Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding PhotosPhotography of brides and grooms in RMNP
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the prettiest places to get married in the entire United States, and I’m lucky enough to have lived here since I started photographing weddings in 2006. I shot my first wedding in the Park many years ago and continue to do so now.
I love making beautiful images of brides and grooms enjoying RMNP and know many areas both inside and outside of the park with gorgeous mountain vistas that are free from tourists and commotion. Also, I hold a commercial use permit that allows me to photograph portraits in the park.
If you want to hold your wedding ceremony inside the park, you’ll need a wedding permit, which you can read more of below.
The entrance gates to Rocky Mountain National Park are about 2 miles from my front door, and each year I spend countless hours exploring its trails, vistas and valleys. The Park consists of more than 400,000 square miles of wilderness, mostly untouched, and it’s among the most beautiful and breathtaking landscape in the country. Photographing weddings in and around the park is a special treat for me.
There are a number of places I really like shooting weddings at in Rocky Mountain National Park. The first is Lily Lake, a small lake a few miles outside of town along Highway 7. Lily is accessible from a regular road and you don’t need to go inside the park gates to get there. It offers amazing views to the Continental Divide, Twin Sisters Mountains, and Longs Peak. It can get busy during the summers, but generally there are fewer crowds here than inside the park.
Lily has two ceremony sites the park allows — one at a dock for 10 people, and one at a picnic area for about 100 people. The evening light here is incredible, and the final rays of light against Twin Sisters turn it brilliant oranges.
Another favorite place of mine to take wedding photos in Rocky Mountain National Park is the beautiful Endo Valley.
There are a few eremony sites here, including the Endovalley Picnic Area and the Alluvial Fan area. These are geared for smaller weddings but are picturesque areas in a huge expanse of grassland in a massive valley. The Alluvial Fan is a stream with waterfalls, aspens and a pretty bridge — it was created by a massive flood many years ago.
The Bear Lake area is absolutely amazing (the couple in the first big photo on this page is in front of Bear Lake) — it’s a bit higher in the park and you’ll say your vows near a lake at the bast of many of Rocky Mountain National Park’s largest peaks. I love it here, though it can be pretty busy.
You can read more about the park’s many wedding sites here: http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/wedding_locations.htm As always, make sure to keep a low profile, minimize distraction to other visitors, and leave no trace.
At RMNP, take only wedding photos, and leave only footprints!
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the country’s most visited parks, and it’s the major tourist attraction to Estes Park. There were around 4 million visitors in 2015 and the number is expected to grow. One the busiest days, some 10,000 cars went through the park.
What this means is, if you’re planning a wedding and doing wedding photos, is that you need to probably plan in some extra time — not only to get to Estes Park, particularly on busy summer weekends, but also to travel through RMNP itself. I’ve seen huge, hour-long traffic jams of cars leaving the park!
Pro tips include carpooling or planning your celebration later in the afternoon when the light is best and most people are leaving. Remember that it is still light in late June and early July well past 8 in the evening, and that means we can still shoot wedding pictures.
Keep in mind that in order to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park, you will need a wedding permit! It is available from the concessions office and is a nonrefundable $150. You can learn more about the various wedding sites here on the park web site, or feel free to send me an email if you want some local advice or opinions!
Your wedding permit is just for the ceremony, though it also covers your photographer shooting the wedding. You will still need to pay for the normal park entrance fees and it’s a good idea to carpool given the limited parking in many of the locations.
Remember, leave no trace!
You can get in touch with the concessions office of Rocky Mountain National Park here.
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