Eloping at St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, CO
St. Mary’s Glacier is one of my favorite free spots to elope in Colorado. It’s a fairly short hike to get to such a beautiful location. It takes about 1 hour each way to get from the parking lot to the reservoir and can take just a little longer if you want to climb even higher to the top of the glacier. The hike is mostly uphill but is pretty moderate and rocky. This bride managed to do it in a wedding dress and hiking boots!
Once you get to the lake there are beautiful views, great places for privacy, and just all around a great place to get married. The great thing is that you can get here year round. This roads may be not so great in the winter and it may be a little harder to access in the winter but you could do it if you really wanted to. In the summer there is still just a tiny bit of snow from the glacier melting but in the spring, there is plenty to see.
Permits For St. Mary’s Glacier
Do you need a permit for St. Mary’s Glacier to have a wedding or ceremony? The answer is no: You do not need a permit for your wedding or ceremony at St. Mary’s Glacier. This is a free place to have your wedding! The only fee you will have to pay is for parking which is around $5 per car and from what I have heard, you can get a ticket if you do not pay for parking so just be ware to pay for parking BEFORE you hike!
How to Elope at St. Mary’s Glacier
We strongly follow the leave no trace principles when we are hiking or anytime out in nature and we expect others to follow these principles even when getting married. In a sense, this means whatever you bring with you, you bring back with you. Keep your trash, food, and everything else packed away when you are done and leave the site the same way you found it. Do not go off the paths or destroy wildlife/nature just to get a photo.
Once you are at the lake bed there are plenty of areas you can explore to. We have found that doing a ceremony near the lake bed is super intimate and there are plenty of spots to have a private ceremony. When you are done, you can hike up to the glacier and go all the way to the top or even just halfway like seen in this photo below.
Depending on the conditions you can go even further up and get more of a view. Certain times of the year you will also get some wild flowers and greenery.
All in all, there are a ton of places to explore at St. Mary’s Glacier and even if there are other adventurers around during your wedding you will most likely always be able to find a more private spot to take photos or have your ceremony. If you have any questions about eloping or getting married here, feel free to send us a message on Instagram and we are happy to help 🙂