Piney River Ranch is one of the best small wedding venues in Colorado

Piney River Ranch in Vail

Piney River Ranch is a wedding venue located in the Eagles Nest Wilderness outside of Vail, Colorado, and easily one of the most stunning venues I’ve worked at as a wedding photographer. The private 40-acre property is located right on the shores of Piney Lake, and has an incredible view of the Gore Range mountains behind the ceremony deck and lake.

Wedding at Piney River Ranch in Vail, CO

One of my favorite features of this mountain venue is that the property has six cabins and three glamping tents, in addition to the ceremony deck and reception pavilion. For smaller weddings, you can have everyone stay on site—and the cabins also make for the most photogenic getting ready spaces.

Another highlight is that you can take a canoe out on the water! Not only does it make for an incredible photo op, but it also gives you a chance to take in the beauty of this place with your partner, for a moment of zen on your wedding day.

Canoeing on Piney Lake in Vail

Where is Piney River Ranch located?

Piney River Ranch is located a 12 mile drive north of Vail, at the end of Red Sandstone Road. The drive takes about 45 minutes from leaving Vail, and while you can make the drive in any vehicle, it’ll be more comfortable in an SUV, Subaru, or something with a bit higher clearance than a sedan. (4WD is not necessary.) The dirt road is bumpy in spots, washboard rocks in others, so be ready for an adventure!

Don’t input the physical address into map apps or your car’s GPS, as it won’t lead you to the right place. You can type in Piney Lake or use the map link below for a pinned location.

Address: 700 Red Sandstone Road, Vail, CO, 81658
Map link:

When is Piney River Ranch open?

Because Piney River Ranch is accessed by a dirt road operated by the Forest Service, the venue is only open from June 21st through the last Saturday in September each year. While the ranch closes and is not available for weddings after the last Saturday in September, the road does stay open for another week or two afterwards and the exact closing date varies year-to-year based on snowfall and road conditions. You can call the local ranger district at (970) 827-5715 for updates.

You can see all available wedding dates on PRR’s website under “event availability.”

What’s the best time to get married at Piney River Ranch?

Because the open season is so short, you really can’t go wrong with any date you choose up here. But if I was getting married at Piney River Ranch, I would either go for the middle of July when everything is green and the wildflowers are blooming, or the last half of September when the aspens are turning yellow. Their earliest available dates, at the end of June, are a bit more risky because the snow can often stick around late in the mountains, and vegetation often hasn’t had a chance to get green after the snow melt.

Because Piney River Ranch sits at an elevation of 9,350ft, summers here are never too hot, and the temperatures drop quickly once the sun disappears behind the mountains. Be prepared for a bit of cold in the evenings!

How much does a wedding at Piney River Ranch cost?

While you’ll need to reach out to Piney River Ranch at for their exact pricing since it depends on the day of the week and changes from year to year, it’s not the cheapest venue around, but also not overly expensive for the Colorado mountains.

Elopement at Piney River Ranch in Vail, CO

Can we elope at Piney River Ranch?

Piney River Ranch offers micro-wedding packages for groups of 25 people or less (including vendors) for $2,500. These packages are only available on Monday through Thursday from 9am-12pm, so it’s perfect for couples who want a morning ceremony in a stunning location before heading back into Vail for further celebrations.

You can not elope at Piney River Ranch without a wedding or micro-wedding rental, as it is a privately owned venue. But there are other incredible locations nearby on Forest Service lands that can be used for small elopements without decorations, furniture, etc. so if you’re interested in something less established, talk to a local photographer (like me!) and we can help you find the perfect location.

Can we do engagement photos at Piney River Ranch?

Yes, you can do engagement photos at Piney River Ranch. Your photographer will need to contact the venue to sign a photo contract and pay a fee, as they don’t want multiple shoots happening at the same time, or for sessions to interfere with their booked weddings.

If you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding at Piney River Ranch, I’d love to chat more. You can see my full wedding collections here, and contact me to schedule a consultation.

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