Everything you need to know about eloping in the mountains of Breckenridge
After ten years in Colorado and photographing multiple Breckenridge weddings and elopements, I’ve built this guide to help answer the most commonly asked questions I get about the Breckenridge, Frisco, and Silverthorne areas.
We’ll cover the best locations for your elopement ceremony, and my favorite venues for bigger weddings. Please note that I don’t give out exact coordinates for backcountry locations, because finding these spots is a big part of what I help my couples with.
(If you’re a photographer who’s doing research before capturing your first Breckenridge elopement, or you’re doing research on the local venues, I promise there’s some good info in this guide for you too!)
Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about planning a Breckenridge wedding or elopement?
Great! Let’s get started.
Why Elope in Breckenridge?
Breckenridge feels remote, but it’s only an hour and half drive from Denver. If you’re traveling to Colorado from out of state, or have a lot of guests flying in, it’s the perfect place to show off the mountains without spending all day driving to get there.
There’s no off-season
Unlike many other ski resort towns in Colorado, Breckenridge has enough of a local community to stay “alive” all year round. Yes, you’ll run into some restaurant closures in May and October, but there are lots of great options for restaurants and places to stay year round.
Breckenridge has the best airbnbs
Whether you’re looking for a simple A-frame cabin for just the two of you, or a high end designer home for your whole family to share, Breckenridge has what you want. More and more couples are renting homes rather than hotel rooms for their weddings and elopements. It gives you a cozy home base for the day, and you can even have a private chef cook you dinner while you’re adventuring around in the mountains.
The options are endless
Want to drive up to an alpine lake so your families can witness your vow exchange? You can do that in Breck.
Want to hike a fourteener and elope at the summit before splitting your first beer as married folks? You can do that in Breck.
Want to invite a hundred of your closest friends and family to celebrate your wedding in a ski lodge? You can do that in Breck.
Oh yeah, and it’s beautiful!
Alpine lakes and water falls, wild flowers and snow covered peaks. It doesn’t get much more Colorado than Breckenridge.
Best time of year to elope in Breckenridge
First things first; you need to choose a date for your wedding. I have a big guide over the best months to elope in Colorado, and highly recommend that you check it out before picking a date.
Breckenridge’s high altitude of 9,600ft means that winter sticks around for a long time compared to the Denver area. The ski resort often stays open through the end of May, and it’s not uncommon to still see snow on the ground at the end of June.
But long winters aside, there’s nothing better than summer in the high country. While Denver often sees temperatures close to triple digits in July and August, Breckenridge has a high of ~75 degrees. By the end of July, the ground is covered in wildflowers. And the last two weeks of September give you the best fall colors when the aspens are changing, before snow starts coming down again in October.
When you’re choosing a date, I also recommend that you pick a weekday if at all possible. Monday through Thursday will always be less busy than Friday through Sunday, and you’ll have fewer people around in this whole area. (Need more convincing? I have a whole post on why weekday elopements are the best.)
Traffic on I-70 from Denver to Breckenrdige can also be a huge pain on weekends; especially Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings during winter thanks to ski traffic. If you want to avoid traffic for your Breckenridge wedding, get a place to stay close by so that you can skip driving for a few days.
If you want to keep your elopement private, you might want to consider getting up early and heading outside for sunrise. The light is magical this time of day, and if we’re lucky, we’ll catch alpenglow on the mountains. And best of all, there are fewer people outside at sunrise (and sunset) than in the middle of the day, when most hikers and tourists are outside.
Breckenridge Elopement Locations
Sapphire Point is arguably the most popular place to elope in Breckenridge. With an easy application to buy a permit for the ceremony site, it’s also the only location on this list that you can reserve for a specific date and time. The mountain views here are beautiful, and the ceremony site itself is easy to access, making it the perfect place if you have guests with mobility problems.
Rivertree Lodge is an intimate wedding venue for up to 40 guests, close to Dillon Reservoir and Frisco. With an ceremony site tucked into the woods near the log home, and nearby Sapphire Point as a second location for portraits, this is the perfect option for couples who are inviting guests to their elopement, and want a place for everyone to celebrate without worrying about hikers or tourists.
Dillon Ice Castles
You unfortunately can’t elope at the Dillon Ice Castles. But you can take photos there, during normal opening hours. The Ice Castles are open from late December through April, and make for an epic place to take wedding photos.
Hoosier Pass is the high point of Highway 9 between Breckenridge and Fairplay. You can hike in on the trails in summer, or snowshoe or cross country ski in winter, to get away from the main trailhead. This is not a busy location, so you’re more likely to find a private place than at nearby Boreas Pass.
Lake Dillon is kinda hard to miss, as it dominates the landscape between Frisco and Silverthorne. There are lots of beautiful spots along the shores, and you could even rent a boat to go onto the lake in summer!
This waterfall is not exactly a secret, but it’s still unused enough that I’d rather not name the location in a public post. There’s a short hike to reach this spot, and it can be busy in the middle of the day on weekends, but on weekdays there’s a chance of having it to yourselves. This spot can also easily be combined with the alpine lake below.
You can drive most of the way to this alpine lake, but the final hike is a bit rocky. Once you’re here, there are lots of good spots to choose from along there shore, that you may have completely to yourselves!
Boreas Pass is a dirt road that leads from Breckenridge and over to Como on Highway 285. You can drive this road when the conditions are good, but I highly recommend having a 4WD with clearance. From the pass summit, there are multiple hiking trails you can take to get away from other people.
If you’re up for a hike on your wedding day, you open up a whole new world of locations to choose from. Finding the perfect spot is a big part of what I help my couples with, and I use a detailed questionnaire to learn what you’re looking for – even if you might not know it yourselves, yet!
Where to celebrate after your Breckenridge elopement
Many couples who plan a Breckenridge elopement only want to do photos outside on the mountain. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
But consider renting an airbnb where you can celebrate in private after adventuring around in the mountains. Or if you want to keep things simple, book a table at one of the many delicious restaurants in Breckenridge.
Twist is my personal favorite restaurant in Breckenridge. They serve high end comfort food with .. you guessed it – a twist.
Hearthstone is a classic high end restaurant with incredible locally sourced food.
A little more casual than the first two options, but great food and chill vibes!
The Lodge at Breckenridge
The Lodge at Breckenridge is a popular venue for weddings and elopements of all sizes. They have a beautiful ceremony deck overlooking the mountains, a traditional reception venue, and a restaurant that’s perfect for smaller elopement dinners.
I’ll be adding more reception venues to this post soon!
Ready to start planning your Breckenridge elopement?
If you’re ready to plan your own wedding or elopement in Breckenridge, I would love to photograph the big day. Get in touch to schedule a no-obligation call to make sure we’re a good fit!