Colorado Photo Destinations

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When it comes to photo destinations, there are few locations, if any, that are better than Colorado. This Rocky Mountain state is home to some iconic destinations that are very popular with photographers, and there are plenty of unique, hidden gems to discover, as well. As a photographer, I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country! Over the last 6.5 years, I’ve been lucky enough to explore some of the most beautiful placesplaces that serve as perfect backdrops for unforgettable photographs. There are so many to choose from, but here are just a few of my favorite Colorado photo destinations for portrait, family, engagement and wedding photography!

Colorado Photo Destinations
Sapphire Pointe Overlook

Sapphire Point Overlook 

This picturesque spot sits right between Keystone and Breckenridge on Swan Mountain Road, at an elevation of 9,500 feet. The overlook offers a stunning view of Dillon Reservoir, hemmed in by the Gore and Tenmile mountain ranges. Sapphire Point is a day-use area that can be reserved for two-hour blocks for private gatherings. It’s the only designated site where wedding ceremonies are permitted in the Dillon Ranger District! Interested? Reserve a block for your gathering and inquire about rates and session packages here.

The Donovan Pavilion (Vail, CO) 

The Donovan Pavilion is such a special place to capture the moment! For weddings large and small, for meetings, gatherings, or celebrations, anything where you want beautiful views, exceptional service, and memories to last a lifetime.

The space is absolutely beautiful, and perfect to be able to make what you want. The staff is prompt at answering questions and they allow brides and grooms to tour the venue several times to ensure they feel comfortable with all the details. It’s a perfect space for anyone looking for a rustic wedding (at a good value) in Vail.

The Donovan Pavilion

Rocky Mountain National Park 

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the 10 most visited national parks by National Geographic — and for good reason. This breathtaking space features 415 square miles of natural beauty. It features more than 300 miles of hiking trails to let you explore the sprawling protected area, so you could point your camera in any direction and get a good picture — the park is that amazing!

To get to RMNP, you’ll want to head north through Boulder and Lyons before heading into the mountains. Once you pass through Estes Park, you’re almost there… It’s just a short drive from there to the entrance of this beautiful park. For a price of $35 per vehicle or $20 per person, this awe-inspiring park is worth the small fee!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Boreas Pass Overlook

Perfect for any season, day or night, Boreas Pass is a beautiful drive along the Continental Divide. Stop at the overlook for gorgeous views of Breckenridge, with the resort standing tall behind it. Wildflowers line this road in the summer, fall offers the vibrant colors of the Aspen trees, and photos taken at night above the town are simply magic. (Check for road closures during the winter, or plan to hike if needed!)

Maroon Bells

If you’ve seen a picture of Colorado on Pinterest, there’s a good chance it was of Maroon Bells. And with good reason! It’s a quintessential spot for any list of Colorado Photo Destinations. The peaks tower over the surrounding landscape. and at 14,000 feet, it’s easy to view their magnificence from anywhere. The Maroon Bells are one of Colorado’s most iconic landscapes, and host around 300,000 visitors every year.

To get to Maroon Bells, I recommend taking a bus from Aspen, as there is very limited private vehicle access. The bus picks up at the Aspen Highlands and drops you off right at the Bells. It’ll cost you $5 on weekdays, and $10 on weekends, but the price is worth it for the view of these iconic Colorado Mountains!

Garden of the Gods Park 

Garden of the Gods is a natural landmark in the heart of Colorado Springs (and it happens to be a photographer’s dream). These towering, free-standing red sandstone features grab your attention and refuse to let it go. Outside the park, you can spot birds and trees dotted along the rocks, and even rock climbers from time to time. Inside the park, the north end of Juniper Way Loop gives you a perfect view of the Garden in its full glory.

Garden of the Gods Park

Paint Mines

Stepping into Paint Mines Interpretive Park feels like stepping into an alien landscape. It’s full of colorful clay originally collected by Native Americans in the area to paint. The small, shallow canyons provide unique backgrounds for every photo you take. It’s a textural dream unique to Colorado without classic mountain background! Enjoy your time hiking through the mines as you think about the rich history that this land holds.

Paint Mines

Traveling within my own state is something I’ve definitely taken advantage of over my time in this beautiful place. Just passing through? Be sure to capture your time in this amazing landscape. You’ll be glad you did! Colorado Native? Sometimes getting out of our comfort zone (and trying out new locations) forces us to get creative… that’s why I love exploring this state so much!

Colorado Engagement Photos

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It takes some location scouting and time to adjust to a new city before you really know the most scenic places. I moved to town in August 2015, and since then, I’ve continued to seek out the best places for graduate, family, couple, and wedding photography. For engagement sessions, locations that have highlight a beautiful sunrise or sunset, and space to move are desired. Family photo sessions typically go well when I’ve researched a spot that has a parking lot in close proximity to our photo destination. It saves us time on the commute and reduces the risk of kids running or tripping and getting their clothes dirty. 

From mountain views, canyons, ridges and rock formations, Colorado Springs views offer a unique type of scenery you just don’t see everywhere. Here are my top five favorite photographic locations in Colorado, Springs!

1.     Garden of the Gods

While it may be a touristy spot, it’s one of the best — and for good reason. The unique rock formations that are close to the mountains provide a classic Colorado Springs look. I’ve photographed many new families here, as well as visitors. One of the great things about photographing in Garden of the Gods is that the park is so big and offers a variety of locations. The longer I have lived here, the more I’ve change up where I like to go in the park. Some spots allow you to park and walk right out to a gorgeous view, whereas others require a 10–15-minute walk from the main parking lot to a specific destination within the park.

Tip: Always make sure you have the appropriate footwear for your photo session, especially if it includes walking. Read my tips for selecting the perfect photoshoot outfit.


Lauren and Kyle were supposed to get married in Ohio, but like other 2020 brides and grooms, their plans changed and they had a small intimate civil ceremony at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs.

Lauren and Kyle were supposed to get married in Ohio, but like other 2020 brides and grooms, their plans changed and they had a small intimate civil ceremony at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs.


Beautiful red rock formations and mountain backdrop, Sophie and Tyler picked the Southgate Entrance of Garden of the Gods Park for their engagement photos.

Beautiful red rock formations and mountain backdrop, Sophie and Tyler picked the Southgate Entrance of Garden of the Gods Park for their engagement photos.

2.     The Broadmoor

First, the hotel is absolutely gorgeous! Due to the property being only for guests, it’s important to check in first to see if you need a permit. If you can get onto the golf course for photos, the landscape is pristine. The Broadmoor is great for families or couples who are looking for a different type of view than mountains. 


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3.     Palmer Park

I discovered this place when I started taking my dog, Cooper, to one of the best off-leash dog trails in the city. Palmer Park is a little quieter than Garden of the Gods, but still boasts amazing mountain views. If you’re looking for that dusty road, but more greens and blue than reds, this is the place for you. There are pockets within this large park that you can tuck away from the bikers, walkers, and runners, too!


Couple travels to Colorado for a road trip and ends up taking their engagement photos at Palmer Park in Colorado Springs, CO.

Couple travels to Colorado for a road trip and ends up taking their engagement photos at Palmer Park in Colorado Springs, CO.

4.     Cheyenne Mountain State Park

While this park does require a $7 parking admissions fee, the views are stunning, and it’s not too crowded. It’s important to note that some trails do not allow dogs, so for a city that is incredibly dog-friendly, be sure to check out the map so you know where you can take your furry friend. The views at Cheyenne Mountain State Park are the same mountains you get at Garden of the Gods, but the landscape tones are more blues and greens than reds. There are several pull-off spots within the park, so if you’re looking for a bit of variety within one location, this is the place to go!


East Coast natives, Jordan and Tyler, recently moved to Colorado Springs and wanted to capture the essence of the new city they live in with  engagement photos  at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

East Coast natives, Jordan and Tyler, recently moved to Colorado Springs and wanted to capture the essence of the new city they live in with engagement photos at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

 5.     Ute Valley Park

Ute Valley is a very popular places for family photo sessions. The parking is so close to the entrance of the park, making it an easy and accessible location. I’d describe the views to also be more greens and blue, but also cream-colored rocks. The good news is this park is so big as well. One of my latest couples took me to a “secret” spot that was just stunning! It was a five-minute walk from the parking lot and was a secluded spot where nobody was at. I encourage photographers to venture around and find those pockets that are less crowded, yet still special and beautiful, to take your clients. 


Kim and Alex are adventurous travelers, so it makes sense they know how to find the best hiking spots at Ute Valley Park.

Kim and Alex are adventurous travelers, so it makes sense they know how to find the best hiking spots at Ute Valley Park.

It’s hard to go wrong with any photographic locations in Colorado Springs. There is so much variety at each location that it’s hard to get bored with the scenery. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it’s always a good idea to location scout first. You’ll want to know the best places to park and where to possibly avoid foot traffic. And don’t be afraid of the weather! I’ve photographed at all of these locations, which are also wheelchair accessible, in sunshine, overcast, snow, and rain — it can surprise you how well the photos can turn out with some help from Mother Nature!

 Sarah Arnold of SArnold Photo is a portrait, engagement and wedding photographer located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.