Crested Butte Elopement Guide:
Everything You Need to Plan Your Elopement in Crested Butte
Are you dreaming of a Crested Butte elopement? This charming little mountain town is quickly becoming a popular destination for weddings and elopements in Colorado. The beautiful mountain passes just outside of town, the adorable shops and restaurants down Elk Ave., the amazing hiking and mountain biking, and of course the best skiing in the winter make Crested Butte a perfect place to host your wedding weekend. Mountain vistas, beautiful aspen groves, and the best wildflowers around will be a stunning backdrop for your elopement celebration.
Crested Butte Elopement Locations
The best part about Crested Butte elopements are the multitude of locations. You can have mountains, alpine lakes, aspen groves, wildflowers, snow, historical buildings, ghost town, waterfalls, and more as the backdrop of your elopement celebration. Whether you’re looking for a ceremony location, reception venue, or both there are some key locations to consider.
This venue is protected by the Crested Butte Land Trust, surrounded by aspen trees, mountain wildflowers, towering peaks, creeks and rivers, and nearby reflecting lakes. This one is perfect for nature lovers who care most about being surrounded by the majesty of all the things that make Colorado truly great! With multiple entrances to the area, there can be a bit of a hike or you can park and walk right up to the main field for a more accessible entrance. The Woods Walk is not far from downtown Crested Butte, which offers reception dinner locations for your elopement or wedding.
Lake Irwin is a short drive outside Crested Butte up a mountain pass, and is only accessible to most people from May-October. Surrounded by mountains on every horizon, this mountain lake offers stunning views to be sure. If your dream is canoeing or paddle-boarding on your wedding day, this might be the spot for you. The campground could serve as a main hub for your elopement celebration if you manage to snag a spot. Lake Irwin is one of the most popular lakes and campgrounds in the area, though, so be mindful that there will be crowds even on weekdays.
Near the Woods Walk and just a short walk or drive from downtown Crested Butte, Peanut Lake offers stunning views of Paradise Divide and Mt. Crested Butte as backdrop. With Nordic skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, you will likely have extra guests at your elopement here depending on the time of day.
Gothic/Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
The town of Gothic outside of Mt. Crested Butte is a nearby ghost town and is home to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. It is only accessible to most people May-October, and RMBL is a wedding venue you can rent in the summer months. The nearby hiking trails offer aspen and pine tree backdrops, and the adventurous couple may stumble upon a waterfall and beautiful creek as well.
Mountain Wedding Garden
Located at the Town Park on Mt. Crested Butte, the Mountain Wedding Garden is an official wedding venue that you can rent for smaller weddings and elopements. The nearby pavilion offers space for a small reception if desired as well. Overlooking the town of Crested Butte and valley below, the garden offers unique and beautiful views of the area, as well as a well-kept garden space. In July there are also nearby fields of the wildflowers Crested Butte is most known for. This space does require reservations.
If you have a 4×4 vehicle and an adventurous spirit, there are many back roads around the Crested Butte area that can take you to some stunning and more secluded alpine lakes for your elopement ceremony. Be mindful of the forecast in the summer, as some roads become dangerous in the rain storms that are common in Colorado that time of year. Some of these lakes are becoming more popular as they are shared online, so do check with your photographer and other locals about how busy you can expect your location to be.
National Forest Lands
The Gunnison National Forest oversees many of the areas outside of the town of Crested Butte and the mountain, so there may be permits and fees required here. The forest is home to many diverse backdrops for your Crested Butte elopement, including:
If sharing your vows in a grove of aspen trees is your dream, look no further! You can take almost any back road outside of town and find incredible groves to marry in. Be sure to check with the forest rangers about any location restrictions.
Creeks, Rivers and Waterfalls
There are a number of creeks and rivers in the area that are beautiful in and of themselves, but some also create waterfalls that can serve as a beautiful and unique backdrop for your ceremony.
Crested Butte is known as the wildflower capital of the world, and the forest land is home to many fields of these blooms in the summer. Local forest rangers are often happy to keep you apprised of their blooming schedule if you ask.
Part of the ski resort, the Umbrella Bar is a wedding venue (and bar) at Ten Peaks. It features a unique perspective on Mt. Crested Butte and a stunning view of the mountain ranges along the horizon opposite as well. It is a popular wedding destination in Crested Butte and books up fast, so if you desire this venue for your elopement be sure to plan in advance.
Scarp Ridge Lodge
Scarp Ridge Lodge is a former Croatian saloon is located in the heart of the town of Crested Butte and has that Wild West feel, if that’s the vibe you’re seeking for your elopement. It has lodging available on site for up to 18 people, perfect for hosting any guests you’re having at your elopement. The venue space can host up to 50 people for a seated dinner as well. If you’re looking for a central hub for your elopement day with lodging and dinner space this might be the perfect venue for you.
Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum
One of the newer venues in town, the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum is a unique location perfect for those fascinated by the vast history of Crested Butte. It is an intimate space for small weddings and elopement receptions if you’re looking for something off the beaten path.
Permits and Rules for Eloping in Crested Butte
Many of the above locations require permits or booking fees and reservations to secure your elopement date and time. If you’re unsure if your location requires permits, see if your photographer or planner is aware first. If you’re doing research on your own, you can search for terms “special use permits” or “wedding permits” with your location name online. Another useful resource is to simply contact the local ranger station and speak with someone directly. Be sure to ask about regulations as well. Good questions to start with are, “Can you bring in flowers? Are ceremony arches allowed? Can you play music?” As always it is important to practice Leave No Trace principles when visiting and enjoying these spaces in nature to preserve them for other couples, and so you can revisit them in years to come.
Crested Butte AirBnBs
AirBnBs are a great place to get ready for your elopement, host any friends and family you’ve invited, and are a great hub spot for the entire stay.
Things to do in Crested Butte
While you’re in the area for your Crested Butte elopement, there are plenty of fun ways to spend the rest of your time here.
- The Last Steep
- The Secret Stash
- Paradise Cafe
- Elk Ave. Prime
- Wooden Nickel
- Third Bowl Ice Cream
- Niki’s Mini Donuts
Bars & Nightlife
- Talk of the Town
- Montanya Distillers
- The Eldo
- Public House
- Townie Books
- Scout’s General Store
- Chopwood Mercantile
- Pfister’s Handworks
- Bike Week (June)
- Crested Butte Music Festival (July)
- Wildflower Festival (July)
- Wine & Food Festival (July)
- Annual Arts Festival (August)
Best Times to Visit Crested Butte
Summer in Crested Butte
The best time to visit Crested Butte in the summer is July. This is usually the peak of the famous wildflowers. Temperatures in July average highs of 75° and lows of 39°. Summer activities to do in Crested Butte are hiking, stand up paddle boarding, climbing Mt. Crested Butte, and mountain biking.
Winter in Crested Butte
The best time to visit Crested Butte in the winter is January and February. Most visitors in the winter are here for skiing and winter sports like skiing the mountain resort, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. Winter temperatures average highs of 31° and lows of -2°.
Crested Butte Elopement Photography
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