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I'm based in Grand Junction, CO and capture the story & scenery of your favorite day. Serving Crested Butte, Ouray, Moab, Aspen and beyond!

If you’ve discovered the hidden gem of Colorado that is Grand Junction and the Grand Valley, congratulations! Whether you’re here because you’re eloping in Grand Junction and found this guide, or you’re interested in visiting the area and looking for things to do and where to stay, this encompassing guide will hopefully help give you an overview of this beautiful valley and all it has to offer.

A Complete Guide to Eloping in Grand Junction

About Grand Junction

Grand Junction is named for the junction of the Colorado River (formerly called the Grand River) and the Gunnison River, located here in the valley. The valley consists of three main towns: Grand Junction, Palisade, and Fruita. Palisade is regarded as the Napa Valley of Colorado and is home to dozens of wineries, orchards and farm stands. Fruita is one of the top mountain biking destinations in the country and is in the desert climate of the valley. Grand Junction is home to the Colorado National Monument, a vast canyon park featuring pillars of red rocks. Just outside the Grand Valley, about an hour’s drive or so, is the (allegedly) largest flat-top mountain in the world: The Grand Mesa. It flattens out around 11,000ft in elevation and is home to over 300 alpine lakes (and home to moose!)

When to Elope in Grand Junction – Weather of Note

When deciding when to elope in Grand Junction it is important to understand the climate in the valley. While you might think you understand weather in Colorado, Grand Junction is considered a high desert and arid climate, meaning it has hot summers and mild winters. Located only an hour and a half from Moab, it shares a lot of similar weather with the desert moreso than Denver or the mountains. 

Mild Weather – The Best Time to Elope in Grand Junction

The most mild weather in Grand Junction is March/April in the spring and October/November in the fall. The winters are mild, with only about a foot of snowfall on an average year. For this reason, the spring and fall are the most recommended time to elope in Grand Junction to get the best weather. Spring brings blossoming orchards in Palisade and temperate weather in the desert, and fall leaves begin to change throughout the valley in October.

Click here for a full post on the best time to elope in Grand Junction!

Summer Heat in the Valley

In the summer here in the valley, it is important to bring much more water than you expect to need, and sunscreen in spades. Temperatures in Grand Junction can often reach over 100 degrees, so it’s best to avoid much activity mid-day to avoid the extreme heat. If you are planning to elope in the summer, and cannot avoid the middle of the day, be sure to prepare yourself and any guests accordingly with water, Gatorade, sunscreen, and hats. Plan extra time to take things slowly and keep hydrated. The Grand Mesa nearby is a great escape from the summer heat, where the elevation brings summer highs down to the 80s. 

Higher Elevation Weather

The best place in the area for couples seeking snow is the Grand Mesa through the winter, where Powderhorn Mountain Resort offers skiing, or the top of the Mesa where you can find Nordic skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. The Grand Mesa is also a nice reprieve from the heat of the summer, often only getting into the 80s for high temps, with lakes to cool off in or paddleboard on! The Grand Mesa, being higher elevation and more of a “mountain” climate, also has an abundance of wildflowers in the summer – most notable in July and August.

Wildflowers & Peach Blossoms

Many couples eloping in Colorado in the summer seek the beautiful wildflowers the state is known for. The Grand Mesa is an excellent spot for getting those wildflowers for your backdrop on the big day. Down in Palisade, there are several lavender farms that may allow photos on site which is another beautiful option for incorporating natural florals. In the spring, usually mid-April, the peach, pear and apricot orchards in Palisade are also in bloom. Photos with the blossoms are highly sought-after in the area.


Lately we’ve been experiencing a new season of note: wildfire season. Any time from June-September there is a possibility of wildfires affecting the state. These fires could affect travel, cause certain locations to be closed, or create smoky/hazy horizons that limit visibility of the mountains around the area. If you’re eloping in Grand Junction (or the state) during the summer it’s important to be aware of active fires and have a backup plan for locations just in case.

Jennifer & Jake | Campfire Engagement Photos

Where to Stay for Your Elopement – Lodging in Grand Junction

When looking for lodging for eloping in Grand Junction, you’ll find a variety of options, from chic hotels to fun vacation rentals, and comfy bed & breakfasts

Hotels in Grand Junction

Tru by Hilton – Located downtown GJ this is a newer hotel with a fun and modern atmosphere. Only 14 miles from the Colorado National Monument, and 1 mile to the Western Colorado Botanical Garden.

Spoke & Vine Motel – Centrally located in Palisade, this is a “freshly reinvented motel…within walking distance of all the food, wine, beer, mead, and fruits your heart desires.”

Hotel Maverick – Located on the campus of Colorado Mesa University, the Mav is a luxurious and modern hotel for your stay.

Colorado Wine Country Inn – This inn is located among the vines in Palisade, with a romantic and Victorian feel.

DoubleTree by Hilton – A standard but higher-end traditional hotel experience, near I-70 and the airport for convenience.

Springhill Suites – Another traditional hotel experience, located in Downtown Grand Junction.

Two Rivers Winery & Chateau – A boutique lodging option in the Redlands of Grand Junction, surrounded by vineyards and with a winery on site next door!

Unique Airbnbs and Vacation Rentals in Grand Junction

Thimble Rock Point – Located outside GJ, this A-frame cabin is a unique stay in the area.

Camp Eddy – An airstream & tiny home glamping campground located along the river in GJ – with paddleboarding and ziplining nearby!

Glamping in Gateway – An hour south of GJ near Gateway is this glamping getaway.

Resort-like Adobe At Colorado Monument – This adobe-style house located near the Colorado National Monument is newly renovated and an absolutely gorgeous spot for your elopement trip

Chic 2 Bedroom Cottage with Monument Views – This private cottage is not only stylish but sits at the base of the Colorado National Monument, a perfect hub for your stay here.

Tipi with a View – This property borders the Colorado National Monument with beautiful views in every direction, wildlife, and fresh air.

The Bees Knees Bungalow – This funky bungalow offers a unique and comfy stay for your time here in Grand Junction.

Animal Sanctuary Guest House – Located “on the banks of the Colorado River in Palisade’s wine country , fishing lake w canoe, kayaks, paddle boards fishing deck. Alpaca, goats, dogs, cats, pigs, emu, chickens free range the property.

Stylish Relaxing Colorado Apartment – If you’re looking for a stylish stay at insanely affordable rates, this is the spot for you.

Bright & Stylish Near Downtown and University – This is a gorgeous home near downtown Grand Junction and centrally located for a hub for your stay.

How to Elope in Grand Junction

Getting married is a legal act – so how do you legally get married in Grand Junction? I have a huge resource all about the Colorado Marriage License here, but that’s not all you need to elope. Permits are required for certain areas of the Grand Valley, including the Colorado National Monument, private small venues, and other spaces. Check with the area to see if you need to have a permit to be there before getting too far along in your planning! (Good news: when you elope with me, I can tell you the regulations as part of my location scouting!)

Where to Elope in Grand Junction – Best Elopement Locations Near the Grand Valley

Colorado National Monument

The Colorado National Monument, locally referred to as “the monument”, is a Moab-esque red rocks park with desert vibes and incredible views. One end of the park is more “ground level” with towering cliffs and pillars for a backdrop, while the other end of the park is moreso a view from the top of the cliffs looking down into the canyons below. There is a permit required to get married here, but it is a super simple process. You can have up to 25 guests at your wedding ceremony at the Colorado National Monument (with some exceptions made under certain case-by-case basis.) There is a park pass for entry here, but an annual National Parks Pass or America the Beautiful Pass will get you entrance! The Monument is most commonly used for a ceremony and portrait space before a reception at another location in town. Click here for more about how to elope at the Colorado National Monument.

Peachfork Micro Wedding in Palisade | Blair & Danielle

A Winery

Whether you’re a wine lover or just love the romantic ambience of a vineyard, the Palisade area has several wineries that host weddings and elopements. If you’re hosting guests at your elopement or micro wedding, booking a winery for your elopement can be a nice way to keep everything centrally located for them as well. A few wineries especially great for a small wedding or elopement are Colterris at the Overlook, Varaison Vineyards, Twee Wingerd Plaas, Amy’s Courtyard at Maison la Belle Vie, Peach Fork Orchards & Vineyard, and Carboy Winery.

Western Colorado Botanical Gardens

While it’s not as elaborate as a metro area botanical gardens, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens is a beautiful setting with multiple location options for your elopement. From the Rainforest and Butterfly rooms indoors to the outdoor gardens, landscaping and riverfront location, this garden has a lot to offer at a great rate that’s hard to beat.

BLM Land

70% of Mesa County is BLM land. From the largest collection of natural arches outside of Moab, to river bluffs and wild desert, there is so much to choose from on local BLM land here in Grand Junction. There are seriously so many diverse places that fall under BLM land here! Be sure to check with your photographer, planner, or the local office itself as not all BLM land allows people to gather – always know before you go! (Worried about all these logistics? That’s what I help couples with – click here to learn more about how I can help!)

Margery Ballroom

Downtown GJ’s newest intimate venue, The Margery Ballroom is a great spot for a reception or gathering after a ceremony out in one of our beautiful natural backdrops. It is close to tons of lodging, an array of restaurants and breweries, and local shopping on Main Street. Its historic vibes offer a really cool downtown ambience for your event, but bear in mind it is historic and therefore not up-to-date with ADA and requires stairs to access.

Cullen & Stesha | Sunrise Elopement on the Colorado National Monument

A Vacation Rental

Booking a vacation rental for your elopement is a great way to have a central hub to host everything at. Please note not all vacation rentals allow gatherings, so if you intend to have any guests gathering that are not staying with you, you will need to disclose this to the host and get approval before booking! There are a number of great larger rentals in the area that could host your small celebration, or be a gathering point after your ceremony out in the wilderness. Bear in mind that airbnb.com has rules in place that do not allow events, so be upfront with your intents to the hosts on whatever platform you use. Some hosts that list on Airbnb are happy to book privately for events. If you’re curious, just ask them!

Grand Mesa Elopement

The Grand Mesa

If you’re looking for mountain vibes here in the Grand Junction area, the Grand Mesa is the place to elope. With pines and aspens, views for days, wildflowers in the summer and tons of snow in the winter, it’s an all-around great spot for eloping in Grand Junction. It’s a great escape from the heat in the summer and offers both rustic and secluded spots or you could rent out one of the lodges and cabins on the Mesa for a group. There are lodges with numerous cabins to rent and communal space to hang out in, as well as off-grid areas for a quick day trip elopement. The Grand Mesa is about 45-60 minutes drive time outside of the city, but it’s worth every second in my opinion.

Restaurants in Grand Junction for Your Elopement Dinner

There are a number of great options for restaurants to book for your elopement dinner after an adventure. From reserving tables to party room options, you can choose from cuisine spanning luxury steakhouses, Italian food, pub faire, and more. Some common selections couples reserve for their elopement dinner restaurants include:

Bin 707 Foodbar – Located in downtown GJ, this restaurant recently moved to main street from up the road, and boasts “responsible sourcing from local, Colorado & domestic sources to execute a unique, thoughtful and accessible experience.”

Pêche – Located in Palisade, Pêche’s culinary focus is to allow creativity to flourish with a local flair.

The Winery – Located in a converted historical carriage house in downtown Grand Junction, The Winery offers an upscale dining experience with great ambience.

626 on Rood – This restaurant offers seasonal American dining and wine bar right off Main Street in Grand Junction.

Devil’s Kitchen – This restaurant provides panoramic views of the Monument landscape from its rooftop location at the Hotel Maverick

Enzo’s Ristorante – Located near the interstate in Grand Junction, this restaurant proclaims, “we believe authentic Italiano should be incredible.”

Ocotillo Restaurant – Located at Redlands Mesa Golf Course, near the Monument, this restaurant offers great food with great views.

This is just a small sample – Click here for a complete guide to restaurants near Grand Junction for your elopement dinner!

Wedding at Powderhorn Ski Resort on the Grand Mesa, Colorado Wedding Photography

Activity Ideas to Experience During Your Grand Junction Elopement

Explore the Colorado National Monument

From driving across Rim Rock Drive through the park and stopping at the overlooks, to through-hiking the depths of the canyons, there are so many ways to explore the Colorado National Monument. The most popular hikes in the park are:

Devil’s Kitchen: (rated easy) A 1.9 mile out-and-back trail located at the first stop inside the Grand Junction entrance of the park.

Serpent’s Trail: (rated easy) This 3.4 mile trail was the original road through the monument, and as such winds its way from the Grand Junction entrance up to the first tunnel of the park. It is well-traveled and is easy terrain.

No Thoroughfare Canyon: (rated moderate) This trail starts along the Devil’s Kitchen trail but diverges into the canyon nearby. In the spring the trail boasts of a bubbly spring and larger waterfall farther in.

Liberty Cap: (rated moderate) Located outside the toll entry of the park, this trail ascends 2 miles to “an old remnant sand dune that is slowly succumbing to the forces of erosion.” You can hike this trail from the residential area outside the park to the top of the Rim Rock Road.

Ute Canyon: (rated moderate) This trail makes its way through the entire canyon of the park and can be accessed from either the top or bottom of the trail. There is a set of steep switchbacks to get up from or down to the valley floor. This hike is not for beginners.

Mountain Biking

Fruita is one of the Mountain Biking meccas of the world. As the city site says, “Take a leisurely ride on the 18 Road Trails and just soak up the peaceful Colorado beauty. Or go for it all out—hit the Kokopelli loops, with steep climbs, hair-raising switchbacks, intense downhills, and technical challenges that test the best.” There’s also the Kokopelli Trail which runs from Grand Junction to Moab if you’re looking for a cross country adventure!

Take a Hike

Outside of the Colorado National Monument there are lots of areas to hike around Grand Junction as well. The Fruita Paleo area offers unique views at the base of the monument, with a self-guided tour of Paleontological sites around the trail. If dinosaurs are your interest, hike Riggs Hill or Dinosaur Hill, quarry sites where Elmer Riggs and his team dug up the first Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus skeleton.  Other great hikes in the area include:

  • Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
  • Old Spanish Trail
  • Trail Through Time
  • Mica Mine
  • Rattlesnake Canyon Arches
  • Crag Crest

Zip Line over the Colorado River at the Grand Junction Riverfront

Zip Line Over the Colorado River

The newest attraction to Grand Junction is the riverfront zipline. As their site says, “Adventure seekers will be suspended above the stunning western Colorado landscape, while enjoying the stunning views of the Colorado National Monument, Bookcliffs, Mt. Garfield and the Grand Mesa.” This is a fun way to see a unique view of the area, and is centrally located to easily add on to your day’s plans!

Book a Guided Tour

With so much of our area overseen by the BLM, there are so many incredible adventures to be had! If you’re unfamiliar with the area or not prepared to bring tons of your own equipment, booking a guided tour can be the best way to take advantage of these views and experiences without any stress or too much research. You’re already planning an elopement – leave the adventure details to these pros:

Adrenaline Driven Adventures

With Adrenaline Driven Adventures you can rent UTVs to explore the area on your own, or book a Guided UTV/Jeep Tour of local areas. Choose from adventures like Mt. Garfield Wild Horse Sanctuary, Rattlesnake Arches, Rabbit Valley, Bangs Canyon, The Grand Mesa, and the Uncompahgre Plateau. 


Pali-Tours offer a variety of adventurous tours around Colorado’s Wine Country and beyond, from taking you wine tasting, to touring lavender farms, fruit picking, and walking with alpacas, to Colorado River shuttles and more.

Vintage Aviation

Ever dreamed of flying in a WWII era biplane? With Vintage Aviation you can see Grand Junction and the Colorado National Monument from above – a truly unique view and experience!

Wyld Horse Adventures

Another company offering ATV and UTV rentals to explore the area on your own schedule and terms, is Wyld Horse Adventures.

Engagement ring on a horse nose

Rimrock Adventures

Located outside Fruita, Rimrock Adventures has tons of experiences available to enjoy on your elopement day. Rent rafts, kayaks, SUPs and more for enjoying time on the water, or utilize their shuttle service to facilitate your float down the river. They also have guided rafting for beginner levels. Another option at Rimrock is horseback riding! They off one, two and three-hour rides that take you into the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and even a wild horse ride takes you into the federally protected Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Preserve. So cool!

Jet Boat Tours

Want a whitewater river adventure near the Grand Valley? Jet Boat Tours Colorado will give you a wet and wild experience perfect for adrenaline seekers.

SunCrest Orchard Alpacas

Walk alpacas through the peach trees of Palisade and learn how this local farm makes yarn and other Fiber Works products from the alpacas you just trekked with!

Climb Mt. Garfield

Locals often use Mount Garfield to train before tackling a Fourteener. This challenging hike ascends 2,000 feet of elevation in just 2 miles and is rated strenuous. The views from the top look pretty incredible though! I highly recommend enjoying this outside of an elopement day. The hike is very difficult even for experienced hikers and climbers – enjoy your elopement somewhere more easily accessible. If you want those views, you can always ATV to the top from the Little Bookcliffs area!

Paddleboard Connected Lakes or Butterfly Pond

Part of the James Robb State Park in the area, Connected Lakes is a great spot right in town to find shaded picnic areas and paddleboarding. By the riverfront park with the zipline, there is also a manmade pond for paddleboarding.

Sarah & Ryan | Spring Grand Junction Elopement


Rent or access telescopes at Grand Mesa Observatory, or escape the light pollution on our dark sky public lands for staring at the stars! Check out places like Lands End Observatory, the Moon Rock, or the North Fruita Desert. 

Wine or Beer Tours

As the Wine Country of Colorado, Palisade offers over 30 wineries to tour and taste while you’re here. If you’re not much for wine, we also have a number of breweries to tour as well! Places like the Palisade Trolley offer brew hops, wine tours and more to safely take you around alllll the places to see and savor.

Float the River

Locals like to hop on the river to float from Palisade to Fruita as relief from the summer heat. There’s even a local company called Float Palisade that you can book a float with to maximize your enjoyment without any stress of the logistics! If the real river is too frightening, the Riverfront at Las Colonias offers a lazy river to cool off in.

Ride your townie down the Riverfront Trail across the valley

Spanning from Palisade to Fruita, this paved pathway traverses the valley and offers walking, rollerskating and biking.

Andy & Brandie | Tandem Bicycle Engagement Photos

Explore Downtown Grand Junction

Shop Downtown GJ

Some of locals’ favorite shops in downtown Grand Junction are:

  • Loki Gear Outerwear
  • Heirlooms for Hospice
  • Pollux
  • Robin’s Nest Antiques
  • Seasons to Follow
  • Board Fox Games
  • Flowers by Garvey’s Gardens
  • Candle Kitchen
  • Enstrom Toffee
  • Out West Books
  • The Hog & the Hen
  • Triple Play Records
  • The Gear Junction

Enjoy the Art on the Corner art displays

Art on the Corner is “a year-round outdoor sculpture exhibit displayed in Downtown Grand Junction and is one of the first of its kind in the country. The display is free to the public and includes more than 100 sculptures in a variety of mediums and styles.”

Hit a brewery

There are many breweries popping up around downtown!

Enjoy a cocktail

Some elevated cocktail experiences downtown GJ are:

Grab breakfast or coffee

Check out the Thursday night Farmer’s Markets

The Farmer’s Market in Grand Junction is every week on Thursday evenings and usually runs from June to September. Other Farmer’s Markets in the area include Palisade’s on Sundays, Fruita’s on Saturdays. Find local artisans, produce and flowers from local farms, and enjoy music from local bands.

Micro Wedding on the Colorado National Monument

Things to do in Palisade

Tour the wineries of Palisade

Enjoy a cocktail at a local distillery

Walk with Alpacas

Pick your own local produce

Ride the Pedicab

Visit a lavender farm

Hike the Palisade Rim Trail

Ride the Palisade Plunge mountain bike path off the Grand Mesa

Grab tacos and tequila from Fidel’s

Enjoy a drive along the Fruit & Wine Byway

Hit the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market during the season

Grand Mesa

Ski Powderhorn or bike the mountain in summer

Snowshoe or Nordic skiing

Fish one of the 300+ lakes on the Grand Mesa

Enjoy seeing the wildflowers

Hike one of the many trails on AllTrails

Look off the edge of the Mesa at Land’s End

Watch the dog sledding events in the winter

Camp in a campground or at one of the cabin lodge resorts

Festivals in Grand Junction

It’s important to be aware of the major Festivals in Grand Junction to “know before you go” planning your date. These festivals may make it harder to find lodging, get around the valley, can affect locations and activities, may mean vendors are more busy/booked, and so on. On the other hand, they can make your elopement visit even more fun! Either way, some major festivals of note in the Grand Junction area include:

Fruita Fat Tire Festival (May)

GJ Rides & Vibes (May)

Lavender Festival (June)

Palisade Bluegrass Festival (June)

Mike the Headless Chicken Festival  (June)

Country Jam (June)

Peach Fest (August)

Colorado Mountain Winefest (Sept)

Click here for a more detailed guide to annual festivals in the area.

Your Grand Junction Elopement Photographer

Are you just as stoked about exploring the Grand Junction area as I am? Planning an elopement day can feel overwhelming. With over ten years of experience, I will be by your side through the planning process offering my insight & expertise! I live and work here in Grand Junction – this is what I do (and I do it full time!) I help with practically everything you could have questions about – from location assistance and permits required, to timeline creation, vendor connections, and so much more.

Click here to learn more about how I can help make your elopement dreams a reality!


Complete Guide to Eloping in Grand Junction Complete Guide to Eloping in Grand Junction Complete Guide to Eloping in Grand Junction

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