needed, planning adventures, carrying your dress train, and more. I also provide a 100-page Elopement Guide with everything you need to know and can officiate your wedding!
CHLOE + CONNER
Brooke is professional, prepared, and provides all the peace of mind that a bride needs on her wedding day. Because of our conversations leading up to the day, I had no doubt that she would capture every important moment and more. Throughout the day, she was present and helpful, but never overbearing or controlling. She beautifully captured the moments that happened naturally & her experience allowed for insight and ideas that I wouldn't have thought to ask for but that I'll now cherish forever! She is flexible, understanding, and patient, and looking back, we can't imagine our day without her. If you are looking for someone to capture your wedding day, or just any day, Brooke is your girl. She goes above and beyond to serve her clients, and she is absolutely gifted at what she does.
"SHE GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND TO SERVE HER CLIENTS, and she is absolutely gifted at what she does."
Linden + Brent
In the end, her creativity and our happiness totally shine through in every single photo. Brooke made both of us feel so at ease, from our individual sessions before we had our first look, to strolling through downtown Ouray, to our ceremony and in the scenic spots we visited afterwards. Her talent is beyond compare and we are absolutely thrilled with our gallery of photos we will treasure forever. We give Brooke our highest recommendation and can’t wait to work with her again!
"Throughout the entire planning process, Brooke was honest and flexible, and made it clear that her goal was for us to be 100% happy."
Emily + Nick
Brooke is hands down the most talented photographer I have ever met in my entire life. I gave her my inspiration and she took it and made it into something entirely unique and beautiful. Brooke was able to work with my budget and offer me options. Along with all of this, she was always there to communicate with me from ideas to concerns. The day of never goes as planned, she was thrown curveball after curveball and dodged them all with ease. The photos we received memorialized the best day of our lives and we are forever grateful for the beautiful artwork she created.
"we are forever grateful for the beautiful artwork she created."
ERICA & ZACH
Brooke was booked to do our wedding June 6th. However, the virus hit and we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to have our wedding in June so we decided to go ahead and get married with just our parents there. I called Brooke and told her our plans and literally we were getting married in a week and she was so quick to say yes and capture our day for us. She helped make our day very special. She was super fun and made Zach and I feel very comfortable. I got my pictures back and I felt so overjoyed to see the happiness and love I felt on that day. Even though we didn’t have our wedding like we planned, it was still very special and Brooke was a big hand in that. She truly captured some very special memories that I will have for the rest of my life.
"SHE TRULY CAPTURED SOME VERY SPECIAL MEMORIES THAT I WILL HAVE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE."
Our wedding was in Kentucky in September. Brooke not only traveled for us but made a custom package for us because we had a unique situation. She took pictures the day before, and just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. She met with me before the wedding and we communicated a few times up to the wedding about my specific requests, and she hit the nail on the head. I am so very thankful for Brooke's story-telling, organic nature. She captured our wedding for exactly what it was and what I will remember it to be...full of joy, laughter, love and hope for the future!
"I AM SO VERY THANKFUL FOR BROOKE'S storytelling, organic nature."
JENNA + JOSH
KRYSTAL & BRANDON
She’s professional, creative, organized, kind, and just a blast to be around. She made my husband comfortable instantly in front of a camera so she’s a miracle worker too. We can’t stop staring at our photos! So many people keep telling us how amazing they are!
"YOU WON'T FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER BETTER rounded than brooke!"
Jessica & Robby
Brooke has a true talent. She is able to tap into and capture moments you didn’t even realize were happening. Absolutely 100% recommend Brooke and her beautiful pictures. We booked her services for our engagement pictures and then immediately realized we needed to have her for our wedding also. I’m already preemptively dreaming of the anniversary shoot I want!
"Brooke will make you feel comfortable and like a friend - she will take your ideas and inspiration and produce something better than you thought."
Rori + Eli
Brooke truly listened to what we wanted as a couple, our hopes, and took time to understand our "vibe," which came through in her work she delivered.
I can't thank Brooke enough for her amazing work - seriously the BEST decision we made and brings me to tears each time I look at these beautiful, photographic memories we'll have forever.
ALYSSA & HUNTER
Not only is Brooke an amazing photographer, but she is so fun and easy to work with! She made the whole process feel natural and comfortable for someone who typically feels awkward and weird while getting pictures taken! I love all of the pictures and I highly recommend Brooke as a photographer!
"SHE MADE THE WHOLE PROCESS FEEL natural & Comfortable."
ALI & KYLE
That's exactly what Brooke does, she captures a story. No words needed. You can see it and feel it. You can remember the exact moment and how you feel for that person and see how they feel about you. Her intuitive eye has only gotten sharper. I can’t wait to see what other adventures await for her to capture.
"SHE CAPTURES A STORY, NO WORDS NEEDED. you can see it and feel it."
Christy + Austin
Brooke is the absolute best. She truly went above and beyond for my fiancé and I to be able to get our engagement photos taken with the fall colors. Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever.
Brooke is so sweet, fun, personable and incredibly talented. We could not be more in love with our engagement photos!