Must Read Guide to Lost Gulch Overlook Elopements

After photographing many couples at Lost Gulch, I put everything you need to know in this must-read guide! Including the latest requirements on reservations for Lost Gulch Elopements!

Bride and groom embracing each other at their Lost Gulch Elopement

Lost Gulch Overlook elopements

Lost Gulch overlook was one of the first places that I photographed an elopement, and many elopements later, I still love this spot! It is a very popular elopement location due to the amazing views. 

This guide is meant to include everything you need to know when planning an elopement here, including some changes on what’s allowed within the last year or so. You’ll definitely want to check this out!

If you need more personalized help, feel free to reach out or you can also check out more of my elopement planning resources, such as this guide on how to marry yourselves in Colorado!

How to get there and parking

Of course the first thing you’ll need to know is how to get to Lost Gulch Overlook!

Directions

Lost Gulch Overlook is located just outside of Boulder and can literally be accessed within minutes. Start by taking Baseline Road, which goes through the heart of Boulder, heading west. Eventually this will take you to Flagstaff Mountain Road. 

Continue up Flagstaff Road for approximately 3.8 miles (it will take about 10 minutes or so) and you’ll find the parking area on your right hand side. There will be signs that say Lost Gulch Overlook so it’s hard to miss! 

Map

If you want specifics, check out this google maps link to Lost Gulch Overlook so you can get directions.

Parking

Parking for non-Boulder residents is $5 per day, per vehicle. There are rangers that check from time to time, so it’s not worth risking a ticket. 

It’s currently cash only, as it is a self-issued parking pass and it’s issued per vehicle, so make sure to bring exact change with you! 

Bride and groom holding hands and looking out at the mountains on a cloudy day at Lost Gulch Overlook Elopement in Boulder, Colorado

What you need to know about eloping at Lost Gulch

There are definitely pros and cons when it comes to eloping at Lost Gulch, which I’ve outlined below for you to consider.

Pros

There are several reasons why Lost Gulch elopements are extremely popular in Colorado, including: 

  1. The amazing views! The foothill and mountain views extend for miles at Lost Gulch lookout. You really can’t overstate how beautiful it is here.
  1. Extremely accessible. I talk more about this in the next section, but Lost Gulch lookout is pretty accessible overall. While the ground is pretty uneven and rocky, there is no hiking required.
  1. Proximity to Boulder. One of the best things about this location is how close it is to Boulder, which means that you have plenty of lodging and restaurant options nearby. 

Cons

While there are some great reasons to have your elopement at Lost Gulch, there are some drawbacks as well, such as:

  1. Crowds. The main drawback to Lost Gulch is how crowded this location gets. Especially in the middle of the day and in the evenings, when you’ll also find crowds of teens and college students hanging out in groups. I talk more about this in a later section, but I highly recommend sunrise on a weekday for elopements at this location to avoid the crowds!
  1. Parking. Parking is somewhat limited at this location, especially at the more crowded times of day. Plan accordingly, as the walk from the next closest parking lot is a pretty good distance away and not very safe since there is no shoulder to walk on in most areas.
  1. Reservation and Permit requirements. I talk more about this in a later section as well, but you’ll need a reservation and your photographer needs a photo permit for your elopement at Lost Gulch. Some couples don’t like dealing with this extra headache, and in these cases, I would recommend a different location.
  1. No Guests. Unfortunately this is not a location that is suited for guests and typically Boulder’s OSMP department will not approve a ceremony here if you have any guests. Instead you would need to reserve one of their designated ceremony sites. If you do have guests you might decide to have your ceremony at one of these cites and just take your portraits at Lost Gulch instead.

If you’re looking to elope in Boulder but are not sold on Lost Gulch, you can also check out my Boulder Elopement Guide that has additional options. I also include personalized location assistance in all of my elopement packages, so if you want more just-for-you options, this is something I can definitely help you with!

Bride and groom hold each other in a loving embrace while standing on a rocky cliff edge at their Lost Gulch Elopement

How accessible is Lost Gulch?

Lost Gulch Lookout is very accessible in some ways but not very accessible in others.

For example, this location does not require any hiking and is accessed from very close to the parking lot. The road to get here is paved, generally open year round, and located near a major city (Boulder).

On the other hand, once you head down to the lookout from the parking area, pretty much immediately you’ll be walking on uneven, rocky ground. This location is definitely not wheelchair accessible.

Although you don’t have to walk close to the edge, there are definitely spots with significant drops offs, so I would caution those with a fear of heights.

As a side note here, because the ground is extremely uneven and rocky, you will definitely want to wear sturdy shoes with good tread–no heels! Boots are a great choice and you can see some wedding hiking boots here in this post.

Finally, although the road to get here is paved, it is very windy, with lots of switchbacks and drop-offs. I recommend driving slowly. I have had some out-of-town couples tell me that they considered this road (Flagstaff Road) to be a little sketchy. For most people it will be fine, but some with a fear of heights, or those who are not used to these kinds of roads, may find the drive a little intimidating. So just a heads up!

Elopement reservation and permit requirements

In order to have your elopement ceremony at Lost Gulch Overlook, you’ll need to log your slot with Boulder OSMP. You can do this by contacting the Boulder OSMP department. You’ll need to include details such as who will be there (including any vendors), what time of day, and what day you want to have your ceremony.

Typically Boulder OSMP will not approve a reservation on a very busy day or time of day (such as a sunset time on a weekend) or when there is another elopement happening at the same time. They also typically will not approve ceremonies with guests, so this location is best when it’s just you two and your photographer.

Also keep in mind that this reservation does NOT guarantee exclusive use of the area. It’s very likely you’ll see other people around.

You also must follow the park rules, meaning you cannot have any chairs, decorations, arches, etc at Lost Gulch. 

Finally, your photographer needs the OSMP photo permit to photograph you at this location. 

Some of these requirements have changed in the last couple of years, so if you have a photographer who has told you that you do not need a reservation, they may not be up to speed. But it’s important to follow the rules here because there are frequently rangers in the area and you (and/or your photographer) may be ticketed if you do not. 

I’ve heard from other local photographers of cases where one couple had a reservation and another couple did not. The couple who did not have a reservation refused to move and ended up being cited by the rangers. Because this location is so popular, it’s definitely not something to risk!

Luckily when it comes to the photo permit, I already have the OSMP permit so this is not an issue! Couples working with me on elopements here just need to get there spot on the OSMP reservation log, which isn’t a problem if done well enough in advance. If you have more questions about this, just let me know!

Bride and groom laughing and holding hands at their sunny day elopement at Lost Gulch Lookout

Getting your marriage license in Boulder County

Getting your marriage license in Colorado is pretty straightforward. Just follow these steps below. You can find more detailed information on this process in my Colorado Elopement Guide.

How to get your marriage license in Colorado

The process for getting your marriage license in Colorado is very simple. 

You will need to go to a County Clerk and Recorder’s office. You can go to any county’s office in the state, regardless of where you are getting married.

Although some counties allow you to start the application online, you must complete the process in person.

There is no waiting period to get married in Colorado, so you can use it the same day you get it. However, keep in mind that these offices follow typical government office hours and holidays. Most offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 A.M. to 4:30/5 P.M.

The process is very quick! It will usually only take about 20 to 30 minutes and you should not need an appointment.

You must use the license within 35 days of applying for it. Then it must be completed and filed back with the County Clerk and Recorder’s office within 63 days from the date of the wedding. You can either mail it back in, or return it physically to the same location.

Special Note for Boulder County

However, one thing you’ll want to be aware of is that since COVID-19 started, Boulder County has been periodically restricting the issuance of marriage licenses to out-of-state residents. These rules change every so often, so the best thing to do is to call the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s office to ask about the current policy. 

If they are not currently issuing to out-of-state residents, no worries! You can simply get a license from a neighboring county and you’ll still be able to use it at Lost Gulch for your elopement.

Best days and times for a Lost Gulch Overlook elopement

As I’ve mentioned previously, Lost Gulch lookout gets very crowded during the middle of the day and at sunsets, especially on the weekends. Additionally Boulder OSMP doesn’t typically like to approve ceremonies at the very busy times of day or days of the week.

For these reasons, I always recommend sunrise on a weekday for your elopement here. I can tell you it’s absolutely beautiful at this time of day and you might even catch some alpenglow if you’re lucky!

Couple walking and holding hands at sunrise alpenglow during their Colorado Lost Gulch photo session

Seasons of the year at Lost Gulch

Summer

Summer is one of my favorite seasons here in Colorado for elopement! Even though I love the summer months, it is important to keep in mind that it can get hot during the daytime here. The mornings are pleasant though, which is another great reason to elope at sunrise at this location. 

If you choose a summer afternoon elopement, keep in mind that afternoon thunderstorms are frequent at this time of year. 

Fall

Fall is a great time of year at Lost Gulch Lookout! Expect a lot of variety of weather though. Be prepared for the possibility of snow as early as September in Boulder, and your chances of this increase as the months go along. It is equally possible however that you will have sunny, blue skies and highs in the 70s though at this time of year.

Winter

Winter in Boulder is also a bit of a mixed bag. Expect lower temperatures than other time of year, of course and more likelihood of windy weather conditions. If you want snow for your elopement day, your best bet will be March, which is our snowiest month of the year throughout all of Colorado.

Spring

Spring is probably my least favorite season in Colorado since it is mud season (when the snow starts to melt and conditions are muddy in a lot of places. This is less of an issue at Lost Gulch though, where the ground is mostly rocky. You will want to be very careful of icy conditions at this time of year though, since snow is melting during the day and refreezing at night. Sometimes it’s hard to see ice, so it’s definitely something to be mindful of.

Lost Gulch Elopement FAQ

Where is Lost Gulch Lookout?

Lost Gulch Lookout is located just outside of the town of Boulder, Colorado. From Baseline Road in Boulder, drive west up Flagstaff Mountain Road. After approximately 3.8 miles, you’ll see the Lost Gulch Overlook parking area on your right hand side.

How do you elope at Lost Gulch Lookout?

You can elope at Lost Gulch Lookout by emailing the Boulder OSMP department to reserve your ceremony in their log. 

Can I bring my dog to Lost Gulch?

Although dogs are allowed at Lost Gulch Overlook (on a leash), I typically don’t recommend bringing dogs to this location due to how rocky it is with steep dropoffs. If your dog doesn’t do well with other people/crowds, you’ll want to consider this as well.

Lost Gulch Elopement Packages

Looking for someone to help you document your special day? I’m a Colorado-based elopement and intimate wedding photographer, and I love helping couples turn their vision for their dream day into a reality!

I’d be honored to help you with photographing your elopement or microwedding. Learn more below!

Bride and groom kisses at their Lost Gulch Elopement

I’m more than just a photographer…I’m here to help you have the best day ever!

Based on my experience, especially with elopements and microweddings, couples need more than just a photographer.

Unlike with a traditional wedding, you may not have a venue coordinator or wedding planner helping you think through logistics, locations, or all the little details that really add up!

But here are just a few of the ways I can help you, all included with my custom elopements:

  • Elopement & Micro wedding VIP Planning Guide exclusively for Wild and Found couples
  • Questionnaires to help you through the planning process
  • Personalized location assistance
  • Local vendor recommendations
  • Logistics help and a custom timeline
  • Gear and day-of checklists customized for your day
  • More one-on-one planning help

I don’t just show up and take photos on your day. I’ll be here for you every step of the way. 

I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a photographer.

What makes me different is that my number one goal is to be here for YOU–not just as your elopement photographer… but as your adventure partner, friend, and guide to the epic day your love story deserves!

Bride and groom are kissing and holding hands at Lost Gulch Elopement with evergreen trees on a mountain slope in the background

The Ultimate Full Day Lost Gulch Elopement Package

The best choice for capturing memories of your entire elopement day, from getting ready through celebrating with friends and family.

Includes 12 hours of photo coverage.

Personalized assistance with locations, local vendor recommendations, custom planning tools, checklists, and more. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

You get an entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media.

Includes the rights to print, share, and download all of your images.

Travel included!

$9,000

Half Day Lost Gulch Elopement Package

Best suited for covering the highlight moments of your elopement day.

Includes 8 hours of photo coverage.

Personalized assistance with locations, local vendor recommendations, custom planning tools, checklists, and more. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

You get an entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media.

Includes the rights to print, share, and download all of your images.

Travel included!

$6,500

Mini Lost Gulch Elopement Package

A great choice for simple elopements at accessible locations.

Includes 4 hours of photo coverage.

Personalized assistance with locations, local vendor recommendations, custom planning tools, checklists, and more. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

You get an entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media.

Includes the rights to print, share, and download all of your images.

Travel included!

$4,500

Elopement inspiration photos at Lost Gulch Overlook

Looking for some real life inspiration for your Lost Gulch elopement? Look no further!

Groom helps bride step up a rock at Lost Gulch Lookout in Boulder, Colorado on a cloudy day

Are you planning a Lost Gulch elopement?

I’m more than just a photographer. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best!

Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

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