Intimate Wedding Venue Spotlight: Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is one of the most underrated of all of Colorado’s State Parks when it comes to elopement locations or an intimate wedding venue. Located just a short 40-mile drive west of Denver, it is hard to believe just how serene this park is while also offering visitors and couples a long list of fun ways to enjoy the park. Between being easily accessible and offering an immense number of ways to stay and play in the park, there is no denying that Golden Gate Canyon State Park deserves a spot on your shortlist for Colorado elopement or intimate wedding ceremony locations. 

What It’s Like To Elope In Golden Gate Canyon State Park

One of the coolest elements of Golden Gate Canyon State Park is that there are camping sites and cabins right within the park so you and your fiance can stay right on site. Can’t you just imagine waking up in the park on your wedding day to watch the sun come up and hiking together hand-in-hand to a picture-perfect ceremony location like Panorama Point or the Red Barn Group Picnic Area? 

Rather than spending thousands on a traditional wedding venue or hosting a big catered affair, you can indulge in a romantic picnic for two after your ceremony under the stunningly blue Colorado sky, or have your friends and family join you for a barbecue or food truck catered wedding meal at the Red Barn Group Picnic area. The red barn in Golden Gate Canyon State park is also a great option if you want to have a weather backup with a covered area on your wedding day. No matter what ceremony location you choose, a wedding day spent in Golden Gate Canyon State Park will be nothing short of enchanting. 

When to Elope in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

GGCSP is one of the BEST intimate wedding and elopement locations in the Front Range of Colorado to see the stunning changing colors of Autumn. In the fall, the park’s abundant aspen trees turn golden yellow, which creates the most stunning backdrop of gold trees. I absolutely love it here in September and October, but it really is gorgeous year-round.

The meadows in the park become blanketed with colorful wildflowers during the summer months of June and July. It’s absolutely beautiful! If you’re looking for a Colorado elopement location with wildflowers move this one to the top of your list!

Elopement Guidelines & Fees

Obviously, you will be expected to follow all of the typical rules and regulations of getting married in one of Colorado’s amazing state parks. Two of the most important to check out are the Leave No Trace Principles and fire ban. The fire ban level changes throughout the year, but typically accessories like sparklers or any kind of open flame are not allowed. Only when the fire level is extremely high do they ban campfires in established firepits in the park – a benefit of eloping in a park instead of the backcountry! 

You will also have to obtain a permit from the State Park department. If you do wish to have your ceremony at the picturesque Panorama Point or in the rustic Red Barn, you will need to reserve them in advance. There is a small fee of $150 to reserve either site during the week, $300 to reserve Panorama Point during the weekend, or $200 for Red Barn during the weekend. These fees are minimal compared to the cost of a typical wedding venue and we love that they encourage weekday elopements by lowering that rate for Monday-Thursday events!

If you decide to invite a handful of close friends and family along as guests for your elopement, they will have to pay a small entrance fee of $9 per vehicle.

Elopement Locations in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Panorama Point is a wonderful elopement location for ceremonies with very few guests, or with the couple only. There’s a shade structure and platform overlooking the peaks of the Continental Divide in the background that can accommodate an intimate wedding, but parking is limited and it is a more popular area in the park. Many trails are accessible from this local, which puts you in a perfect place for some intimate and emotional portraits after your ceremony. 

The Red Barn is a classic wedding location more geared toward ‘larger’ events with lots of parking and a pretty aspen meadow where you can hold your ceremony. It can definitely work for a small elopement if you’d like a picnic area that’s reserved just for your group! I love that reserving this area gives you exclusive use of the aspen grove so you can keep your moments intimate.

Want the best of both worlds? You can reserve both of these locations in the same day. Hold your ceremony with guests in the aspen tree grove behind the Red Barn Group Picnic area, venture to Panorama Point for portraits during a first look, or after the ceremony, and then join your guests back at the picnic area for a post-elopement celebration! Read our post for tips on hosting the perfect post-elopement party or reception!

Here’s a map of Golden Gate Canyon State Park so you can get a sense of where these locations are! We always suggest doing a test drive through the park before your day because cell service is limited or unavailable in some areas.

Thinking Of Eloping In Golden Gate Canyon State Park?

We would love to be the Colorado wedding photographer you choose to document your special day. As wedding and elopement photographers that are local to Colorado, we absolutely love when couples choose adventurous elopement and wedding locations.

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