3 Adventurous Colorado wedding destinations
From the Wild West to Mountain High — Find your Colorado wedding venue
Vail Valley Lifestyle
Traci J. Macnamara
Vail Valley Lifestyle
Mountain weddings have become increasingly popular, especially during the summer months when wildflowers are in bloom and when wedding weekends can coincide with all kinds of outdoor activity. Mountain landscapes radiate eternal beauty and solidity — fitting things to conjure for a marriage gathering, yet these four wedding locations near Vail and Beaver Creek also capitalize on the sense of adventure that’s apparent when love is in the air.
Piney River Ranch
Nestled into the Gore Range 12 miles north of Vail, Piney River Ranch is the kind of place where outdoors lovers dream of saying “I do.” The adventure of a Piney wedding begins from the get-go as guests travel several miles over a county-maintained dirt road that winds through mature aspen stands and opens up to scenic mountain views at Piney Lake, a wedding setting like no other.
At this 40-acre private ranch, spiky mountain peaks jut upward into the Colorado sky, and moose are often seen ambling about in the distance on the fringes of the lake. Dwarfed in the expanse of such awe-inspiring beauty is a wedding ceremony deck perched on the water’s edge. Couples gather here along with their guests to exchange vows in this place where the mountain backdrop exudes a timeless appeal.
Piney River Ranch is equipped with an in-house caterer and an indoor event space full of mountain flair that can accommodate up to 200 wedding guests. Adventurers of all ages can entertain themselves while canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing or hiking on site. With so many opportunities to explore, guests might not want to leave. And that’s okay, too: Overnight accommodations at Piney River Ranch range from rustic to slightly refined, with lakefront cabins, a yurt and glamping tents where wedding guests can stay and extend their revelry into the star-studded night.
4 Eagle Ranch
If an authentic Colorado wedding is in order, then 4 Eagle Ranch is the place. This ranch that was originally homesteaded in the 1800s is only 25 minutes away from Vail, but a step onto the property sweeps guests a step back in time. And with Sawatch Range peaks rippling along the horizon, weddings at 4 Eagle Ranch are a naturally popular choice.
The ranch’s newly remodeled historic Nelson Cabin and Carriage House facilities radiate Western charm while bringing guests into a cozy, romantic setting for an intimate wedding gathering or for a wedding party of more than 500 guests. Original homesteader cabins remain on the property, offering a glimpse into Colorado’s past, and newlyweds can opt to take a horse-drawn wagon ride away from the ceremony along the old stagecoach trail.
While 4 Eagle Ranch is an exciting place for a wedding ceremony and reception in itself, an array of activities and accommodations complete the 4 Eagle wedding experience. Many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors are onsite or nearby: horseback riding, zip lining, wine tasting, fly fishing, Razor tours, paintball and more. For those who want to stay overnight — and perhaps wake in the dark to hear coyotes calling — 4 Eagle’s Homestead House is available for rental, along with several unique cabins and luxuriously outfitted glamping tents.
Beaver Creek Mountain
In addition to a beautiful outdoor wedding deck, Beaver Creek offers several luxurious cabins and mountain-side venues. Beano’s Cabin, accessible by shuttle van, tractor-pulled wagon, or horseback in the summer season, commands a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. The lush lawns and wrap-around deck are a beautiful setting for excellent cuisine.
Tucked into the aspen grove not far from the mountain base, Allie’s Cabin is another option on Beaver Creek Mountain. The rustic décor is both solid and comfortable, while the views are expansive.
Talons Restaurant is the newest on-mountain venue. Inspired by the Austrian roots behind alpine ski culture, the restaurant’s architecture is reminiscent of the early barns that were built in Beaver Creek. An enormous deck allows for large parties.
Between its ballrooms, restaurants and lawns, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch has many slope-side party venues. But for a supremely intimate adventure, Anderson’s Cabin, operated by the hotel, is only a short distance away. All of The Ritz-Carlton’s options benefit from the top-notch culinary crew.
Hardscrabble stopped by the Vail Daily newsroom to jam as one of their three performances in one Saturday, the last of which was at the Bonfire Block Party.