Elopement in Ouray, CO
If you want to elope in the mountains or among wildflowers, but you don’t know how to even start planning your Colorado elopement, you’re in the right place.
In this guide, I’ll share with you why Ouray is one of the most special places to elope in Colorado, and I'll explain legalities of how to get your marriage license and self-solemnize your marriage. I'll also help you decide on the best time of year to elope in Colorado.
Why eloping in Ouray? Well, Ouray is one of the cutest mountain towns in Colorado, nestled at the end of Million Dollar Highway, between Silverton and Ouray. Known as the “Switzerland of America,” Ouray, Colorado this beautiful mountain town is surrounded by rugged canyons and truly unparalleled beauty of the San Juan Mountains. Ouray is famous for its hot springs, amazing hiking opportunities, jeep adventures as well as other outdoor activities, and its historic charming downtown. If you chose to elope here you will have many attractions to choose from before your elopement day. One of my favorite things to do in Ouray, other than hiking is visiting one of the hot springs. My favorite are Orvis hot springs (clothing optional so keep that in mind), settled on a beautiful property with great ladscaping, peace gardens, waterfalls and 12 natural pools.
What Do You Need to Elope in Ouray, Colorado
To elope in Ouray you'd have to obtain Colorado marriage license (valid for 35 days) While the process of acquiring one is mostly straightforward, there could be some slight variations depending on the county where you're obtaining your license. Be sure you find out the nearest county clerk, and find out processing times so there are no last minute delays... Since Colorado is self-solmenizing state, you don't have to have an offciant to legally marry you. Colorado is the only state where you don’t need an officiant or witnesses to be legally married. So if you’ve been dreaming about a private elopement for just the two of you, Colorado is the way to go!
How to get to Ouray?
Ouray, Silverton and Telluride are 3 main mountain towns in the San Juan Mountains and are all about 45 minutes apart from one another. Ouray being the most centrally located of the 3 is located in the San Juan mountains . Ouray is located about 5 ½ hours from Denver. About 7 hours from Salt lake City (your main airports) or 1 hour 45 min from Grand Junction. It’s a super long drive, but absolutely beautiful! If distance is a concern to you there is another airport in Montrose airport, which is only about 45 minutes away. It’s a small airport, so flights can be slightly more expensive, and less frequent.
Fun Things to Do During Your Ouray Elopement
Once you make your way to Ouray you will realize it's a mecca for adventure, hikes, off roading and exploring. I highly recommend incorporating a few activities into your Ouray wedding day and making the best out of it. One great idea is to go on a jeep tour to more off the beaten path places.
Switzerland of America Jeeps is family owned company and truly an incredible experience. Considering most places require 4x4 this is a great option if you are looking for a little more adventure during your Colorado elopement! You’ll have the opportunity to drive your own jeep up some of the most scenic roads or you can opt to have them drive you!
Definitely my favorite thing to do around Ouray is hiking. Some the most beautiful scenery in Colorado is located in the Sant Juan Mountains and you should take advantage of that while in Ouray. The most beautiful hike (not easy to be prepared) are the Blue Lakes. You can get there from two different trailheads, but get ready for serious mountain pass climb. You can read more about hikes near Ouray here.
Hot Springs in Ouray
These are three main hot springs in Ouray although there are more options. Each one offers a unique setting and atmosphere, allowing visitors to unwind and enjoy the healing properties of the mineral-rich waters, what a perfect way to end your elopement day!
Ouray Hot Springs Pool: This is a public hot springs facility located in the heart of Ouray. It features a large outdoor pool and several smaller soaking pools. The water is sourced from a natural hot spring and is rich in minerals. The facility also has amenities such as a waterslide, lap lanes, and a fitness center.
Orvis Hot Springs: My personal favorite! Situated about a 20-minute drive from Ouray in Ridgway, Orvis Hot Springs is a clothing-optional hot springs retreat. It features several pools with varying temperatures, including a natural rock sauna and a meditation pool. Orvis Hot Springs has a serene and tranquil atmosphere, perfect for relaxation.
Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings: Located in nearby Ouray, Wiesbaden Hot Springs offers a range of soaking options. They have indoor and outdoor hot spring pools, as well as private cedar tubs. The spa also provides massage and body treatment services.
Best Time of a Year to Elope in Ouray
As always it depends on what are you looking for in terms of activities (hiking to more remote locations or easy year round access?), scenery (snowy mountains or abundant wildflowers?) In the spring, you get the benefit of dazzling sun, fresh green popping up, rainbows but you're still risking snowfall and road closure.
Summer is peak wildflower season, but with unpredictable thunderstorm, so I always suggest being ready for passing rain and adjusting time if needed.
Autumn may be a good season, considering the changing foliage which provides stunning backdrops for both your ceremony and photoshoot. Colorado is known for yellow aspens in a fall, contrasting with blue skies. Although the weather can still be fickle during this time of the year, with snow falling as early as October.
Winter would best for those looking for skiing adventures, snow capped mountain and wintery woodland scenery. Just keep in mind- most mountain passes will be closed Nov-April, so not all roads spots will be accessible. If you're set on a winter Colorado wedding, consider eloping near Ouray or Breckenridge, Keystone, Telluride, Aspen or Vail, the most famous mountain towns.