The Best Engagement Session Locations in Colorado
Colorado is a magical place and makes for some super adventurous engagement photos. I get asked all the time where the best spots are throughout Colorado for an engagement session. So I decided to put together this guide for you to help you find that perfect Colorado Engagement Session Location!
MOUNTAIN ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS
Rocky Mountain National Park
This is my absolute favorite location in all of Colorado for engagement sessions. Why? Because you get amazing views with only an hour and 20 minute drive from Denver!! For the drive time, you really cant beat this location if your heart is set on epic mountain views.
The park is open year round so you can access it even in the winter for some really killer snowy portraits. And in the summer time you can drive up Trail Ridge Road for some pretty rad views that I think are so magical. This park is NOT dog friendly unfortunately. It does get really really busy on weekends and especially during summer months. I highly recommend weekdays.
Please keep in mind that photographers do need a photo permit in order to work in this park and use it as a portrait session location. If you are a photographer wanting to work in the park, CLICK HERE for info on permits.
MY FAVORITE SPOTS IN THE PARK AND HOW LONG IT TAKES TO HIKE THERE:
Morraine Park (0.0 hiking miles)
Dream Lake (2 miles round trip)
Loch Lake (5.5 miles round trip)
Bear Lake (250 FEET of walking)
Trail Ridge Road (Very Little Trail Walking)
Alluvial Fan Area (0.0 miles)
Hidden Valley (walking only)
Sprague Lake (pathway walking)
Photo Below: Loch Lake
Photo Below: Trail Ridge Road
Photo Below: Bear Lake
Photo Below: Trail Ridge Road
Photo Below from Dream Lake:
Photo Below From Morraine Park:
This mountain pass located in Georgetown, CO is the perfect spot for a Colorado Engagement session. Particularly in the fall. Tons of open areas off the road with gorgeous views. In the fall this location is so beautiful. The aspens up on this mountain pass make it one of the most sought after fall engagement session locations in the state. I suggest shooting on a weekday especially in the fall to avoid crowds.
Guanella pass is open year round. However sometimes it can close due to inclement weather. Keep this in mind if you are planning a winter engagement session. This spot is dog friendly! About an hour and a half drive from Denver. No Hiking Required for this location
Maroon Bells in Aspen, CO
If you want a jaw dropping location. Maroon Bells is your spot! This gorgeous location does allow dogs on the trails however they do need to be on a leash. My recommendation is shooting here at sunrise. You get the most beautiful Alpenglow on the mountain! Depending on the time of year it can make for an early wake up call. But man is it worth it!
Keep in mind that you do have to take a shuttle up past a certain time, so being able to drive up before the shuttle starts is ideal! There is no permit necessary during hours when the shuttle is not running. Also, this spot is really far from Denver and almost always requires an overnight stay. Most photographers will charge travel for that unless they’re local to that area.
Rainbow Lake Trail in Frisco, CO
This little trail in Frisco is full of aspens, tons of greenery, and leads to a beautiful lake. Its only about a mile up to the lake, and it isn’t very strenuous. In the summer you can find fields of wild flowers that are just insanely gorgeous. A really great engagement session location that you will definitely want to check out! Keep in mind this spot does get pretty crowded on weekends like most other locations around Summit County. Weekdays are best. It is also dog friendly! No permit necessary. 1.5 hour drive from Denver.
A huge alpine lake in the Summit County area, this lake makes for one of the best permit-free locations to take your engagement photos! So many good options around the lake and it is accessible year round. In the middle of winter, you can also walk out onto the middle of the lake. (Please take extreme caution if you do this here, or at any alpine lake during the winter!). It is also easily accessible from other really cool spots (dont worry I will list them out here on this list for you!) in the area so you don’t have to stick to one location. 1.5 horu drive from Denver.
Photo Below Location : Windy Point Campground
Photo Below Location: Sapphire Point at Lake Dillon
Photo Below Location: Lake Dillon on the Frozen Lake
Photo Below Location: A Trail Near The Lake – A spot I love bringing my couples too:
This mountain pass has some pretty amazing views for being so close to Denver. The parking lot is pretty small so its best if you can carpool up together with your photographer to use less parking space. This place can be super crowded in both summer and winter. I always suggest to shoot here during the week. Sunset or Sunrise are both gorgeous here. The road is open year round but can sometimes close for random reasons. Especially when rock slides or avalanches can happen, or if it snows too heavily and they deem it too dangerous to open. There is a small lake up there called “Pass Lake” and it is only accessible in the summer.
This spot is just 35 min from Lake Dillon which I mentioned above making it a good spot to do together.
About an Hour and 30 min from Denver. The trail up to some of these spots is short but can be steep and at 12k feet elevation can make you short of breath easily.
St. Mary’s Glacier
For a spot with minimal hiking, this is a pretty epic location for an engagement session. While I have only ever shot an elopement up here, it would make for just as good of an engagement session spot as well. It takes about 30-45 minutes depending on your ability level to hike up to the glacier from the parking lot. It is one of the most beautiful spots I think within an hour of Denver. And it is dog friendly! which makes it a popular choice to bring the pups. In the summer this place is CROWDED all day and especially on the weekends with people hanging out and swimming even in the water. Sunrise or about 2 hours before sunset during the week is the best time to shoot here.
This place is open year round but keep in mind it snows heavily and snowshoes or microspikes might be needed to hike up. There is a fee to park, and you must bring cash! There are no machines to pay for parking, you have to put cash in an envelop and drop it into their fee collector. No Photo Permit needed! 1 Hour from Denver
Blue Lakes near Breckenridge
This alpine lake location has gorgeous views, possibly some mountain goats, and can have some snow depending when you go. It does not require a permit. Keep in mind the road is really rough to get up there and could require a vehicle with a little more ground clearance than a sedan depending, and possibly AWD. Sunset or Sunrise are both gorgeous here. About 2 hours from Denver.
Shrine Pass near Vail
Ok this has to be one of the most off the beaten path spots but gorgeous spots I have shot at. While its a little further from Denver than most other locations but still doable in one day, it sits at about 2 hours from Denver just outside of Vail. Definitely deserves to be on this list of the best engagement session locations in Colorado. With easy access to vail where you can find tons of golden trees in the fall, you can drive up this dirt road mountain pass and adventure to some really fun spots. Keep in mind this location is only open in the summer time and cannot be accessed in Winter. I suggest a higher clearance vehicle if you decide to off road a bit! There is tons of dispersed camping sites up here too, so you could potentially do a fun camping session here. Be sure and check fire bans if you plan to have a campfire!
Ouray and Telluride Area
Ok so this spot is far into the mountains from Denver. About a 6 hour drive. But holy heck the spots that you can get to in this area are just PHENOMENAL. There is a reason why they call this area the Switzerland of Colorado. So many gorgeous mountain views and Colorado Waterfalls that are fairly easily accessible. Some will require some hiking and others you can drive right up to and walk minimal distance to see them. Any of these spots would make for an epic engagement session.
1. Bridal Veil Falls – Telluride:
This spot is accessible by car when the road is open, but you absolutely need a high clearance 4×4 vehicle to get up there. Or at least, i highly recommend it. Otherwise its about an hour hike up some pretty steep hiking to get there. BUT you get like 2-3 other waterfall views on the way up if you hike, which you do not get if you drive. Also if you dont have a 4×4, there are jeep rentals everywhere in Ouray and Telluride which makes this way easier and more accessible.
Waterfall on hike up to bridal veil falls:
2. Cascade Falls. – Ouray:
3. Ouray Million Dollar Highway:
4. San Sophia Overlook Area
This spot is great in the summer. You just take the gondola up the mountain and you get this epic overlook. Lots of weddings happen here. For weddings, it has to be reserved and the cost is 5k. If no one is using it though, you can def go take a look and even utilize the surrounding area on the mountain for photos
FRONT RANGE ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS
Brainard Lake Rec Area
Just an hour and 20 min or so from Denver is this gorgeous recreation area. The lake is beautiful and while it is accessible year round in the winter you do have to hike an additional 4 mile hike in because the road closes at the gate in the winter and you must use the winter lot. In summer though you can drive right up to Brainard Lake. They do require reservations to get into the park in the summer. But the reservation system which can be found HERE is very easy to use! No photo permit necessary otherwise.
This spot can be super busy in the summer and particularly on holidays like 4th of July. You can paddle board in this lake too which could make for some really fun photos in the summer. My recommendation is to shoot here during the week when its less busy. These photos below were in Early August on a Monday a few hours before sunset.
Alderfer Three Sisters and Two Brothers Overlook in Evergreen, CO
One of my favorite little trails within an hour of Denver. This spot in Evergreen is super pretty and makes for GORGEOUS sunrise photos. Lots of wooded areas but also a pretty overlook that gives a wonderful view of Mount Evans in the distance. You can do the whole hike in roughly 45 minutes or less. From the parking lot to the overlook I would say its no more than 15 ish minutes and it is not super strenuous.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Located in Boulder, Eldorado Canyon is a great location that is accessible year round for Colorado Engagement Sessions. There are so many different trails and creek access depending on the time of year. It makes for a truly beautiful Colorado backdrop to your photos. Waterfalls, pretty trails, and even a few overlooks…
There is a small entrance fee to get into Eldorado Canyon State Park. And for us photographers there is a photography permit required for us to work in the park. Contact Eldorado Canyon Directly for Permit Info!
Mount Falcon West
For a location that is super close to Denver, the views are beautiful up here. It’s not only a great spot for an engagement session… but also for an elopement. If you are considering eloping in Colorado, want good views, but want to stay close to Denver. This might be the perfect spot for you! Dog’s are welcome on a leash! Photographers need the Jeffco Photo Permit to shoot here!
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
One of the most iconic locations in all of Colorado.I had to make sure this location was on the list of best engagement session locations in Colorado. Garden of the Gods is a great dog friendly engagement session location in the Colorado Springs area. With such a vast area to explore and those gorgeous rock formations, you’re bound to have an amazing session.
Aside from just engagement sessions, its a popular spot for elopements in Colorado Springs. If you are also planning for a Colorado Elopement, check out my GUIDE TO GETTING MARRIED IN GARDEN OF THE GODS. No permit necessary for a wedding or an engagement session! 1.5 Hours from Denver.
North Cheyenne Canon Park
Another great Colorado Springs engagement session location. Full of gorgeous trails, a dirt road that tunnels through the mountains and lots of creek access. I think this is probably one of my favorite spots for not just photographing couples, but also for hiking and just enjoying the outdoors. Helen Hunt Falls is a gorgeous waterfall also located within the park. There is no permit needed to shoot here at all. 1.5 hours from Denver.
NCAR TRAIL Boulder
Just behind the NCAR building is a wonderful spot for a portrait session. While we are not allowed to have photos of the NCAR building, the scenery around it is top notch. It also has ample parking at pretty much any time of day. However there is no public bathroom on site, but the closest public one would be at the King Soopers just down the road. Boulder OSMP permit needed for any photographer wanting to shoot here!
Sometimes you just need an epic city location for your portraits and Downtown Denver Delivers! There are ample locations throughout RINO, LOHI, The Ballpark Area, and so many more spots. My suggestion is to go explore the city a few days in advanced and get familiar with different areas of town!
Chautauqua Park Boulder
Iconic Boulder Park that makes for a great engagement session! Photographers need the Boulder OSMP permit in order to shoot here. The flatirons make for the best backdrop and it is easily accessible in both the Summer and Winter. Keep in mind this spot gets crazy busy on weekends and even nice weather days during the week. Sunrise or Sunset during the week are the best times to shoot!
Lost Gulch Overlook Boulder
If you drive up past chautauqua park up flagstaff mountain you will get to Lost Gulch Overlook close to the top. Photographers need the Boulder OSMP permit in order to shoot here. You can also elope here as well! This spot has epic mountain views and minimal walk to get to them. Keep in mind this spot gets crazy busy on weekends and even nice weather days during the week. Sunrise or Sunset during the week are the best times to shoot! I do not recommend weekend days for sunset (Fri/Sat) or you will be fighting with like 10 other photographers to get a good spot and working around like 50 people. Sunrise only on the weekends! Trust me 🙂
Settlers Park Boulder
Kind of a hidden gem and not many people are usually here at this park in comparison to Lost Gulch or Chautauqua. Photographers need the Boulder OSMP permit in order to shoot here. This spot requires about a 10-15 min hike up to get to the big red rocks. Summer time is super green, but the trails can be muddy in the winter time. Although I think it would be gorgeous in snow! Sunset is best for this location. Also you can elope here. 10 people or less if you are considering an elopement.
Roxborough State Park
You need a permit from this state park in order to shoot here and have any sessions or weddings here. But man does it make for such gorgeous photos! It is pretty small and roughly 40 minutes from Downtown Denver on the south side of the Metro area. The gorgeous red rocks are very similar to the Garden of the Gods feel but closer to Denver. Keep in mind you cannot climb on rocks or go off trail here.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
Such a gorgeous and iconic spot in Denver. There is no permit required anymore for less than 5 people. Which makes it a great spot for an engagement session or even small family session or wedding portraits/elopement. You have to stay on the trails here and cannot climb on the rocks. This spot is just 30 minutes from Downtown Denver.
Private Rental Homes
There are so many options in Colorado for renting out a cabin or Airbnb that make for great engagement session backdrops. These rentals can make the perfect and most cozy location for your engagement session. Having a cabin to shoot both indoors, and nearby, can give a really good amount of variety to your session. I mean, who doesn’t want to cozy up with their loved one next to the fire for some adorable photos? Be sure and check with the airbnb/vacay rental owner to make sure its ok that you photograph on their property!