For those of you who love the idea of riding a chairlift on your wedding day!
I’ve been asked a few times if you have to do a long hike to have an adventurous wedding with epic Colorado mountain views because when many people think of a Colorado adventure, the first thing they think of is hiking.
So is it true? Do you have to do a long hike to have an epic adventure mountain wedding here in Colorado?
Short answer- NOPE!
If you want to hike on your wedding day, then heck freaking yes let’s do it. However, if hiking on your wedding day isn’t your jam, no problem! One of the countless amazing things about Colorado is there are SO MANY jaw dropping locations that are also super accessible and don’t require any hiking at all! From simply driving, off roading 4x4s, Jeep tours, short easy walks, and one of my favorite options: chair lifts & gondolas.
Choosing a location with a chair lift ride gives you so many options for your day. Maybe you do want to do a little hiking but some your cherished guests can’t, so you’d like your ceremony site to have epic views but be easily accessible. Ski resort mountains give you that! And because small weddings typically offer so much more flexibility with timelines, the two of you will still have the option to go hike and/or explore another location nearby if you would like. You can go off and do your first look, read private vows, or do your sunset adventure portraits. That is the best thing about elopements and intimate weddings- you don’t have to choose, you can have it all! Or maybe hiking on your wedding day simply isn’t your jam and you want to just keep your day nice and simple by staying on site with epic mountain views. Colorado ski resort mountains provide 360 degree panoramic views that will keep you in complete awe the entire day.
Nearly all of these mountains I’ve listed below, with the exception of Telluride and Crested Butte, are within two hours of Denver. So, if you are coming from out of state and flying into Denver International Airport for your destination Colorado mountain wedding, your wedding location will be just a short (and absolutely STUNNING) drive through the mountains.
So, if you love the idea of riding a chairlift to the top of a mountain on your wedding day, I’ve compiled a list just for you of some of my favorite Colorado ski resort mountains for your ultimate adventure wedding day!
Here we go!
– Arapahoe Basin –
Arapahoe Basin, or A-Bay as Coloradans like to call it, might just be my favorite little mountain. Within summit county, it’s small, quaint, and has a family oriented vibe that just makes you feel at home. But don’t let the size fool you. The chairlift ride takes you up towards the jagged, rugged, rocky mountain walls of the Continental Divide that serve as A-Bay’s wedding backdrop and are truly a sight to be seen. They remind me of a little version of the absolutely jaw dropping Grand Tetons of Wyoming.
From Denver, you will drive over Loveland Pass to get to Arapahoe Basin. Loveland Pass is also a fantastic option for offsite portraits if you want to see as much as you can on your day. This would be a great option for your first look and/or reading of private vows before heading to the chair lift at A-Bay to your ceremony site. It would also be a great option for sunset portraits if you want to sneak away for a little adventure after your ceremony. Or, if you’d prefer to stay on site at A-Bay with your loved ones, it would be a great option for a day after adventure session. It is also a fantastic elopement location in itself! It’s easy to go on a tangent with locations here in Colorado, there are just so many incredible options.
Driving distance from Denver : 64 miles : around 1 hour & 15 minutes
– Keystone –
Just down the road from Arapahoe Basin is Keystone, another quaint and stunning wedding location in summit county. The gondola ride will bring you up Dercum Mountain to views of the Rocky Mountains and Lake Dillon. Your guests will enjoy epic mountain views as you say your I Dos.
Lake Dillon also happens to be another epic location for adventure portraits, first look, or private vow readings. Or, after your Keystone ceremony you can head to one or more of the many summit county locations within the area, which can include Lake Dillon, for adventure portraits before heading into one of the surrounding towns, such as Breckenridge, to celebrate with your closest people!
Driving distance from Denver : 74 miles : around 1.5 hours
– Breckenridge –
Next up is Breckenridge, another summit county location. Of all the mountain towns and ski resorts in Colorado, the Breckenridge area is my all time favorite place for everything: outdoor recreation, breweries and food, adventure sessions, elopements, weddings, everything! So much so that I will be moving from the Vail valley to summit county in the next year! I can go on ALL day about Breckenridge. But let’s start with that chairlift ride, that is why you’re reading this after all. Ride the chairlift to views of endless mountains including the Continental Divide. The most popular on-mountain ceremony spot is the Ten Mile Station located on Peak 9. It offers gorgeous mountain views and is close to the downtown historic district of Breckenridge as well as numerous summit county adventure portrait locations, including Boreas Pass which is pictured above. Breckenridge, and summit county is general, has endless options for photo locations, lodging & AirBNB options, as well as restaurants, breweries, and distilleries for celebration!
Driving distance from Denver : 81 miles : around 1.5 hours
– Copper Mountain –
Copper Mountain was the very first Colorado mountain I snowboarded at when I moved to Colorado over five years ago and it turned out to be an equally incredible wedding location. The chair lift brings you up the mountain to their on-mountain ceremony spot with stunning views of the Ten Mile Range.
Copper Mountain is just down the road from summit county which includes Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon. You will have plenty of options for nearby accommodation such as AirBnBs if you want to stay in a mountain town closeby!
Driving distance from Denver : 78 miles : around 1.5 hours
– Vail Mountain –
Continuing down highway I-70 after Summit County comes the Vail valley, beginning with another one of my very favorites, Vail mountain. Vail mountain is a HUGE mountain and absolutely stunning with complete 360 degree panoramic epic views. Down the street from my home, I’m there quite often and it always makes me smile watching new visitors be completely blown away by the views Vail has to offer. Once you take the gondola up to the ceremony site you’ll find the famous 14er, Mt. of the Holy Cross, as its backdrop. A quick 180 turn offers equally incredible views of the rugged Gore Range. Vail has more of a luxury vibe to the town than the other mountain towns and it’s also a great place for families as there are endless activities on the mountain for kids including a children’s adventure course, tubing, mini golf, a mountain coaster, kid’s zip-line, a bungee trampoline, a climbing wall, and more. It will be hard for your kids to get bored at Vail!
Driving distance to Denver : 97 miles : around two hours
– Beaver Creek –
Just down the road from Vail in a little mountain town called Avon is a more lowkey, but equally beautiful mountain, Beaver Creek. I may be a bit partial to Beaver Creek as I actually live walking distance, just across the street, to this gorgeous mountain so I spend a lot of time there snowboarding all winter and hiking all summer! And of course, it also happens to be an absolutely incredible spot to tie the knot. You can take the chairlift up to get married on the deck with epic mountain views and then go wander into the endless aspen groves amongst the wildflowers. Beaver Creek’s lowkey nature also makes it less crowded than it’s Vail neighbor, but you really can’t go wrong with either of these stunning mountains!
Driving distance from Denver : 109 miles : around two hours
– Crested Butte –
I know I said Breckenridge was my favorite mountain town, but if I had to choose another place to live, it would be Crested Butte. Crested Butte has a down to earth local vibe that is everything I imagined a mountain town would be like before moving out west. It is also unbelievably beautiful. A chairlift ride brings you to stunning views of the Rocky Mountains right beside Mt. Crested Butte’s 12,162 feet peak. Outside of the resort mountain, there is also endless exploring of rivers, lakes, nationals forest land (such as the location pictured above) that would be perfect for some more adventure portraits or a day after session!
Driving distance from Denver : 228 miles : around 4.5 hours
– Telluride –
The first time I laid eyes on Telluride, I was completely speechless. It is nestled within the San Juan mountains, which may very well be the most beautiful mountain range in all of Colorado if you ask me. Oh and did I mention gondola rides are free in the summer? How cool is that! My favorite ceremony site on the resort is San Sophia Overlook which offers 360 degree panoramic mountain views of the Sneffels Mountain Range and the San Juan mountain range. Do you know the mountain that is on the Coors beer can? You can see that mountain from here! Unlike most of the other mountains, Telluride even has winter wedding options which are ski in/ski out ceremony sites if you and your guests are extra adventurous winter folks!
Like Crested Butte, there is also endless exploring of beautiful scenery outside the resort mountain. From unbelievable mountain views, to alpine lakes, to waterfalls, Telluride is an ultimate Colorado destination.
Driving distance from Denver : 330 miles : around 6.5 hours