5 Tips on How to Propose in Rocky Mountain National Park, Plus See photos from Kevin and Muskaan’s Proposal There at Bear Lake
Today I want to share how to propose in Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ll be using some samples from Kevin and Muskaan’s proposal there from last year at Bear Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park is a unique and gorgeous location; a great spot to do a proposal. I’ll break this down into 5 different tips below. Keep in mind if you do have a professional photographer capture your proposal, the park requires a one time permit fee of $50 to do so. But unlike weddings and elopements done in the park, there are no restrictions on where you can propose and no reservations are needed.
1. Think About What Season You Want for Your Proposal
The elevation of Rocky Mountain National Park starts around 7500′ which means that the snow can be around pretty late into spring or even early summer. A lot of trails are still open when they’re covered with snow to visitors who want to snow shoe, ice climb, or ski. Just keep that in mind when you’re planning the proposal. I get a lot of inquiries from people out of town who live at sea level interested in capturing photos around April or May in Colorado. Sometimes they don’t realize how snowy those two months can be, especially at higher elevations.
Here’s a rough idea of what the weather and the seasons can look like throughout the year up by Rocky Mountain National Park. December-March is considered winter conditions. Its usually cold with a lot of snow at the higher elevations. Also, there are seasonal closures at that time. For example, Trail Ridge Road which goes through the continental divide, usually closes from mid October to late May depending on the weather. April and May although spring months, can be really unpredictable. Sometimes during this time there are sunny days, sometimes snow storms come through. June is when things start to warm up and thaw out. Sometimes there can still be snow on the trails at higher elevations in June. July-August is characterized by warmer weather and blooming wildflowers. Afternoon thunderstorms are also common in the summer. September-November brings cooler temperatures and fall colors. Also the elk rut is during this time of year. In terms of crowds, late June – October are usually the busiest months at the park.
2. How to Propose in Rocky Mountain National Park – Think About the Amount of Hiking You Want to Do
When you’re thinking about how to propose in Rocky Mountain National Park, be sure to find a spot that fits how much hiking you want to do. Keep in mind that the less hiking you do, usually the busier that area will be. There are some really beautiful places just a short walk from the trailheads. But if you head down a trail for a few miles, you can cut out some of the crowds. If you live at lower elevation, take it slow and realize that the altitude can get to you fast. So pick a spot that has the amount of hiking you think would be best for you and your partner. Be sure to drink lots of water, especially if you’re hiking a longer distance. This will really help with acclimating better to the altitude.
3. Pick a Spot with the Type of Scenery You Want
In terms of scenery, you have so many options! Mountains in one way or another will typically be in the background, but each area has a little different flavor. During the winter, you could snowshoe up to Dream Lake and walk out onto a frozen alpine lake with rugged mountains in the background and propose in a winter wonderland. Or during the summer you could stop on one of the trails along Trail Ridge Road that make you feel like you’re on top of the world, with mountain views in all directions. Moraine Park is stunning in its own way with gorgeous meadows surrounded by mountain peaks. And there are also a ton of options for small alpine lakes to hike to in the summer and waterfalls as well. Think about what you want to be surrounded by. Check out the park’s website for more information on trails and planning your visit. Also if you’re hiring a photographer, they can be a guide to help you find the best spot that fits what you’re envisioning. https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/index.htm
4. How to Propose in Rocky Mountain National Park – Stay Away From Peak Visiting Times
Rocky Mountain National Park is an amazing place and because of that many people travel from all over the world to come to it. If you’re looking to have an intimate moment in the park with less crowds, stay away from peak visiting times. Weekends can be packed. I would suggest planning your proposal during the week to avoid those crowds. In some areas the park provides shuttles because the parking lots fill up. Also the line just to get into the park can be really long as well. If you go during the week, think about planning your proposal either earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. Peak visiting hour typically tend to be 10AM – 3PM. So if you can plan your proposal before 9AM or after 4PM you’ll have a better chance of less crowds and more privacy.
5. Enlist Someone to Help Especially if You’ll Be Proposing Close to a Trailhead
This could be your photographer or a friend that your soon to be fiancé doesn’t know. For example, Kevin told me that he wanted to propose at Bear Lake. This is a super popular area that is easy to walk to from the parking lot. We planned it during the week in the early evening, but there was still a lot of people there. We picked out a large rock that they could walk out to in the middle of the lake. I got there early to get prepared and ready before they arrived. But I also ended up kind of guarding the spot we picked out as well. I talked with some people that went out to that rock and let them know what was happening and that I had a couple who was going to arrive and use it for a proposal spot. Usually when I explain things like that, people are usually super sweet and accommodating to help with the surprise. If you have a specific spot in mind, enlisting someone to be there to make sure that spot is available can be really helpful.
Also if you want to set up something beforehand, enlisting someone to help with this can be great too. This could be things like making sure a picnic is set up before you arrive, or flowers are put out in a certain area, or that a song will play when you arrive to a specific spot. Enlisting someone to help personalize that moment can make it super special. Just make sure to follow Leave No Trace policies if you do do some sort of special set up, so you end up leaving that spot the same way you found it.
I hope this helps with planning your proposal in Rocky Mountain National Park. Have fun with it! Here are some photos from Kevin and Muskaan’s proposal around Bear Lake. This proposal took place on a beautiful day in the beginning of October.