So, you decided to take your engagement portraits in Colorado. Congratulations! Colorado is a spectacular setting for this very special portrait session. With that said, Colorado is also huge and has so many beautiful options to choose from. You can’t go wrong by selecting an area with mountain views, but our city settings and other non-typical locations are worth considering too! There’s no doubt about it: Colorado is filled with extravagant, unique scenery that I will talk about later in this article. First up, let’s dig into a few mountain view options!
Maroon Bells in Aspen
Whether you’re booking a Colorado engagement session or just looking to plan a fun day trip, the Maroon Bells in Aspen are a must-see. The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains: Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, which are separated by about half a kilometer. This location is truly unforgettable during the fall season, when the changing Aspen leaves display the beautiful colors of autumn against snow-covered mountain peaks.
As an Aspen wedding photographer, I suggest planning your fall engagement session well in advance. Since Maroon Bells can get very crowded during the fall, it is important to book a hotel room as early as possible. Parking spots at this location are limited and, if you don’t arrive early enough, you might have to take a bus to Maroon Bells. At Kayla and Nick’s fall engagement session at Maroon Bells, we arrived at the parking lot at 5 am…and 30 minutes later the parking lot was already full! The most popular times to visit Maroon Bells during the fall are typically the last September weekend or the first October weekend depending on the weather.
While you’re in the area, why not combine your engagement session with a long weekend trip in Aspen? If the weather is good, you can even hike the Maroon Bells peaks and check a couple of fourteeners off your Colorado climbing list!
The Flatirons in Boulder
The Flatirons in Boulder are one of my go-to locations as a Colorado wedding photographer since they are close to downtown Denver. By taking a short 30-minute drive, you will get the most spectacular mountain views just a short distance from the city! The Flatirons consist of five primary rock formations. They are accessible year-round and look beautiful in every season—a definite plus when considering locations for your Colorado engagement session!
Ali and Josh chose to take their engagement images during the fall. Since they were getting married in November, they wanted the look of their engagement portraits to reflect the season. The Flatirons offer a variety of landscape backdrops—grass fields, mountain views, city views, and lots of pine trees. I suggest wearing comfortable shoes as a 10-15 minute trail hike is required to reach the first Flatirons location with pretty city views and dramatic mountain scenery.
Vail mountain top
Thanks to its gorgeous mountain views, Vail is one of the most popular destinations in Colorado for engagement pictures! Vail is a two-hour car ride away from downtown Denver—a bit closer than Maroon Bells, which is four hours outside of Denver. You can plan a day trip to Vail from Denver or book an entire engagement weekend at one of the many pretty Vail hotels. Some of my favorite Vail hotels are The Sonnenalp and the Four Seasons in Vail, where I have photographed several weddings as a Vail wedding photographer!
If you plan on taking Colorado engagement portraits on top of Vail mountain, you will have to take the gondola. I suggest taking the Eagle Bahn gondola in Lionshead Village which will take you up to the Vail wedding deck. Once you are up there, you will understand why so many people decide to get married here! The deck offers mountain views your guests won’t soon forget.
Once again, you will need to plan in advance if you wish to take engagement portraits in Vail. First, you will have to purchase gondola tickets (about $40 per person). Also, keep in mind that the weather can always change! It rained the entire morning of Ivy and Michael’s Vail mountain top engagement session, but the weather cleared up in the early afternoon. We were lucky to capture amazing mountain views with misty clouds in between the ranges. Vail mountain is a winner for any Colorado engagement session!
When you think of Colorado engagement portraits, you probably immediately think of mountains. But don’t forget that Colorado has more to offer than just mountains and lakes! Named for the colorful clays that were used by American Indians to create paint, The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a truly unique open space in El Paso County. The park features fantastic geological formations that are a dream to photograph.
Kate and Alex chose this special location for their summer Colorado engagement session. If you are interested in an engagement session at the Paint Mines, I suggest booking an evening session in the summer since it’s very hot during the day time. Staying hydrated is important, and don’t forget to bring some comfy shoes to walk in before you get into your high heels. Walking down the trails to reach the mines can be a hike! But where else in the US will you get such one-of-a-kind engagement images?
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Sand Dunes are another unforgettable engagement session location! Positioned in front of a mountain range, they seem to appear out of thin air—a unique sight that’s ideal for creating impeccable images. And did you know that these Colorado Sand Dunes are the tallest dunes in North America? Since the Great Sand Dunes National Park is located about four hours from Denver, it’s wise to stay the night in Alamosa County and enjoy a weekend in the area. I know that Ghita and Ashraf will cherish their Colorado engagement portraits at the Great Sand Dunes forever!