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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Vagher

How to Elope in Durango Colorado

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

There's something extraordinary about the southwest corner of Colorado; it's the San Juan mountains. This rugged mountain range is best known for the Million Dollar Highway that provides epic views of the "Swiss Alps of America" and the red iron dirt that gives Colorado its name. The San Juan National Forest encompasses and surrounds the mountain towns of Ouray, Telluride, Silverton, Ophir, and borders Durango. When you elope in Durango, you probably won't spend much of the time in Durango itself, but instead adventuring through the neighboring mountains of San Juan. Here is a guide to the best places to elope in Durango and how to plan your day:

Have a Camping Elopement at Molas Lake:

Molas lake sits on the Million Dollar Highway, so you know it's full of great mountain views with unique peaks! Alongside the fantastic scenery, this small lake offers fun activities, like paddleboarding, hiking, fishing, and stargazing. Since this lake and valley are so far from any significant town, there is almost no light pollution, creating stellar night skies. Do note there is no swimming permitted here.

The reason I love this location is because of the 360 views. There is a scenic view just around the corner from the lake, that's a pull off of the million-dollar highway.

Have a Backpacking Elopement at Andrews Lake to Crater Lake:

Tucked between Durango and Silverton and very close to Molas Lake, you'll find the day-use area Andrews Lake. This little lake is surrounded by the following epic peaks: Snowdon Peak,

As beautiful As Andrews Lake is, it's not the main attraction. Instead, this area is famous for the 9.9-mile hike to Crater Lake. Which makes this an excellent place for an adventure elopement! Crater lake has a rugged mountain known as North Twilight Peak bordering the South of the lake. It also has views of the Needle Mountains.

Here's what I recommend, if you're an early bird, have a sunrise first look and maybe even your exchange vows at Andrews Lake, spend the next 5(ish) hours hiking from one lake to the other. Set up camp at Crater Lake, take some epic photos, and have the best views of the night sky and stars you've ever witnessed.

Have a Jeeping Elopement in Ouray Colorado:

Ouray Colorado is epic! They call it the Sweden of America for a reason! Check out all of the waterfalls while you're there (they're easy to get to), but for sure, make you go jeeping! Rent a jeep or bring your own; this is the most popular way to experience the area and epic views.

Adventure Through Mesa Verde National Park:

Since Mesa Verde is a national park, you'll need a permit to get married there if that's where you want to exchange your vows. If not, it's still an excellent place for canyon type views, and of course, an essential part of our history. I advise just taking a day trip since you'll be in the area, even if it's not part of your elopement.

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